HomeFilipino AmericanA pair of firsts for Filipina graduate at US Coast Guard Academy

A pair of firsts for Filipina graduate at US Coast Guard Academy

Victoria Gil Echavez Regalado has become the first Filipina to earn a degree in a specialized field at the United States Coast Guard Academy (USCGA), as well as being the first to graduate magna cum laude.

Regalado, from Iligan City, Northern Mindanao, graduated with high honors on May 22, earning her degree in naval architecture and marine engineering, and is the second Filipino to graduate from the academy. During her time with the USCGA, she was involved with Women’s Water Polo, and the International Council and Genesis club.

Her father, Gil, is an engineer from Balingasag, Misamis Oriental, and her mother, Victoria, is from Iligan City.

Regalado’s path to this achievement started back in 2020, when she was appointed as an international cadet by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) for the USCGA’s International Cadetship Program, Class of 2024. Regalado attended the oath-taking and signing of the contract ceremony on May 27, 2020 in Port Area, Manila. She was formally sworn into the USCGA in New London, Connecticut, on July 5, 2020.

The International Cadetship Program was created to provide training and cooperation to future maritime leaders across the globe, and the USCGA invites and trains cadets from US-allied nations, including the Philippines, to study and train alongside American cadets.

The PCG congratulated Regalado on her accomplishment on their official Instagram account, saying “The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) congratulates CG Probationary Ensign Victoria Gil Regalado for graduating in the United States Coast Guard Academy at New London, Connecticut with the highest honors on 22 May 2024.”, with the post also highlighting her dedication and service.

Regalado’s mother Victoria, said “We are deeply thankful to the Philippine Coast Guard and the USCG for giving our daughter the chance to complete her college degree at a prestigious US academy. We wish her all the best as she returns to serve with the Philippine Coast Guard. All praises and glory to God.”, in an interview with the Rappler.

In an online feature on international cadets posted by the USCGA, Regalado reflected on her time at the academy, saying “The individuals I have met not only introduced me to their culture, but they also made my time here truly enjoyable. The friends I made transformed the Academy into my home away from home, opening their homes and families to me and allowing me to explore various states and even foreign countries during our breaks.”.

She also gave advice to future attendees, saying “If you’re thinking of applying to the Academy, you’ll find it’s not going to be easy at first, but don’t give up. The challenge of juggling your academic and military responsibilities, not to mention experiencing culture shock and some homesickness, will be tough.”. “Just maintain your resilience, seek support from others, embrace diversity across campus, remain open-minded to new experiences, and always stay optimistic. Also, don’t forget to enjoy yourself and have fun!”.

According to the PCG’s social media, Regalado will be commissioned with the PCG with the rank of ensign and will be serving eight years minimum in continuous active service.

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