Admiral Thad W. Allen, Commandant U.S. Coast Guard

Having been properly chastised by Peter from Tidewater Musings for not identifying Admiral Allen in a recent post, I realized that throughout my time as a Coastie, I never really knew much about the Commandant. Sure, I knew his name, and maybe what he did before becoming Commandant, but that was about it.

Admiral Thad Allen, Commandant, United States Coast GuardTherefore, in case you are in the same, or worse, boat that I was, I thought I’d post his official bio. One thing that this bio doesn’t tell, is the kind of leader that Admiral Allen is. First off, his official photograph . None of those canned sitting in front of the flag photos. Here’s Admiral Allen out on the water, just like the majority of his people. Gotta love that.

Secondly, I recall during Hurricane Katrina, when he was appointed to head up Federal operations. Most everyone I talked to who had either served under him, or knew people who had, said that he was the ONLY person for the job and that now, things would be done quickly and correctly. History has proven them out.

Here then, the Official Biography of the Commandant

Admiral Thad W. Allen assumed the duties of the 23rd Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard on May 25th, 2006. Admiral Allen is a native of Tucson, Arizona and graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in 1971.

Admiral Allen previously served as the Coast Guard Chief of Staff and Commanding Officer, Coast Guard Headquarters, in Washington, D.C., from May 2002 to April 2006. He also served as the Chairman of the Department of Homeland Security’s Joint Requirements Council from 2003 to 2006. In September 2005, Admiral Allen was designated the Principal Federal Official for Hurricane Katrina response and recovery operations in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He additionally served as Principal Federal Official for Hurricane Rita response and recovery activities in Louisiana.

Prior to his assignment as Chief of Staff, Admiral Allen served as Commander, Coast Guard Atlantic Area, Fifth Coast Guard District, and U.S. Maritime Defense Zone Atlantic in Portsmouth, Va., where he was the operational commander for all Coast Guard activities in an area of responsibility spanning five Coast Guard Districts, encompassing more than 14 million square miles and involving 26,000 military and civilian employees, and 27,900 Auxiliarists. Admiral Allen led the Coast Guard’s Atlantic Area forces in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

In his other flag assignments, Admiral Allen commanded the Seventh Coast Guard District where he directed Coast Guard operations in South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and throughout the Caribbean. He has also been assigned as the Coast Guard’s Director of Resources at Coast Guard Headquarters, where he was responsible for formulating the Coast Guard’s budget, developing long range plans and managing the Coast Guard’s performance plan.

A specialist in operations both in the coastal and offshore environments, Admiral Allen has served aboard three Coast Guard cutters: the Androscoggin, Gallatin and Citrus, which he commanded. His coastal command operational assignments include Captain of the Port / Group Long Island Sound, Connecticut; Group Atlantic City, New Jersey and LORAN Station Lampang, Thailand. Admiral Allen’s other assignments included a tour as search and rescue controller in the Greater Antilles Section, San Juan, Puerto Rico; Intelligence Watch Officer at DEA/INS El Paso Intelligence Center, El Paso, Texas; Chief Budget Officer, Maintenance and Logistics Command Atlantic, Governors Island, New York; Deputy Project Manager, Fleet Modernization and Rehabilitation (FRAM) Project; and Assistant Division Chief, Programs Division, Office of the Chief of Staff at Coast Guard Headquarters.

Admiral Allen holds a Master of Public Administration degree from the George Washington University and received the Alumni Achievement Award in 2006. He also holds a Master of Science degree from the Sloan School of Management of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2003, Admiral Allen was elected a National Academy of Public Administration Fellow.

Admiral Allen is married to the former Pamela A. Hess of Champaign, Illinois. She is the Assistant Dean for Student Services at the George Mason University School of Management. Together they have three grown children, Amanda, Meghan and Lucas and two grandsons. Admiral Allen is the son of Clyde and Wilma Allen. Clyde Allen is a retired Coast Guard Chief Damage Controlman and World War II Veteran.

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  1. John, I wasn’t chastising… however, I’ll say this: I am a fan of Admiral Allen. He is a sailor’s sailor, a leader’s leader, a manager’s manager, a Coastie’s Coastie. I’ll not bad-talk any of his predecessors, but let’s just say that it isn’t business as usual with Admiral Allen at the helm. Review the public decisions he’s made in the last six weeks, and you’ll see he doesn’t talk a good show. He lives a good show. And it’s not show; that’s the most impressive thing. I worked for him when he was the Atlantic Area Commander; he’s non-stop energy, has an awesome intellect, and is one of (if not the) finest leaders I’ve ever met.

  2. John says:

    Peter, I knew you weren’t chastising, I just hate using those silly smiley face things. I think you prove my comment about what those who have served with Admiral Allen say. The right man for the job, no nonsense, no politics, he just gets the job done. That’s the kind of leader the Coast Guard needs. I never served with him but he sure sounds like the kind of guy I would have like to serve with.

    Thanks for reading and commenting.