Cmdr. Kristen Serumgard on Friday passed command of the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Fir to Lt. Cmdr. Jason Haag.
The Fir, known as The Bar Tender, maintains 117 buoys and other aids to navigation in the Columbia River and along the coastline of Oregon and Washington state. The ship also helps maintain several weather buoys for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, along with enforcing fisheries and boating safety laws, responding to oil spills, waterway security and searches and rescues. The cutter is based at the Aids to Navigation Team on North Tongue Point.
Serumgard, the sixth commander of Fir since its commissioning in 2003 and a Virginia native, took over in 2014 from Lt. Cmdr. Jon Kreischer. She leaves to the East Coast to command the International Ice Patrol, which monitors the presence of icebergs in the Atlantic and Arctic oceans. She is married to retired Coast Guardsman Andrew Smith.
Serumgard thanked her commanders and crew for the support. “It doesn’t get all the press that drug-busting does, but at the end of the day, when we sail away from an aid and know that it will guide mariners to safe harbor, you feel pretty good about your work,” she said.
Haag, a native of Elmira, comes to Fir from the Office of Resources, Organizational Analysis and Workforce Management at Coast Guard headquarters in Washington, D.C. He oversaw a $120 million budget to support senior staff services and government finance contracts.
Haag said that from what he’s heard, Serumgard loved being commander of Fir and its crew. “Thank you for trusting me with the next watch,” he said.