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5th Coast Guard District welcomes new commander

NORFOLK, Va. – Coast Guard Rear Adm. Keith Smith assumed command of the 5th Coast Guard District from Rear Adm. Meredith Austin during a change of command ceremony Friday.

Smith most recently served as the Commander of Force Readiness Command. He was responsible for supporting operational readiness for operational commanders through training, leadership development, readiness assessments, exercise support and tactics, and techniques and procedures.

Austin, who began serving as the 5th District commander in April 2016, will now report to Coast Guard Headquarters and assume the responsibilities of the Deputy for Operations Policy and Capabilities.

The 5th District spans from New Jersey to North Carolina, and encompasses 1.7 million square miles of ocean and 156,000 miles of coastline.

“The District Commander is the conductor, in musical terms, of multiple units in a large geographical area – I ensure the Coast Guard’s 11 statutory missions are carried out safely and efficiently. I do this through my commanding officers, officers in charge, and staff,” said Smith.

Vice Adm. Scott Buschman, Commander of the Coast Guard Atlantic Area, presided over the ceremony.