Adm. Paul F. Zukunft assumed command as the 25th commandant of the Coast Guard today, relieving Adm. Bob Papp during a military ceremony at the Douglas A. Munro Coast Guard Headquarters Building.
“Adm. Papp’s leadership and resolve have left an indelible mark on the service,” said Zukunft. “The Coast Guard is more proficient, more capable and more resilient due to his contributions and I wish him fair winds and following seas.”
“To the men and women of the Coast Guard, I'm humbled to stand before you as your 25th Commandant," said Zukunft. "You embody the world's best Coast Guard."
Adm. Zukunft reports to Coast Guard Headquarters from Alameda, Calif., where he served as the Coast Guard Pacific Area Commander since 2012. In this capacity, he was the operational commander for all Coast Guard missions from the Rocky Mountains west to the east coast of Africa.
Zukunft will lead the largest component of the Department of Homeland Security, comprised of 41,700 active duty, 7,800 reserve and 8,300 civilian personnel as well as more 31,000 volunteer Coast Guard auxiliarists.
During the change of command ceremony, Papp received the Homeland Security Distinguished Service Medal from Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson and the Defense Distinguished Medal from the Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. James Amos.
“I thank Secretary Johnson for the personal recognition, but it is the men and women of the Coast Guard who deserve credit for all that we have accomplished over the past four years,” said Adm. Papp. “I’m very proud to have led the service, and Linda and I wish Paul and Fran all the best.”
Adm. Papp became the 24th Commandant of the Coast Guard on May 25, 2010. Under Papp’s leadership and vision the Coast Guard’s focused on proficiency, expanding family programs for service members and recapitalizing aging assets. Additionally, Papp worked to secure funding for completion of the National Security Cutter program of record, the acquisition of new Fast Response Cutters and initial funding for the Offshore Patrol Cutter. He also oversaw the restoration of the nation’s only heavy icebreaker. As Commandant, Adm. Papp led the service’s efforts to respond to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill of national significance and directed the roll out of the Coast Guard Arctic Strategy, the first in government to further the President’s National Strategy for the Arctic.