Captain W. Russell “Russ” Webster is the Coast Guard Academy’s 2017 Distinguished Alumni.

He is an author, consultant in maritime legal matters, and adjunct instructor in Homeland Security at University of New Haven.


Webster is the author of The Pendleton Disaster Off Cape Cod:  The Greatest Small Boat Rescue in Coast Guard History, and, The Tragic Sinking of the Sol-e-Mar Off Martha’s Vineyard. His latest work, Lost in Charleston’s Waves: The Tragedy of the Sailing Vessel Morning Dew, will be published in late 2018.

His books are based on decades as a Search and Rescue expert following a twenty-six career in the Coast Guard. During his decades in the long blue line, Captain Webster coordinated regional operations in the Northeast after 9/11, and served as Incident Commander for both the 1999 JFK, Jr., and Egypt Air 990 accidents.

Webster’s retirement from military service in 2003 did not end a federal career.

Next was a tenure with the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) as Deputy Director for all airports and transportation venues in Massachusetts. There Captain Webster occupied the Number Two post at Logan International Airport in Boston. He helped develop two new TSA initiatives that eventually evolved into national programs: Screening of Passengers by Observation Technique (behavior detection) and the use of TSA screeners at other transportation venues sites, such as rail stations.

In 2008, Webster was selected as New England’s first-ever FEMA Federal Preparedness Coordinator. In this role, he implemented national programs to assist elementary school students to prepare themselves and their families for all sorts of disasters. Webster also initiated a nationally-recognized FEMA interface between the federal agency and over 200 Northeast colleges and universities as well as a unique agreement with the American Red Cross for shared preparedness efforts. He also coordinated FEMA Region 1’s initial responses to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. The International Association of Emergency Managers designated him a Certified Emergency Manager in 2012.

Webster is a graduate of the Coast Guard Academy, and holds master’s degrees from both the Naval Postgraduate School and the Naval War College. The Commandant of the Coast Guard and the Foundation for Coast Guard History recognized Webster in 2012 for his 30-year commitment to service history.

 I am available for speaking engagements before listening audiences, and I value the opportunity to share in-depth information about a range of topics related to the the three federal agencies (USCG, TSA, FEMA) and experiences (JFK Jr./Egypt Air 990 air crashes, 9-1-1, Boston Marathon bombing) and my writings. If there’s anything I can answer for you about the content of the lecture, do not hesitate to contact me.