Written by Chief Warrant Officer Kimberly R. Smith, Coast Guard Academy Public Affairs.
With the graduation of the class of 2012, another year passes at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. But with this class and institution, as with the Coast Guard itself, the year has been anything but routine. Many firsts and new beginnings were seeded at these cultivated grounds and now germinate into our fleet.
Before this final year for the class of 2012 even kicked-off, the campus celebrated the appointment of the first female superintendent of any U.S. federal service academy, Rear Adm. Sandra Stosz. Stosz, a 1982 graduate of the Coast Guard Academy, is the first female Coast Guard Academy graduate to achieve the rank of flag officer and is a surface operations officer with 12 years at sea.
The very same institution that graduated and later celebrated this historic milestone for women also saw the formation of one of the country’s first gay-straight alliances at a federal service academy. Ensign Chip Hall was one of the founders of this inaugural group and used his experiences to assist other service academies, like the West Point Spectrum club, set up similar organizations.
As with every aspect of cadet life, the academy strives to provide opportunities to broaden each cadet’s experience on their path to become a leader of character and ensure their success when using these lessons in the fleet.
Just in time for four members of the class of 2012 reporting to Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf after graduation, the academy hosted the very first Arctic Conference where those charged with exercising leadership on Arctic policy formulation and implementation discussed emerging issues for the Arctic region.
“I was excited to get on the Bertholf, but even more excited when I found out we were going to the Arctic,” said Ensign Jamie Kim, an Irvine, Calif. native. “It’s a patrol that very few people get to experience, and I feel very fortunate that it will be my first real underway experience.”
“I am always open to seeing and trying out new things,” said Ensign Khiem Nagy, a Tarriffville, Conn. native. “This northern patrol will be one of the many unique opportunities that I will get to experience while I am with the U.S. Coast Guard.”
This summer the Bertholf will fulfill its role as a national asset uniquely equipped to respond support the mission in the Arctic protect America’s national interests as human activity continues to increase and navigable waterways in the region continue to expand.
“Today we face a world of evolving threats, and the qualities you have developed over the last four years at the United States Coast Guard Academy are exactly what our nation needs,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano. “I am confident that all of you are well prepared to excel at whatever comes next, ready to join a long line of leaders in an organization with a rich history.”
This year’s graduating class by the numbers: 233 total graduates
➢ 68 female graduates
➢ 165 male graduates
➢ 197 ensigns will report to cutters
➢ 24 ensigns will report to flight school
➢ 9 ensigns will report to sectors
Congratulations to the Class of 2012, you are now part of the distinguished “Long Blue Line.”