Burkett named new Coast Guard commander

BALTIMORE — The U.S. Coast Guard Sector Maryland-National Capital Region said goodbye to Capt. David O’Connell and welcomed Capt. Patrick Burkett as the sector’s new commander during a recent change of command ceremony in Baltimore.

US Coast Guard Sector Maryland – National Capital Region bid farewell to Capt. David O’Connell and welcomed Capt. Patrick Burkett as Sec…

The ceremony was held at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine and was presided over by Rear Admiral Shannon Gilreath, commander of the Fifth Coast Guard District.

O’Connell is leaving to continue his career in the Coast Guard as chief of the Prevention Division of the First Coast Guard District.

O’Connell has led Coast Guard operations in the Maryland and Washington, DC region since April 25, 2021, managing Coast Guard operational forces in the execution and coordination of maritime safety, security, and environmental protection. This includes eight multi-mission stations, three aids to navigation teams, and one Coast Guard cutter.

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Lieutenant Patrick Burkett has been promoted to the rank of lieutenant commander, U.S. Coast Guard.

He also led the Coast Guard response to the Motor Vessel Ever Forward grounding and Key Bridge Response 2024, serving as incident commander for both incidents.

Burkett reports to Sector Maryland-National Capital Region after previously serving as chief of the Coast Guard’s 13th District Prevention Division from July 2021 to June 2024.

“I could not be more honored and excited to serve as commander of Sector Maryland-National Capital Region and captain of the port,” said Burkett. “Command is both a great privilege and a great responsibility. I am honored to join an outstanding team of Coast Guard members who continue a long tradition of mission excellence. I am equally excited to work with our maritime partners to serve the citizens of this region.”

Previous operational assignments include Chief of the Prevention Division in the Jacksonville Sector; Executive Officer, Maritime Security Unit, Pittsburgh; Investigative Officer, Hampton Roads Sector; and Marine Inspector, New Orleans and Miami Sectors.

Burkett graduated from Hunter-Kinard-Tyler High School in 1995 and from South Carolina State University and the Coast Guard College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative in 1999. He also served as the Coast Guard liaison to Military Sealift Command, where he was the primary advisor to the MSC commander to ensure ship readiness for more than 130 naval auxiliaries tasked with maintaining global warfighting capability, providing combat support and humanitarian assistance worldwide.

Sector Maryland – Capital Region’s area of ​​responsibility extends to the Potomac River, the Chesapeake Bay north of the Virginia-Maryland line and its tributaries, and Ocean City and the Atlantic Ocean, ensuring maritime safety, security and environmental protection in the region.

In a typical year, Sector Maryland-National Capital Region personnel perform the following missions in the nation’s capital and throughout the upper Chesapeake Bay, which number approximately:

  • 500 search and rescue cases
  • 750 boardings by law enforcement agencies
  • 100 casualties among sailors
  • 75 investigations into merchant seamen
  • Responds to 350 oil and chemical spills
  • Operation and supervision of nearly 2,400 navigation aids
  • Ensures safe movement of 2,500 foreign and 350 domestic ships, including 294 small passenger ships

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A change of command ceremony is a time-honored ceremony in which authority, responsibility, and duties for a unit are formally transferred from one commander to another.