District 17 Legal
District Seventeen encompasses the entire state of Alaska with 33,000 miles of coastline and more than 3.8 million square miles of ocean. Here, the Coast Guard is charged with safeguarding the maritime public, protecting the environment and its resources, and defending the Nation’s interests in the “Last Frontier.” Our units have several perennial challenges: an unforgiving environment, extreme weather, the tyranny of distance, limited infrastructure, and finite assets. We also face new challenges: a dynamic international landscape, changing energy economics, cyber threats, an aging fishing fleet, and the opening of Arctic waters and increased development in that region. The District Seventeen Legal Office provides support to the District Commander and senior staff, two Sectors, six buoy tenders, seven patrol boats, three Small Boat Stations, two Air Stations, and six Marine Safety Units/Detachments. The Coast Guard performs its missions in Alaska with 2,500 active duty, civilian, reservists and auxiliary members.
The District Legal Office is comprised of the Staff Judge Advocate, CDR Christopher Coutu; Deputy Staff Judge Advocate, LCDR Kelley Stevens; two uniformed staff attorneys, LT Sharyl Pels and LT Steve Caouette; one civilian legal assistance attorney, Mr. Richard Harris; one civilian legal secretary, Ms. Debra Michalke; and two active duty legal yeoman, YN1 Josh Candelaria and YN3 Madison Heiler.