Captain Mike Emerson returned to Headquarters on June 15, 2007, following an exciting tour as Commanding Officer of Air Station Clearwater. A native of Norfolk, Virginia, he proudly began the third generation of Emersons serving in the Coast Guard.
Captain Emerson was previously assigned as Executive Officer of Air Station Clearwater from 2004 until 2005. He also served as Operations Officer at Air Station Barbers Point, Hawaii, flying throughout the Pacific from 2001 to 2004. In his first staff tour, he served as Chief, Drug Interdiction Division in the Office of Law Enforcement at Coast Guard Headquarters. He spearheaded a project to arm helicopters for interdiction that quickly changed the culture of air operations.
A specialist in Coast Guard missions, at sea and in the air, Captain Emerson’s operational career began with two tours afloat as First Lieutenant of Cutter CHEROKEE, and as Executive Officer of Cutter VASHON. His initial assignments as a duty standing pilot, included Air Station Borinquen, Puerto Rico, and the first of two tours at Air Station Barbers Point.
Captain Emerson graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in 1984 with a Bachelor of Science in Government Degree. He began flight training at Pensacola in 1988, and received his “wings” in Corpus Christi in 1989. He also earned a Masters of Military Studies Degree from the Marine Corps University in 1996.
His personal awards include four Meritorious Service Medals, the Coast Guard Commendation Medal, five Coast Guard Achievement Medals, four Commandant’s Letter of Commendation Ribbons, and various service awards. He also received a Special Recognition Award from the Office of National Drug Control Policy, captured First Honors for the Annual Alex P. Haley Award, and won the US Naval Institute Proceedings Annual Coast Guard Essay Contest in 1999.
During his Change of Command ceremony, Captain Emerson was recognized for directing first responders and heavy air and maintenance support in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and supervised preparations and response for a barrage of devastating hurricanes in the summer of 2004 and 2005. Under his command, Air Station Clearwater was awarded the Commandant’s Quality Award, Bronze Level, for leadership and performance excellence.
Captain Emerson is an experienced C-130 pilot and has been an Instructor/Examiner since 1993. He has over 4,000 hours of flight time, and has a Commercial, Multi-engine FAA certificate for recreational flying off-duty. He also enjoys all outdoor activities, but doesn’t particularly embrace cold weather.