As the Deputy Commandant for Operations (DCO) Senior Reserve Officer (SRO), Rear Admiral Pelkowski facilitates the operational readiness of 7,000 reservists to be prepared to respond to emergencies, domestically and abroad. Prior to that, he served as the Atlantic Area SRO and currently sits on the CG Academy Board of Trustees. He also serves as a member of the DoD Reserve Forces Policy Board, an independent advisory board that recommends Reserve Component strategies, policies, and efficiencies to the Secretary of Defense.
Rear Admiral Pelkowski enlisted in 1980 and became a coxswain operating the 44’ Motor Life Boat and 41’ Utility Boat performing Law Enforcement and Search & Rescue missions. After commissioning, he completed 7 years of sea-service as a Deck Watch Officer on various Cutters. Later, he completed tours as a Coast Guard Group-Operations-Center Controller and later as the Joint Operations Officer for a U.S. Navy Coastal Warfare Harbor Defense Unit. The Admiral also served as the Reserve Chief of Prevention and as the SRO at Sector NY, one of our largest field Commands. After that, he 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. In 2010, he was given Command of the CG Joint Staff Unit which provides CG expertise to DoD’s Joint Chiefs of Staff. During that tour he simultaneously held a second Command, being the first CG reservist to be offered a NATO leadership position directing Air Force, Marine Corps, Army, and CG reservists to advance NATO initiatives as the Commanding Officer of NATO’s “Joint Reserve Unit.” He then moved to CGHQ’s serving as the Senior Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officer (EPLO).
Rear Admiral Pelkowski’s mobilizations include performing rescue & recovery operations after the TWA Flight 800 aircraft casualty, providing Force Protection to U.S. Navy Battle Groups in Vieques, Puerto Rico, and providing Command & Control for Navy Inshore Boat Units during NATO & U.S. military troop/cargo off-loads in foreign ports in response to the 9-11 terrorist attacks as part of DoD’s Operation Enduring Freedom. In 2008, he performed 6 months of active duty at CGHQ’s as the Chief of the Office of Reserve Affairs (CG-131), providing overall Program Management for the 8,000 member reserve force and overseeing its $132M budget. In 2011, he was mobilized as the U.S. federal government’s lead Project Officer to ready the nation to respond to environmental threats to U.S. waters from a potential oil spill from Cuba’s new offshore oil exploration program.
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. He came ashore and held numerous positions for several U.S. Flag commercial vessel operators which included Chief Operating Officer, General Counsel, and ultimately corporate President. In 2009, he accepted a full time appointment as a Professor at New York Maritime College working to develop the next generation of maritime operators and industry leaders.
Rear Admiral Pelkowski 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 studied at the National Defense University, Naval War College, Army War College, and the Joint Forces Staff College. He has earned licenses to practice law in the States of NY and NJ and his awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, CG Meritorious Service Medals (4), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, CG Commendation Medal, and the CG Basic-Training Honor Graduate Ribbon. He qualified as a U.S. Navy Expeditionary Battle Watch Commander and has earned the USCG Coxswain, Permanent Cutterman, and Advanced Boat Force Operations Insignias plus DoD’s Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge.