Wednesday, January 12, 2011

History: Women at the Coast Guard Academy

Posted by: LTJG Stephanie Young
Post written by Scott Price, Coast Guard historian

The recent Compass post on the selection of Rear Adm. Sandra L. Stosz as the next superintendent of the Coast Guard Academy marked a historic occasion but brought up some questions on the history of the Coast Guard, its Academy, and the introduction of women to the Corps of Cadets. Since “first” exclamations draw considerable attention I’ve put together a timeline of events that led to the integration of the Class of 1980 in the summer of 1976. Below is a brief summary of those events and what in fact the Coast Guard may claim as “firsts.”

It may be hard for some to believe, given the overall success of integration efforts, there was a time not very long ago when women were restricted in what they were permitted to do if they wanted to serve their nation in uniform. They’ve only been able to serve in the active-duty and reserve components of the Coast Guard since December 5, 1973, when the separate Women’s Reserve was abolished. Even then, there were still limits to women’s service.

At that time, women were still barred from attending the service’s academy, from entering certain rates, and serving aboard cutters. Nonetheless, the elimination of the Women’s Reserve as a separate and distinct component was the watershed “Women’s Equality” event of the era for the Coast Guard. From that point forward, all remaining restrictions to women’s service were inevitably going to fall by the wayside—it was only a matter of time.

The social, cultural and political forces demanding equality for women had reached a national crescendo by the early 1970s and, after the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment in 1972, changes came more quickly. Ratification seemed certain and with the open support of the Nixon Administration, institutional barriers to women’s service were targeted.

Efforts centered on the integration of the federal academies by the mid-1970s. The distinction of being the first federal academy to admit women belongs to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. They did so in 1974—two years ahead of the other service academies. The movement to admit women into America’s service academies had now begun in earnest. Members of Congress continually introduced bills to force the Naval Academy, West Point, and Air Force Academy to open their doors to women while other Congressmen introduced separate bills that would force open the doors of the Coast Guard Academy.

In late 1974 and early 1975, Coast Guard Academy Superintendent, Rear Adm. Bill Jenkins, upon orders of the Commandant, Adm. Chester Bender, established a planning committee to study the issue of integrating women into the corps of cadets—an issue they had been informally studying for a few years already.

On July 8, 1975, Congressman Lester R. Wolff of New York introduced H.R. 8414 that called for the admission of women to the Coast Guard Academy. Wolff’s efforts were communicated to William Thaddeus Coleman, Jr., the Secretary of the Treasury at the time, who asked the Commandant, Adm. Owen Siler, “Admiral, are there any really valid reasons why women should be kept out of the Coast Guard Academy?” Siler replied in the negative. Coleman then asked “Do we have to wait for Congress to act upon this?” Again, Adm. Siler responded in the negative.

On July 29, 1975, Representative Charles H. Wilson of California introduced H.R. 9011 “A Bill Relating to the Admission of Female Individuals to the Coast Guard Academy.” On the same day Wolff introduced H.R. 9013 with the same name as Congressman Wilson’s bill. Three similar bills introduced in less than two months—the Coast Guard (and DOT) needed to act on their own or Congress would force the issue. But the bureaucratic wheels were already in motion.

On August 11, 1975, the Department of Transportation issued a press release announcing Adm. Siler’s proclamation “that women will join the Corps of Cadets at New London” and noted that “his decision to admit women to the Academy was based on the many contributions he expected women to make in the peacetime missions of the Coast Guard.” To placate Congress, “he noted that current statutes do not bar the admission of women to the Coast Guard Academy and that action by Congress will not be required. This decision is also in keeping with the strong commitment of the leadership of the Department of Transportation to assure equal rights for women.”

The other service academies followed suit on October, 7 1975, when President Gerald Ford signed Public Law 94-106 (DOD Authorization Act) that carried an attached rider which authorized the admission of women into the other three armed service academies, two months after the Coast Guard made their announcement.

On February 3, 1976, the Coast Guard Academy announced the first round of appointments for the Class of 1980, and the list included three women. The Coast Guard News Release announcing the appointments proudly stated: “Of the four largest federal service academies (Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard) the Coast Guard Academy is the first to offer an appointment to a woman.”

So the Coast Guard may legitimately claim two “firsts” regarding the introduction of women to federal armed service academies:
1) They were the first to open the application process to women.
2) They were the first to issue appointments to women.

