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Coast Guard Admiral Becomes First Woman to Lead a U.S. Service Academy

Admiral Bob Papp, Commandant of the Coast Guard, reflects on the appointment of Admiral Sandra Stosz. Adm. Stosz is the first woman to command any U.S. service academy.

Today is a significant waypoint not only in Coast Guard history, but in American history.  This morning Rear Admiral Sandra Stosz assumed command as the United States Coast Guard Academy’s first woman superintendent. This also makes her the first woman to command any U.S. service academy.

A 1982 Coast Guard Academy graduate and a surface operations officer with 12 years of sea duty, Admiral Stosz has plotted a course that includes many firsts for women in the military. Her performance in previous assignments as commanding officer for recruit training at Coast Guard Training Center Cape May, N.J., the Director of Reserve and Leadership, and the commanding officer of two cutters, has demonstrated a commitment to building a diverse workforce without boundaries.

With this appointment, Admiral Stosz opens what I hope is one of the few remaining doors to women in uniform.  This is a tribute not only to our country’s rich history of dynamic leaders and trailblazers but also our Service’s ongoing commitment to providing limitless opportunities for every man and woman who wears the uniform.

Admiral Stosz takes over a world class institution of higher learning and leadership development that continues to see increases in minority admissions. On June 27, the class of 2015 reports aboard and will be the most diverse class in history. Of the 290 offered appointments, 33 percent will be from underrepresented minority groups and 32 percent will be women.

I have every confidence that Admiral Stosz’s watch will continue in the finest traditions of Captain John Henriques—the first superintendent, and 38 others, including outgoing superintendent Rear Admiral Scott Burhoe. She will increase the prestige, quality of education and, most importantly, the character of the leaders who as commissioned Coast Guard officers will ultimately lead our Service while protecting the Nation from threats on the sea, protecting people who use the sea, and protecting the sea itself.