Vice Admiral Charles W. Ray
(Prospective) 31st Vice Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard
Vice Admiral Charles W. Ray assumed the duties of the Coast Guard Deputy Commandant for Operations in August 2016. In this capacity, he is responsible for the development of operational strategy, policy, guidance, and resources that address national priorities. This oversight of Coast Guard missions, programs, and services includes: intelligence; international affairs; cyber; the maritime transportation system; commercial regulations and inspections; search and rescue; maritime security; law enforcement; defense operations; environmental response; contingency planning; and the operational capabilities of cutter, boat, aviation, shore, and deployable specialized forces.
Vice Admiral Ray’s previous Flag Assignment was as the Pacific Area Commander. Prior to that he held Flag Assignments as the Deputy Pacific Area Commander, the Fourteenth Coast Guard District Commander, service with U.S. Forces Iraq as Director of the Iraq Training and Advisory Mission for the Ministry of Interior, and as the Military Advisor to the Secretary of the Department Homeland Security.
Vice Admiral Ray is from Newport, Arkansas, and is a 1981 graduate of the Coast Guard Academy. After an assignment as a deck watch officer aboard Coast Guard Cutter ACUSHNET (WMEC-167), he was selected for Naval Flight Training and earned his wings in 1984.
Vice Admiral Ray has served at six Coast Guard Air Stations from Alaska to the Caribbean. He was designated an Aeronautical Engineer in 1988 and has served as Engineering Officer at three stations and at the Aviation Logistics Center as the Program Manager for the development of the Coast Guard's Aviation Logistics Management System. He commanded Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen, Puerto Rico from 2002 through 2005. During the course of his career he accumulated over 5,000 hours of helicopter flight time.
Vice Admiral Ray’s staff assignments include a tour as Chief of the Office of Performance Management at Coast Guard Headquarters followed by a tour as the Chief of Staff of the Fourteenth Coast Guard District. Vice Admiral Ray earned a Master of Science Degree in Industrial Administration from Purdue University and a Master of Science Degree in National Resource Strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in Washington, D.C.
Vice Admiral Ray’s personal awards include the Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal, five Legion of Merit Medals, one Bronze Star Medal, two Meritorious Service Medals, one Coast Guard Air Medal, three Coast Guard Commendation Medals, and the Coast Guard Achievement Medal.