Tag: african american

The Long Blue Line: Early African American service—first to serve and first to sacrifice

Very rare and faded photograph showing the original Pea Island Life-Saving Station crew and keeper, Richard Etheridge, on the left side. (U.S. Coast Guard)

African Americans comprise the longest serving minority in the United States Coast Guard. They were the first to serve and, in many ways, were the first to sacrifice, pioneering the way ahead for all minorities in the Coast Guard, U.S. military, and the nation.

The Long Blue Line: Keeper Miles—working with a disability in the 1800s

Illustration of a man with prosthetic leg climbing a ladder. (A.A. Marks Company 1888)

Born in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1845, John Miles was a keeper in the United States Lighthouse Service who continued to serve after losing his leg. After the Civil War, Miles lived in Fernandina, Florida, and served at Amelia Island’s North Range Lights located in the extreme northeast corner of Florida. There he lived and worked from 1873 into the 1880s and likely until his death in 1895.

The Long Blue Line: Master Chief McShan—leader, mentor, trailblazer and FRC namesake

SK1 McShan before her rating change from SK to YN. At time of the photograph, McShan was Civil Rights Counselor/Facilitator at TRACEN Petaluma. U.S. Coast Guard photo

Master Chief Angela M. McShan, a 20-year veteran of the Service, was the first African-American woman to achieve the enlisted rank of master chief and was a distinguished role model for the Coast Guard’s core values. Later this year, she will be honored as namesake of the new Fast Response Cutter Angela McShan.

The Long Blue Line: Merle Smith – the first African American graduate of the Coast Guard Academy

During his time in the service, Merle Smith did not consider himself a pioneer of ethnic diversity at the Academy or in the U.S. military. His primary concern was to serve his country and apply his military training like any other Coast Guardsman. Smith proved a great credit to his service and country and many minority men and women have followed in his path. He paved the way for numerous African American officers and served as a member of the long blue line.

The Long Blue Line: An African-American Hero Serving in a Segregated Service

Image of Coast Guard cutter Comanche, of the Greenland Patrol, shown in wartime camouflage paint scheme. Coast Guard Collection.

For many individuals it takes a lifetime to learn the skills of leadership, while others come to it naturally. African-American Charles Walter David, Jr., namesake of Fast Response Cutter David, knew instinctively how to lead others despite barriers imposed by the segregated society of mid-20th century America. David served in the United States Coast Guard early in World War II, when the military services barred African Americans from the officer ranks and limited them largely to non-senior enlisted ratings.

Coast Guard Heroes: Charles Walter David Jr.

Charles David Jr.

This Compass series chronicles the first 14 heroes the Sentinel-class Fast Response Cutters have been named for. These men and women, who stood the watch before us, lived extraordinary lives as they lit the way for sailors in times past, braved gunfire in times of war and rescued those in peril at sea. As Coast

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Living the American dream: VADM Manson Brown

Vice Adm. Jody A. Breckenridge joins hands with Vice Adm. Manson K. Brown after being relieved as Pacific Area commander. Vice Adm. David Pekoske, Vice Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, presided over the ceremony. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Caleb Critchfield.) “My experience is that the Coast Guard is one

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Guardian of the Week: LTjg La’Shanda Holmes

This week’s Guardian of the Week post comes to us from Naval Air Station Whiting Field where history was made as Lieutenant (junior grade) La’Shanda Holmes had her wings pinned on and became the first African American female helicopter pilot in the United States Coast Guard. Lt. Jeanine Menze, the first African American female aviator

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Guardian of the Week – LT Felicia Thomas

Today, at 9 a.m., LT Felicia Thomas became the first female African American to command a Coast Guard cutter as the Commanding Officer of CGC PEA ISLAND. Congratulations to Lieutenant Felicia S. Thomas for becoming the first female African American to command a Coast Guard cutter! During a change of command ceremony today at 9

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