The United States has confirmed Admiral Linda Fagan as the newest commandant of the US Coast Guard (USCG), replacing Admiral Karl Schultz who retired at the end of May.

This historic moment sees Linda, who was the service’s first female four-star admiral, become the first woman to lead the USCG and a US armed service division.

Linda has been a member of the USCG since 1985. During her distinguished career, she has worked across all seven continents, has more than 15 years of experience as a marine inspector and served on the icebreaker USCGC Polar Star.

In 2014 she became the Commander of the First Coast Guard District, the first woman in history to hold that post.

In June 2021 Linda assumed the role of Vice Commandant of the USCG.

In her role, she has worked closely with the International Maritime Organization on flag and port state issues, and developed the International Ship and Port Security Code and the Consolidated Maritime Labor Convention.

She is also the USCG’s longest-serving active duty Marine Safety Officer, which has earned her the distinction of being the service’s first-ever Gold Ancient Trident, an award that honours distinguished service members in the Marine Safety field.

Linda taking the reigns as head of the US Coast Guard is a landmark moment, not just for the US armed services, but for female search-and-rescue operators all over the world, said Theresa Crossley, IMRF’s chief executive officer.

I’m incredibly proud of the strides that women are taking in maritime search and rescue today. More and more women are stepping into key leadership positions, becoming role models for other women and inspiring others to pursue a similar career. Linda Fagan is a fantastic example of role women can make in helping people at sea, she added.

The representation of women in the USCG continues to flourish. When Linda joined the academy in 1985, only 8% of her graduating class were women.

Today, roughly 40% of the current crop of academy cadets are women.

In 2021, the IMRF launched its #WomenInSAR initiative that looks to raise the profile and increase the representation of women in maritime search and rescue (SAR) around the world.

Click here to find out more about the IMRF’s #WomenInSAR initiative.

Image credit: DVIDS