The U.S. Department of Transportation and the Maritime Administration announced on Nov. 12 the appointment of retired U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Joanna M. Nunan as the first woman to be the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) superintendent.
A Bridgeport, Connecticut native, Rear Adm. Nunan has more than three decades of experience in the U.S. Coast Guard and has commanded units at every level ashore and afloat. She retired as the Coast Guard’s Deputy for Personnel Readiness earlier this year where she was tasked to oversee the Coast Guard’s whole personnel enterprise. She graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in 1987 where she also served in the academy’s Board of Trustees and supervised it.
The upcoming 14th superintendent also served as a military advisor to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and as military assistant to Department of Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta.
She served more than nine years at sea, including commanding two buoy tenders and serving as the Commander of the Ninth Coast Guard District and as the Commander of Coast Guard Sector Honolulu.
Nunan acquired three Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Licenses including Master of vessels of not more than 1,600 gross tons and 3rd Mate on vessels of unlimited tonnage.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Nunan is the “right leader at the right time” for the academy.
“Her years of experience as a senior military leader—including command at sea—have prepared Rear Admiral Nunan to shape the future of the USMMA and help ensure the safety and success of its extraordinary midshipmen,” he added.
Maritime Administrator Ann Philips noted that Nunan is “uniquely prepared to lead and strengthen USMMA on every front.” Philips added that the next superintendent has a great understanding of both the critical role the USMMA plays in the nation’s economic and national security as well as the organizational transformations that are important in ensuring that the academy prepares students in a “safe and respectful environment to excel in a maritime industry undergoing rapid change.”
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