New Coast Guard vice commandant takes the reins

Fagan became the first woman to hold the rank of admiral in the Coast Guard.

Adm. Linda L. Fagan relieved Adm. Charles W. Ray as 33rd vice commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard on Friday, June 18, in a change of command at the U.S. Coast Guard headquarters.

Fagan most recently served as the commander of the Coast Guard Pacific Area, overseeing all Coast Guard operations in the Pacific, the Coast Guard said in a news release. The command covers more than 74 million square miles of ocean, from the western U.S. states, including Alaska, to Asia, and from the Arctic to Antarctica.

Ray retired after 40 years of service as Fagan became the first woman promoted to admiral in the Coast Guard, according to the Coast Guard.

“I am extremely proud of the dedication and resiliency 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 commandant to Adm. Fagan, a true trailblazer and inspiration to so many.”

Ray served as vice commandant since May of 2018, according to the news release, and oversaw recapitalization of the service’s vessels and aircraft. Fagan, who previously served as commander of the Coast Guard Pacific Area, will now serve as the service’s second-in-command.

“Thank you Adm. Ray for your service and your extraordinary leadership. You have made a tremendous, and long-lasting impact on our great service, and we will strive to build upon your extraordinary work,” said Adm. Karl L. Schultz, commandant of the Coast Guard, in the news release. “Adm. Fagan, it is an honor to welcome you as the first woman to serve as a four-star admiral in the U.S. Coast Guard, and I congratulate you as you assume the duties as our 33rd Vice Commandant. I am proud to be part of this historic moment and look forward to leading the Coast Guard alongside of you.”

Change of commands are formal military ceremonies signifying the transfer of authority and responsibility from an outgoing officer to an incoming one.

• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757-621-1197 or