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Senate confirms first female US military service chief

Adm. Linda Fagan (US Coast Guard/Released)
May 13, 2022

On Thursday, Adm. Linda L. Fagan was confirmed as the commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, making her the service’s first woman chief — and the first service chief of the entire U.S. military.

“It is with deep pride that I congratulate Admiral Linda L. Fagan on her confirmation by the Senate as Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard. Admiral Fagan is the Coast Guard’s first woman to hold the rank of four-star admiral,” President Joe Biden said in a statement. “Today, she again makes history not only as the first woman to lead the Coast Guard—but also as the first woman Service Chief of any U.S. military service. Admiral Fagan’s leadership, experience, and integrity are second to none, and I know she will advance the Coast Guard’s mission to ensure our nation’s maritime safety and security.”

Fagan is the current Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard. She will be replacing Adm. Karl Schultz, who is retiring later this month after having been in the role since 2018.

“My administration is committed to seeing more qualified women in senior leadership and command roles; making sure women can succeed and thrive throughout their military careers,” his statement continued. “Today, Admiral Fagan’s confirmation as Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard signals to women and girls across our nation they have a place in protecting their country at the highest level.”

Biden had nominated Fagan to serve as Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard in April 2021. She was confirmed and assumed those duties in June 2021. The nomination and subsequent promotion to four-star admiral also made her the first woman to achieve the rank and position.

Prior to serving as Vice Commandant, Fagan was serving as the commander of the Coast Guard Pacific Area, which oversees all Coast Guard missions from the Rocky Mountains to the waters off the East Coast of Africa. She concurrently served as the commander of Defense Force West, which provides Coast Guard mission support to the Department of Defense and other Combatant Commanders.

Fagan graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in 1985 and received the Coast Guard’s first-ever Gold Ancient Trident, for the officer with the longest service record in the Marine Safety field.

“A great day for the Coast Guard! Congratulations @VComdtUSCG on your confirmation to serve as our Service’s 27th Commandant. You will lead our incredible Coast Guard Team into the future, protecting our homeland and advancing our prosperity and National Security interests,” Adm. Schultz tweeted.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas also offered his congratulations to Admiral Fagan.

“I am immensely proud to congratulate Admiral Linda L. Fagan on her historic confirmation as Commandant of the United States Coast Guard @USCG. Admiral Fagan is an extraordinary leader, trailblazer, and public servant,” Mayorkas wrote on Twitter.