Commanding Officer


Captain Keith Ropella


Photo of Captain Keith Ropella


Captain Keith Ropella assumed Command of CGC POLAR STAR in July 2022. This continues a wonderful and fulfilling operational career serving in six previous cutters, including command of CGC SPAR (an offshore buoy tender in Kodiak, AK); executive officer of cutters SYCAMORE (buoy tender, Cordova, AK), BOUTWELL (a high endurance cutter in San Diego, CA), and HEALY (polar icebreaker in Seattle, WA); and operations officer on cutters PLANETREE (buoy tender, Ketchikan, AK) and JUNIPER (buoy tender, Newport, RI).

Captain Ropella’s staff assignments include Chief of Vessel Traffic in Valdez, AK; Ninth District Command Center Chief in Cleveland, OH; Ninth District Waterways Management Chief where he oversaw the largest seasonal aids to navigation and domestic icebreaking missions in the nation; Force Readiness Command Fleet Training and Readiness Branch Chief where he oversaw the operational training and mission readiness evaluation of the Coast Guard’s fleet of 250 cutters; and Chief of the Office of Navigation Systems at U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C. where he was responsible for policy and program oversight for Visual and Electronic Aids to Navigation, Vessel Traffic Services, Marine Planning, Automated Identification Systems, Marine Safety Information, and Navigation Regulations.

Captain Ropella enlisted in the Coast Guard from his home town of Green Bay, WI, in 1991, and first served at Station Depoe Bay, OR.  While there, he earned an appointment to the Coast Guard Academy, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Management in 1996.  He also holds a Master of Business Administration from Cleveland State University.

Captain Ropella has been married to his beautiful wife, Shannan, since 2010.