The commanding officer at
U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento confessed that when she
watched Maverick and Iceman soar through the air in “Top Gun,” it
solidified her lifelong desire to pursue flight as a military
aviator. Selected to both the
Navy and Coast Guard,
her professional path led her to become a Coastie because she said,
“I believe then, as I do now, that the U.S. Coast Guard was the
nation’s best kept secret.”
List is a member of a pretty exclusive club that consists of a
small handful of female captains holding a command position in the
Coast Guard. In order to attain such a leadership position, she had
to overcome a few challenges along the way that credits to her
One such challenge that stands out thus far in List’s
career is being a female in a predominantly male profession.
March 2017- U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Carola List, center bottom row, stands with female members of U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento, California. (U.S. Coast Guard
“When I was in high school, girls weren’t flying then,”
said List. “We had a flight club that was run by a retired
colonel in our high school. It was all guys and me in the
flight club. I was used to always being one of the group.
Part of it is that women didn’t know that aviation as a
career opportunity was open to them, so it wasn’t pursued.
[Being a woman in a male profession] hasn’t ever really
phased me much.”
Some of List’s success as a leader is credited to an
early mentor, now retired Coast Guard Adm.
“She sought me out because I was the only female junior officer
at that district office,” recounted List. “That was the first time I
had ever met another female Coast Guard officer other than at
Officer Candidate School. I watched her progress through her
career and break a lot of barriers in the Coast Guard.
“I look at ways folks before me have led and say, ‘Wow, that’s
something I want to remember.’ I want to take those qualities and
build them into my basket of leadership traits.”
Everybody leads in a different way, List believes. She creates an
environment in which her team can be challenged, learn, grow, and
most of all accomplish the mission.
“I take pride in knowing that I’ve helped develop somebody,
provided them opportunities, and seen them go on to do great
List added, “I take great pride in my members’ accomplishments
than my own personal ones. I define my success more on how I can
help others reach their goals.”
She also went on to say, “If you take care of your people and
build positive relationships, you’ll be able to build some great
leaders. My philosophy has always been, in every position I’ve been
in, to grow my replacement and provide those leadership
List continues to lead and mentor an upcoming generation
of Coast Guard members who will guide our distinguished
service into the future. She is an accomplished aviator,
leader, and pioneer for women everywhere. Her legacy of
selfless devotion to her country, service, and crew, make
for a strong and respected role model for everyone.
By U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Adam Scheetz
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