The Academy cannot claim to be the first to have women become part of the Corps since the Class of 1980 reported to New London the same day as cadets at the Air Force Academy on June 28, 1976.

One factor to take into account regarding the success of these efforts though and one that is often overlooked is the pragmatism, foresight, professionalism, and devotion to duty of the Coast Guard’s senior leadership. Although many privately (and some even publicly) admitted they did not agree with the integration efforts at the Academy, they still implemented, with minimal disruption to the service’s abilities to fulfill its missions, the new policies as mandated by their civilian leaders.

Surface Navy Association Kicks Off Symposium

From Defense Media Activity - Navy

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Surface Navy Association kicked off its annual three-day National Symposium in Arlington, Va., Jan. 11.

The theme of this year's symposium is "Surface Naval Forces: Relevant Capabilities for a Challenging Future."

The symposium provides an opportunity for discussions on a broad range of professional and career issues for the surface community. The event also featured government-contracted defense companies, suppliers and commands who exhibited the latest in surface warfare technology and shared future projects and technologies.

The event's first keynote speaker was Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert. He addressed some of the challenges and opportunities ahead for surface Sailors.

"We've got to sustain the fleet. We've had a decade of higher op tempo than we anticipated and we planned for and that has taken its toll. We have got to get to the expected service life of our units," said Greenert.

Other speakers on the first day included Vice Adm. Derwood C. Curtis, commander, Naval Surface Forces/commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet; and Rear Adm. Frank C. Pandolfe, director, Surface Warfare Division.

"The Surface Navy is the foundation of the 'Global Force for Good,' operating in the maritime domain with capabilities that span the range of military operations. The pride and professionalism of our Sailors and the dedication of their families makes it possible for us to expertly carry out our Maritime Strategy," said Curtis.

One of the highlights of this year's symposium was an enlisted roundtable that provided junior enlisted Sailors an opportunity to ask questions of senior enlisted Navy personnel.

"There's a lot of things that our enlisted Sailors may not know, in particular with the surface Navy," said Commander, Naval Surface Forces Atlantic Force Master Chief (SW/AW) James Williams. "Sometimes that information doesn't always get down to the lowest person, so that's a great opportunity to address us straight on one-on-one."

The symposium also featured a junior officer roundtable.

"So it really gives the opportunity for people, regardless of pay grade or whether they're civilian or military to come talk about things that are surface warfare related outside of their normal daily work routine," Capt. Mary Jackson, Naval Station Norfolk commanding officer.

The Surface Navy Association was incorporated in 1985 to promote greater coordination and communication among those in the military, business and academic communities who share a common interest in naval surface warfare and to support the activities of Surface Naval Forces.

Airmen Missing From Vietnam War Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of two servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

Air Force Col. James E. Dennany, 34, of Kalamazoo, Mich., and Maj. Robert L. Tucci, 27, of Detroit, will be buried as a group Jan. 14, in the Dallas-Ft. Worth National Cemetery.

On Nov. 12, 1969, Dennany and Tucci were flying the number three aircraft of three F-4Ds escorting an AC-130 gunship on a night strike mission over Laos.  After the gunship attacked six trucks and set two of them on fire, the AC-130 crew’s night vision equipment was impacted by the glow from the fires.  They requested that Tucci attack the remaining trucks.  During the attack, gunship crew members observed anti-aircraft artillery gunfire directed at Tucci’s plane followed by a large explosion.  No radio transmissions were heard from the F-4D following the attack and no parachutes were seen in the area.  An immediate electronic search revealed nothing and no formal search was initiated due to heavy anti-aircraft fire in the area.

Beginning in the mid-1990s analysts at DPMO and the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) developed case leads they collected from wartime reporting and archival research.

In 1994, a joint U.S.-Lao People’s Democratic Republic (L.P.D.R.) team led by JPAC analyzed leads, interviewed villagers, and surveyed five reported crash sites near the record loss location with negative results.

In 1999, during another joint survey, officials in Ban Soppeng, Laos, turned over remains later determined to be human, two .38 caliber pistols and other crew-related equipment that villagers had recovered from a nearby crash site.  Between 1999 and 2009, other joint U.S.-L.P.D.R. teams pursued leads, interviewed villagers, and conducted three excavations.  They recovered aircraft wreckage, human remains, crew-related equipment and personal effects.

