Coast Guard Sector San Francisco personnel held a change-of-command ceremony on Yerba Buena Island, Thursday, as Capt. Marie Byrd relieved Capt. Tony Ceraolo as sector commander.
Prior to serving as the Sector San Francisco deputy commander, Byrd served as the Coast Guard Congressional and Governmental Affairs deputy chief where she worked with 535 members of Congress and the Coast Guard’s oversight committee staff to create a shared understanding of the Coast Guard’s roles, mission requirements and legislative priorities.
From 2014 to 2016, Byrd was the executive assistant to Vice Adm. Dean Lee, the Coast Guard Atlantic Area commander. Prior to that, she served as the prevention department head at Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville in Florida. Throughout her career, Byrd has been assigned to a variety of operational and staff assignments in locations across the country. A 1995 U.S. Coast Guard Academy graduate in New London, Connecticut, she received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Management and in 2007, earned her Master of Science degree from San Jose State University in California.
Ceraolo will be reporting to the Department of Homeland Security in Washington D.C. as the senior counselor to the secretary.
Ceraolo assumed command of Sector San Francisco in July 2016 and served as the sector commander and Captain of the Port for San Francisco and Northern California. During his tenure as sector commander, Ceraolo’s numerous accomplishments included directing the waterside security for the only military outload port on the West Coast, championing a collaborative port recovery plan in the event of a natural disaster and issuing the first Certificate of Inspection to the first plug-in hybrid vessel built from the keel up under Coast Guard regulations.
“I will look back fondly on my time at Sector San Francisco which is proudly defined by the incredible people of Northern California and members of Sector San Francisco,” said Ceraolo. “I also cannot stress enough how integral our port partners were in accomplishing the mission and I thank them for the incredible support they provide each and every day.”
Sector San Francisco is made up of more than 850 active, reserve and civilian personnel operating four cutters, seven search-and-rescue stations, an aids-to-navigation team, a vessel traffic service and a marine safety detachment. The sector’s area of responsibility spans from the Oregon border south to San Luis Obispo and includes more than 2,500 miles of shoreline.
The change-of-command ceremony is a time-honored event preserved by the heritage of naval tradition. It is a custom that is formal, follows military protocol and is designed to strengthen the respect for the continuity of command that is vital to military organization. The culmination of the ceremony is reached when both officers read their orders, face one another, salute and transfer responsibility for the command. This provides the entire command with the knowledge that the officer, directed by proper authority, is taking command and provides an opportunity to witness this transfer of responsibility.