During a change-of-command ceremony on June 23, 2017, Randy F. Meador was installed as Commander of U.S. Coast Guard Base Elizabeth City, overseeing six tenant commands that coordinate and provide regional mission support activities within the Fifth Coast Guard District.
As a kid growing up in Duncanville, Texas, Meador didn’t frequent the Gulf beaches, nor was he familiar with the Coast Guard; his family came from an Army and Navy background. He aspired to work in the aviation field and once he discovered the Coast Guard’s global work with planes and helicopters, he was hooked. He didn’t realize the Coast Guard operated enormous cutters until he was already in boot camp at Cape May, New Jersey.
Meador has served 31 years and enjoyed a distinguished career with the U.S. Coast Guard, including four tours in Elizabeth City. Most recently, he served as Executive Officer at Base Cleveland, where he provided regional support to the entire Ninth Coast Guard District, encompassing all five Great Lakes and operational units from Duluth, Minnesota to Massena, New York. As Meador relays to readers in this issue of Developments, he is glad to be immersed, once again, in work and life in the “Harbor of Opportunity.”
- How many years have you served in the Coast Guard? I’ve served 31 years, 10 of which have been in Elizabeth City. This is my fourth tour here at four different commands. My children are grown, and they really enjoyed living here. They attended school in Pasquotank and Camden counties and both graduated from Camden County High School. My son is now married with three children and lives in Fort Worth, Texas. My daughter is married to her Camden High School sweetheart, who is in the Navy and stationed in Panama City Beach, Florida, and they are enjoying my newest grandchild. My wife’s youngest son just moved back with us and he is a freshman at Elizabeth City State University.
- What have been some of the highlights of your service? Exciting search-and-rescue cases are at the top of the list. Memorial Day 2000, I had a big rescue here in the Elizabeth City area, rescuing eight people off of four boats during a nor’easter. That was my very first night standing duty as a helicopter pilot in the Coast Guard and one of my more memorable events. Another highlight, I’ve had the privilege of serving, for three decades now, with people who perform with an incredibly impressive level of professionalism. It literally makes you want to come to work. Because of the job we do, we are the kind of people who aspire to do it and consistently do it better. We are truly blessed to have the high caliber personnel that we do.
- What are your goals in leading U.S. Coast Guard Base Elizabeth City? My number one goal is to ensure that we meet our core mission – providing top shelf logistical support to all six tenant commands here. These include: Air Station Elizabeth City, Aviation Logistics Command, C27J Acquisition Project Office, Aviation Technical Training Center, National Strike Force Coordination Center and the Small Boat Station Elizabeth City. We also support Sector North Carolina in Wilmington. I want to not only maintain, but increase our level of support for those folks. In addition, I want to maintain the already well established relationship between the Coast Guard and Elizabeth City. Traditionally, there has been an outstanding relationship between the two.
- Describe the relationship between the Coast Guard and the community? Because of what we do, there always seems to be a strong bond between the Coast Guard and the communities where we serve. Depending on where we are stationed, we may be embedded with the local fishing fleet or in an area focused on tourism. In Elizabeth City, the Coast Guard is the region’s top employer, and so the community is enhanced by the outstanding jobs the Coast Guard provides. When our members have additional time, after fulfilling their core duties here, they volunteer pretty regularly throughout the community at various events. In turn, the success of those events contributes to additional opportunities for our Coast Guard families. I look at it as another form of pay forward. Every time they volunteer in the community, they’re paying it forward. And the community is paying it forward as well.
- In your opinion, what are Elizabeth City’s economic development strengths? From experience, I’ve seen that this city has not sat idle and let progress pass it by. Now that I sit in a position of participating on several boards, I get to see first-hand the people who are working hard to make this city consistently a great place to live and work. It’s those driven individuals that are Elizabeth City’s greatest economic development strength. They keep the city competitive, making it a place where people want to relocate, live and work.
- What do you and your family like to do for fun in Elizabeth City? We’re really big boating people, into wake surfing, wake boarding and activities like that. This is a fantastic place for us because of the proximity to the Pasquotank River. We also love going to the waterfront area when we have a chance and visiting all the great restaurants in the area. Name your cuisine, and I’ll tell about a restaurant to try; they’re all great. I’m also very impressed with the activities that Elizabeth City Downtown, Inc. has developed to attract more people downtown. They’ve definitely done a great job of improving the aesthetics downtown over recent years.