JPAC scientists used forensic tools and circumstantial evidence in the identification of the remains.

With the accounting of these airmen, 1,702 service members still remain missing from the conflict.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO website at or call 703-699-1169.

Southern Partnership Station 2011 Delivers Wheel Chairs, Aid

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW) Jeffery Tilghman Williams, High Speed Vessel (HSV) 2 Swift Public Affairs

MANTA, Ecuador (NNS) -- The Southern Partnership Station (SPS) 2011 team aboard High Speed Vessel (HSV) 2 Swift delivered more than 30,000 pounds of Project Handclasp donations for Ecuadorian medical facilities at Puerto Manta in Ecuador Jan. 10.

A generator and 99 wheel chairs were unloaded from the ship's mission bay by members of the joint military and civilian crew as U.S. Embassy officials, Ecuadorian Sailors, reporters and representatives from various hospitals and clinics in the region awaited.

"This is what this mission is all about," said SPS 2011 Mission Commander Cmdr. Mark Becker. "It's about sharing and helping each other, because we share common interests, and both our nations are committed to sustaining a solid partnership."

"The products delivered will be put to good use by people in our country. Those in need will benefit from this donation, and it's welcomed and appreciated," said Ecuadorian Capitan de Navio Jaime Moscoso, joint commander for the Manabi Region, who provided a team of Ecuadorian Sailors to assist with the offload of supplies.

Project Handclasp is a U.S. Navy program that accepts and transports educational, humanitarian and goodwill material donated by America's private sector on a space-available basis aboard U.S. Navy ships for distribution to foreign nation recipients. The approximate value of the items donated is $93,000.

The wheel chair pallets were donated by Hope Haven International Ministries in Iowa, and the generator was donated by Bayside Medical Missions and Educational Outreach Inc. in Alabama.

"We are very thankful and appreciative for this donation," said Liliana Andrade de Garcia, Club Rotario Portoviejo Gobernadora Electa. "On behalf of our organization and our country, I'd like to say thank you."

The HSV 2 crew has delivered Project Handclasp materials to Chile and Haiti so far as part of SPS 2011 and is scheduled to deliver items to El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua before the conclusion of the mission in April 2011.

SPS is an annual deployment of U.S. ships to the U.S. Southern Command Area of Responsibility (AOR) in the Caribbean and Latin America, involving information sharing with navies, coast guards and civilian services throughout the region.

Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command (COMUSNAVSO) is the naval component command for U.S. Southern Command and is responsible for all naval personnel and assets in the AOR. COMUSNAVSO conducts a variety of missions in support of the U.S. Maritime Strategy, including theater security cooperation, relationship building, humanitarian assistance and disaster response, community relations and counter-illicit trafficking operations.

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CNO Presents 'Call to Service' Award to Retired CMC

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Robert Stirrup, Commander, Navy Region Hawaii Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- The chief of naval operations (CNO) presented the Presidential Volunteer Service Award to a retired U.S. Navy command master chief during an awards ceremony at Sharkey Theatre on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Jan. 7.

James Taylor, volunteer Pearl Harbor survivor liaison for Navy Region Hawaii, was awarded with the Call to Service pin by Adm. Gary Roughead.

Taylor has been personally responsible for planning, overseeing and conducting approximately 250 burial honors for Pearl Harbor survivors, and has donated more than 3,000 hours of his time during the last two years to the Navy.

"For 54 years, you have served our nation in uniform, in civil service, and now as a volunteer for Commander, Navy Region Hawaii," said Roughead. "It is individuals like you who make our Navy and nation a better place, and I know your work is especially appreciated by all who have received your support. Your actions bring great credit to our Navy, and I send you my personal thanks for extending yourself to veterans and their families."

Taylor stated that he was both surprised and honored when he got called on stage to receive the award.

"I was shocked when I first found out that I was receiving an award from the president of the United States," Taylor said. "It is an honor to be nominated for this, and it is an honor to have it presented by the CNO."

Taylor also said he could not have earned the award by himself.

"There are a lot of people in my life that helped me get to where I'm at, and I feel they are the true reason why I'm standing where I'm at today," Taylor stated.

The Presidential Volunteer Service Award Call to Service pin is reserved for those who have committed themselves to more than 4,000 volunteer hours during their lifetime.

The President's Council on Service and Civic Participation was established in 2003 to recognize the valuable contributions volunteers are making throughout the community.