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Posted under: News Black History

What You Need To Know About The First African American Woman U.S. Coast Guard Officer

Pay homage to Doris Hull!

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Meet Doris Hull. On June 1, 1995, Hull made history when she was promoted to yeoman first class to Chief warrant officer of the U.S. Coast Guard. According to TBO (of The Tampa Bay Times), The U.S. Coast Guard never had another African-American woman serve as any type of officer in 227 years.

As a Coast Guard warrant officer, Hull served as a technical expert for commanders and organizations in her field.

Hull prides her success as a result of her Miami upbringing where she grew up as one of eight children in a comfortable life due to her father’s successful construction business.

"My mother only wanted boys, so I had to learn how to measure up quickly, and I did," she said.

And measure up quickly, she did! Hull enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve in 1973 under the Direct Petty Officer Program as Yeoman First Class and transitioned to a two-year active duty assignment at Coast Guard headquarters in Washington D.C. five years later in 1978. Thanks to her ability to succeed at tough exams and assignments, she received excellent reviews from her superior officers and climbed the ranks.

She did hit a bump in the road when she left the active reserves in 1980 to transition to the regular Coast Guard, resulting in a lower rank and smaller paycheck. This didn’t put a damper on Hull’s determination, though! Knowing that her new position would put her in competition with more experienced Coast Guardsmen, Hull took an aggressive approach during her time at the recruit training center in Cape May, New Jersey.

Three years later, Hull made her first historical feat by being the first enlisted person to serve as the Women Afloat Coordinator for Enlisted Personnel. Because of Hull’s work and initiatives, women throughout the world are now assigned to all classes of Coast Guard vessels. Then, of course, her ultimate goal happened: she was appointed to Chief Warrant Officer.

Photo: Larry Feldman / TBO
Photo: Larry Feldman / TBO

With any upward climb to success, there may be opposition, especially given the huge responsibility and status Hull received from making history. "I realize in life, those who are your friends are always there to hold you up. And then, those associates who would try to put you down would be found out fast, and I too found out just as fast," noted Hull.

In 2005, Hull retired after 27 years of service, with 10 of those years dedicated to her honored Chief Warrant Officer title. She and her husband Ron are now serving the community as deacon and deaconess at First Baptist Church of College Hill.

Shout-out to Doris Hull, a true powerhouse!

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