Class: 1978Inducted: 2012
Captain James McPherson graduated from Asbury Park High School in 1978. He fondly looks back at the wonderful teachers and mentors at Asbury who nurtured and supported him through his high school years. The McPherson family was well represented at APHS as his brothers, John, Pat, Brendan, and Mike with his sister Monica all graduated from the high school.
Captain McPherson always enjoyed living and working at the Jersey shore. He considers himself fortunate to have found a career that paid him to travel on the worlds' oceans. He has been in the Coast Guard for 35 years, and is currently the Chief of Staff for the First Coast Guard District in Boston, MA. The First Coast Guard District includes 10,000 active duty, reserve, civilian and auxiliary personnel from the Canadian Border to the New Jersey Shore.
Captain McPherson previously served as Commander of Coast Guard Sector Northern New England, where he exercised operational control of Coast Guard assets in the states of Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire. He commanded 21 field units and over 1100 personnel. Prior to this command, he served as Chief Officer of Public Affairs at Coat Guard Headquarter in Washington, DC where he was responsible for directing the Coast Guard's service-wide public affairs program. Other assignments include the Commanding Officer of USCGC ESCANABA home ported in Boston from 2003 -2005. He was a cutter man for his first assignment aboard USCGC EVERGREEN home ported in New London, CT. Other seagoing duties include Executive Officer aboard the USCGC SENECA in Boston, MA in 1998 and Commanding Officer of two patrol boats - USCGC POINT KNOL in New London, CT in 1985 and USCGC MAUI in Miami Beach, FL in 1989.
Captain McPherson most recent public affairs duties included assignment as Senior Public Affairs Officer, Gulf Oil Spill in New Orleans and Joint Task Force Haiti for earthquake relief operations. His past public affairs deployments include assignment as Secretary to the Principal Federal Official in charge of federal recovery efforts in the gulf Region following Hurricane Katrina. As a public affairs officer he was lead spokesman for the Coast Guard response to the crash of TWA FLT 800 off New York in 1996. He was also the Coast Guard Representative to the U. S. National Joint Information Bureau, Operation Joint Endeavor, in Tuzla, Bosnia-Herzegovina. He assisted Coast Guard Group Woods Hole in the federal response to the 1999 plane crash off Martha's Vineyard carrying JFK Jr. At Coast Guard Headquarters, he was Chief of Coast Guard Public Affairs and official spokesperson for the service. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, he established the CG Public Affairs Detachment at the Pentagon.
His decorations include Legion of Merit, seven Meritorious Service Medals, five Coast Guard Commendation Medals, Joint Service Achievement Medal, and two Coast Guard Achievement Medals.
Captain McPherson grew up in Bradley Beach and is a graduate of the U. S. Coast Guard Academy. He later earned a Master of Science Degree in Mass Communications from Florida International University.
Captain McPherson married Molly Baker McPherson, a native of St. Paul, Minnesota. They have four children; Rory 9, Kathleen 8, and 7 year old twins, Conor and Quinn.