Rear Adm. Tillotson was born in Denver, Colo. He graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor's degree in Economics and earned his Master's degree in National Security Strategy from the National War College. He has earned designation as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal officer, Surface Warfare officer and naval parachutist.
Tillotson's operational tours include: officer in charge, EOD Mobile Unit 1 Det 9; officer in charge, EOD Mobile Unit 3 MCM Det; officer in charge, EOD Mobile Unit 5 Det Guam; EOD officer to commander, Middle East Force Mine Counter Measures Group in the Persian Gulf during Operation Earnest Will.
Tillotson commanded EOD Mobile Unit 6, and EOD Mobile Unit 3. He served as commander, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group 1 and commander, Task Force 56 deployed to commander, U.S. 5th Fleet in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. His task force provided extensive clearing operations that opened the Iraqi Ports of Umm Qasr and Az Aubayr.
Tillotson most recently served as deputy director of Operations, U.S. Central Command. Additional staff tours include: EOD/Mine Warfare officer at commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet; assignment to the Bureau of Naval Personnel as the special operations community manager; EOD detailer and placement officer; chief staff officer, EOD Group 2; deputy director, Standing Joint Force Headquarters-North, U.S. Northern Command and commander, Navy Expeditionary Combat Command.
Tillotson's personal decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Legion of Merit with gold star, Bronze Star Medal with the Combat Distinguishing Device, the Meritorious Service Medal with three gold stars, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with two gold stars, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement, and various service and campaign awards.