Rear Admiral Paul Thomas serves as the Commander, Eighth Coast Guard District headquartered in New Orleans, and is responsible for Coast Guard operations spanning 26 states, including the Gulf of Mexico coastline from Florida to Mexico, the adjacent offshore waters and outer continental shelf, and the inland waterways of the Mississippi, Ohio, Missouri, Illinois and Tennessee River systems.
His previous Flag assignment was as the Assistant Commandant for Prevention Policy where he was responsible for oversight and program management for all Coast guard navigation services, boating safety, ports and facilities, waterways management, merchant mariner credentialing, vessel documentation, marine casualty investigation, commercial vessel inspections, and port state control.
A specialist in Marine Safety, Security and Environmental Protection he has served at the Marine Safety Center in Washington DC, Marine Safety Office San Francisco Bay, CA, Marine Safety Detachment Port Canaveral, FL, and Marine Safety Office Jacksonville, FL. He has also served as Commanding Officer of Marine Safety Unit Galveston, TX, Commander Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville, FL. and as the Director of Inspections and Compliance at Coast Guard Headquarters
His other tours include Fifth Coast Guard District Chief of Staff, Executive Assistant to the Assistant Commandant for Marine Safety, Security and Stewardship, Military Assistant to the Director of Net Assessment in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Commanding Officer of USCGC CAPE ROMAIN and Operations Officer of USCGC BLACKHAW.
Rear Admiral Thomas is a graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2005 he completed a National Security Fellowship at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and in 2010 he served as a Senior Fellow to the Chief of Naval Operations Strategic Studies Group (SSG XXIX). He is also an alumnus of Harvard’s National Preparedness Leadership Initiative. His military awards include the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Coast Guard Commendation Medal, Transportation 9/11 Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal and the Coast Guard Achievement Medal.
He and his wife, Dr. Mary Thomas, DVM, have one son, Erik.