U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Sierra Schlager of Jamestown was pinned Surfman No. 549 on May 1 in a ceremony at Station Siuslaw River, Florence, Ore.
Schlager obtained the highest qualification a Coxswain can received in the Coast Guard. Surfmen operate under extreme weather and sea conditions and are qualified to take out a 47-foot motor lifeboat in a 20-foot breaking surf, 30-foot seas and 50-knot winds.
Receiving the Surfman designation puts Schlager in an elite group. She is not only the 549th listing in the Coast Guard Register of Surfmen. She is one of only 12 women to ever receive the designation in Coast Guard history, one of eight women Surfmen active in the service (of about 200) and the first female Surfman from Station Siuslaw River.
Schlager has served in the Coast Guard since 2008 and worked on her Surfmen qualifications for about five years. Schlager completed the National Motor Lifeboat School Surfman course in February 2018, and completed an underway evaluation and oral examination/interview before being technically certified as a 47-foot MLB Surfman on April 11.
Her previous assignments include Station Quillayute River, La Push, Wash., and Station Barnegat Light in New Jersey, transferring to Station Siuslaw River in 2015.
Schlager’s parents are Brad and Sue Thornton and the late Keith Schlager.