RILEY O. GATEWOOD
U.S. COAST GUARD
Gatewood assumed the duties as Commanding Officer, Coast Guard Cutter
VIGILANT (WMEC-617) in June 2015, after having served a 12-month deployment
as Deputy Commander, Patrol Forces Southwest Asia in Bahrain supporting
Operations ENDURING FREEDOM and INHERENT RESOLVE, U.S. Naval Forces Central
Command/U.S. Fifth Fleet, and regional partners throughout the Middle East.
During this tour he oversaw the daily management of over 250 forward
deployed Coast Guardsmen, including six patrol boats, Advanced Interdiction
Teams, and the Afghanistan and Kuwait-based Redeployment Assistance and
Commander Gatewood is a 27 year veteran of the United States Coast Guard. He enlisted in St. Charles, Missouri in 1988. Subsequent enlisted assignments included: Second Coast Guard District in St. Louis, Missouri and Integrated Support Command Kodiak, Alaska. In 1996 he was selected to attend Officer Candidate School at Coast Guard Training Center Yorktown, Virginia.
Following graduation and commissioning, he served as a Deck Watch Officer aboard Coast Guard Cutter FIREBUSH (WLB-393) Kodiak, Alaska, and was assigned as the Operations Officer a year later. In 1998, he was assigned as the Officer-In-Charge of Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) 201 for Tactical Law enforcement Team North in Portsmouth, Virginia. During this tour he completed nine counter-drug deployments aboard United States and Foreign Naval warships throughout the Caribbean Sea, and Maritime Interdiction Operations in the Persian Gulf in direct support of United Nations Security Council sanctions against the Republic of Iraq. He returned to Kodiak, Alaska in June of 2000, where he served as the Operations Officer and Navigator aboard Coast Guard Cutter STORIS (WMEC-38) logging over 30,000 miles from the Arctic Circle to the waters off California. In July of 2002, Commander Gatewood assumed command of Coast Guard Cutter MONHEGAN (WPB-1305) in Key West, Florida where the crew successfully interdicted and processed over 342 Cuban migrants, 42 migrant smugglers, and 2,162 lbs of marijuana on 21 go-fast vessels. In July 2004, he reported to the United States Coast Guard Academy as a Nautical Science Instructor where he personally taught over 500 cadets. In June of 2007, Commander Gatewood assumed command of Coast Guard Cutter CYPRESS (WLB-210) based in Mobile, Alabama. Navigating through hazardous debris fields and working tirelessly under challenging conditions during Hurricanes Dean, Gustav, and Ike recovery operations, CYPRESS safely repaired or replaced several hundred buoys in just days to quickly restore access routes to economically vital Ports throughout the Gulf Coast. In 2010, he served as the Operational Planning & Readiness Chief for the First Coast Guard District in Boston, Massachusetts where he effectively apportioned over 1,780 major cutter days, 145,000 First District cutter hours, 7,700 aircraft hours, and 72,000 boat hours in support of the Northeast’s diverse and complex mission set.
Commander Gatewood is a permanent cutterman, and has been awarded four Coast Guard Meritorious Service Medals with operational distinguishing device, four Coast Guard Commendation Medals with operational distinguishing device, the Joint Service Achievement Medal, two Coast Guard Achievement Medals with operational distinguishing device, the Navy/Marine Corp Achievement Medal, and two Commandant’s Letter of Commendations.