U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Nkosi Thomas, a native of St. Thomas, assumed command of the cutter Sitkinak at a ceremony in Miami, Fla., Friday morning. He is believed to be the first Virgin Islander to command a Coast Guard cutter.
“We are just so proud of our young people who have attended the Coast Guard Academy, but never have we been more proud than today when our very own – the very first Virgin Islander – Lt. Nkosi Thomas takes command of the Coast Guard Cutter Sitkinak,” said Congresswoman Donna Christensen, who attended the event.
Thomas graduated from the United States Coast Guard Academy in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Management and is a 2003 graduate of Charlotte Amalie High School.
Thomas’ first assignment was to the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Tampa, where he served as assistant navigator and first lieutenant. As a member of the crew, he patrolled the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean conducting counter drug operations, alien migrant interdiction, search and rescue, and provided humanitarian relief to Haiti in the wake of hurricanes Fay, Gustav, Hanna, and Ike.
In 2010, Thomas reported to the guided missile destroyer USS Decatur (DDG 73) and served as navigator and executive department head. While serving on the Decatur he completed an extended deployment to the Arabian Gulf in support of Operation New Dawn, protecting Iraqi oil terminals and maintaining ballistic missile defense coverage.
Thomas’ awards include the Navy Achievement Medal, Commandant’s Letter of Commendation, and various other unit and campaign awards.
In attendance at Friday’s ceremony were U.S. Coast Guard District Seven Commander Rear Admiral William D. Baumgartner, Thomas’ family, shipmates, and other Virgin Islanders serving in the Coast Guard.