Coast Guard Permanently Cans Cutter’s Captain

Coast Guard

US Coast Guard Capt. Marc Brandt was permanently relieved of duties as the commanding officer of the cutter James (WMSL 754) on Monday, Nov. 7, 2022. Composite by Coffee or Die Magazine.

Composite by Coffee or Die Magazine.

A US Coast Guard probe found Capt. Marc Brandt responsible for the cutter James running aground this summer, and he’s been permanently relieved of command.

Vice Adm. Kevin Lunday, commander of Coast Guard Atlantic Area, told Brandt he was fired on Monday, Nov. 7. Brandt remains a member of the Portsmouth, Virginia-based Atlantic Area staff pending permanent reassignment, but Lunday lost confidence in the captain’s ability to helm the cutter.

“It’s a very rare instance when the Coast Guard relieves any commanding officer of any kind, but this also marks the first time a commanding officer of a Legend-class national security cutter has been relieved,” Cmdr. Daniel Schrader, a spokesperson for Atlantic Area, told Coffee or Die Magazine.

Brandt, 46, didn’t return Coffee or Die messages seeking comment.

Coast Guard

On Aug. 26, 2022, the commander of US Coast Guard Atlantic Area temporarily relieved Capt. Marc Brandt as the commanding officer of the cutter James, pending the outcome of an ongoing probe into a mishap on board the Legend-class vessel. Composite by Coffee or Die Magazine.

Composite by Coffee or Die Magazine.

Lunday had temporarily removed Brandt on Aug. 26, pending the results of the probe. Eighteen days earlier, James ran aground while underway, damaging the cutter, although no personnel were injured.

Capt. John Driscoll assumed temporary command of the cutter following Brandt’s relief and will remain at the helm until a permanent skipper is assigned.

Homeported in Charleston, South Carolina, James carries 148 officers and crew.

US Coast Guard

US Coast Guard Capt. Ted St. Pierre, chief of staff, Atlantic Area, center, oversees the transfer of command between outgoing commanding officer, Cmdr. Marc Brandt, right, and his successor, Cmdr. Charles Banks, left, during Coast Guard cutter Northland’s change-of-command ceremony in Portsmouth, Virginia, June 4, 2018. US Coast Guard photo by Auxiliarist Andrew Winz.

US Coast Guard photo by Auxiliarist Andrew Winz.

A native of Exeter, California, Brandt was commissioned after graduating from the US Coast Guard Academy in 1998.

He previously served on board the cutter Sedge in Alaskan waters before joining the cutter Ledet’s counternarcotics missions off Central America.

Brandt commanded the cutters Stingray and Northland. He also served as the executive officer on board the cutters Northland, Legare, Stratton, and Spencer.

Coast Guard

The US Coast Guard cutter James, the second national security cutter for the East Coast, arrived Aug. 28, 2015, at its homeport in Charleston, South Carolina. It was the fifth national security cutter for the Legend-class cutter fleet. Legend-class cutters are the largest multipurpose cutters in the Coast Guard fleet and are replacing the 378-foot high endurance cutter, which has been in service since the 1960s. It’s 418 feet long, with a top speed of approximately 28 knots and a range of about 12,000 nautical miles. It is capable of patrolling for more than 90 days. US Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. AJ Hyatt.

US Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. AJ Hyatt.

An exchange officer who qualified as a US Navy surface warfare officer, Brandt has navigated the guided-missile cruiser Antietam.

He also served with the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson’s battle group in the Persian Gulf before and after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Brandt’s shore assignments included work on two intelligence projects and a stint in the Coast Guard’s aviation acquisition office.

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Carl came to Coffee or Die Magazine after stints at Navy Times, The San Diego Union-Tribune, and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He served in the Marine Corps and the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. His awards include the Joseph Galloway Award for Distinguished Reporting on the military, a first prize from Investigative Reporters & Editors, and the Combat Infantryman Badge.
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