USCG Makes History

1st Ever Woman Vice CommandantCoast Guard Vice Commandant VADM Vivien S. Crea. USCG Photo.

On June 2, the Coast Guard and one of its women made history. VADM Vivien S. Crea became the Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard, making her the first woman ever to serve as a deputy service chief in any of the US Armed Forces. She is serving as second in command under the service’s new Commandant ADM Thad Allen, who took command of the Coast Guard on May 25. She is also the Agency Acquisition Executive.

“I am honored to have had the opportunity and jobs to be able to qualify for this position,” VADM Crea told a CBS affiliate during a recent interview in Hampton Roads, VA. “And I’m very, very aware of the extremely qualified women with tremendous potential right behind me.”

VADM Crea, formerly the Atlantic Area and the Maritime Defense Zone Atlantic commander, has seen quite a few Coast Guard “firsts” in her long and distinguished military career. More than 30 years ago, VADM Crea joined the Coast Guard and she later became the first female aircraft commander, first woman to command an air station and the first woman to hold flag rank. She has flown the HC-130 Hercules turboprop, HH-65 Dolphin helicopter and Gulfstream II jet. The three-star admiral’s previous assignments also include Chief Information Officer and Director of Research and Development for the Coast Guard; Chief, Office of Programs (budget development and advocacy); Commanding Officer, Air Station Clearwater, FL; Executive Assistant to the Commandant of the Coast Guard; Commanding Officer, Air Station Detroit, MI; Operations Officer, Air Station Borinquen, PR; and Coast Guard Aide to President Reagan.

The Fort Belvoir, VA, native is an MIT Sloan Fellow and holds master’s degrees from MIT and Central Michigan University, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas. Her military decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit (four awards), and the Meritorious Service Medal, among others.

The Coast Guard is a multi-mission, maritime service within the Department of Homeland Security and one of the nation’s five armed services. Its core roles are to protect the public, the environment, and US economic and security interests in any maritime region in which those interests may be at risk, including international waters and America’s coasts, ports and inland waterways. The Coast Guard has 39,000 active-duty and 8,100 Reserve members worldwide. In the Coast Guard, all jobs and opportunities are open to women. To learn more about the Coast Guard or the Coast Guard Reserve, visit

June 2006

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