Coast Guard Commander Molly Waters, who served on at least three Great Lakes Coast Guard vessels and was commanding officer on two of its cutters, the Hollyhock and the Neah Bay, died this week after her motorcycle was struck while she was driving to work, the military reported.
Waters, a Greybull, Wyo. native who often talked about her love for the Great Lakes, was riding her motorcycle to U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C., on Monday when she was struck by another vehicle, the Coast Guard said today. Waters was taken to George Washington University Hospital, where she initially was listed in critical condition and placed on life support.
“It’s with great sadness that the Coast Guard lost a great leader and friend. CDR Molly Waters, an inspiration to so many and friend to anyone she met,” staff of the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Alder, based in Duluth, Minn., posted on Facebook. They described Waters as a “tenacious Black hull sailor and Cutterman,” and offered the following quote in tribute:
“She stood in the storm, and when the wind did not blow her way, she adjusted her sails” – Elizabeth Edwards.
Waters’ last Great Lakes assignment was as commanding officer of the Hollyhock, which ended in 2018.
In an interview with the Port Huron Times Herald in 2016, Waters said being commanding officer of the Hollyhock had long been a dream for her. She was stationed aboard the original cutter Mackinaw in 2003, when the Hollyhock was commissioned, and said she followed the new ship’s progress and kept hoping she’d be able to land an assignment with its crew.
“None of (the other cutters) do ice breaking like she does,” Waters told the newspaper. “It’s very humbling to be part of this crew.”
Because Waters had chosen to be an organ donor, a special “honor walk” ceremony was scheduled for early this morning prior to the procedure. “It is requested that as many shipmates as possible join forces to honor a fellow Coastie and show support to the family,” the military wrote.
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