Air Station Savannah Commanding Officer:
Captain J. Marshall Branch
Capt. Branch was born in a US Army hospital in Augsburg, West Germany in 1972. He moved back to the States with his family in 1974 where he spent most of his childhood just outside the gates of Air Station Houston. After 4 years of volunteer firefighting and watching the Coast Guard helicopters launch for SAR over his home, he left for the Coast Guard Academy where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Management in 1995.
From 1995 to 1997, Capt. Branch was stationed back home in Galveston, Texas aboard the USCGC DAUNTLESS (WMEC 624) as the First Lieutenant and Deck Watch Officer. The next stop was Naval Air Station Pensacola where he earned his rotary aviator wings in 1998.
After flight school, Capt. Branch was assigned to Group/Air Station Port Angeles, Washington. There, he flew the HH-65A helicopter and earned designation as an Aircraft Commander. He was next transferred in 2002 to the Polar Operations Division at Aviation Training Center Mobile, Alabama where he deployed to Antarctica as part of AVDET 157 aboard the USCGC POLAR SEA.
In 2003, Capt. Branch was selected for the Aviation Engineering program and was transferred to Air Station Traverse City, Michigan as the Assistant Engineering Officer. There he qualified in HH-65B’s as an Aircraft Commander, Instructor Pilot, and Flight Examiner.
From 2006 to 2008, Capt. Branch migrated west again to assume the duties of Aviation Engineering Officer for Air Station Los Angeles, California. During this tour, he qualified in the HH-65C and continued his duties as an Instructor pilot and Flight Examiner.
In 2008, Capt. Branch was selected to attend Texas A&M University where he earned his Master’s degree in Systems Engineering. After graduation, Capt. Branch was recruited to the newly formed DCMS-5, Mission Support Integration team at Coast Guard Headquarters (CGHQ) to help stand up the new modernization effort for the Coast Guard. In 2010, the Director of Operational Logistics (DOL) command was formed in Norfolk, Virginia and Capt. Branch was drafted to support the stand up as a member of the DOL-4 team as a detached duty member. Working from CGHQ, Capt. Branch developed and implemented the expeditionary logistics support infrastructure for USCG assets engaged in joint operations around the globe which earned him designation as a finalist for the prestigious Defense Logistician of the Year Award. Additionally, he developed and implemented service-level macro strategies for logistics support of national level responses such as Hurricane Sandy.
In 2013, he received orders to Air Station Detroit, Michigan as the Executive Officer and qualified in the MH-65C and MH-65D aircraft.
On July 15th, 2016, Capt. Branch assumed command of Coast Guard Air Station Savannah, Georgia from Capt. John Rivers.
Capt. Branch has over 3000 hours of flight experience, served at five air stations, and deployed to six of the seven continents. His various awards include two Meritorious Service Medals, the Korea Defense Service Medal, two Commendation medals, the Antarctic Service Medal, and the Achievement Medal.
Capt. Branch is married to Melissa Lee Branch, formerly of Houston, Texas, and they have four children: Will, Pierce, Sophia, and Colten.