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Biden swears in Admiral Linda Fagan as first female U.S. Coast Guard Commandant

Adm. Karl L. Schultz was relieved as Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard by Adm. Linda L. Fagan during a military change-of-command ceremony presided over by President Joseph R. Biden, Wednesday at U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters. 

“Today we witness a tradition longstanding in the USCG. Change of Command, as a new admiral assumes leadership of our nation’s oldest continuous seagoing service. It’s both a connection to the earliest days of our nation, plus a new milestone in our history. We’ve used those phrases lightly, but this is a big deal,” President Biden said. “Throughout her decades of service, she’s demonstrated exceptional skill, integrity and commitment to our country. There’s no one more qualified to lead the proud men and women of the Coast Guard. And she will also be the first woman to serve as Commandant of the Coast Guard, the first woman to lead any branch of the U.S. armed forces. And it’s about time.”

“With her trailblazing career,” President Biden said, “Adm. Fagan shows young people entering service that we mean it when we say, “There are no doors closed to women.”

Keeping with the tradition of wearing shoulder boards passed down from a senior officer, Adm. Fagan wore the shoulder boards of the Adm. Owen Siler. As the service’s 15th Commandant, he opened the Coast Guard Academy’s doors to women in 1975. Despite having met Silor only once, Adm. Fagan acknowledged “the outsized impact of that decision.”

 The 27th Commandant directed her remarks to the Coast Guard workforce. “I’m honored and humbled to serve as your Commandant. I’ve always been inspired by the Coast Guard professionals serving in all our missions around the world,” she said. “Thank you for your dedication, your hard work, and your service. It is my greatest privilege to work on your behalf.”

Immediately following the change-of-command, Adm. Schultz retired from the Coast Guard after 39 years of service to the Nation. He was awarded the Homeland Security Distinguished Service Medal from Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas, 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 2.

Admiral Fagan assumed the duties as the 27th Commandant following her service as the 32nd Vice Commandant. As Vice Commandant, Adm. Fagan served as the chief operating officer, responsible for executing the Commandant’s Strategic Intent, managing internal organizational governance, and serving as the component acquisition executive. (USGC photo)