WASHINGTON, D.C. (LOG NEWS SERVICE) — Pres. Donald Trump proclaimed America is safe because the U.S. Coast Guard is “strong.”
“You are the elite force that defends our borders, patrols our waters, protects our cities, and keeps our enemies at bay,” Trump said.
Trump spoke June 1 while presiding over a Coast Guard change-of-command ceremony in Washington during which Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul F. Zukunft handed command to Adm. Karl Schultz, who became the nation’s 26th commandant.
“On behalf of the American people, I thank you for a lifetime of noble service. Congratulations on everything you have achieved,” Trump told Zukunft.
Trump said that during his 45 years of service Zukunft “has led every kind of mission, and he has never backed down ever, ever, ever.”
During his tenure as commandant for the past four years, Zukunft “has lead with extraordinary skill, and devotion, and pride.”
Zukunft worked tirelessly to protect America’s interest in the Arctic, the president said. “[With our] new budget, $700 billion … this year, $716 billion next year … you’re going to be very well taken care of,” Trump said, adding that the Coast Guard is on course to receive its “first new, heavy icebreaker in more than 40 years, and plenty other ships and boats and equipment and everything you need.”
Trump recalled watching the Coast Guard last year after powerful hurricanes struck Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico. Trump said no brand has gained more than the Coast Guard and the public has “tremendous respect” for it.
“Through driving winds and pounding rain and thundering seas, the Coast Guard is always there, doing what it does best: saving lives,” Trump said.
“With this ceremony,” Trump said, “we proudly pass the helm of the United States Coast Guard to the man who oversaw those emergency operations: Admiral Karl Schultz.”
As commandant, Schultz is responsible for all worldwide Coast Guard activities and oversees some 41,000 active-duty and 7,000 part-time military personnel, 8,500 civilian full-time employees and 31,000 civilian auxiliary volunteers.
Schultz, a native of East Hartford, Connecticut, graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in 1983.