First Responders

Biden Nominates Four-Star Fagan To Helm US Coast Guard

April 6, 2022Joshua Skovlund

Linda L. Fagan is promoted to the rank of admiral during a ceremony at US Coast Guard Headquarters, June 18, 2021. Fagan is the Coast Guard’s first woman to serve as a four-star admiral, and President Joe Biden has nominated her to become the service’s first female commandant. US Coast Guard photo by Lt. j.g. Pamela Manns.

Twenty-six men have led the US Coast Guard. On Tuesday, April 5, President Joe Biden announced that his nominee to be the 27th commandant of the sea service is a woman, Adm. Linda Fagan.

And if she’s approved by the US Senate, she’ll be the first woman to helm any of the armed forces. Fagan is slated to replace the current commandant, Adm. Karl L. Schultz, on June 1 in Washington, DC.

Schultz is retiring, and Fagan’s fleeting up. She’s been Schultz’s vice commandant since June 18, 2021, serving as his top acquisition officer and the manager of the headquarters staff. In a prepared statement, Schultz called four-star Fagan an exceptional officer, blessed with “the keen intellect, the depth of operational experience, and the well-honed leadership and managerial acumen to serve with distinction” as the next commandant.

US Coast Guard
At Naval Base San Diego on Dec. 7, 2018, then-Vice Adm. Linda Fagan, right, commander of US Coast Guard Pacific Area, congratulates Royal Canadian Navy Lt. Cmdr. Kristina Gray, the commanding officer of the maritime coastal defense vessel Edmonton, for the work she and her crew performed during counterdrug operations in the Eastern Pacific. US Coast Guard photo by Fireman Taylor Bacon.

Fagan is poised to lead more than 41,000 active-duty personnel, 6,200 reservists, and 8,500 civilian employees worldwide. Her nomination has already received bipartisan support on Capitol Hill, with Republicans on the US Senate’s Commerce Committee tweeting thanks to Biden for having “finally nominated an outstanding leader” for the Coast Guard.

With 36 years in uniform, Fagan rose through the ranks of the marine inspectors, the Coast Guard experts on maritime safety who scrutinize US-flagged cargo, passenger, and fishing vessels; offshore oil platforms; towing vessels and barges; and all foreign ships visiting US ports.

Fagan also commanded the Coast Guard’s Sector New York, the service’s Pacific Area, and Defense Force West. Her other flag officer assignments included helming the Coast Guard’s programs for operations, policy, and capabilities and serving as the deputy director of operations at US Northern Command.

A US Coast Guard Academy graduate, Fagan received a Master of Science degree in marine affairs from the University of Washington and a master’s in national resource strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.

Read Next: Watch This Coast Guard Rescue of a Shark-Bit Crewman Near the Bahamas

Joshua Skovlund
Joshua Skovlund

Joshua Skovlund has covered the 75th anniversary of D-Day in France, multinational military exercises in Germany, and civil unrest during the 2020 riots in Minneapolis that followed the death of George Floyd. Born and raised in small-town South Dakota, he grew up playing football and soccer before serving as a forward observer in the US Army. After leaving the service, he earned his CrossFit Level 1 certificate and worked as a personal trainer while earning his paramedic license. He went on to work in paramedicine for more than five years, much of that time in the North Minneapolis area, before transitioning to a career in multimedia journalism. Joshua is married with two children. His creative outlets include Skovlund Photography and Concentrated Emotion, where he publishes poetry focused on his life experiences.

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