Coast Guard promotes first female Material Maintenance Specialty Chief Warrant Officer

SEATTLE — Chief Warrant Officer Laura E. Freeman became the first female Material Maintenance Specialty (MAT) warrant officer in Coast Guard history during a ceremony on Friday.

Before the promotion ceremony Freeman held the rank of chief Damage Controlman, which is a position predominantly held by men. With her promotion to MAT, she is the only female of nearly 50 Coast Guardsman to hold the position within the Coast Guard.

Warrant officers serving in the MAT specialty are operational and technical specialists in the field of repair, maintenance, damage control and firefighting aboard ships and shore units. They organize and supervise personnel in ship repair and maintenance activities including electric arc welding, oxyacetylene welding and cutting, woodworking, metal working, piping and drainage, and boat repairs to name a few.

Freeman is currently stationed at the Response Boat-Medium Production facility in Kent, which is responsible for developing the 45-foot RB-Ms. The RB-M replaces the aging 41-foot Utility Boats.

Freeman enlisted in the Coast Guard in March 1995 and attended Basic Training in Cape May, N.J. Her previous assignments include Coast Guard Group Key West, Fla.; Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk, based in Key West; Training Center Yorktown, Va.; Marine Safety Office Boston; Coast Guard Cutter Sherman, based in Alameda, Calif.; Integrated Support Command Alameda, Facilities Division; Pacific Area Training Team, located in Alameda; and most recently the Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star, based in Seattle.

Freeman’s personal awards include three Coast Guard Achievement Medals, two Letter of Commendation Medals and the Permanent Cutterman Insignia, along with many other service awards. She’s been married to her husband Craig for 10 years, and together they have three children.

Freeman will transfer due to her promotion and serve as the housing officer at Coast Guard Base Portsmouth, in Portsmouth, Va.

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