Biden honors first woman to lead U.S. armed forces branch (Infographic)

Adm. Linda Fagan becomes commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard

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EVAN VUCCI/Associated Press

Adm. Linda Fagan arrives for a change of command ceremony at U.S. Coast Guard headquarters, June 1, in Washington. Adm. Karl L. Schultz is being relieved by Adm. Linda Fagan as the Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard.

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden hailed Adm. Linda Fagan as new commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard and the armed forces’ first female service chief, declaring during a change of command ceremony on Wednesday, “It’s about time.”

“The trailblazing career of Admiral Fagan shows young people entering the services, we mean what we say: There are no doors — no doors — closed to women,” Biden told around 2,000 cheering guests at Coast Guard headquarters.

Fagan relieved Adm. Karl L. Schultz, and service chiefs from other military branches and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas attended the ceremony.

“This is what an admiral and service chief in the United States armed forces looks like,” the president said.

He thanked Fagan for all the work she did throughout her career to “open the doors of opportunity just a little bit wider” allowing “those following behind you a way through.”

“Now we need to keep working to make sure Admiral Fagan may be the first but not the only,” Biden said. “We need to see more women at the highest levels of command in the Coast Guard and across every service.”

Biden didn’t mention Russia’s war with Ukraine in his address, but said “the choices the world makes today” will “shape the direction of the world throughout the 21st century.”

The Biden administration will call on the Coast Guard more frequently to combat the threats of climate change, he said. Wednesday marked the first day of a hurricane season that is anticipated to be “the seventh straight year of above-average hurricane activity in the Atlantic.”

Biden also called the Coast Guard an “essential element” of his administration’s Indo-Pacific strategy, and said he plans to engage to guard against overfishing by Chinese interests.

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