NEWS | June 17, 2019

Coast Guard Cutter Walnut Holds Change of Command Ceremony

By Petty Officer 2nd Class Amanda Wyrick U.S. Coast Guard District 14 Hawaii Pacific

HONOLULU, Hawaii -- Lt. Cmdr. Christopher Jasnoch relieved Lt. Cmdr. Robert Cole as commanding officer of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Walnut (WLB 205) in a change of command ceremony at Coast Guard Base Honolulu, Friday.

Rear Adm. Kevin Lunday, commander, Coast Guard 14th District presided over the event.

Jasnoch is arriving from Key West, Florida, where he served as the executive officer aboard Coast Guard Cutter Thetis (WMEC 910). A native of Chicago, he graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in 2005.

Previous tours afloat include deck watch officer aboard Coast Guard Cutter Resolute (WMEC 620), operations officer aboard Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock (WLB 214), and commanding officer of Coast Guard Cutter William Tate (WLM 560).

Tours ashore include staff officer at the District Seven waterways management office in Miami where he administered seven ships and ten shore-based aids-to-navigation teams. Jasnoch also served at Afloat Training Organization in Everett, Washington, where he oversaw the training and readiness of the Coast Guard’s Northwest cutter fleet; 45 ships in all.

Cole is departing to Alameda, California, as the Pacific Area contingency planning branch chief. He took command of Coast Guard Cutter Walnut in 2016, after serving at the Atlantic Area cutter forces staff where he was responsible for the operational, maintenance, and training schedules of the Atlantic Area major cutter fleet consisting of two national security cutters, 24 medium endurance cutters, and the Coast Guard Cutter Eagle (WIX 327).

Previous afloat assignments include Coast Guard Cutter Sedge (WLB 402), followed by Coast Guard Cutter Hickory (WLB 212), both homeported in Homer, Alaska, where he served as a deck watch officer. He was executive officer aboard Coast Guard Cutter Block Island (WPB 1344), homeported in Atlantic Beach, North Carolina, and executive officer aboard Coast Guard Cutter Juniper (WLM 224), homeported in Newport, Rhode Island.

A native of Connecticut, he holds a Bachelor of Science degree in management from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and a Master of Science degree in organizational leadership from Norwich University.

Notably during his tour, achieved excellence servicing more than 200 aids throughout the Hawaiian Islands and Samoa. They prepared for and mitigated the upcoming period of absence as the vessel goes to mid-life maintenance. Walnut served as the on-scene commander for a five-day search and rescue mission of a downed U.S. Army helicopter, skillfully overseeing the efforts of 25 air and surface assets searching 72,000 square miles leading to significant recovery of debris. They were also pivotal in fisheries law enforcement, building strategic partnerships in Oceania, and community relations in the region.

The Walnut is a 225-foot sea-going buoy tender homeported in Honolulu. Walnut is the 5th “A” Class buoy tender of the Coast Guard’s Juniper Class buoy tender fleet. The Walnut crew’s primary mission is to maintain aids-to-navigation utilizing the ship's dynamic positioning system or the Regional Dive Locker Pacific team. Other missions of Walnut's crew include maritime law enforcement, ports, waterways, and coastal security, search and rescue and environmental protection.

Walnut is equipped with many technologically advanced navigation, safety and ship-handling systems that allow more efficient operations and with greater safety. With fewer crewmembers than generally associated with a cutter of this size, Walnut accomplishes the mission in a vast area of responsibility including the main Hawaiian Islands, American Samoa, and Oceania.