The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf (WMSL 750) and crew held a change of command ceremony, Monday, in Kodiak.
Vice Adm. Andrew Tiongson, commander of Coast Guard Pacific Area, presided over the ceremony in which Capt. Billy Mees relieved Capt. Tim Brown as Bertholf’s commanding officer.
Mees reports to the Bertholf from Pacific Area Maritime Forces where he was charged with providing mission ready cutters and aircraft throughout the Indo-Pacific to support national strategic priorities. Bertholf will be Mees’s 11th cutter and his second command. His tours ashore have been focused on law enforcement policy such as command duty officer, planning and directing search and rescue and law enforcement officer at the Seventh Coast Guard District. Additionally, he served as a program analyst for the Deputy Commandant for Operations Resource Management Directorate at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Brown served as Bertholf’s commanding officer from July 2021 to June 2023. Under Brown’s command, Bertholf deployed multiple times to the Eastern Pacific and Bering Sea conducting counterdrug operations and combating illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing. His efforts in fishery management were numerous as he led 27 boardings documenting over 40 violations with six instances of failure to document shark bycatch and two vessels illegally poaching shark fins. During the ship’s 2021-2023 counterdrug patrols in international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean, the crew interdicted three drug-laden smuggling vessels carrying over 496 kilograms of contraband valued at $14.4 million. Brown also oversaw multiple strategic maritime engagements with our allies, the Canadians, Japanese, and Ecuadorians in a strong effort to improve diplomatic relations.
Additionally, Brown retired from the Coast Guard, Monday, after 27 years of service. He received a Legion of Merit for his accomplishments.
“For a guy like me that grew up in the Coast Guard working buoys, these last two years have been an unbelievable journey,” said Brown. “Although I am proud of the operational accomplishments of this cutter, it is the Coast Guard men and women that have breathed life into our ship”.
Commissioned in 2008, the Bertholf is one of four national security cutters homeported in Alameda, California, and is the first commissioned ship of the 11 national security cutters that encompass the Legend Class, with a motto of “Legends Begin Here.” National security cutters are capable of extended, worldwide deployment in support of homeland security and national defense missions.