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Sandra Leigh Stosz

Rear Admiral Sandra Leigh Stosz was chosen by Coast Guard commandant admiral Robert J. Papp to become superintendent of United States Coast Guard Academy in 2011. As such, she is the first woman to head a United States military service academy. At the time of her appointment to head Coast Guard Academy, she was the United States Coast Guard’s Director of Reserve and Leadership, a command situated near Fort McNair in the District of Columbia.

In her role as leader of the Coast Guard Reserve, early in 2011 she announced plans to raise the Coast Guard Reserve to 8100 personnel from the 7600 Coast Guard Reservists available in 2010; the reason was partly experience with the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, during which the Coast Guard struggled with insufficient reserve personnel to support the active-duty contingent.

Stosz, a 1982 graduate of the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, holds a master of business administration degree from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management in Evanston, Illinois. Stosz is the first female graduate of Coast Guard Academy to achieve flag rank.
Katmai Bay (WTGB 101), the icebreaker tug commanded by Stosz in 1990

In 1990, as a Coast Guard lieutenant (O-3), Stosz became the first woman in United States military and naval history to command a Coast Guard cutter in the Great Lakes. The cutter was USCGC Katmai Bay (WTGB 101), which, homeported in Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan, has operated since her 1979 launching in the Great Lakes as a unit of the Ninth Coast Guard District. With a length of 140 feet and a crew of 17 (3 officers, 14 enlisteds), Katmai Bay serves as both an icebreaker and a tugboat.

Stosz has never married. In a People Magazine profile, she described her Coast Guard career as her lifetime adventure. Her parents were chemical engineer Max Stosz and his wife Joy. Sandra Stosz has three siblings, all brothers.


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