“No one is qualified to lead the proud women and men of the Coast Guard, and you will also be the first woman to serve as a commander of the Coast Guard, and the first woman to lead any branch of the United States Armed Forces,” Biden said. “The time has come.”
Fagan thanked her parents for their “courage to allow me to begin this journey 41 years ago.”
‘I was sixteen, I declared my intent to enter the academy, full of goodness as only a 16-year-old could attend.’ Fagan said, eliciting laughter from about 1,800 Coast Guard personnel and uniformed guests, And like all good fathers, they said, “Oh, you’ll get over it.”
“I didn’t,” she added.
Fagan, 58, succeeds Rear Admiral Karl Schultz, who is retired.
Fagan was previously deputy captain, a role she held last summer. to her Contracts of Coast Guard Service Includes a tour of the heavy-duty icebreaker Polar Star – the only woman on board – plus missions on every continent. She is also the Coast Guard’s first ancient golden trident, which means she’s the officer with the longest serving record in maritime safety.
In her remarks on Wednesday, Fagan gave a token nod to Admiral Owen W. Sealer, a former Coast Guard commander who has played a key role in integrating women into the service since the 1970s. She told the crowd that the shoulder boards she wore, showing an officer’s rank, were the same as those that Sealer had worn while commanding the service.
“If not for the bravery of Owen Sayer, I don’t think I would have been standing here today,” Fagan said.
Biden’s nomination of Fagan in April followed the president’s promise to diversify the leadership ranks in the government and his administration. On Wednesday, he indicated that Fagan joined the Coast Guard Only five years after the first woman graduated from the academy.
Biden said that women made up 8 percent of Vagan’s Coast Guard Academy graduates in 1985. By contrast, about 40 percent of the academy’s students today are women.
“We need to ensure that women have the opportunity to succeed and thrive throughout their careers, and that means providing support and resources so that women can compete fairly and fully for promotions and making sure that women in their careers are not penalized for having children,” Biden said. “It also means creating an environment in which every member of the armed forces feels safe in the ranks – including from assault and sexual harassment – and where their contributions are respected. “
during Happened last year In a local chapter of the Coast Guard Women’s Leadership Initiative, Fagan appeared with her daughter, Lieutenant Eileen Fagan, herself a 2016 graduate of the Coast Guard Academy.
“That’s the point, is to get that representation,” said Eileen Fagan. “I’ve had it my whole life, knowing that I could be successful in the Coast Guard because I was able to see my mom succeed in the Coast Guard. I think we all want to be able to look up and down the chain, through the positions, and see people who look like us or think Like us and be able to see that representation and know that we can do that too.”
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