NORFOLK, Va. – Coast Guard Rear Adm. Keith Smith assumed command of the 5th Coast Guard District from Rear Adm. Meredith Austin during a change of command ceremony Friday.

Smith most recently served as the Commander of Force Readiness Command. He was responsible for supporting operational readiness for operational commanders through training, leadership development, readiness assessments, exercise support and tactics, and techniques and procedures. He is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach, and he holds a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and a master’s degree in Homeland Security.

Austin, who served as the 5th District commander since April 2016, will report to Coast Guard Headquarters and assume the responsibilities of the Deputy for Operations Policy and Capabilities.

The change of command ceremony is a time-honored tradition and formal ritual that marks the transfer of total responsibility, authority and accountability from one individual to another.

Vice Adm. Scott Buschman, Commander of the Coast Guard Atlantic Area, presided over the ceremony.