Admiral Linda Fagan was installed Friday as the first female to serve as the vice-commander of the U.S. Coast Guard and the first female four-star admiral in service history.
Relieved Fagan Adm. Charles Ray during the ceremony at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington. On Wednesday in Alameda, Calif., Rear Admiral Peter W. Gautier relieved Fagan as Acting Commander of the Pacific Zone in a ceremony chaired by Commander Adm. Karl Schultz.
Fagan was appointed by President Joe Biden to the No. 2 position at the USCG on April 19. The Senate confirmed it on Thursday.
“Thank you to Admiral Ray for your service and extraordinary leadership. You have had a huge and lasting impact on our excellent service and we will strive to build on your extraordinary work, ”said Schultz. “Adm. Fagan, it is an honor to welcome you as the first woman to serve as the Four-Star Admiral in the United States Coast Guard, and I congratulate you as you assume the duties of our 32nd Vice-Commander. I am proud to be a part of this historic moment and look forward to leading the Coast Guard alongside you. “
Fagan is a 1985 graduate of the Coast Guard Academy and is the Coast Guard’s very first Gold Ancient Trident, the officer with the longest service history in maritime safety.
Biden noted Fagan’s appointment in his May 19 opening remarks to the Coast Guard Academy, stressing that “we need to see more women at the highest levels of command.”
“We need to make sure that women have the chance to succeed and thrive throughout their careers,” he said. “There is a saying we use in a different context – a Chinese saying that goes, ‘Women support half the world.’ It’s an absolutely stupid position not to make sure they are at least half of what we do.
Ray retired after 40 years of service in the Coast Guard with numerous awards including Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal, five Legion of Merit medals, one Bronze Star medal, two medals of Meritorious Service, one Coast Guard Air Medal, three Coast Guard Commendation Medals and the Coast Guard Medal of Excellence. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas presented him with the Distinguished Service Medal of the Homeland Security Department upon his retirement.
Ray had been Vice Commander since May 2018 and had previously served as Deputy Commander for Operations from August 2016. He graduated in 1981 from the Coast Guard Academy and served at six Coast Guard Air Stations, Alaska in the Caribbean. As vice-commander, he led the recapitalization of the Coast Guard fleet.
“I am extremely proud of the dedication and resilience that I have seen throughout our service and throughout my career,” said Ray. “It has been an honor to serve with the men and women of the Coast Guard and it is my privilege to pass the reigns of Vice-Commander to Admiral Fagan, a true pioneer and an inspiration to so many.”
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