New base No. 2 has eyes on seamless operations for ‘tenants’

By William F. West

Staff Writer

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Coast Guard Base Elizabeth City recently welcomed a new No. 2 official.

Cmdr. Timothy McClellan, 52, who has served in the Coast Guard for 31 years, is, for the first time since early in his career, back working in his home state.

A native of Rutherford County, which is southeast of picturesque Asheville, McClellan was serving in Virginia’s Hampton Roads area before reporting to Base Elizabeth City early last month. McClellan is serving a three-year tour of duty as the base’s executive officer.

McClellan has spent years working in the Coast Guard’s technical community and has worked with officials and personnel at Elizabeth City. He said that his leadership style is one of getting out of the office and meeting face to face with others.

McClellan is quite impressed with what is one of the nation’s largest Coast Guard bases. “From top to bottom, these are the cream of the crop here: Professional; proficient; and a passion in what they do,” he said.

Base Elizabeth City supports four tenant commands: The Aviation Logistics Center; the Aviation Technical Training Center; Air Station Elizabeth City; and Small Boat Station Elizabeth City. The base includes the ATTC’s new rescue swimmer training facility and also includes a new barracks and a new galley.

“This facility here is aviation central for the Coast Guard, so if we don’t keep everything operating and provide the services our tenants need, then they can’t do their jobs,” McClellan said of his role in supporting the base’s new commander, Bruce Brown, and working with the four commands.

“So, that puts an enormous amount of responsibility on us to provide the best service we can to our tenants so that they can do their job,” McClellan said.

At the same time, McClellan said that he likes pressure and that he does not want to retire.

“I’m glad the Coast Guard gave me this opportunity,” he said. “I want to continue to contribute to the support of the Coast Guard’s missions in any way I can.”

McClellan’s decision to enter the Coast Guard can be traced back to working in Rutherford County at a cinema. The cinema was managed by a man who served in the Marine Corps and who spoke highly of the Coast Guard.

After completing boot camp training at Cape May, N.J., McClellan reported to the Outer Banks and served a year as a seaman at Station Oregon Inlet. He was part of teams that conducted searches and rescues and that also engaged in military law enforcement.

McClellan next received training as an electronics technician at Governors Island, N.Y., and eventually reported to the cutter Durable, which at the time was based at Brownsville, Texas.

After a year and four months aboard the Durable, he went to work at what today is the Telecommunication and Information Systems Command, called TISCOM and which is at Alexandria, Va. After a couple of years, he decided to work in maintenance in the computer side of Coast Guard operations.

McClellan also was sending and receiving electronic mail long before the days of smartphones. “We probably didn’t realize we were that much cutting edge at the time, but it made us a more efficient and effective organization as well, having that capability,” he said.

After approximately a couple of years working with computers, McClellan was sent to a Navy school at San Diego for advanced electronics training.

For three years, he served in the surface fleet again, first aboard the Valiant, a cutter based at Galveston, Texas, and again aboard the Dependable, which was relocated to Galveston from Panama City, Fla.

McClellan next left the American mainland and reported to Hawaii, which is the home of Coast Guard District 14.

After serving four years in the 50th state, he reported to Portsmouth, Va., to work in a logistics management position at what was the Command and Control Engineering Center. His job was to make sure engineers put everything into place for technicians to maintain and for operators to operate, both ashore and on the ocean.

After four years in Portsmouth, he returned to Alexandria to work at TISCOM and served four years there in leadership positions. He reported back to Portsmouth, to work in a leadership position at an electronics systems support unit. The unit’s duties included serving the base at Elizabeth City.

After four years in Portsmouth, he returned to Alexandria, this time to work in information technology field services.

After a few years, he returned to Portsmouth, to work in a leadership position at what today is the Command, Control and Communications Engineering Center. He served there before reporting to Base Elizabeth City.

“As you can tell from my career, I’ve been mission support focused,” he said. “And, so, being able to come and be the XO of a base is really the pinnacle for me of mission support.”

McClellan is married — his wife, Janeen, is a nurse and is a lieutenant commander in the Navy Reserve — and the couple has three children.

McClellan succeeded Jeff Westling, who is now a captain and who left for the Last Frontier. Westling is the new commanding officer at Base Kodiak, Alaska.