U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul F. Zukunft will be relieved by U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area Commander Vice Adm. Karl L. Schultz on June 1, 2018, at 1100 hours at U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen announced the nomination by President Donald Trump of Vice Adm. Karl L. Schultz to be the 26th Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard in March. Vice Adm. Schultz, the commander of the Coast Guard's Atlantic Area, previously served as the operational commander for all Coast Guard missions from the Rocky Mountains to the Arabian Gulf
, spanning across five Coast Guard Districts and 40 states. Zukunft will retire following the change of command.
"Vice Adm. Schultz will provide the sound leadership and steady hand needed to guide our global military service further into this dynamic and extraordinary era of our Nation," said Adm. Zukunft in March.
Previously, Vice Adm. Schultz selected and the president nominated Vice Adm. Charles W. Ray as the Coast Guard's 31st Vice Commandant. Vice Adm. Ray relieved Adm. Charles D. Michel in a change of watch ceremony taking place last week. Michel, the Coast Guard's first four-star Vice Commandant, retired following the change of watch ceremony. Earlier, Michel received the Homeland Security Distinguished Service Medal from the 25th Commandant of the Coast Guard Adm. Paul F. Zukunft.
Looking back, Zukunft’s tenure as commandant was notable for its lack of drama for the nation’s fifth uniformed service, and by his efforts to fully fund the Coast Guard’s many important missions. Under his leadership, the seeds for the nation’s next heavy icebreaker were finally planted and the Coast Guard’s aggressive recapitalization program has moved forward smoothly, with a markedly improved acquisition team sidestepping the minefield of mistakes made during the so-called ‘Deepwater’ recapitalization program of years past. Upon assuming command four years ago, Zukunft promised a steady hand for the Coast Guard. Most stakeholders would agree that he delivered on that pledge.