ADM Charles Ray
Charlie Ray served four decades as a tactical, operational, and strategic leader in Coast Guard mission sets around the globe. He also served in the joint environment both domestically and in combat zones and as the Head of Delegation for multiple international engagements. He is recognized and trusted across the U.S. interagency as a reliable partner and leader in crisis management.
Admiral Ray retired in 2021 after serving as the 31rst Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard. As Vice, he served as the Deputy Service Chief, and Senior Acquisition Official during a period when the Service initiated and sustained the most growth in ship building and infrastructure recapitalization since WWII. He also was responsible for developing policies and procedures to support sustained Coast Guard Search and Rescue, Law Enforcement and Security operations during the Pandemic and for supporting multiple DHS surge missions in the heartland and on the Southern Border.
Prior to Service as Vice Commandant, he served as Deputy Commandant for Operations, where he set operational strategy and policy that addressed national and Service priorities for Coast Guard: intelligence; international affairs; cyber; the maritime transportation system; search and rescue; maritime security; law enforcement; defense operations; environmental response and contingency planning, He was also responsible for developing requirements for future: cutter, boat, aviation, shore, cyber, and deployable specialized forces. Leading the Coast Guard’s maritime regulatory and inspection functions, he regularly partnered with industry groups to address threats to maritime commerce.
Admiral Ray commanded in the Pacific Area with operational responsibility for all Coast Guard forces from Antarctica to the Arctic and from the Rocky Mountains to the East Coast of Africa. He was the Head of Delegation for multiple international engagements in the North Pacific and Arctic Coast Guard Forums that included frequent interaction with representatives from the Coast Guards of the Peoples Republic of China and Russia. He was also regularly engaged in bilateral coordination with allies and partners across the Pacific and Oceania in coordinating operations addressing illegal fisheries, search and rescue and security operations. Admiral Ray was a driving force in increasing awareness of the strategic significance of the Arctic and in testifying on the resource requirements to execute Coast Guard missions in the Polar Regions.
From a joint military perspective, he was the Director of the Iraq Training and Mission to the Ministry of Interior with U.S. Forces Iraq from 2009 to 2010. In this assignment he led a joint team of advisors from all military services and multiple police specialties in direct support to the Ministry of Interior in all aspects of manning, training, and equipping Police Security Forces in Iraq. Domestically, he served as the Military Advisor to the Secretary of Homeland Security during a period involving significant increases in Defense Support for Civil Authorities.
Admiral Ray spent most of his operational time as an aviator and earned aircraft commander and instructor pilot ratings in multiple helicopter types. He served as detachment commander for shipboard deployments from the Bering Sea to the Caribbean and Commanded the Coast Guard Air Station in Puerto Rico. Charlie flew over 5000 helicopter flight hours and was the longest serving aviator in the Coast Guard in his final 4 years of Service thereby earning the title of “Ancient Albatross”.
He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from the Coast Guard Academy, a Master of Science Degree from The Industrial College of the Armed Forces and a Master of Science in Industrial Administration from Purdue University. He holds FAA certifications in both helicopters and fixed wing aircraft.
Admiral Ray currently serves as the Dr. James S. Tyler Chair in Leadership Development at the Loy Institute for Leadership at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and is the Chairman of the Board for the Association for Rescue at Sea. He is a Senior Fellow for the Capstone program at the National Defense University and serves on the Defense Advisory Board for Regent Craft Inc.