President Biden on Wednesday committed to ensuring more women reach the highest ranks of the armed forces as he celebrated Adm. Linda Fagan’s becoming the first female commandant of the Coast Guard.
Adm. Fagan, who relieved retiring Adm. Karl Schultz from his post as commandant, is the first woman to lead a branch of the armed forces.
“It’s about time,” Mr. Biden said during Wednesday’s change of command ceremony. “Adm. Fagan is part of a generation of pioneering women in the force. And this ceremony is a historic first.”
He said Adm. Fagan’s promotion to the highest-ranking officer in the Coast Guard was one earned “through a career of outstanding leadership and accomplishment.”
Adm. Fagan has served on all seven continents throughout her 36 years of service, including an operational tour on the USCGC POLAR STAR icebreaker. Her most recent assignment was as the commander of the Pacific Area.
“Adm. Fagan is a trailblazer,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said at Wednesday’s change of command ceremony. “Coast Guard women have helped shape the service and pioneered the role of women in the federal government and the nation. Now the Coast Guard has its first woman commandant. Today is a historic day for the United States Coast Guard, a historic day for the United States.”
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But Mr. Biden said there is still more work to be done to ensure the Coast Guard and all the branches of the armed forces reflect the full strength of diversity including at the highest levels of our leadership.
“This ceremony is a historic first,” he said. “Now we need to keep working to make sure Adm. Fagan may be the first but not the only.”
“We need to see more women at the highest levels of command and the Coast Guard and across every service in the armed forces,” he said.