Portsmouth, Virginia, Official Coast Guard City

Commanding OfficerCDR Rutsch
U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Forward

Commander Rutsch

Commander Rutsch is a 2003 graduate of the United States Coast Guard Academy where she was awarded a Bachelor of Science in Government and Public Policy. Upon receiving her commission, CDR Rutsch served as a Deck Watch Officer aboard USCGC TAHOMA (WMEC 908), New Bedford, MA. In 2005, CDR Rutsch was selected for duties as a Search and Rescue Controller and Command Duty Officer at Atlantic Area and District Five Command Center, Portsmouth, VA. In 2008, CDR Rutsch returned to sea as the Operations Officer aboard USCGC THETIS (WMEC 910), Key West, FL. There she managed the cutter’s counter-narcotic and alien migrant interdiction operations in the Florida Straits, Windward Pass, and Eastern Pacific, including Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief in Haiti. In 2010, CDR Rutsch reported to Joint Interagency Task Force South where she served as the Caribbean Targeting Officer and Surface Action Officer. During this tour, CDR Rutsch coordinated over 40 counter illicit trafficking operations interdicting over 85 metric tons of illegal contraband.

CDR Rutsch assumed command of USCGC AQUIDNECK (WPB 1309), Patrol Forces Southwest Asia, in  Manama, Bahrain in May 2012. Cutter AQUIDNECK deployed throughout the Arabian Gulf in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and US Navy Fifth Fleet strategic objectives. She assumed command of USCGC RICHARD ETHERIDGE (WPC 1102), in June 2013, supporting operations from Miami to San Juan and conducting proof of concept ops for the new platform’s capabilities. CDR Rutsch served at Atlantic Area Headquarters in Portsmouth, VA from 2015-2018 as the Assistant Maritime Security Chief and Future Operations Deputy where she oversaw force allocation and law enforcement and maritime security policy. In 2018 she reported to CGC MOHAWK (WMEC 913) as the Executive Officer and deployed in support of homeland security and counter illicit trafficking patrols. 

CDR Staci Rutsch assumed the role of Deputy Commander, Patrol Forces Southwest Asia, in June 2020 where she was second in command of the entire USCG footprint in the Middle East, supporting NAVCENT and CENTCOM objectives and assisted in replacing the 110’ WPB patrol boats with new Fast Response Cutters.  Most recently, CDR Rutsch attended the Naval War College in Newport, RI where she earned her Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies.  CDR Rutsch is also the first Coast Guard Officer to be selected for the Naval War College’s Advanced Strategist Program.