no avatar

Coast Guard has long history of commissioning minority officers

• Feb 27, 2018 at 5:00 PM

As Black History Month comes to a close, the U.S. Coast Guard’s official blog sends us a reminder that it has been commissioning minority officers for the past 75 years.

William H. Thiesen, the Coast Guard Atlantic Area historian, wrote the latest in the series called “The Long Blue Line.” In his essay, Thiesen notes that the U.S. Coast Guard has had a history of ethnic diversity that rivals all other federal agencies.


During World War II, the Coast Guard first opened up its academy to minority trainees.

“In 1942, the service began to admit minority candidates to its Reserve Officer Training Course (now known as Officer Candidate School) then located at the Academy,” Thiesen wrote. “Juan del Castillo completed the Reserve Officer Training Course (ROTC) in December 1942 to become the first of several minority trainees to do so.

“In 1943, the African-American officer candidates entered the ROTC Program,” he continued. “On April 13, 1943, Ensign Joseph Jenkins graduated from ROTC. He became the first commissioned U.S. sea service officer of African-American ancestry since Revenue Cutter Service officer Michael Healy. Healy was a very light-skinned African-American cutter captain whose ethnic heritage remained unknown during his lifetime.”

Read the complete post: “The Long Blue Line: The Coast Guard Academy – commissioning minority officers for 75 years”

The opinions expressed by bloggers are not necessarily shared by the Grand Haven Tribune or its employees. They are the sole opinion of the bloggers, who are not employed by or compensated by the Tribune.

Recommended for You

    Grand Haven Tribune Videos