“I am very grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given
and the education I received via the Coast Guard,” she said.
“I wanted to set an example for my siblings and show them
that you don’t necessarily need to be a product of your
RECRUITED FOR ACADEMY
Harris was recruited right out of high school and was
deployed to the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut,
where she spent four years studying government
with a focus on international relations. After receiving her
Bachelor of Science degree in 2018, she was commissioned to
serve the next two years on the USCGC Valiant stationed at
Mayport. The next promotion brought her to Fort Pierce as
the new commander.
“It’s an honor to be entrusted with such responsibilities so
early in my career,” she said. “The crew of the Ibis is committed
to each other and the American people and they’ve
welcomed me with the utmost respect. There are 11 of us,
eight men and three women, who command the ship and we
are like family.”
The Coast Guard, like the other military services, has
struggled with diversity for decades and has long been
dominated by white men. Women make up almost 15% of the
Coast Guard’s active-duty force, while men make up 85%.
The percentage of African Americans is even lower, fluctuating
between 6% and 10%. Harris, as an African American, is
an anomaly who has defied the gender and racial odds and
broken through the glass ceiling for female commanders.
“I’ve never experienced any prejudices within the Coast
Guard and the organization does everything possible to >>
Lt. j.g. Karida
the USCGC Ibis
stationed at the
Station Fort Pierce.
Crew members on the Ibis take a
break from their duties to converse
on the stern of the ship.
ANTHONY INSWASTY PHOTOS