Senior Reserve Officer
US Coast Guard Atlantic Area
Rear Admiral Francis S. Pelkowski was promoted to Rear Admiral Lower Half and assumed his duties as Senior Reserve Officer, Coast Guard Atlantic Area in June 2014. He is currently responsible for the training and mobilization of over 4,400 reservists from as far west as Colorado to as far East as Afghanistan. Rear Admiral Pelkowski enlisted in the Coast Guard and began his career as a coxswain operating the 44’ Motor Life Boat and the 41’ Utility Boat performing Law Enforcement and Search & Rescue missions. He was later assigned to Cutters for the first 7 years of his Officer career and served as a qualified Deck Watch Officer. He then served tours as a Group Operations Center Controller and later as the Operations Officer for the U.S. Navy’s Naval Coastal Warfare’s Harbor Defense Command Unit. He also served as the Chief of Prevention and later as the Senior Reserve Officer at Sector NY, the largest field Command in the Coast Guard. He moved to the 1st Coast Guard District serving as the Contingency Preparedness Officer, and later served as the Deputy Chief of Staff for the 5th Coast Guard District where he qualified and filled in for the Active Duty Chief of Staff. He later had Command of the Coast Guard Joint Staff Unit in Suffolk Virginia where his Unit supported the Joint Staff by providing Coast Guard expertise to DOD. During that Command tour, he simultaneously held a second Command by starting NATO’s first Joint Reserve Unit directing U.S. Air Force, Marine Corps, Army, and Coast Guard reservists to advance priorities such as NATO Counter-IED, Ballistic Missile Defense, and Maritime Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Enhanced Conventional Weapons(CBRNE) detection initiatives. This is the first time that a CG reservist had assumed a NATO leadership position. Prior to assignment as the Atlantic Senior Reserve Officer, he served as the Senior Reserve Officer for the Deputy Commandant of Operations (DCO) and the Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officer (EPLO) Coordinator.
Rear Admiral Pelkowski’s civilian experience complements his Coast Guard work. This includes sailing as a “hawse pipe” Deck Officer in the U.S. Merchant Marine and ultimately rising to the rank of “Master Mariner.” He also earned a 3rd Assistant Engineer’s license and sailed as an engineer. Later in his career he held multiple positions ashore including Chief Operating Officer, Engineering Officer, the Safety & Security Officer, and General Counsel for several commercial shipowners. His career peaked when he assisted the growth of a small Towing Vessel Company into a significant industry player while simultaneously rising to the rank of that Company’s President. In 2009, he accepted an appointment as a full time Professor at New York Maritime College where he uses his expertise in International Shipping Treaties & Domestic Regulations, Maritime Safety & Security, Natural & Man-Made Disaster Prevention and Response, the Business of Shipping, and International, Business, Maritime, & Environmental Law to groom the next generation of maritime industry leaders. Rear Admiral Pelkowski has earned a Juris Doctor Degree from N.Y. Law School, an MBA from the N.Y. Institute of Technology, and a Bachelor of Engineering degree from N.Y. Maritime College at Fort Schuyler. He has also studied at the National Defense University, Naval War College, Army War College, and Joint Forces Staff College. He earned a U.S. Merchant Marine Third Assistant Engineers license in addition to his Master’s license. He has also earned licenses to practice law in New York & New Jersey.
Rear Admiral Pelkowski has earned the Defense Superior Service, Defense Meritorious Service, Meritorious Service (3 awards), and Navy & Marine Corps Commendation Medals as well as the Basic Training Honor Graduate Ribbon. He qualified as a U.S. Navy Expeditionary Battle Watch Commander and has earned the USCG Coxswain, Permanent Cutterman, & Advanced Boat Force Operations Insignias.