SAN JUAN — U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Juan got a new commander on Thursday, according to a Coast Guard statement. Capt. José E. Díaz will be responsible for Coast Guard forces in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and overseeing the unit’s 1.3 million-square-nautical-miles area of responsibility in the Eastern Caribbean.
Rear Adm. Brendan C. McPherson, commander of the Seventh Coast Guard District, presided over the change of command ceremony Thursday, in which Díaz relieved Capt. Gregory H. Magee as the unit’s new commander.
During the ceremony, McPherson presented Magee with the Coast Guard Meritorious Service Medal. Under Magee’s leadership, Coast Guard crews reportedly helped save 260 lives, interdicted 3,500 undocumented migrants and seized approximately 25,000 kilograms of cocaine with an estimated wholesale value of $625 million, according to the release.
“I want to thank the people of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands,” said Magee. “They are among the friendliest, helpful, welcoming, and resilient Americans you will find in this great nation. It was a true honor to serve you all. To the men and women of Coast Guard Sector San Juan and our partners, I am proud of all you have achieved. Your selflessness, devotion to duty and commitment to the mission are second-to-none. I could not have asked for a better team.”
Magee’s new assignment will take him to Norfolk, Va., where he will assume responsibilities as the deputy director of Operational Logistics for the U.S. Coast Guard.
Diaz assumes command of Sector San Juan after completing a two-year assignment as the unit’s deputy commander. He is the seventh commander of Sector San Juan and the first Puerto Rican native selected for the position.
“As a native of Aibonito, Puerto Rico, it’s an honor and privilege to be given the opportunity to lead our devoted Coast Guard men and women in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands,” said Díaz. “I look forward to continue building new partnerships and strengthening relationships with sister federal and local agencies to further save lives, facilitate safe maritime commerce, and safeguard our U.S. southernmost maritime border from existing threats.”
Sector San Juan encompasses 1.3 million square nautical miles throughout the Eastern Caribbean. It has more than 500 active duty and reserve sector personnel in 13 subordinate units, including seven fast response cutters, a Marine Safety Detachment, two Resident Inspection Offices, an Aids to Navigation Team, and a Tactical/Pursuit Station with two Boat Force Detachments.
Sector San Juan operations are supported by Coast Guard Base San Juan and Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen, one of three major air stations in the Coast Guard’s Seventh District. Sector San Juan includes two of the busiest ports in the nation, which receive over three million visitors and 11,000 vessel arrivals annually, including almost 1,600 cruise ships, according to the Coast Guard.