Captain Carlson assumed his duties as “Director of Law Enforcement, Maritime Security, and Defense Operations Policy” after having commanded Coast Guard Patrol Forces Southwest Asia (PATFORSWA). As Commodore, he commanded the Coast Guard’s largest unit outside the United States. Based in Manama, in the Kingdom of Bahrain, PATFORSWA is comprised of six Coast Guard Cutters, a shore-side support element, a Maritime Engagement Team, and a Forward Operating Base in Kuwait totaling 260 personnel. PATFORSWA provides combat ready assets in support of U.S. Navy FIFTH Fleet and Naval Central Forces Command strategic objectives.
A 1990 graduate of The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, Captain Carlson began his military career as an Ensign in the United States Navy. A Diving and Salvage Officer, he served aboard USS RECOVERY (ARS 43), a salvage and rescue ship homeported in Little Creek, Virginia.
With 13 years afloat experience, he has served as Operations Officer and Ship Salvage and Diving Officer aboard USCGC SASSAFRAS (WLB 401) in Honolulu, Hawaii; Executive Officer of USCGC SEDGE (WLB 402) and USCGC HICKORY (WLB 212) in Homer, Alaska; USCGC DALLAS (WHEC 716) and USCGC GALLATIN (WHEC 721) in Charleston, South Carolina. In addition to commanding PATFORSWA his command tours include USCGC MAPLE (WLB 207), homeported in Sitka, Alaska, and USCGC TAMPA (WMEC 902), homeported in Portsmouth, Virginia.
Ashore Captain Carlson’s assignments have included Atlantic Area Waterways Management Branch, where he served as the Atlantic Area Light House Manager, project officer for the Army Corps of Engineers Cape Fear River Deepening Widening Project, and as team member for the Fifth Coast Guard District Geodetic Survey Team. As the Logistics Officer and acting Operations Officer for Coast Guard Port Security Unit 311 located in San Pedro, California, he was responsible for the day-to-day operations and training of a 146-person expeditionary port security unit. His last staff tour was with United States Africa Command in Stuttgart, Germany. There as action officer, he worked for the Counter Narcotics and Law Enforcement Assistance Division, working hand in hand with the US State Department, to develop and execute law-enforcement-centric capacity building projects in the post conflict regions of West Africa. Previous to his assignment at Marine Corps University, he served as the Deputy Commander of Patrol Forces Southwest Asia.
Captain Carlson is a Cutterman, a qualified Port Security Officer, and a U.S. Navy Ship Salvage Diving Officer. His personal awards include the Legion of Merit, two Meritorious Service Medals, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, four Coast Guard Commendation Medals, and two Coast Guard Achievement Medals, as well as many unit and team awards.
He is married to the former Cynthia Booth and they have one daughter, Allison.