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The Colombian National Army has 15 Coast Guard stations assigned to curb crime at sea, control the preservation of the environment and contribute to search and rescue operations to ensure maritime safety throughout the territory. For the first time in the history of the Colombian naval institution, a woman heads one of these stations: it is the Corvette Captain Raquel Elena Romero Quintero.
With 66 men and 11 women under his command, Cap. from Corb. Romero leads the operations of the Urabá Coast Guard Station that cover the region to the northwest of Colombia bordering Panama, known as a corridor for drug trafficking, migrants, species of fauna and flora, and merchandise.
“This fact [Urabá as a crime corridor] makes the Urabá Coast Guard Station very operational,” said the 39-year-old officer who assumed the role of commander in January 2019. “There are 9600 kilometers of sea and 430 km of coast where I have the duty and the function of defending the constitution and sovereignty, defending life at sea, exercising control throughout the jurisdiction, as well as countering all illegal acts at sea. ”
In her first year heading the Coast Guard station, Cap. from Corb. Romero led the seizure of more than 6 tons of cocaine, the capture of 17 criminals and the arrest of seven ships involved in drug trafficking, among other achievements. Likewise, his unit rescued 37 people in danger and 99 irregular migrants.
“She is a woman who achieves what she sets out to do regardless of the difficulties that may arise in the development of her work and operations,” said Captain Jorge Enrique Herrera, commander of the Coast Guard of the Colombian National Navy. “It is not easy for men to heed the orders of a woman in an operational operational position, but she has managed to break those paradigms and take her with great respect.”
As a child, the officer wanted to be a teacher and had the opportunity to fulfill her dream, serving as dean of the Faculty of Naval Sciences of the Naval School of Cadets Almirante Padilla and instructor of the Military Aviation School Marco Fidel Suárez of the Colombian Air Force . Other of his outstanding functions were head of the Logistics Department on the ARC Cartagena de Indias ship and chief of operations of the ARC Providencia ship.
The current role of the officer is also not her first milestone: Cap. from Corb. Romero was part of the first promotion of women in the Executive Corps, made up of those who have been trained to exercise command and conduct naval operations, functions previously reserved for men.
“[In the year 2000] in which we entered, we were told that we could be commanders, be able to navigate and be ship commanders,” said Capt. from Corb. Rosemary. “At that time, a different spectrum opens up for us and many of us decided that we wanted to become commanders. I remember like it was yesterday. I thought, I want to be a commander, I want to contribute to my country ”.