Rear Admiral Meredith Austin assumed command of the Fifth Coast Guard District in April 2016. In this capacity, she has the overall responsibility for the full range of Coast Guard maritime safety and security missions carried out in the Mid-Atlantic region from central New Jersey through North Carolina. This area encompasses 156,000 square miles of ocean, bays, and rivers that are unique and filled with historical significance, several major Mid-Atlantic ports, the largest naval base in the world, and our Nation’s Capital.
Prior to arriving at the Fifth Coast Guard District, Rear Admiral Austin served as the Deputy Commander, Coast Guard Pacific Area (PACAREA).
Other assignments include Commander, Coast Guard Personnel Service Center (PSC). PSC supports mission execution by recruiting, accessing, assigning, and developing careers, maintaining well-being, compensating, separating, and retiring all enlisted, officer, Active Duty, and Reserve Coast Guard personnel. Additionally, she previously served as the Chief of Staff for the Fourteenth Coast Guard District in Honolulu, Hawaii. The District spans over 12.2 million square miles and includes the Hawaiian Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and activities in Saipan, Singapore, and Japan.
Rear Admiral Austin has held several commands including Sector Delaware Bay, executing the Coast Guard’s eleven statutory missions along the coasts of New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania; the Pacific Strike Team; and the National Strike Force, responding to oil and hazardous substance spills and threats from Weapons of Mass Destruction in support of Coast Guard, Environmental Protection Agency, and Department of Defense Federal On-Scene Coordinators throughout the United States, its territories, and other nations. She worked closely with port and response partners from local, state, and federal agencies, foreign governments, as well as private industry and non-governmental organizations.
Rear Admiral Austin has responded to many of the major incidents which have occurred since 2001 including the World Trade Center disaster, hurricanes Katrina and Rita, supported the Capitol anthrax and ricin incidents, and in response to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Rear Admiral Austin served first as Deputy Incident Commander, then as the Incident Commander for the state of Louisiana, directing the activities of over 19,000 responders.
Rear Admiral Austin is a 1985 graduate of the United States Coast Guard Academy with a degree in Marine Science. She earned a Master of Science in Public Health in Industrial Hygiene from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 1994 and a Master of Arts in Homeland Security from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California in 2007. Rear Admiral Austin is a NIMS certified Type I Incident Commander, and has earned the designations of Certified Industrial Hygienist and Certified Emergency Manager.
Rear Admiral Austin’s personal awards include four Legion of Merit Medals, four Meritorious Service Medals, two Coast Guard Commendation Medals, the DOT 9-11 Medal, three Coast Guard Achievement Medals, two Commandant's Letter of Commendation, and the Marine Safety Designation.