Vice Admiral John D. Costello commanded the United States Coast Guard Pacific Area Command. The Coast Guard Pacific Area Command, headquartered on the Coast Guard Island in Alameda, California, is the senior Coast Guard operational command on the entire west cost of the United States and the states of Alaska and Hawaii. In addition, there are units in Japan, Korea, and many remote sites in the western Pacific. The following missions are included in the command's responsibilities.
Coast Guard search and rescue in the Pacific basin is monitored, and many times, coordinated, by a command center located on Coast Guard Island. The 24-hour watchstander has the entire Pacific Area vessel and aircraft fleet at his disposal when coordinating search and rescue cases. Law enforcement responsibilities range from recreational boating safety to drug interdiction and fisheries enforcement. Units aboard domestic and foreign fishing vessels within the 200-mile fisheries conservation zone to check for violations. Cutters board other vessels to enforce all applicable federal laws.
Ice operations is a demanding mission within the Pacific Area and routinely requires Pacific Area icebreakers to operate in polar regions for months at a time. The Area's responsibility to maintain aids to navigation within the Pacific basin includes repair and installation of fixed and floating aids, operating several chains of Loran radio navigation stations and operating an Omega radio navigation station. Loran and Omega signals are used by aviators and mariners to fix their positions as they navigate the world's largest ocean. The Coast Guard can maintain radio contact vessels, aircraft or units in the Pacific Basin through its communication stations in San Francisco, Honolulu, Guam and Kodiak, Alaska.
In the marine environmental protection mission, the Area Commander has the Pacific Strike Team, located at Hamilton Air Field, California. This team is capable of responding to oil and hazardous chemical emergencies anywhere in the world. Merchant marine and port safety missions are routinely conducted and can range from coordinating safe movement of Alaska's crude oil from Valdez to inspecting vessels as they are being constructed in Singapore, Korea and Japan.
In 1984, the Pacific Area Commander was assigned additional duties as Commander, Maritime Defense Zone Pacific (COMUSMARDEZPAC), under Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet (CINCPACFLT). During war, or national emergency, this Navy command will perform coastal and harbor defense for the West Coast, Alaska, Hawaii, and Midway under CINCPACFLT's overall direction.
To perform the many missions within the Pacific Area. VADM Costello can call on the services of over 50 cutters, numerous smallboat stations and marine safety offices, eleven air stations, with their 50 aircraft, and many other miscellaneous commands.
The Secretary of Transportation appointed VADM Costello as the Regional Emergency Transportation Coordinator for Region Nine, which consists of California, Nevada, Arizona, and Hawaii. As such, he is responsible to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for coordinating federal emergency transportation support for state officials when required.