Adm. Karl L. Schultz was relieved of his duties as commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard by Adm. Linda L. Fagan during a military change of command ceremony presided over by President Biden at U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters Wednesday.
With the change of command, Adm. Fagan becomes the first woman to lead a branch of the United States military. “It was about time,” President Biden said at the ceremony.
“Today we are witnessing a long-standing tradition at the USCG. A change of command, as a new admiral assumes the leadership of our nation’s longest-serving continuous sea service. It is both a bond with the earliest days of our nation and a new milestone in our history. We’ve used those phrases lightly, but it’s a big deal,” President Biden said. “Throughout his decades of service, she has demonstrated exceptional skill, integrity and commitment to our country. There is no one better qualified to lead the proud men and women of the Coast Guard. And she will also be the first woman to serve as Commander of the Coast Guard, the first woman to lead a branch of the United States Armed Forces. And it was time.”
“With her trailblazing career, Adm. Fagan shows young people entering the service that we really mean it when we say, ‘There are no closed doors for women,'” the president said.
President Biden appointed Admiral Fagan to become the 27th Commander of the U.S. Coast Guard in April 2021. Previously, she became the first four-star female Admiral in Coast Guard history when she was sworn in as as Vice Commander in July 2021. As Commander, she will lead 55,700 active members, reserves and civilians, and approximately 26,000 auxiliary volunteers.
In keeping with tradition, Adm. Fagan wore the epaulets of Adm. Owen Siler, the 15th commanding officer of the service who opened the doors of the Coast Guard Academy to women in 1975. Although he only met Silor once, Adm. Fagan acknowledged “the outsized impact of this decision.
“If it wasn’t for [Adm.] The courage of Owen Siler, I wouldn’t be here today,” Admiral Fagan said. “I’m wearing his shoulder pads that he wore as a commander, just to recognize the long blue line.”
Addressing her comments to the Coast Guard workforce, Fagan said she was “honoured and honoured” to serve as commanding officer.
“I have always been inspired by the Coast Guard professionals who serve in all of our missions around the world,” she said. “Thank you for your dedication, hard work and service. It is my greatest privilege to work on your behalf.
Schultz became the 26th Commandant of the United States Coast Guard on June 1, 2018. Immediately following the change of command, Schultz retired from the Coast Guard after 39 years of service. He also received the Homeland Security Distinguished Service Medal from Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas of the Department of Homeland Security. Secretary Mayorkas congratulated Adm. Schultz for overseeing a 20% increase in the Coast Guard’s budget and its largest shipbuilding effort since World War II.
“The men and women of the Coast Guard deserve all the credit for what we have accomplished,” Schultz said. “I am honored to have led the best Coast Guard in the world as a Commanding Officer over the past four years, which has presented unique challenges. Our collective resolve, penchant for action, unparalleled devotion to duty, courage and dogged determination have strengthened the Service’s brand and standing, both at home and abroad.
Before becoming vice-commander, Adm. Fagan served as Coast Guard Area Commander Pacific beginning June 2018. Fagan’s professional history also includes commanding New York Area, in addition to operational assignments, including sea service aboard from the USCGC Polar Star and more. more than 15 years as a marine inspector. She has also worked with the International Maritime Organization and the International Labor Organization on flag state and port state issues, including the development of the International Code for the Security of Ships and Ports. (ISPS) and the Consolidated Maritime Labor Convention. Fagan is also the Coast Guard’s first-ever Gold Ancient Trident, as the officer with the longest service history in maritime security.
A graduate of the Coast Guard Academy in 1985, Adm. Fagan holds a bachelor’s degree in marine science, as well as a master’s degree in maritime affairs from the University of Washington and a master’s degree in national resource strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.
“The Coast Guard is a more ready, relevant and responsive service thanks to Admiral Schultz’s incredible leadership,” Fagan said. “I thank Admiral Schultz and Mrs. Dawn Schultz for their selfless service over the past four years and wish them fair winds and following seas.”