First Black Female Chicago Coast Guard Commander


The glass ceiling received another crack this summer, thanks to Commander (CDR) Zeita Merchant. In July, CDR Merchant became the first black woman to lead a U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit, and also the first woman to lead Chicago’s Marine Safety Unit.

CDR Merchant is a Type-I Incident Commander and has served in the Coast Guard for 19 years. She previously served as special assistant to the vice commandant of the Coast Guard and as the executive officer of the Marine Safety Unit, Texas City. CDR Merchant is a Midwest native, born in Chicago.

For more information on Merchant, visit


South Shore JUN17