JANS – United States Representative Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS) released the following statement congratulating Captain Zeita Merchant for her historic selection for Rear Admiral (lower-half) in the United States Coast Guard:
It is with great pride that I recognize the accomplishment of Captain Zeita Merchant, a Jackson, Mississippi, native and graduate of Tougaloo College for her selection to the rank of Rear Admiral in the U.S. Coast Guard. With this selection, she is now the first African American female to be selected for Flag rank in the Coast Guard’s 233-year history.
Captain Merchant has had several historic firsts, including her current position as Commander, USCG Sector New York where she is responsible for ensuring the safety and security of one of the Nation’s busiest and most economically important port complexes moving hundreds of billions of dollars in cargo and tens of millions of passengers annually. Enjoying 26 years of active-duty service, Captain Merchant is a recognized authority in maritime safety and security, and crisis management. She has served in a variety of assignments at the operational and executive levels and has been certified as one of the Coast Guard’s top Emergency Managers leading large-scale, multi-jurisdictional incident responses across the Nation.
Captain Merchant holds a Doctorate of Business Administration and Master of Quality Systems Management from the National Graduate School at New England College of Business, as well as a Master of Public Administration from George Washington University and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Tougaloo College. In addition, she has served as a National Security Fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Seminar XXI National Security and Foreign Affairs Fellow. Captain Merchant has been honored with numerous professional, academic, and community service awards, including her most recent awards as “Hero of the Harbor” and “Women Who Move the Nation”.