U.S. Coast Guard Sector New Orleans held a change of command ceremony May 29, with Capt. Kristi Luttrell—upon completing two years as sector commander and captain of the Port of New Orleans—transferring command to Capt. Will Watson.
Rear Adm. John Nadeau, commander of the Eighth Coast Guard District, presided over the ceremony.
“I was honored to assume command of Sector New Orleans today,” Watson said. “It is one of the Coast Guard’s largest and busiest sectors. I take on this responsibility with great humility and great enthusiasm and look forward to continuing to serve.”
For the past two years, Watson has served as deputy commander of Sector New Orleans. Previous tours include serving as commanding officer of Marine Safety Unit Lake Charles, La., executive officer of Marine Safety Unit Texas City, Texas, and executive officer of Marine Safety Unit Cleveland, Ohio, from 2005 to 2007. During that tour, Watson was deployed to Joint Field Office Baton Rouge, La., where he assisted in rescue and recovery efforts following hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. From 1997 to 2000, he served a port operations officer at Marine Safety Office New Orleans.
Staff assignments include serving as senior military assistant to the secretary of Homeland Security, governmental and organizational liaison on the Coast Guard’s Congressional Affairs Staff, and the Eighth District budget officer.
Watson holds master’s degrees from the National War College in Washington, D.C., Loyola University of New Orleans and Xavier University in New Orleans, where he also received his bachelor’s degree. He’s also completed a fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Seminar XXI for National Security and Foreign Policy in Washington, D.C. Awards include the Legion of Merit, three Meritorious Service medals, three Coast Guard Commendation medals, three Coast Guard Achievement medals and both the Outstanding Volunteer Service medal and the Armed Forces Service medal.
Luttrell, who also served as deputy commander of Sector New Orleans prior to taking command in 2018, will now serve in the Eighth Coast Guard District’s Response Division. Prior to her service in New Orleans, Luttrell was head of the Response Department at Sector Delaware Bay in Philadelphia, Pa. Previous posts include serving as operations officer in Group Galveston and supervisor of the Sector Houston-Galveston Command Center. From 1994 to 1996, Luttrell served as deck watch officer on the Cutter Durable in St. Petersburg, Fla., during which she participated in operations Able Manner and Able Vigil, which involved mass migrations from Haiti and Cuba. She also served as assistant operations officer at Group Milwaukee, Wis.
Staff tours for Luttrell include prior assignments in the Eights and Seventh Coast Guard Districts; the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Policy; and in the Office of Planning and Performance and Office of Boat Forces at Coast Guard Headquarters.
A 1993 graduate of the Officer Candidate School, Luttrell holds a bachelor’s degree from Carson-Newman College and a master’s degree from George Mason University.
Caption for photo: U.S. Coast Guard Sector New Orleans held a change of command ceremony May 29, with Capt. Kristi Luttrell—upon completing two years as sector commander and captain of the Port of New Orleans—transferring command to Capt. Will Watson.