Coast Guard Promotion

Sara Clark, promoted recently to Boatswain's Mate Second Class, pictured Friday during an officer's retirement ceremony at the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Charleston.

CHARLESTON — Though it is common for women to be promoted in the U.S. Coast Guard now, Boatswain’s Mate Second Class Sara Clark is still looking at female leaders as people “paving the way.”

The BM2 was promoted last week, going from what she described as an E4 pay grade to an E5 after spending three and a half years in the service. Clark, from San Luis Obispo, Calif., initially joined the USCG as a way to pay for college but looked around as Chief Boatswain’s Mate Brant Soderlund retired and said she hoped to do the same after 20 years.

“When I was assigned to my first unit, I decided this is what I want to do,” she said. “I love driving boats and being on the water, moving around every couple years and traveling. That’s something I didn’t know I needed in life.”

Now as a BM2, Clark says she is taking on more responsibility over other members, more of a leadership role than before and one she is excited to have.

“I think I’ve worked hard for this and done my part,” she said. “Promotions for women are more common nowadays.”

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Clark pointed to the leader of USCG Lifeboat Station of Coos Bay, Chief Warrant Officer Beth Slade, as a role model.

“We have people like Miss Slade paving the way and breaking the glass ceiling for us,” Clark said. “I never really looked this far ahead or thought I’d make it this far, but now I have a role model like Miss Slade to look up to and see how far I can go.”

Because of Slade, Clark hopes to follow in her footsteps and become a Chief Warrant Officer as well one day.

But for now, she says she is enjoying her time in Coos Bay.

“It has the small town vibe, which I like,” she said.

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Reporter Jillian Ward can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 235, or by email at jillian.ward@theworldlink.com. Follow her on Twitter: @JE_Wardwriter.