Admiral James M. Loy

ADM Loy was the 21st Commandant for the United States Coast Guard serving as such from 1998-2002.


Admiral James Milton Loy was born in Altoona, Pennsylvania on 10 August 1942. He entered the Coast Guard Academy in 1960. Graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in General Engineering, he was commissioned an Ensign in 1964. He commanded four Coast Guard cutters including the Point Lomas on combat patrols in Vietnam; CGC Valiant, homeported in Galveston, Texas; and CGC Midgett, homeported in San Francisco, California. He has also served in flag assignments as Commander, Eighth Coast Guard District, New Orleans, Louisiana and as Chief, Office of Personnel and Training at Coast Guard Headquarters.

Prior to becoming Commandant, Admiral Loy served as the Coast Guard Chief of Staff from 1996-98, during which time he redesigned the headquarters management structure and overhauled the Coast Guard planning and budgeting process to focus more sharply on performance and results. From 1994-96, he was Commander of the Coast Guard’s Atlantic Area, commanding U.S. forces during the mass Haitian and Cuban migrations of 1994 and Coast Guard forces participating in Operation Restore Democracy. His other flag assignments were as Chief of Personnel and Training, and Commander of the Eighth Coast Guard District.

He became commandant of the Coast Guard in May, 1998 and served through May 2002. Admiral Loy focused his leadership during his tenure on restoring Coast Guard readiness and shaping the future of the the nation's oldest continuous sea-going service. Although both themes involved many initiatives, the most visible expression of restoring readiness was rebuilding the workforce to authorized levels, improving retention and managing the operational tempo of the service. The most important element of shaping the future was probably his oversight and leadership in the Integrated Deepwater System acquisition project, which was the overall plan to modernize the ships, aircraft, and sensors that the Coast Guard utilizes to perform its many missions.

Admiral Loy attended postgraduate school at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut and the University of Rhode Island in Kingston, Rhode Island earning Masters degrees in History/Government and Public Administration. He attended the Industrial College of the Armed Forces at Fort Leslie J. McNair in Washington, DC. He was also an intern at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

He has received the Department of Transportation Distinguished Service Medal, four Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medals, the Defense Superior Service Medal, two Legion of Merit awards, the Bronze Star with Combat “V,” the Meritorious Service Medal, five Coast Guard Commendation Medals, the Coast Guard Achievement Medal, the Combat Action Ribbon, and other unit and campaign awards.

Admiral Loy has been recognized by the American Society of Public Administration and Government Executive with their Leadership Award for 2001. He was named SEATRADE Personality of 2000 in London, UK; has received the NAACP Meritorious Service Award for 2000 and was recognized by the Soldier's, Sailor's, Marine's and Airmen's Club with their Military Leadership Award for 2001.

He retired from the Coast Guard on 30 May 2002 and was immediately appointed to the newly created post of Deputy Under Secretary for Transportation Security and Chief Operating Officer of the Transportation Security Administration by Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta.

Admiral Loy is married to the former Kay McGirk.[1]

Life after the USCG

Department of Transportation Press Release

It was announced on Thursday, May 30, 2002 in a press release by the Department of TransportationDepartment of Transportation that ADM Loy was to retire and begin working as the Deputy Under Secretary for Transportation Security.[2]

U.S. Transportation Secretary Mineta Announces Appointment Of Admiral Loy as Deputy Under Secretary for Transportation Security

WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta today announced the appointment of retired Coast Guard Commandant James M. Loy to the newly created post of Deputy Under Secretary for Transportation Security and Chief Operating Officer of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

In his new position, Admiral Loy will report directly to Under Secretary for Transportation Security John Magaw, the head of the TSA. The secretary’s announcement was included in remarks he gave at today’s change of command ceremony, when Admiral Loy was succeeded by Admiral Thomas Collins as Coast Guard commandant.

“Jim Loy is a world-class executive and an experienced transportation professional. TSA’s already strong team will benefit from this phenomenal addition. Our mission, protecting every facet of America’s transportation system, remains daunting,” Secretary Mineta said. “But when individuals like these are willing to continue to serve their country, even formidable challenges become attainable. It is difficult to imagine a stronger, more experienced team to lead the TSA.”

Magaw, the former head of the U.S. Secret Service and of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, praised Loy’s willingness to continue his public service.

“All of us at TSA welcome Jim Loy to TSA as chief operating officer,’’ said Under Secretary Magaw. “Admiral Loy has gained an international reputation for operational excellence and innovative leadership as Commandant of the Coast Guard. Jim brings his enormous talent to the TSA team to help this new agency meet our vital transportation security mission.”

Admiral Loy, who retired today after 38 years of commissioned years in the Coast Guard, will take up his new duties after a brief vacation with his wife, Kay.

“I am honored that Secretary Mineta has provided me this opportunity for further service,” Loy said. “I look forward to bringing my experience in management, security issues and the maritime domain to bear as the TSA grows from its transition phase to maturity. Along the way, I expect to foster close public-private partnerships with TSA’s industry stakeholders in the longstanding tradition of the Coast Guard.”

Loy, a native of Altoona, PA, graduated from the U. S. Coast Guard Academy in 1964 and holds masters degrees from Wesleyan University and the University of Rhode Island. He also attended the Industrial College of the Armed Forces and interned at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.



ADM Loy is also a writer (in cahoots with Donald T. Phillips)- his book Character in Action (available here) is, in a nutshell, a leadership book. From the Amazon bookstore:[3]

How does the U.S. Coast Guard create, instill, and maintain leadership throughout a 40,000 member force spread across the United States? A former Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard and a best-selling author combine their knowledge of the subject to offer a formula for success. Donald T. Phillips, who has written eight books on leadership, asserts that the Coast Guard is a superlative example of an organization with effective leadership, loaded with leaders at all levels. From a guardsman scraping barnacles off buoys in the Gulf of Mexico to the captain of a cutter in the Gulf of Alaska to the Commandant in Washington, they know exactly what leadership is, how it works, and why it is important. This case study in leadership uses the Coast Guard as an example for other organizations who want to imbue leadership to every single one of its members. An effective leadership beacon, the book is replete with tangible examples, vivid anecdotes, and explicit guidelines on how to instill leadership throughout an entire organization. Stories abound on Coast Guard efficiency, innovation, and heroism and many are used to illustrate the service's effectiveness and to engage the reader. From the military and government communities to the business world, a variety of organizations can benefit from this outstanding leadership guide.

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