Captain Joseph T. McGilley, USCG
Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater
Captain McGilley currently serves as the Commanding Officer of the Coast Guard's largest and busiest Air Station, executing the Coast Guard's missions throughout the Southeast, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean and Central America. He previously served as the Chief of Response for the Ninth Coast Guard District, Cleveland, Ohio, responsible for the coordination and execution of all Coast Guard Search and Rescue, environmental, security and maritime law enforcement actions in the Great Lakes region.
A Philadelphia, Pennsylvania native, Captain McGilley graduated from Cardinal O’Hara High School in 1987, and Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, Florida with a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering in May 1991. He worked in industry as an aeronautical engineer with General Dynamics’ Fort Worth, Texas, Aerospace Division before enlisting in the Coast Guard and attending Officer Candidate School in May 1995. His first operational assignment was at U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Florida (1997-2000), flying the HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter in support of search and rescue and counter narcotics operations in the Caribbean and Southeastern United States. While in Clearwater, he also served as Chief of the Quality Assurance Division for H-60 and C-130 maintenance, upgraded to aircraft commander, and completed training to become a designated U. S. Coast Guard Aeronautical Engineering Officer.
In June 2000, he was assigned to Coast Guard Activities San Diego, California as the Assistant Engineering Officer and duty standing pilot. He was instrumental in expanding relationships and joint operations with the DEA and CBP in the wake of September 11, 2001. In June 2003, he was selected for advanced education at Purdue University’s Graduate School of Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering, West Lafayette, Indiana, graduating with a Master of Science in Aeronautical Engineering in May 2005. Upon graduation, he was assigned to the Coast Guard’s Aviation Logistics Center, Elizabeth City, North Carolina, serving from 2005 through 2007 as Airworthiness Branch Chief and Chief Engineer for the HH-60J helicopter. He was one of many leaders who advanced the HH-60J’s upgrade to its more capable MH-60T variant and expanded the MH-60T fleet by integrating retired Navy SH-60F helicopter hulls. Assigned as the Engineering Officer at Air Station Astoria, Oregon in 2007, he was designated as an HH-60J instructor pilot and flight examiner. He led District 13’s logistics transformation, and was instrumental in the expanded use of fast-rope techniques to board high-interest vessels offshore, before they entered the strategically important Columbia River corridor.
Captain McGilley served at Coast Guard Headquarters as H60 Program Manager (2010-2012) and Chief, Systems Management, Office of Aeronautical Engineering (CG-411, 2012-2014). He was the Coast Guard’s lead airworthiness assurance authority for all 200 operational aircraft and director of logistics compliance programs for the fleet and depot. During this period he furthered relationships with CBP’s Office of Air and Marine as part of the Secretary’s efficiency initiative and represented the Coast Guard as principle on the Federal Aviation Administration/DoD Joint National Airworthiness Council. Other Command and Staff tours included serving as the Chief of Incident Management for the Ninth District, and as Executive Officer (2014) and Commanding Officer (2015 – 2017) of Naval Training Squadron TWO, Pensacola, FL, where he began his aviation career 20 years before. Captain McGilley was honored to be selected as only the fifth Coast Guard officer to Command a Navy training squadron. His awards include the Distinguished Flying Cross, Navy and Coast Guard Meritorious Service Medal (three awards), Coast Guard Commendation Medal (three awards), Coast Guard Achievement Medal, and numerous other service and units awards.