Rear Adm. Richard Timme is joined on stage during his retirement ceremony by his two daughters and his wife, Bettina. Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Linda Fagin, who led the ceremony, enjoys the moment. (Photo by Frank McCormack)

Timme Retires As Commander Of Coast Guard District 8

The Eighth Coast Guard District has a new commander, following the retirement of Rear Adm. Richard Timme and the installation of Rear Adm. David Barata. Adm. Linda Fagan, commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, led the dual ceremony, which was held June 23 at the Julia Street Cruise Terminal in New Orleans.

Fagan was sure to highlight the significance of the Eighth District, which oversees seven Coast Guard sectors, scattered across 26 states and including the entire Gulf of Mexico coastline and offshore waters, the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, and the Mississippi, Ohio, Missouri, Illinois and Tennessee river systems.

“The Eighth District is absolutely our largest district,” Fagan said. “It’s a wide-ranging, expansive AOR, from the Gulf Coast to the nation’s heartland. It’s absolutely critical to the maritime transportation system and the maritime industry. Eleven of the 15 busiest ports in the United States are located on the Gulf Coast in the Eighth District, and they are visited by 27,000 deep-draft vessels each year. Just as important as the coastal ports are the 14,000 miles of waterways on the inland rivers that power the region’s economic engine, our nation’s economic engine. There are 90,000 transits of towing vessels each year in this district.”

And as wide-reaching as it is, the Eighth District’s scope of responsibility is equally as broad. Fagan praised the district for its accomplishments under Timme’s leadership, which included the transition from the MH-65 Dolphin helicopter to the MH-60T Jayhawk, the completion of the Subchapter M phase-in period, the fulfillment of the district’s search and rescue and emergency response duties, partnership with the Mexican government to inhibit illegal fishing, management of waterway usage in both high water and low water, and the direction of response and recovery operations during Hurricane Ida in August and September of 2021, shortly after Timme took over as commander of the district.

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“Perhaps the greatest challenge and greatest success over the past two years was the district’s response to Hurricane Ida,” Fagan said. “The storm came ashore as a dangerous category 4 hurricane, the second most intense hurricane to make landfall in Louisiana. But the Eighth District was ready.”

Members of the Eighth District engaged in more than 400 search and rescue cases and more than 2,500 potential pollution cases once the storm passed, Fagan said.

“The D8 team rose to the occasion at every opportunity,” Fagan said. “They excelled with the work that needed to be done to reconstitute the port, engaged the mission support enterprise, and just really ensured the region got back on its feet and we were ready to continue to fulfill our role here in the Eighth District.”

Turning to Timme, Fagan thanked him for his performance, leadership, compassion and his family-first approach.

“I know this has been a family affair for the Timmes, and I thank you all for that,” Fagan said.

Fagan said one way to describe Timme’s career is “diversity of assignment.” Throughout the course of Timme’s 32 years in the Coast Guard, his service assignments included Seattle aboard the Polar Star; El Paso, Texas; a marine safety field office in New Orleans; St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands; Portland, Maine; Tampa, two stints at the Coast Guard’s headquarters; a time at the National War College (where he met his wife, Bettina); the marine safety office in Pittsburgh; Sector Ohio Valley, where he served as commander; and the Eighth District for the past two years. Fagan also highlighted Timme’s dedication to family, particularly as he took parental leave following the birth of his two daughters.

“Every officer’s career is a journey,” Fagan said, later adding, “His journey is truly an inspiration for any of the Coast Guard officers in the marine safety program, for anyone who is leading by always putting their people first, and for anyone balancing a demanding career with dedication to his family. Rich Timme has modeled the way for those of us who aspire to all of those things.”

True to that description, Timme’s two daughters joined him on stage several times during the ceremony.

Addressing the crowd gathered for the ceremony, Timme thanked his Eighth District team, along with many colleagues by name whom he served with over the years. Timme particularly thanked his commanding officer during his time in Tampa, who allowed him the space to care for his mother who died from cancer while he was there. He also thanked his father, who, during a heart-to-heart conversation when he was at the Coast Guard Academy, convinced him to stay, and his brother, who has given particular attention to their father during the past couple of years.

Timme described how his family really “coalesced” during their time in New Orleans and that, while they are moving back to the D.C. area, they are in no way “racing out of here.”

Finally, Timme thanked his wife for her love and support.

“The miracle that is you, our life, our family is driven by you, our locomotive,” Timme said. “I’m still in shock when I look back at the random occurrences that brought us together and have sent us on this path. … Thank you for your patience, your understanding, for your support of our Coast Guard career,” he said. “I’m so excited for this next chapter as we move back to our house and start whatever our adventure looks like from here.”

Rear Adm. David Barata

Barata arrived in the Eighth District after serving as commander of the Coast Guard’s Personnel Service Center in Washington, D.C. Prior to that, he served as chief of the Office of Budget at Programs. His other assignments include commanding officer of Activities Europe, along with tours in Sector Jacksonville, Fla., Marine Safety Office of Providence, R.I., and Marine Safety Office of Miami. Barata is a 1993 graduate of the Coast Guard Academy. He and his wife, Barbara, have three children.

Caption for photo (click on photo for full image): Rear Adm. Richard Timme is joined on stage during his retirement ceremony by his two daughters and his wife, Bettina. Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Linda Fagan, who led the ceremony, enjoys the moment. (Photo by Frank McCormack)