ALAMEDA (LOG NEWS SERVICE) — In a change of command ceremony held at Coast Guard Island in Alameda April 15 Vice Adm. Charles W. Ray relieved Vice Adm. Paul F. Zukunft as Commander of Coast Guard Pacific Area and Coast Guard Defense Forces West.
Ray has served as the Pacific Area deputy since June 2013. His previous flag assignments include Coast Guard District 14 Commander, service with U.S. Forces Iraq as Director of the Iraq Training and Advisory Mission for the Ministry of Interior and as the Military Advisor to the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.
A Newport, Ark., native, Ray is a 1981 graduate of the Coast Guard Academy. After an assignment as a deck watch office aboard a Coast Guard cutter, he was selected for naval flight training and received his wings in 1983.
Zukunft, a 37 year service veteran, served as the Pacific Area Commander since April 2012. He was nominated in February by President Obama to replaced Adm. Robert J. Papp Jr., the present Coast Guard Commandant, who is scheduled to retire from active duty in May. Zukunft’s nomination requires Senate confirmation.
Headquartered on Coast Guard Island in Alameda, Pacific Area’s area of responsibility encompasses six of the seven continents, 71 countries and more than 74 million square miles of ocean — from the U.S western states to Asia and from the Arctic to Antarctica. It includes the Thirteenth (Seattle), Eleventh (Alameda), Fourteenth (Honolulu) and Seventeenth (Juneau) Coast Guard districts.