What I am most thankful for

Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft and Mrs. Fran DeNinno-Zukunft join Coast Guard families stationed overseas for Thanksgiving Dinner. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.

Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft and Mrs. Fran DeNinno-Zukunft join Coast Guard families stationed overseas for Thanksgiving Dinner. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.

Written by Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft.

For the second straight year, I am celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday overseas. This year, I had the privilege of joining Coast Guard families and our allies from the United Kingdom Royal Navy for Thanksgiving dinner. Without question, we have many reasons to be thankful. As Coast Guard Commandant, I am incredibly thankful.

Coast Guard families stationed overseas enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.

Coast Guard families stationed overseas enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.

We continue advancing relationships with our international and industry partners. From the newly formed Arctic Coast Guard Forum to my time this week with the International Maritime Organization, we are addressing important issues within our shared maritime domain. We are also strengthening unity of effort with our international and domestic partners like never before, further weakening transnational organized crime networks in our hemisphere.

This success is not possible without a tremendous support network. Our Coast Guard support network comes from our families and the communities in which we live. I am incredibly thankful for the communities who care for our service members and their families. This year, Cape May County became an official Coast Guard Community. For three decades, this South Jersey community has opened their homes to those separated from their loved ones during the holiday – granting our newest and often youngest Coast Guard members a home away from home.

Like Cape May, kindness and generosity are seen year round in so many cities and towns. In meaningful ways, both big and small, our Coast Guard personnel and their families are welcomed. While our families do not take an oath to support and defend the Constitution, they are a vital and inseparable part of our success. Among the greatest challenges our families face is the constant pressure of deployments and frequent moves. It is not uncommon for a Coast Guard member to move five, six or even 10 times in a career; often to a new coast, a new state, a new town, a new school, and a new community. As they face the constant pressure of deployments and moves, the single greatest enabler of their success is often the community around them. Indeed, Coast Guard communities make a difference every day, and their impacts are especially appreciated around the holidays. My thanks go to all those who reach out to Coast Guard personnel and their families and make them feel at home.

Coast Guard families stationed overseas enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.

Coast Guard families stationed overseas enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.

Finally, as I have said many times, the very best part about being Commandant is serving alongside the men and women of our United States military. They are the most talented, well-trained, educated, diverse and specialized force in U.S. history. As we face growing discord internationally, our military remains on guard to defeat threats that challenge our interests abroad and security at home. In our Coast Guard, we have personnel permanently assigned on five continents. And, every year, when we have polar support personnel in Australia and our icebreaker in Antarctica, we are on all seven. I see the incredible contributions our active duty, reserve, civilian, auxiliary and retirees are making and it is truly humbling.

Looking around the dinner table this Thanksgiving I saw allies, partners, supporters and Coast Guard men and women, and I am reminded how much we truly have to be thankful for.

Coast Guard families stationed overseas enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.

Coast Guard families stationed overseas enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.

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