It was Zukunft's final State of the Coast Guard address, as he will retire June 1 following the commandant's Change of Command.
Zukunft highlighted achievements of the Coast Guard's workforce during the 2017 hurricane season, one of the nation's most catastrophic on record. During three back-to-back storms, the men and women of the Coast Guard saved nearly 12,000 Americans. Among those impacted by the hurricanes, he said, were 700 Coast Guard families who lost their homes in the storms.
Zukunft also called attention to the Coast Guard's work protecting the homeland, describing the service's work in interdicting $7.2 billion worth of cocaine on the seas before it could reach the shores of the U.S.
He also mentioned the Coast Guard referred 606 smugglers to the U.S. Department of Justice in the last fiscal year and how evidence the service obtained during these counter-narcotic operations helped the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Homeland Security Investigations disrupt transnational criminal networks, illustrating how a whole-of-government approach advances security and prosperity for the nation.
The commandant also announced the Sexual Assault Prevention and Recovery Strategic Plan will include a specific focus on victim recovery, saying that while he requires every senior member of the service to emulate a culture of respect, "every single one of us shares this quintessential responsibility."
For a transcript of the commandant's speech and more information on the address, visit www.uscg.mil/SOTCG2018/.