(WASHINGTON) — Adm. Karl Schultz was relieved as commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard by Adm. Linda Fagan during a change-of-command ceremony presided over by President Joe Biden on Wednesday at Coast Guard headquarters.
Immediately following the ceremony, Schultz retired from the Coast Guard after 39 years of service to the nation. He was awarded the Homeland Security Distinguished Service Medal from department Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
“The men and women of the Coast Guard deserve all the credit for what we have accomplished,” said Schultz. “I’m humbled to have led the world’s best Coast Guard as commandant during the last four years, which presented some unique challenges. Our collective resolve, bias for action, unrivaled devotion to duty, true grit and dogged determination burnished the service’s brand and standing, both in the homeland and abroad.”
Schultz became the 26th commandant of the Coast Guard on June 1, 2018. A component of the Department of Homeland Security, the Coast Guard is comprised of more than 57,000 active-duty, reserve and civilian Coast Guardsmen and more than 25,000 volunteer Coast Guard Auxiliarists.
Schultz’s leadership raised the profile of the service both here at home and across the world as the Coast Guard experienced an unprecedented demand signal for its operational capabilities and partnering skills. During his four-year tenure, Schultz championed a “readiness narrative” that raised the service’s funding levels, allowing renewed internal focus on the Coast Guard’s workforce, as well as prolific shipbuilding, aviation asset recapitalization, and a signature technical revolution.
Fagan assumed the duties as the 27th commandant following her service as the 32nd vice commandant. As vice commandant, Fagan served as the chief pperating officer, responsible for executing the commandant’s strategic intent, managing internal organizational governance, and serving as the component acquisition executive.
Fagan is the Coast Guard’s first woman to hold the rank of four-star admiral. On Wednesday, she again made history not only as the first woman to lead the Coast Guard, but also as the first woman service chief of any U.S. military service.
“The Coast Guard is a more ready, relevant, and responsive service thanks to the incredible leadership of Adm. Schultz,” said Fagan. “I thank Adm. Schultz and Mrs. Dawn Schultz for their selfless service over the last four years and wish them fair winds and following seas.”
A change of command is a time-honored ceremony that signifies the absolute transfer of responsibility, authority and accountability from one person to another.
– U.S. Coast Guard