Cari Batson Thomas is a retired Rear Admiral in the United States Coast Guard and a 1984 graduate of the U. S. Coast Guard Academy. On Friday January 22, 2010 Thomas was ceremoniously advanced to Rear Admiral (lower half) and became the third recent female commander of the training center to be advanced to a flag officer. Cari Thomas served aboard cutters Vigorous, Valiant, and commanded Manitou. Additionally, other operational assignments included Group-Air Station Atlantic City and as plankowner and Commander, Sector Miami, Response Operations. Some of her responsibilities included transitions to the RB-S, 47’ MLB, 49’ BUSL, and 87’ CPB as well as numerous USCG, joint DOD, and interagency operations in the Northwest Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, Bahamas, Straits of Florida, New Jersey coast and Delaware Bay. Rear Admiral Thomas also served in the Enlisted Personnel Division of the Personnel Command, Admissions at the Coast Guard Academy, as a Program Reviewer at Headquarters and as the Executive Assistant to the Atlantic Area, Fifth District and Maritime Defense Zone Atlantic Commanders. She was able to gain experience in leading new Department of Homeland Security response regimes, she served two years as the Chief of Staff to Principal Federal Official (PFO), Northeast Region and as the predesignated Deputy PFO, Florida (collateral duty). Completing assignment as the Atlantic Area Resource Director, she reports to Training Center Cape May, her 13th permanent duty station in 24 years of service.
Captain Thomas graduated with distinction from the Naval War College with a Masters of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies. She also holds a Masters of Science in Educational Leadership from Troy State University and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from the Coast Guard Academy. She served on the Board of Directors for the Academy Alumni Association, and participated in various Coast Guard studies, including Project Kimball, Academy Task Force and as co-lead for the Force Readiness Command design team. Her awards include three Meritorious Service Medals, a Joint Service Commendation Medal, and four Coast Guard Commendation Medals among many other personal, unit and campaign awards. She earned permanent cutterman status in 1994.
Thomas’ husband is Loran Support Unit Commander Gary Thomas and her daughter is Andi Thomas.