On October 10, 2002, Master Chief Quartermaster Franklin A. Welch assumed his duties as the Ninth Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard. In his most recent assignment, Master Chief Welch served as Officer in Charge of USCGC SOCKEYE (WPB 87337), homeported in Bodega Bay, California. His first operational tasking aboard SOCKEYE was to command her through an initial homeport transit of 6,000 nautical miles from New Orleans , Louisiana , to her homeport of Bodega Bay . Prior to this assignment, Master Chief Welch served as Officer in Charge, USCGC POINT CHICO (WPB 82339), also homeported in Bodega Bay.
Advancing quickly, Master Chief Welch has served in the Coast Guard for 26 years; thirteen of which were as a Master Chief Petty Officer. He has a diverse background in Coast Guard operations. He has served aboard USCGC SWEETBRIER in Cordova, Alaska, where he devoted his off-duty time striking the Quartermaster rating; Aids to Navigation Team Bristol, Rhode Island, as operations and aids to navigation petty officer; USCGC HARRIET LANE as assistant navigator and deck watch officer; USCGC VIGOROUS as assistant navigator and deck watch officer; Fleet Training Unit, U.S. Atlantic Fleet as an underway navigation and visual communications instructor and training liaison officer; and aboard USCGC GALVESTON ISLAND, homeported in Apra Harbor, Guam, as executive petty officer. Master Chief Welch also served as “Gold Badge” Command Master Chief for the Ninth Coast Guard District, Cleveland, Ohio, where he represented the enlisted men and women of the “Great Lakes,” and as Master Chief of the Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Academy in Petaluma, California. Master Chief Welch was designated as a Master Training Specialist by Commander, Training Command, U.S. Atlantic Fleet where he also received the Coast Guardsman of the Year Award for 1991. In August 2002, he also received the Northern California Senior Enlisted Person of the Year (Operational) award sponsored by the United States Navy League.
Master Chief Welch has attended many specialized training courses during his career, including the Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Academy . He was the President of Class XXVI.
Master Chief Welch has earned the permanent Cutterman, Coxswain, Command Master Chief, Chief Petty Officer Academy, and Officer in Charge Afloat pins. His military awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, three Meritorious Service Medals with “O” device, two Coast Guard Commendation Medals with “O” device, the Navy Commendation Medal, the Transportation 9-11 Medal, the Coast Guard Achievement Medal with “O” device, the Commandant’s Letter of Commendation Ribbon with “O” device, two Coast Guard Unit Commendations with “O” device, five Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendations with “O” device, four Meritorious Team Commendation ribbons, the Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation, the Coast Guard Bicentennial Unit Commendation ribbon, seven Coast Guard Good Conduct Medals, two National Defense Service Medals, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Humanitarian Service Medal, three Special Operations Service Ribbons, five Coast Guard Sea Service ribbons, the Coast Guard Rifle and Pistol Marksmanship ribbons, and the Coast Guard Presidential Unit Citation award.
Master Chief Welch, a native of Texas, is married to the former Mari Lynn Perry of Newport, Rhode Island.