Vice Admiral Thomas J. Barrett assumed duty as Vice Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard on May 30, 2002. He serves as the Coast Guard's second in command, is the Agency Acquisition Executive, heads the Leadership Council, and co-chairs the Navy-Coast Guard Board, an inter-service policy coordination body. Prior to his appointment he served as the Commander, Seventeenth Coast Guard District in Juneau, Alaska, where he built close partnerships across all levels of government to advance Coast Guard program goals, especially relating to maritime safety of cruise ships, tank ships, and fishing fleet. He developed cooperative relationships with Northern Pacific nations that led to reduced incursions by foreign fishing vessels into the United States' Exclusive Economic Zone.
His first flag tour was as the Director of Reserve and Training at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, DC. While there, he expanded reserve recruiting and emphasized diversity, restoring the services' reserve strength to its authorized 8000 member level. He was instrumental in establishing the Coast Guard Leadership Development Center at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.
Vice Admiral Barrett's early duties include a tour aboard the High Endurance Cutter CHASE with service in Vietnam from 1969 to 1970. He also held a variety of staff positions in the legal and marine safety fields. He commanded the Coast Guard Support Center at Kodiak, AK. While at Kodiak, he established key partnerships with local governments, supporting education and quality of life and was recognized by the Alaskan Legislature for his service to the Kodiak community. He later served as Deputy Chief, Office of Personnel and Training, and as Deputy Commander, Maintenance and Logistics Command Atlantic.
Commissioned in 1969 following completion of Officer Candidate School, Yorktown, VA, Vice Admiral Barrett holds a Bachelor's of Science in Biology from LeMoyne College and a Juris Doctor with honors from George Washington University. He is a 1989 graduate of the Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
Vice Admiral Barrett's personal decorations include the Legion of Merit (5), the Meritorious Service Medal, the Coast Guard Commendation Medal (2), the Coast Guard Achievement Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, and other personal and unit decorations.
Vice Admiral Barrett retired on 1 September 2004.