Congressman Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, released the following statement today following the death of former Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Owen J. Siler:
"Today, I join the Coast Guard in mourning the loss of one of its most influential and respected leaders, former Commandant Admiral Owen J. Siler. Through his relentless dedication, Admiral Siler changed the face of the Coast Guard from one of a search and rescue mission to the modern, multi-mission organization that it is today.
"It is with great respect that I commend the Admiral's pivotal efforts to expand the membership of the Coast Guard through the institution of a minority recruitment program and the expansion of opportunities for women. During his tenure, the Service experienced a substantial increase in minorities as well as the first female to attend flight school.
"In addition to his work to increase diversity, I applaud the Admiral's monumental work in expanding the law enforcement and drug interdiction missions of the Coast Guard. Through increased cooperation with the Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Customs Service, the Coast Guard was able to make substantial gains in the seizure of vessels trafficking narcotic drugs-successes on which the Service is still building today.
"Admiral Siler's four years of service as Commandant brought with them significant changes for the Coast Guard, and I sincerely hope the legacy left behind by this great man offers some comfort to his family in this time of mourning."