Admiral Linda Fagan Sworn In As Commandant of U.S. Coast Guard, Becomes First Woman Leader of Any Branch of U.S. Armed Forces

June 1, 2022

U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Chair of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, hailed today’s swearing in of Admiral Linda Fagan, who becomes the 27th Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard. Admiral Fagan is the first woman, and first mother, to lead any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Admiral Fagan began her 36-year career as a deck watch officer on the Seattle-based heavy icebreaker, the Polar Star. In 2000, she earned a Master of Science in Marine Affairs from the University of Washington. Admiral Fagan is believed to be the first University of Washington graduate to lead a branch of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Senator Cantwell led Admiral Fagan’s nomination hearing in April. In her opening statement, Sen. Cantwell told Admiral Fagan: “This is a historic moment for our country and for women in the Armed Services. It will be the first time that a woman will lead one of the six branches of the Armed Services. I am hoping that your leadership will also will lead to more progress on getting women recruited and retained in the Coast Guard. That with your help and focus on important issues, like childcare, healthcare, and education that ‘Coasties,’ like your daughter, can have a long career in the Coast Guard.”

In May, Senator Cantwell authored an editorial in the Seattle Times lauding Admiral Fagan’s career milestone titled: “Breaking the U.S. Military’s Glass Ceiling.”

Senator Cantwell also praised Admiral Fagan at the time of her nomination: “From her career beginnings as a deck watch officer on the Seattle-based icebreaker Polar Star, Admiral Fagan has shown strong leadership and a commitment to service that make her an outstanding choice as the Coast Guard’s 27th Commandant,” said Sen. Cantwell. “Upon confirmation, she will become the first woman and mother to lead any branch of the Armed Forces. This nomination proves the value of enacting laws that provide family leave, childcare, and health care access to support talented women in the Coast Guard who have dual roles as service members and parents. Admiral Fagan’s nomination will inspire generations of American women to strive to serve at the highest level in the Armed Forces.”

Video of the ceremony with President Biden is available HERE.

Video of Senator Cantwell’s opening statement at Admiral Fagan’s nomination hearing is available HERE, audio HERE.

Video of Senator Cantwell’s floor speech prior to Admiral Fagan’s confirmation by the Senate is available HERE, audio HERE, and a full transcript HERE.