USCG Change of Command is bittersweet for two captains

This was the Change of Command Ceremony on the Yorktown Friday (Courtesy: Scott Garrand/WCIV)

By Sonya

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. ( WCIV) --{}Friday was a bittersweet day on the USS Yorktown as there was a change of command with Coast Guard Sector Charleston.

Handing over the reins was the goal of Friday's change of command ceremony, but it's also about transferring responsibility and authority from one person to another.

Capt. Michael White Jr. has been the Sector Commander for the past three years, a job that kept him very busy.

"We have got 450 people spread out across two states, 11 subordinate units. Just trying to get around to say 'Hi' to everybody on a regular basis is challenging. Throw in a couple tropical storms, grounded vessel here and there, some really challenging search and rescue work and yeah it's been challenging -- very rewarding though," said White., former USCG Sector Charleston Commander.

He says his major accomplishment was making progress on the green laser issue in Myrtle Beach.

"To take those dangerous toys off the shelves and protect our first responders is just fantastic. That has got to be one of the top things that has happened because it took everybody approaching the problem from all kinds of directions to make it work," said White.

Now his work here is done and he is headed to Seattle, but he knows the Lowcountry will be in good hands because his replacement is a friend.

"It is a tremendous honor to be able to take up for one of my best friends. It's also a bit of confidence to know that I know what a great job he has done, so I'm not worried about finding skeletons in the closet or things that are going to come and bite me because I know that he has done tremendously well," said Capt. Ric Rodriguez, the new USCG Sector Charleston Commander.

Rodriguez says he doesn't have any major items to tackle right now, but wants to make people his priority.

"Really to get to know the people and the people that I'm going to be working with on a regular basis, so that when we have a natural disaster, have a security incident, when there is something that requires coordination across the agencies. I look forward to getting to know them and being able to trust them and have them trust me so that when we work together it can be seamless," said Rodriguez.

And a seamless transition means that the Coast Guard Sector Charleston can continue to focus on keeping people here in the Lowcountry safe.

During White's time at Sector Charleston, over 2,000 lives were saved and more than $59 million in property was protected.