L.A. Coast Guard Welcomes New Leader

Friday, July 12, 2013

A Change of Command Ceremony was held at Reservation Point aboard Base San Pedro, Wednesday for the Coast Guard Maritime Safety and Security Team Los Angeles-Long Beach (MSST LA-LB).

During the ceremony Lt. Cmdr. Taylor Lam assumed the duties and responsibilities as commanding officer of MSST LA-LB from Lt. Cmdr. Tim Margita while Capt. Thomas E. Crabbs presided over the ceremony.

Lam comes to MSST LA-LB from the Office of Congressional Affaris in Washington, D.C. He served at the former Tactical Law Enforcement Team North where he deployed aboard U.S. and Foreign Naval ships conducting Maritime Law Enforcement operations in the Pacific and Caribbean Oceans. Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Lam was assigned to MSST Seattle as a boat and law enforcement detachment officer-in-charge conducting domestic maritime anti-terrorism operations.

Margita led the unit for the past three years. During his command, MSST LA-LB completed more than 400 hours of critical maritime homeland security missions around the ports of Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and Port Angeles. The unit frequently deployed to Hawaii to provide waterside security for the President of the United States, and recently completed a six-month deployment to the Persian Gulf to protect mariners from piracy and terrorism off the horn of Africa. MSST LA-LB partnered with the U.S. Air Force Airlift Command conducting a groundbreaking deployment to Alaska, where the unit provided 27 high-capacity passenger vessel security zone protection and escort ensuring the safe transit of more than 50,000 people, also providing a Coast Guard presence not commonly seen in that area.

MSST Los Angeles-Long Beach was created under the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 in direct response to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, and is a part of the Department of Homeland Security’s layered strategy directed at protecting seaports and waterways. The units provide waterborne and a shore-side antiterrorism force protection for strategic shipping, high-interest vessels and critical infrastructure. Eleven MSSTs are strategically positioned throughout the nation. These units are a quick response force capable of rapid worldwide deployment via air, ground or sea transportation in response to changing threat conditions and evolving maritime homeland security mission requirements.

The Change of Command Ceremony is a time-honored tradition which formally restates to the officers and crew of the command the continuity of the authority vested in the commanding officer. This unique military ritual represents a total transfer of responsibility, authority, and accountability from one leader to the next.

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