The commandant of the Coast Guard was sworn in on the primary of the month, however the twenty seventh Coast Guardsman to carry the place is not like any of her predecessors.
Adm. Linda Fagan, beforehand the department’s second in command, assumed the place on June 1 at a change-of-commandant ceremony by which outgoing head Adm. Karl L. Schultz was relieved of his duties and retired. The ceremony befell on the U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C., on a sweltering summer time day with a crowd in attendance to witness the primary lady to steer a department of the U.S. armed forces assume the function.
“I am immensely grateful to the numerous pioneers who paved the best way — pioneers like Adm. [Owen] Siler, Dorothy Stratten, Ida Lewis, Dorothy McShane, Elizebeth Friedman. I am proud to be part of this lengthy historical past of service, dedication, and groundbreaking, and I am dedicated to carrying these rules ahead,” she stated in the course of the ceremony.
The profession army lady, having spent practically 40 years within the service, highlighted Siler, the fifteenth commandant of the service, who was within the function when the Coast Guard allowed girls within the service department. Regardless of solely assembly him as soon as, she stated he “had an outsize influence on me as an individual,” and he or she wore the shoulder boards he wore whereas he held the place in the course of the ceremony.
“Once I lookup within the group, no less than only a couple years in the past there was not a ton of range,” Adm. Fagan stated in an interview with the New York Instances. “Even nonetheless we don’t have the variety we want on the senior management ranks. However as I look again, it’s all there and coming — actually for girls, and we nonetheless want to extend our variety of underrepresented minority males.”
President Joe Biden additionally spoke on the occasion, congratulating Fagan on her new function whereas celebrating the historic nature of her appointment to the power, which has existed for greater than 230 years.
“This second of acceleration of worldwide challenges and hybrid threats that don’t cease at any border, there’s no another certified to steer the proud ladies and men of the Coast Guard, and he or she will even be the primary lady to function commandant of the Coast Guard — the primary lady to steer any department of america Armed Forces. And it’s about time,” he stated. “Look, along with her trailblazing profession, Adm. Fagan reveals that younger folks, younger folks getting into service, that we imply it once we say there aren’t any doorways — no doorways closed to girls.”
Earlier than taking over the brand new function, Fagan served because the department’s vice commandant for roughly a 12 months, and earlier than that, she was commander of the Coast Guard Pacific Space, overseeing operations from the Rocky Mountains to the waters off the east coast of Africa.
Her journey within the Coast Guard demonstrates the development of the acceptance and admittance of ladies within the providers. When she graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in 1985, she was in simply the sixth class that included girls, per the New York Instances. She enrolled within the academy the 12 months after the primary class that included girls had graduated.
Almost 4 a long time later, Fagan’s daughter, a lieutenant within the army, is a part of a army by which girls maintain senior positions.
“And, I’d add, that features her daughter, Coast Guard Lt. Aileen Fagan. Now that you just’re — I completely embarrassed you, haven’t I? Since you appear like my son used to look after they’d say, ‘Vice President Biden and his son, Main Biden.’ And he’d go, ‘Oh, dad,'” the president continued. “Each little child rising up as we speak who goals of serving their nation will know that that is what an admiral and a service chief of america Armed Forces seems to be like. I imply it sincerely. It issues.”
Traditionally, army management has predominantly comprised white males, however that has modified in recent times.
In 2014, now-retired Navy Adm. Michelle Howard turned the primary lady to achieve the four-star rank, whereas Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., who at the moment leads the Air Pressure, is the primary black officer to turn into a service chief. Lloyd Austin can be the primary black man to be secretary of protection, and Lt. Gen. Michael Langley, not too long ago nominated to steer U.S. Africa Command, would turn into the primary black four-star Marine Corps officer if confirmed by the Senate.
“We’re getting previous the ‘firsts,'” Fagan informed the New York Instances. “I hope someday quickly we’re speaking concerning the second feminine commandant and the third feminine commandant, and that we’ll have a Black male commandant. We, as a service, have to mirror the society that we serve, and creating alternative for everybody within the service is vital.”