Female on Deck

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Throughout history, women have faced adversity and have overcome expectations set before them. Amelia Earhart flew solo across the Atlantic Ocean, Sacajawea guided and interpreted for the Lewis and Clark Expedition, Harriet Tubman led the Underground Railroad. Through their successes, women have continued to fight for equal rights and opportunities to demonstrate their value and contribute to society and history.

In 1948, Congress passed the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act allowing women to permanently join military service. Since then, women across the country have been voluntarily raising their right hands to serve within the predominately male services and brought their fair share to the mission.

Although women weren’t officially allowed permanent military assignments before 1948, the Coast Guard’s earliest roots incorporate female figures who helped shape the maritime service’s history. Since 1790, women have played a vital role in protecting America’s interests alongside their male counterparts in the Coast Guard.

Lt. j.g. Claire L. Miller talks with duty watchstanders in the engine room aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Dauntless Feb. 20, 2014. As the damage control assistant, Miller is responsible for maintaining the ship's watertight integrity and ensuring the ship can respond effectively to any damage that may be incurred. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Mark Barney)

Lt. j.g. Claire L. Miller talks with duty watchstanders in the engine room aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Dauntless Feb. 20, 2014. . (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Mark Barney)


Today, Lt. j.g. Claire L. Miller is one of two women serving aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Dauntless. As a damage control assistant aboard the Dauntless, Miller is responsible for the structural integrity of the cutter as well as the effectiveness of the crew to respond to damage onboard the cutter during times of emergency.

After graduating from the Coast Guard Academy, Miller stepped up to take on the amount of responsibilities and expectations given to a commissioned officer.

“I chose all 210 and 270-foot cutters because there was more responsibility available for me,” said Miller.

By accepting the responsibility, Miller has accepted the assignment to serve alongside the predominately male crew aboard the cutter.

“I always grew up around a bunch of guys,” said Miller. “After a while, I got used to being in a predominately male environment.”

Regardless of Miller’s gender aboard the cutter, like everyone else, she has a job to do. It is a job that carries the weight of accountability that she chooses not to shy away from.

“I’m expected to hold the standard and support my chain of command,” said Miller. “I ensure the supervisors take responsibility for the duties they are assigned.”

Women in military assignments around the globe continue to overcome obstacles and lift the standards to apply to both genders evenly. Within the services, women hold positions of leadership and express sound judgment that is valued and recognized.

History recognizes those who stand out and offer an impact on the course of society’s path. Flying solo across oceans, guiding and interpreting for an expedition, and leading the Underground Railroad are contributions to history that have made room for more females on deck.

Click the picture for more at Flickr.

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