New commander joins Coast Guard 5th District in Portsmouth


Rear Adm. Laura Dickey, incoming 5th District commander, reads her orders to report as the new district commander at the 5th District’s change-of-command ceremony in Portsmouth, Virginia, Sept. 25, 2020. The change of command is a time-honored tradition that promotes continuity and authority of command within the Coast Guard. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Stephen Lehmann.

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — On Friday, Rear Adm. Laura Dickey assumed the duties and responsibilities of Coast Guard Fifth District Commander in Portsmouth.

Relieving Rear Adm. Keith Smith, Dickey will serve as the operational commander for all U.S. Coast Guard missions from the Carolina borders to New Jersey, covering about 1.4 million square miles of oceans, bays, and rivers.

The Fifth District includes mid-Atlantic ports, the largest U.S. Naval base in the world, and our National Capital Region with nearly 5,600 active duty, reserve, and civilian personnel.

“Prior to assuming command of the Fifth District, Dickey most recently served as the Deputy Director of Operations for United States Northern Command. The Director of Operations is the principal advisor to Commander, USNORTHCOM on all operational matters, providing strategic guidance to plan and execute missions within North America; including land, maritime, and air homeland defense operations as well as defense support of civil authorities and theater security cooperation,” Coast Guard officials said in a statement released.

Smith served as the Fifth District Commander for two years and oversaw Coast Guard response operations throughout the region, including response efforts for hurricanes Florence and Dorian. Smith will go on to assume the role of Deputy Commander, Coast Guard Atlantic Area, based out of Portsmouth, Virginia.

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