Coast Guard Sector Guam holds change of command ceremony

Coast Guard Sector Guam welcomed its new commander as Capt. Nicholas Simmons assumed command from Capt. Christopher Chase during a change of command ceremony at Sector Guam, June 3, 2021. The ceremony was presided over by Rear Adm. Matthew Sibley, commander, Coast Guard 14th District. (U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of Coast Guard Sector Guam/Released)
Coast Guard Sector Guam welcomed its new commander as Capt. Nicholas Simmons assumed command from Capt. Christopher Chase during a change of command ceremony at Sector Guam, June 3, 2021. The ceremony was presided over by Rear Adm. Matthew Sibley, commander, Coast Guard 14th District. (U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of Coast Guard Sector Guam/Released)

Coast Guard Sector Guam holds change of command ceremony

by Petty Officer 3rd Class Matthew West
U.S. Coast Guard District 14 Hawaii Pacific

SANTA RITA, Guam — Coast Guard Sector Guam welcomed its new commander as Capt. Nicholas Simmons assumed command from Capt. Christopher Chase during a change of command ceremony, Thursday.

The ceremony was held at Coast Guard Sector Guam and was presided over by Rear Adm. Matthew Sibley, commander, Coast Guard 14th District. A change of command is a military tradition that represents a formal transfer of authority and responsibility for a unit.

“During my time as the Coast Guard 14th District commander it was a distinct honor to serve with Capt. Chase as we tackled numerous issues in the modern marine environment,” said Sibley. “While I am sad to see him go I am also excited to build upon the foundation we created with Capt. Simmons as the Coast Guard continues to serve the people of Guam and Oceania.”

Simmons is reporting from the Office of Budget and Programs at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, having served two years as the Coast Guard’s procurement, construction and improvements budget coordinator. While there he coordinated capital investment in strategic Coast Guard priorities, assisting in formulation of the Fiscal Year 2020-2023 budgets, which included enactment of the largest budget in Coast Guard history.

During his Coast Guard career Simmons has served more than 10-years of sea time on five cutters. His roles included deck watch officer and assistant navigator aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Diligence (WMEC 616), operations officer on Coast Guard Cutter Forward (WMEC 911), commanding officer on the Coast Guard Cutter Washington (WBP 1331), executive officer on the Coast Guard Cutter Legare (WMEC 912), and commanding officer on the Coast Guard Cutter Tampa (WMEC 902).

Simmons has also served in intelligence and special assignments positions including as a strategic intelligence analyst at the Coast Guard Intelligence Coordination Center, and as a counterintelligence agent at Coast Guard Atlantic Area. He also spent two years as the deputy military aide to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

Simmons holds a Master’s Degree in Strategic Intelligence from the Joint Military Intelligence College and a Bachelor’s Degree in Government, with high honors, from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. He further completed the U.S. Air Force Joint Professional Military Education Phase 1, and is a graduate of the Defense Counterintelligence Agent’s Course.

Chase assumed command of Sector Guam in 2017 and has served as the search and rescue mission coordinator, federal on-scene coordinator, federal maritime security coordinator, captain of the port, and officer in charge of marine inspections.

“Guam has been an amazing place to serve in,” said Chase. “Our partnerships throughout the region are critical to our collective success and I simply cannot be more thankful for all of the support we have received. Most important to me is how welcomed my family and the families of all of Coast Guard Team Guam have felt here. It is truly an honor and privilege to have served in Guam the last four years.”

During his time as the Sector Guam commander, Chase leveraged stakeholders to coordinate a unified response to the North Korean missile crisis, a Boeing 737 crash in the Federated States of Micronesia; illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing vessel incursions, and illicit foreign research vessel activity that advanced key national security interests and strengthened global maritime security.

He led Coast Guard forces throughout Micronesia while maximizing personnel readiness and mission execution during the response to 26 typhoons, a global pandemic, and the 35-day government shutdown. He directed the Coast Guard’s largest organizational transformation in the region since World War II, overseeing the addition of 17,000 square feet of infrastructure and the arrival of three fast response cutters, two response boats, and 120 personnel that significantly increased capacity and capability across the region.

He is departing to continue his Coast Guard career as the attaché to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.

Coast Guard Sector Guam's area of responsibility includes Guam, the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana's Islands, The Republic of Palau, The Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia (Kosrae, Pohnpei, Chuuk, and Yap).

Primary missions include Search and Rescue, Law Enforcement, Ports Waterways and Coastal Security (PWCS), Marine Inspection, Mariner's Licensing and Documentation, Port Safety and Marine Environmental Protection.

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