It seems unlikely that three sisters from the same family would all attend the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. What seems even more unlikely is they would all choose the same academic major to study, and the same sport to play.
That all may seem improbable unless you know Molly, Micki, and Mary Kate Huynh from Grantville, Pennsylvania.
The Huynh sisters come from a Coast Guard family. Their father, Trac Huynh, is a 1994 Academy graduate who served as a company officer overseeing the professional development of cadets. He met his wife, Katherine Mulligan, at the Academy while she was working at the clinic as a physician.
Their father separated from the Coast Guard to pursue a career in federal law enforcement, and their mother is currently the only full-time active duty flight surgeon in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. Both instilled a strong sense of duty and giving back to the community in their children.
The Huynhs played soccer together as young children. Last season, they played on the Academy’s women’s soccer team during Molly’s senior year, with Micki the second-oldest serving as a midfielder/defender, and Mary Kate playing the defender position.
“Playing a team sport was something my parents always emphasized,” Molly said, “and getting to share that together has made our childhood, high school time and now college years filled with great memories.”
When Micki arrived at the Academy the pandemic was in full swing, which meant that newly arrived cadets didn’t have the opportunity to get to know each other as well as they would have normally. “I really wanted to make my sister feel included and comfortable at the Academy,” Molly said, “Seeing her and playing soccer with her everyday really helped both of us.”
The sisters also all study Marine and Environmental Science (MES), which is a technical, multidisciplinary major that integrates oceanography, chemistry, biology, physics, and math to align with the Coast Guard missions.
Finishing up her senior year, Molly is headed to flight school after graduation this spring. Micki, also excited at the prospect of becoming a pilot, will spend the summer break exploring different professional fields while training at an operational Coast Guard unit.
"The Academy has pushed me to improve my work ethic, hone my talents, and become more self-confident,” Micki said. “The Academy forces you to grow and adapt. I am grateful that I've been able to go on this journey with my sisters by my side."
Mary Kate, who is just completing her freshman year, still has several years of training in front of her before she graduates. When she arrived with the Class of 2026, she was a part of the largest group of women in an incoming class in Academy history.
Women made up 43% of the incoming students last year, just as the Coast Guard shattered one of the last remaining glass ceilings in the military when Adm. Linda Fagan, was named Commandant of the Coast Guard and became the first woman to lead a branch of the U.S. armed forces.
"Since coming to the Academy, I've been able to form so many great friendships,” Mary Kate said. “It's made me excited for a future where I won’t have to work a desk job, and I'm excited to be able to share this experience with my sisters."