My Coast Guard
Commentary | July 26, 2022

Honoring leaders for their diversity and inclusion efforts

By David M. Santos, U.S. Coast Guard Academy External Affairs

“Tomorrow looks different. So will we.”- Adm. Linda Fagan, U.S. Coast Guard Commandant

For many years now, a major goal of the U.S. Coast Guard has been for the service to be more reflective of the population it serves. In order to realize that vision, the service is seeking to broaden the diversity of its workforce. 

As the sole accession point for all Coast Guard officers, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy plays a significant role in shaping the future of the service. Four members of the Academy staff recently earned national recognition for their contributions toward supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts to help make that goal a reality.

“These four distinguished awards are indicative of all the hard work being done across this institution, and the dedication of our staff and faculty to the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion,” said Rear. Adm. Bill Kelly, Academy Superintendent.

The NCAA recognized Dr. Dan Rose, director of athletics, as a champion of diversity and inclusion for his work in advocating and advancing inclusive efforts in the athletics program. 

Rose focused on commemorating underrepresented Coast Guard figures, including Dr. Hallie Gregory, the first African American head coach at a military academy; Emlen Tunnell, the first African American NFL Hall of Fame inductee and World War II hero; and the legendary all Black crew of U.S. Life Saving Station 17 from Pea Island, N.C.

Capt. Michael Fredie, director of admissions, earned the Blacks in Government (BIG) Military Meritorious Service Award. The award criteria include military and civilian members of the federal workforce who have created job or training opportunities that support and contribute to the advancement of all members, including women and minorities, in government service consistent with merit principles. 

Fredie’s leadership of the Admissions Office directly contributed to continuously rising retention rates of highly diverse classes of cadets, which enhanced the Academy’s mission to graduate service-ready leaders who reflect the people they will serve.

Dr. Aram deKoven, chief diversity officer, earned the NAACP Roy Wilkins Renown Service Award, which recognizes outstanding accomplishments of members of the workforce who support civil rights in the armed services and civilian workforce. This award is presented annually to one Coast Guard service member and one civilian employee.

By leading efforts to design and implement culturally relevant programing, deKoven directly contributed to shaping cadets into culturally conscious leaders of character ready to serve in the Coast Guard and beyond.  

Lt. Jacob Brown, admissions officer, earned the Capt. Edward R. Williams Coast Guard Award for excellence in diversity, which is managed by the Coast Guard’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion. The award recognizes Coast Guard Officers who have championed initiatives to achieve, value, and manage diversity in the service.

Brown serves as an advisor to the Academy’s Genesis Council, the institution’s oldest affinity council formed to support African American cadets throughout their 200-week experience. He also serves as an active and influential member of the Academy Minority Outreach Team (AMOT). 

Together, Rose, Fredie, deKoven, and Brown are tirelessly working toward making a more diverse and inclusive service. As Kelly concluded, “The commitment that these four individuals display on a regular basis is helping us build a better Academy and Coast Guard for all.”