Women in the USCG and USCGA




From Left to Right, Back Row :BM3 Syndnee Sansone, SK2 Angela Martin,BM2 Sierra Schlager. Front Row: BM3 Brooke Crosley and SN Samantha Hughes.(Photos by Debroah Heldt Cordone)


Women Protecting our Coastline and Country
by Auxiliarist Deborah Heldt Cordone, Flotilla 5-2

March is National Women's History Month and a great time to celebrate women who serve and have a positive impact on the community. The 2016 theme, Honoring Women in Public Service and Government, leads us to recognize women who serve with our local United States Coast Guard Station Siuslaw River.

Although the Coast Guard is the smallest military branch, it has large responsibilities for
the safety and security of our country and coastline, under the umbrella of Homeland Security. Coast Guard women commonly face the front line, since they were fully integrated into active-duty service in the 1970's. The organization has been cutting edge in empowering and embracing women as equals in a normally male-dominated field.

The very first female to lead a US military academy, now Vice Admiral Sandra Stosz, was in the Coast Guard. The first female to command a US military vessel, now Captain Beverly Kelley, also occurred in the Coast Guard. Two women, Vice Admiral Vivian Crea and Vice Admiral Sally Brice-O’Hara, have served as second-in-command officers of the entire service. No other military
branch has seen females promote to that level. Guards women have seen other high positions in the chain of command and there are myriad opportunities in all the ranks.

Women Coast Guard members often have a female mentor to directly guide them and undeniably have many female role models, shown throughout the history of the Coast Guard, to which they aspire. There are currently five active-duty women assigned to Station Siuslaw River in various roles,with an additional three female members active in the local Coast Guard Auxiliary.

Boatswain Mate (BM2) Sierra Schlager, from Jamestown North Dakota,
has been with the Coast Guard since 2008. She is a heavy weather coxswain for the rugged 47' motor lifeboat. She is training to be a "Surfman", the highest qualification a coxswain can achieve in the Coast Guard. The rough bar and surf conditions in this area allow her to continuously practice her skills to achieve her goal and satisfy her deeply imbued sense of mission. She enjoys the "dynamic decisions" her boat handling experiences create. Of the nearly 200 boat stations in the Coast Guard, only 20 stations are located in areas with surf conditions that require Surfmen. Of the approximately 500 Surfmen in the Coast Guard, there are only 6 women who hold that prestigious title. BM2 Schlager is well on her way to such a distinction with amazing boat driving skills, Surfman mentors at the station, and a strong belief in the long-standing Coast Guard adage, "service before self". She is also a role model for other women at the station due to her qualifications and leadership skills. Schlager enjoys hiking, ice hockey, dogs, and other outdoor activities in her off-duty time. She is married to Coast Guard ombudsman Chantal Guzman-Schlager with an 11 year old daughter.

BM3 Brooke Crosley, originally from Fort  Lauderdale Florida, is an integral part of the boat crew and a station watch stander, where she monitors the radio, dispatches and keeps an eye on the river. As part of the boat crew, she trains for towing, Search and Rescue, basic first aid and fire
fighting. With two years in the Guard so far, she wants to be an officer-in-charge of the station some day. She feels it is an "honor and privilege to serve in the Coast Guard" and plans to stay in for a full 20-year career. Crosley also states she likes "the adrenalin rush from going on missions and gets gratification helping people" as reasons for such a career. Crosley previously earned a bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice with a minor in Psychology. She enjoys outdoor activities, weight lifting and movie going. She generously volunteers for the community with Helping Hands, career days at the middle school, beachclean-up and other activities. She is scheduled to attend Boarding Officer school in South Carolina and will then return to Florence to continue her tour here for the next few years.

Samantha Hughes, born and raised in Colorado  Springs, joined the Coast Guard last year and is a Seaman (SN) for boat deck and also performs watch stander duties. Her family has a long tradition in the military, including her father who made the Army his career. She states the Coast Guard is the "right fit" for her personality and goals, and likes using "physical and mental capabilities equally" in her profession. She has yet to choose a specific assignment, but is interested in health services, electrician's mate, or possibly aviation technician training. She loves being in the Coast Guard and "giving the community a peace of mind" with their presence and knowing "other mariners appreciate the service". SN Hughes is certified in basic EMT training and spends many hours as a volunteer firefighter for Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue. She also enjoys swimming, community volunteering, hiking and outdoor adventures. She plans on starting an online degree in Business Administration in the near future. 

SK2 Angela Martin is a career Coast Guard member, serving for over 12 years. Her duties, integral to the operation of any unit, includes accounting, purchasing, and most other logistical functions. She is nearing completion of a bachelor's degree in Environmental Sciences. Martin feels the Coast Guard has given her experiential lessons, education, training and the "tools" needed to be a productive citizen. She enjoys camping, fishing, hiking and spending time with her canine
companion. She plans on transferring to a unit in the Seattle area in the near future, where she is

BM3 Sydnee Sansone, from Apple Valley California, has been in the Coast Guard  for the past 5 1/2 years. She serves on the boat crew and helps around the station as needed. She plans to leave the Coast Guard later this year and pursue a business degree. Sansone states she has learned many life skills and"matured as a person" during her service. In her off-time, she likes snowboarding, shopping and boating.

Women serving in the local Coast Guard Auxiliary include Kristy Cates, a
volunteer fire fighter/Engineer/EMT for Lane Fire Authority and currently a
boat crew leader (coxswain) in the local Flotilla; Deborah Heldt Cordone,
retired law enforcement officer, who performs public affairs duties working
with both the active-duty station and auxiliary; and Danielle Jackson (PhD
candidate at OSU) assigned as Flotilla Staff Officer in charge of supply

For more information about a career in the US Coast Guard, visit


BM2 Sierra Schlager at the helm during Surf Training

BM3 Brooke Crosley throws a line during Two Boat Training with Coxswain BM3 Josh Bromund and Navigator MK2 Matt Schmader.

BM3 Brooke Crosley standing Communications Watch at Station Siuslaw River.