President Joe Biden has selected Linda Fagan to be the new vice commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard and that service’s first female four-star admiral, according to a statement released by the service on April 19. The statement said that Fagan would assume her new position on June 18, providing that her nomination received confirmation from the U.S. Senate. The press release can be read in its entirety at news.uscg.mil.

'A trailblazer'

The statement quoted Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Karl Schultz as saying Fagan had been "a top performer and a trailblazer" during her 36 years with the service.

Schultz was also reported as saying Fagan would "be instrumental in moving the service forward at a critical juncture in our history." According to the statement, Fagan is now commander of the Coast Guard Pacific Area, and she has also been responsible for providing support to the Department of Defense.

Supporting the Defense Department as tensions rise with China

The U.S. Coast Guard belongs, not to the Department of Defense, but to the Department of Homeland Defense.

Stars and Stripes noted, however, "Under Fagan's leadership, the service has expanded its presence and engagement in the West Pacific in the face of growing threats from China and North Korea." The newspaper recalled that the Coast Guard defied Chinese claims to sovereignty over the Taiwan Strait by sending one of its cutters through that waterway in 2019.

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The paper also said that, under Fagan's leadership, the Coast Guard had started stationing ships at Guam to prevent boats from China from illegally fishing in American waters. The paper recalled then-National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien saying at the time that the fishing “threatens our sovereignty… and endangers regional stability.” The Stars and Stripes also noted that in 2019 Coast Guard ships had been sent to enforce the international sanctions on ship-to-ship transfers of goods destined for North Korea.

Gold Ancient Trident

USNI News recalled that Fagan had received the Coast Guard's newly-created Gold Ancient Trident for marine safety in 2017. The distinction is given to the officer with the longest record of service in marine safety. As the Gold Ancient Trident holder, Fagan advised the service's workforce on preventative safety measures, USNI News said.

USNI News noted that Fagan had begun leading the service's Pacific Area in June 2018.

Before that, she had been deputy director of operations at the service's U.S. Northern Command, the news organization said.

A recently posted video on YouTube shows Fagan encouraging other service members and the general public to fight the Coronavirus by getting a vaccine.