White House Nominates USCG's First Female Four-Star Admiral

Vice Adm. Fagan at a change of command ceremony in 2016 (USCG)

Published Apr 19, 2021 9:59 PM by The Maritime Executive

The White House has nominated Vice Adm. Linda L. Fagan to be the next Vice Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, marking the first time that a woman is set to become a four-star admiral in the service. 

Fagan currently serves as the commander of the Coast Guard Pacific Area, overseeing all Coast Guard missions between the Rocky Mountains and the East Coast of Africa. She also serves as commander, Defense Force West and provides Coast Guard mission support to the Department of Defense and Combatant Commanders. 

Fagan graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in 1985, and her background is in marine safety: she served 15 years as a marine inspector before working her way up the ladder. She is the Coast Guard’s first-ever Gold Ancient Trident, the officer with the longest service record in the specialty. On the way, she has worked with the IMO and ILO on the development of the ISPS code and the MLC; commanded Sector New York; and served sea duty aboard the icebreaker Polar Star, among many other duties. 

“Vice Adm. Fagan is an outstanding leader with 36 years of Coast Guard operations, policy-making, joint service, and interagency experience,” said Adm. Karl L. Schultz, Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard. “Throughout her distinguished career, she has been a top performer and a trailblazer. As the Coast Guard’s first female four-star admiral, and President Biden’s nominee to serve as the Coast Guard’s 32nd Vice Commandant, Adm. Fagan will be instrumental in moving the Service forward at a critical juncture in our history.”

Pending confirmation, Fagan is expected to relieve current Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard Adm. Charles W. Ray on June 18. Ray, a distinguished helicopter aviator, has held the post since 2018.