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By MATTHEW McDERMOTT
Daily News Staff Writer
U.S. Coast Guard Station Ketchikan held a change of command ceremony on Friday, during which Chief Boatswains Mate Scott Habershaw officially assumed command of Station Ketchikan from Senior Chief Boatswains Mate Jeremy Kastner.
Capt. Stephen R. White, commander of the Coast Guard Sector Juneau, was present for the ceremony at U.S. Coast Guard Base Ketchikan.
"Being selected for command and in particular for an officer in charge, an enlisted person to be in charge, it is absolutely the hardest process that we have in the Coast Guard," he said. "It is a ton of studying, it's a board that you actually have to go sit in front of and answer questions and demonstrate your knowledge, command a presence and it's brutal."
White also commended the Coast Guard crew on its accomplishments at Station Ketchikan under Kastner's direction.
"It has been an impressive tour. This is no joke operating up here," said White. "The weather is unpredictable, and it can be violent when it changes. The shores are unforgiving. We are not operating around many sandbars and if someone hits something down here it's usually a bad day."
Kastner was awarded the Coast Guard Accommodation Medal Demonstrating Exceptional Leadership during the ceremony.
Kastner has been serving at the Coast Guard Station Ketchikan since June 2016. During his time in Ketchikan, he directed 896 law enforcement boardings and 146 search and rescue cases which saved both lives and property, according to the commendation for Kastner.
Kastner also assisted U.S. Customs and Boarder Protection to complete 16 full crew immigration inspections, which screened 11,000 cruise ship employees.
The commendation noted that Kastner has been an engaged member of the Ketchikan community. He has been enlisted in the Coast Guard since 1999, and has received multiple awards and insignias during his extensive career. Kastner will be transferring to take command of a Coast Guard station in Louisiana this summer.
Kastner praised his crew and expressed gratitude to White for setting a good example. He also thanked his wife, whom he called "his anchor at home."
Regarding members of the Ketchikan community that he worked with, Kastner said, "In a small community like this we often have limited resources and rely on each other to get the job done. I couldn't have asked for better people to partner with."
Incoming commanding officer Habershaw is originally from Florida, and graduated from the Air Force Noncommissioned Office Academy and the Air Force Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy. He has had a successful military career achieving numerous awards and two insignias.
During his comments, Habershaw said "in the four days that I have been here and the hundreds of people I have had the chance to pass and meet, I have realized that the greatest resource in Alaska is the people. ... I really look forward to working with everyone."