Vice Admiral William “Dean” Lee assumed the duties as Commander, Coast Guard Atlantic Area (LANTAREA) in May of 2014, where he serves as the operational commander for all U.S. Coast Guard missions from the Rocky Mountains to the Arabian Gulf, spanning across five Coast Guard Districts and 40 states. He concurrently serves as Commander, Defense Force East and provides Coast Guard mission support to the Department of Defense and Combatant Commanders. Prior to assuming command of LANTAREA, Vice Admiral Lee served as the Deputy for Operations Policy and Capabilities (DCO-D) at Coast Guard Headquarters, where he oversaw integration of operations, capability, strategy, and resource policy. From 2010 to 2012, he served as the Fifth District Commander in Portsmouth, Virginia where he directed more than 3,000 Coast Guard active duty, reserve, and civilian personnel. Fifth District units conducted nearly 20,000 Search and Rescue cases during his tenure and supported response operations following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and Hurricanes Earl and Irene.
Vice Admiral Lee is on his seventh command assignment and has spent a career specializing in Boat Operations and Search and Rescue. He has served along the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf coasts, in addition to supporting operations overseas as Commander, Deployable Operations Group (2009-2010). Vice Admiral Lee’s other operational assignments include: Commander, Fifth Coast Guard District (2010-2012) Commander, Sector North Carolina (2005-2007); Commander, Coast Guard Group Fort Macon in North Carolina (2000-2003); Commander, Group Monterey in California (1995-1997); Commanding Officer, Station Atlantic City in New Jersey (1988-1991); and Assistant Operations Officer at Group St. Petersburg in Florida (1981-1984).
Vice Admiral Lee’s staff assignments include: Chief of Staff, Coast Guard Seventh District in Miami, Florida (2007-2009); Chief, Office of Boat Forces at Coast Guard headquarters in Washington, D.C. (2003 to 2005); Chief of Search and Rescue, Coast Guard Fifth District, (1998-2000); Chief of the Atlantic Area Command Center (1997-1998); Branch Chief, Search and Rescue Division of Coast Guard headquarters (1991-1995); and Instructor, Officer Candidate School in Yorktown, Virginia (1984-1988).
Vice Admiral Lee is a native of Richmond, Virginia and a 1981 graduate of Officer Candidate School. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of South Alabama and a Master of Arts from George Washington University. He and his wife, Mary, have two sons; Brendan and Landon.
Vice Admiral Lee’s military decorations include the Legion of merit (five awards), Meritorious Service Medal (two awards), Coast Guard Commendation Medal (three awards), Coast Guard Achievement Medal (two awards), and various other personal and unit awards.