Matthew Ross, UofL student and Coast Guard lieutenant
Matthew Ross, UofL student and Coast Guard lieutenant

Matthew Ross is a Lieutenant in the United States Coast Guard and a University of Louisville Online Master of Science in Criminal Justice student.

He and his spouse Shelby live in the Los Angeles area where he is the Operations Officer for the Maritime Safety and Security Team, Los Angeles Long Beach. Ross oversees all training, deployments, and operations for a unit whose primary missions include Maritime Law Enforcement, Drug/Migrant Interdiction, Search and Rescue, and Ports, Waterways, and Coastal Security.

Originally from San Diego, Ross joined the Coast Guard in 2015 and was stationed in Seattle for one year where he worked in base security and port operations. After attending Boatswain’s Mate “A” School, his next assignment took him to San Diego, where he served as a Non-compliant Vessel Pursuit Coxswain and Search and Rescue Coxswain. During this period, he was the small boat operator and person in charge during law enforcement, search and rescue, and migrant/drug interdiction cases on the maritime border of the United States and Mexico.

Following this assignment, Ross attended Officer Candidate School in 2018, and was assigned to New Orleans as the Deputy Enforcement Division Chief and Command Duty Officer, responsible for coordinating all law enforcement and search and rescue cases in Louisiana. From Louisiana, Ross moved to his current position in Los Angeles.

During his time in the Coast Guard, Ross has qualified as a Deployable Team Leader, Flood Response Team Leader, Counter Drug Boarding Officer, Command Duty Officer, Fisheries Boarding Officer, and Non-Compliant Vessel Pursuit Coxswain. He has traveled across the country for operations from Alaska to Puerto, as well as deploying 10 times in support of hurricane responses across the Gulf of Mexico.

His favorite Coast Guard memories come from periods when deployed for hurricane responses and mass rescue operations. He said hurricane deployments are especially rewarding because you are often, “on your own with minimal resources and you must find a way to rescue people with often no means of communication.”

During hurricane response in 2018, Ross and his team located an elderly care facility which had been without power for over 24 hours, had no communication, and their generators were about to kick off. The team was able to procure school busses and the team loaded 127 senior citizens and their life-sustaining equipment onto the busses and took them to safety.

Ross’  awards and decorations include One Coast Guard Commendation Medal, Three Coast Guard Achievement Medals, Three Letters of Commendation, One Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, One Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Advanced Boat Forces Insignia, and various other team/unit awards.

­He started UofL’s Online Master of Science in Criminal Justice program in spring 2020 and is in his final semester. He said he chose UofL due to the university’s great reputation, and because a friend highly recommended UofL Online to him. As a UofL Online student, he has been able to continue his education while taking classes from five different states over the past three years.

He hopes to use his Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree to help compete for promotion to Lieutenant Commander, and then to use the skills he learned as he continues his career as a law enforcement supervisor.

Not only has UofL challenged him as a student, but he has become “a better leader and thinker.” Ross said he has enjoyed taking courses which pushed him outside of his comfort zone and challenged him to be a critical thinker, adding that the entire Criminal Justice Department is “tremendous.”

On Aug 4, 2022, UofL recognizes and celebrates the 232nd birthday of the U.S. Coast Guard and its precursors, the Revenue Marine, the Revenue Cutter Service, and the U.S. Life Saving Service.