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Pacific Southwest Media Contact: (510) 437-3325

11th District Public Affairs

U.S. Coast Guard

News Release

Date: July 11, 2012

U.S. Coast Guard District 11 Public Affairs

Contact: Petty Officer 2nd Class Pamela J. Boehland

Office: (510) 772-8865

Coast Guard Air Station SF welcomes new commanding officer

SAN FRANCISCO - Coast Guard Air Station San Francisco crewmembers welcomed a distinguished pilot as their new commanding officer during a change of command ceremony held at the air station today.

Cmdr. William E. Sasser Jr., a Mount Olive, N.C. native, assumed command of the air station from Capt. Erik Langenbacher. 

Langebacher will report to his new role as the Pacific Area Resource and Performance Management Chief in Alameda, Calif., after serving as the Air Station San Francisco commander for more than two years.

Sasser began his career as a Coast Guard aviator in 1994 and has been distinguished with two prestigious aviation awards. In 2002, while on an exchange program with the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force he became one only of two Coast Guard officers to receive the Royal Air Force Cross, awarded by Queen Elizabeth during an investiture at Buckingham Palace. This was in recognition for his duties as aircraft commander during a night rescue of five mariners from a coastal freighter on fire with volatile cargo. He was also honored as the recipient of the 2003 Vodafone/Daily Express Life Savers Award and the 2004 Pride of Britain Award for the category of “Beyond the Call of Duty.”

Additionally, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for rescuing 160 people from the floodwaters of Miss. and Ala. coasts following Hurricane Katrina. His other medals include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, two Coast Guard Commendation Medals, and the Basic Training Honor Graduate Ribbon.

“For Commander Bill Sasser, today is the beginning of what will undoubtedly be the most challenging, and I hope rewarding tour of duty in his career to date, commanding officer of this fine unit,” said presiding officer Capt. John Prince, the 11th Coast Guard District’s chief of staff.

Sasser takes command of Air Station San Francisco’s four MH-65 Dolphin helicopters and 125 personnel assigned to the unit, conducting search and rescue, law enforcement, homeland security, and maritime environmental protection missions throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Air Station personnel also periodically stand up aviation detachments aboard Coast Guard cutters that deploy worldwide.

He reports to San Francisco from his previous assignment as executive officer of Air Station Los Angeles.

SAN FRANCSICO – A Coast Guard color guard presents the colors during a change of command ceremony at Coast Guard Air Station San Francisco, Wed., July 11, 2012. A change of command ceremony is a time-honored tradition that formally restates that the continuity of authority of command will be maintained. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Pamela J. Boehland.

SAN FRANCISCO – A Coast Guard color guard presents the colors during a change of command ceremony at Coast Guard Air Station San Francisco, Wed., July 11, 2012. A change of command ceremony is a time-honored tradition that formally restates that the continuity of authority of command will be maintained. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Nicholes Perry.

SAN FRANCSICO - Cmdr. William E. Sasser Jr. (left) relieves Capt. Erik Langenbacher (right) during a change of command ceremony at Coast Guard Air Station San Francisco while Capt. John Prince, the 11th Coast Guard District chief of staff (middle) presides over the ceremony, Wed., July 11, 2012. A change of command ceremony is a time-honored tradition that formally restates that the continuity of authority of command will be maintained. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Pamela J. Boehland.

SAN FRANCISCO - Cmdr. William E. Sasser Jr. (left) relieves Capt. Erik Langenbacher (right) during a change of command ceremony at Coast Guard Air Station San Francisco while Capt. John Prince, the 11th Coast Guard District chief of staff (middle) presides over the ceremony, Wed., July 11, 2012. A change of command ceremony is a time-honored tradition that formally restates that the continuity of authority of command will be maintained. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Pamela J. Boehland.

SAN FRANCSICO - Cmdr. William E. Sasser Jr., delivers his first remarks as commanding officer of Coast Guard Air Station San Francisco during a change of command ceremony, Wed., July 11, 2012. Sasser relieved Capt. Erik Langenbacher during a change of command ceremony, a time-honored tradition that formally restates that the continuity of authority of command will be maintained. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Pamela J. Boehland.

SAN FRANCISCO - Cmdr. William E. Sasser Jr., delivers his first remarks as commanding officer of Coast Guard Air Station San Francisco during a change of command ceremony, Wed., July 11, 2012. Sasser relieved Capt. Erik Langenbacher during a change of command ceremony, a time-honored tradition that formally restates that the continuity of authority of command will be maintained. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Pamela J. Boehland.
SAN FRANCSICO - Capt. John Prince, the 11th Coast Guard District chief of staff, (left) bestows upon Capt. Erik Langenbacher, the outgoing commander of Coast Guard Air Station San Francisco, (right) a Meritorious Service Medal during a change of command ceremony at the air station  Wed., July 11, 2012. A change of command ceremony is a time-honored tradition that formally restates that the continuity of authority of command will be maintained. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Pamela J. Boehland.

SAN FRANCICO - Capt. John Prince, the 11th Coast Guard District chief of staff, (left) bestows upon Capt. Erik Langenbacher, the outgoing commander of Coast Guard Air Station San Francisco, (right) a Meritorious Service Medal during a change of command ceremony at the air station,Wed., July 11, 2012. A change of command ceremony is a time-honored tradition that formally restates that the continuity of authority of command will be maintained. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Pamela J. Boehland.

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