On Friday, Governor John P. de Jongh, Jr. offered his congratulations and gratitude to the first Virgin Islander ever to take command of a U.S. Coast Guard cutter. Lt. Nkosi Thomas assumed the helm of the Sitkinak today during a change of command ceremony conducted in Miami before Coast Guard officials, his family, friends and crew. The 2003 graduate of Charlotte Amalie High School is the first Virgin Islander known to be put in command of a Coast Guard cutter.
“Lt. Thomas has made all Virgin Islanders proud today, and at a young age has become a groundbreaking figure for these islands. He is an inspiration to all young Virgin Islanders who believe they can achieve any dream they set their minds to and who are willing to assume a tremendous responsibility in service to their country,” de Jongh said.
Thomas graduated the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in 2008 with a Bachelor's of Science degree in management. He served on the cutter Tampa as an Assistant Navigator and First Lieutenant, patrolling the Caribbean and Atlantic Ocean and providing humanitarian relief after several hurricanes.
After the Tampa assignment, Lt. Thomas served on the USS Decatur as Navigator and Executive Department Head, and participated in Operation New Dawn during an extended deployment in the Arabian Gulf.
“Cecile and I send Lt. Thomas our best wishes as he continues his important work protecting the United States coast and Caribbean region from all threats, and providing safety and security to all seafarers and coastal communities in the region. To be given command of a ship is a tremendous honor earned by hard work, determination and great leadership abilities. The accomplishment reflects positively on this entire territory,” de Jongh said.
De Jongh also congratulated Lt. Thomas on the occasion of his wedding a week ago. Lt. Thomas married Jennifer Greaux of St. Thomas in ceremonies held in the Virgin Islands last weekend.