Paul Stephen Coakley

Published 4:06 pm Monday, April 8, 2024

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Paul Coakley, age 84, a resident of the Cypress Landing community in Chocowinity, NC, died Tuesday April 2, 2024.

Paul was a graduate of Columbia College, Columbia MD. In the late 1980’s Paul completed his military career, retiring as an IS (Intelligence Specialist) Master Chief, the highest ranking Navy enlisted rank.  His last assignment was as intelligence coordinator for the Navy’s TOMAHAWK Cruise Missile.  For this position, Paul was responsible for coordinating with various US Intelligence Agencies to acquire key precision targeting data and technologies for the Navy’s Cruise Missile Support Activities (CMSA’s).  His work ethic and dedication to duty earned him respect throughout the National Intelligence Community. After retiring, Paul continued to support the Program and CMSA’s as a consultant with Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), and took it upon himself to pass on experience and knowledge to a number of younger engineers in the Imagery and Navigational data Intelligence architecture and, notably, was a founding architect of leading the US Navy’s precision targeting capabilities.  After a few years, the Navy civilian position of director for the Tomahawk Washington Planning Center (WPC) came open and Paul was selected for this key position.  The WPC was where new capabilities were developed and tested, and special use missions for the Tomahawk missile were analyzed.  The Center was window for high ranking military and civilian leaders of US military strategy to come and view the capabilities and technologies involved in using the Tomahawk to achieve key National missions.  Paul led the tours and demonstrations and continued to be the Program’s representative in military intelligence activities.  He continued in this role through the early 2000’s.  In this position, he supported the sale of US Tomahawk capabilities to the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom.  His reputation was now on the international scale, and this later expanded to the UK Storm Shadow precision strike missile.  Later international outreach efforts to provide Foreign Military Sales of Tomahawk precision strike technology to other US allies followed.  He was known throughout the US/UK military and intelligence community as the guy who could get things done.  Paul retired (for the third time – he used to tell his friends he would keep retiring until he got a retirement gift he wanted) and once again was a consultant for SAIC, finally retiring for good in 2013.

Paul is survived by his wife Patricia of Chocowinity, brother Michael of Barre Vermont, sister Maryellen Szetela of Intervale New Hampshire, as well as nieces, nephews, and dear friends across the land.  Paul was preceded in death by his brother Jack of Greensboro NC and brother Bob of Billerica Massachusetts.

A funeral Mass will be held at 10:00 AM Friday April 12, 2024, at Saint Peter Catholic Church in Greenville NC.  The funeral service will be followed by a Celebration of Paul’s life for family and friends at the Cypress Landing Bay Club, Chocowinity NC.

In lieu of flowers the family requests a memorial donation and dedication be made to the Tunnel to Towers Foundation 2361 Hyland Boulevard, Staten Island , New York 10306.

Condolences may be addressed to the family online by visiting

Paul Funeral Home & Crematory of Washington is honored to serve the Coakley family.