By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News
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Coast Guard Group/Air Station Port Angeles was recommissioned as Air Station/Sector Field Office Port Angeles on Friday as part of a reorganization in Coast Guard command.
Stations in Port Angeles, Neah Bay, LaPush and Bellingham are now part of the Seattle-based Sector Puget Sound. The Coast-Guard-wide modernization is intended to streamline the organization.
"You guys have done a tremendous job prepping for this transition," Coast Guard Cmdr. Tony Hahn told Port Angeles crew members before reading the operational facility change order.
"Execute the duties that you always have. Today we become Air Station/Sector Field Office Port Angeles.
"We will remain the best aviation unit in the Coast Guard and provide unsurpassed mission support."
Under the consolidation, one Coast Guard captain will have authority in all of Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
Coast Guard officials say the change will not hurt the station's response capabilities.
Hahn, who took command of the station on July 23, said the commanders that served before him established an "unsurpassed legacy of operational excellence" in Port Angeles.
The base held the "group" title since 1944.
Hahn recapped some of the station's history. He said the Coast Guard's presence in Port Angeles began with the arrival of the first cutter, Shubrick, in August 1862.
"On June 1, 1935, Air Station Port Angeles was commissioned and became the first permanent air station on the Pacific Coast, and has remained the best air station in the Coast Guard since," Hahn said.
"Group Port Angeles leaves a long, distinguished history of unsurpassed service and operational excellence."
Hahn recapped some of the remarks he and former commander, Capt. Scott Pollock, made about the transition during a change of command ceremony at the Port Angeles station on July 23.
If anything, Pollock said the change will improve the Coast Guard's response capabilities.
Pollock became deputy commander of Sector Puget Sound.
The emergency contact number for Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound is 206-217-6001.
"Stations Quillayute River, Neah Bay, Port Angeles and Bellingham will remain online and be ready to respond to any task," said Rear Adm. Gary T. Blore, commander of the 13th Coast Guard District, at the change of command ceremony.
"It is simply a better and more effective way to do command and control."
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-417-3537 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.