Captain Robert Hendrickson assumed command of Coast Guard Cutter WAESCHE (WMSL 751) in August 2014. He is a 33 year veteran of the United States Coast Guard. Enlisting in Cleveland in 1981, he advanced to the grade of Quartermaster First Class in 1986 and obtained his commission through Coast Guard Officer Candidate School in 1991. He holds a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies from Columbia College and is a Master’s candidate in International Relations and Conflict Resolution.
WAESCHE is Captain Hendrickson’s eighth assignment afloat in over 14 years at sea; including two previous tours as Commanding Officer (KODIAK ISLAND, MOHAWK) and three as Executive Officer (SITKINAK, DECISIVE, DALLAS). His afloat tours were primarily focused on counter drug operations and migrant interdiction in the Caribbean, South Atlantic, and Eastern Pacific. His last afloat command, USCGC MOHAWK, was on scene in Port-au-Prince Haiti less than 24 hours after the devastating 2010 earthquake. He has deployed on multiple occasions to the Gulf of Guinea, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Black Sea in support of AFRICOM and Commander, US Sixth Fleet. Prior to commanding USCGC WAESCHE, Captain Hendrickson was the Commander of US Coast Guard Patrol Forces Southwest Asia (PATFORSWA). Based in Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain, PATFORSWA is the Coast Guard’s largest command outside of the United States. PATFORSWA includes six 110’ Island Class patrol boats and approximately 300 people based in Bahrain, Kuwait, and Afghanistan.
Captain Hendrickson’s other assignments ashore include Chief Instructor at the National Search and Rescue School, Deputy Chief of the Coast Guard’s Fisheries Law Enforcement Program at Coast Guard Headquarters, Coast Guard Liaison to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Chief of Enforcement for the 14th Coast Guard District, and Deputy N35/Coast Guard Liaison Officer to Commander, US Pacific Fleet, US Navy.
His personal awards include the Meritorious Service Medal (5), Coast Guard Commendation Medal (3), and Coast Guard Achievement Medal (3); all with the Operational Distinguishing Device. Captain Hendrickson also proudly wears the Permanent Cutterman Pin.
As a national spokesperson for colon cancer awareness, Captain Hendrickson has been featured in numerous national campaigns by the American Cancer Society, Olympus Camera, Everwell TV, AOL Health as well as nationally syndicated television programs.