Fagan breaks glass ceiling as first female Coast Guard Commandant

The Senate on Wednesday confirmed Adm. Linda L. Fagan as the 27th Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard. Photo credit Coast Guard photo

For the first time in history, a woman will be at the helm of one of America’s military services.

The Senate on Wednesday confirmed Adm. Linda L. Fagan as the 27th Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard.

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“Within the Coast Guard and across the Department of Homeland Security, Admiral Fagan is admired as a role model of the utmost integrity, and her historic nomination is sure to inspire the next generation of women who are considering careers in military service,” Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement.

President Joe Biden nominated Fagan to lead the Coast Guard, which is a part of Homeland Security, in April. She will succeed Adm. Karl Schultz who has served as Coast Guard Commandant since 2018.

Fagan became the Coast Guard’s first female four-star admiral when she became vice commandant in June 2021. She also holds the longest service record in the marine safety field and is the Coast Guard’s first-ever Gold Ancient Trident.

Fagan previously served as Commander, Pacific Area, and Commander, Coast Guard Defense Force West. Her past flag assignments include deputy commandant for Operations, Policy, and Capability; commander, First Coast Guard District; and a joint assignment as deputy director of operations for Headquarters, United States Northern Command.

She has also served on all seven continents. Fagan’s operational tours include commander, Sector New York; more than 15 years as a marine inspector, and sea duty in heavy polar icebreaker USCGC Polar Star. Her staff assignments include executive assistant to the commandant and vice commandant and division chief of the Foreign and Offshore Compliance Office.

Fagan holds a Bachelor of Science in Marine Science degree from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, a Master of Science in Marine Affairs degree from the University of Washington, and a Master in National Resource Strategy degree from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.

“Admiral Fagan is a tremendous leader, trailblazer and respected public servant who will lead the Coast Guard across its critical missions with honor,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in April.

Vice Adm. Steven D. Poulin was confirmed by the Senate to become a four-star admiral and succeed Fagan as vice commandant.

Schultz will retire at the end of this month and a change of command ceremony is planned for June 1.

Reach Julia LeDoux at Julia@connectingvets.com.