Coast Guard 17th District changes command, Rear Adm. Matthew T. Bell Jr. retires after 36 years of service

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U.S. Coast Guard 17th District Alaska
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Coast Guard 17th District changes command, Rear Adm. Matthew T. Bell Jr. retires after 36 years of service


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JUNEAU, Alaska - Coast Guard 17th District personnel conducted a change-of -command ceremony Friday at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center in Juneau.


Rear Adm. Matthew T. Bell Jr. transferred the command of the Coast Guard’s 17th District to Rear Adm. Nathan A. Moore under the supervision of Vice Adm. Linda L. Fagan. Bell then retired after 36 years of service.


As the 17th District commander, Moore will be responsible for all Coast Guard operations throughout Alaska, the North Pacific and the Arctic which includes protecting life and property, enforcing federal laws and treaties, preserving living marine resources, and promoting national security. Headquartered in Juneau, the 17th District encompasses 3.8 million square miles and over 44,000 miles of shoreline. During an average year the 2,500 active duty, reserve, civilian and auxiliary personnel of the 17th District save 264 lives and assist 636 people.


Moore was previously assigned as the Coast Guard assistant commandant for engineering and logistics. As the Coast Guard’s chief engineer, he was responsible for all naval, aeronautical, civil and industrial engineering and logistics for the service’s 23,000 facilities, 230 ships, 1,800 boats and 200 aircraft. He was responsible for executing an annual budget of $1 billion, and leading 5,000 personnel assigned to Coast Guard Headquarters, Aviation Logistics Center, Surface Forces Logistics Center, Shore Infrastructure Logistics Center and the Coast Guard Yard.          


Bell originally took command of the 17th District in June 2018. He previously served as commander, Personnel Service Center in Washington D.C. where he was responsible for the execution of the Coast Guard’s human resources policies for 45,000 members of the active duty and reserve workforce.


Bell is designated a Permanent Cutterman with more than 12 years of service afloat, including command tours aboard Coast Guard Cutter Point Divide in Newport Beach, California, and Cutters Alex Haley and Douglas Munro in Kodiak, Alaska. Much of his time at sea was spent patrolling the Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea, executing many of the Coast Guard’s missions including counter-drug and fisheries law enforcement, search and rescue, port and waterways security and military defense operations.


Between sea duty tours, Bell served tours of duty as chief of staff, chief of response, and cutter forces management, U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area in Alameda, California, chief of response for the 11th Coast Guard District in Alameda, and administration officer at Group New Orleans, Louisiana.


Bell holds a Master of Science in chemistry from Northern Arizona University and is a graduate of Harvard University, National Preparedness Leadership Initiative. His personal awards include three Legion of Merits, five Meritorious Service Medals and four Coast Guard Commendation Medals.


A change-of-command ceremony marks a transfer of total responsibility and authority from one individual to another. It is a time-honored tradition conducted before the assembled crew, as well as honored guests and dignitaries to formally demonstrate the continuity of the authority within a command.