30-year Coast Guard vet finds USAA’s principles align with his branch’s values

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After 30 years in the U.S. Coast Guard, Dale Folsom wanted to begin a new chapter somewhere that matched the branch’s core tenets of honor, respect and devotion to duty.


Already a USAA member, Folsom applied for a position in USAA’s Tampa office.


Folsom will join other members and veterans of his branch as the Coast Guard celebrates 228 years Aug. 4. “The service taught me to be honest and forthright.,” said Folsom, a wealth adviser with the company. “USAA allows me to remain consistent with the values I learned in the Coast Guard, learn more about our members and what they need and not to be a salesperson.”



A 16-year-old Folsom decided the Coast Guard was right for him as he watched a search-and-rescue boat speed through the water while he was fishing in Florida. He joined at 17, and aboard the first flight of his life for basic training, he decided to go into aviation.


“All it took was getting onto the airplane, and feeling the pressure sink me back in the seat on takeoff – I thought it was the coolest ride ever. I never looked back,” said Folsom. “What I loved about the Coast Guard was I could be on a training mission in the day and then be called upon in a real mission six hours later.”


His military career may have started with an impulsive decision, but his post-military career path was more carefully considered. While serving, he realized the investment firm he was using was charging steep fees and commissions. He wanted to affect change, so he pursued an education in finance.


Folsom continues to maintain military ties at USAA, including serving as the event planner for the VETNet – the organization’s diversity in Tampa. And he’s found his service has helped him bond with the members he serves.


“I enlisted, did boot camp, did officer training, I had similar experiences to all of them. I’ve been stationed on every coast. Wherever someone calls me from, no matter their background, I can connect with them,” he says. “I’m gratified when a member thanks me. I’m making a difference. I may not be saving them out of the water, but I could be setting them on the road to financial security.”