285th Civil Engineering Squadron Commissions First Female Officer

285th Civil Engineering Squadron Commissions First Female Officer

MONTGOMERY —  Coral Megahy commissions as Second Lieutenant into the United States Air National Guard during a ceremony held at the Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama.

Megahy is the first female officer to commission as a civil engineer officer to the 285th Civil Engineering Squadron (CES) since its conversion in March of 2012.

Finding out I was the first, came as a huge surprise,” Megahy said this month. “I am honored to be able to forge a path for more women to hopefully follow. The fact that this happened during Women’s History Month is an interesting coincidence that makes the feat even more special.”

A very special ceremony in many ways for both Megahy and Maj. Raymond Burton, P.E., as he read Megahy the oath of office. Burton was the last officer to commission into the squadron in December of 2012.

“It’s been over ten years since the 285th has had a second lieutenant Civil Engineer Officer,” said Burton. “I am very proud of her commitment and extremely grateful to be a part of this historic moment.”

A proud Virgin Islander and first-generation American, Megahy, raised by St. Lucian parents, has always had a fierce appreciation for the Virgin Islands’ culture, history, & community.

She is an alumna of the University of Pittsburgh, where she graduated in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering, and from the University of the Virgin Islands, where she graduated in 2018 with a Master of Business Administration degree.

“As a continuous learner I decided to put that expertise and my technical aptitude to work as a Civil Engineer.”

In a span of 15 years, Megahy worked a wide array of engineering roles from Process Engineer at the former Hovensa/Limetree Bay Refinery, Design Engineer at Honeywell UOP, to Project Engineer for the VI Department of Public Works.

“I am excited to further my knowledge and interest in construction project management and develop my leadership skills as a Commissioned Officer for the 285th Civil Engineering Squadron with the Virgin Islands Air National Guard.”

The Virgin Islands Air National Guard was founded on the island of St. Croix in February 1980, as the 285th Combat Communications Flight, a subordinate unit of the 226th Combat Communications Group in Montgomery, Alabama. The original authorized strength was one officer and 21 enlisted members.

The St. Croix Air National Guard stationed in October 1986 and was expanded in 1997 to accommodate the growth within the organization and in July 1996, the 285th Combat Communications Flight became the 285th Combat Communications Squadron (CBCS).

In March of 2012, the 285th CBCS entered into the conversion process to become the 285th CES.

“I couldn’t be prouder of Megahy taking on that commitment and being able to continue to excel and make the 285th (CES) ready and resilient,” said Lt. Col. Kenneth Fechter, 285th CES commander. “It’s very exciting, and it’s what we do. We prepare for the next generations of officers and to keep the 285th getting stronger and better after we leave.”

Megahy joins a hand-full of female officers who later went on to commander roles. The first was Lt. Col. Cindy Cuencas, who commanded the 285th CBCS. The second was (then) Capt. Glenda Mathurin-Lee, who also commanded the 285th CBCS and was the first female to promote to Colonel in the VIANG.

Megahy hopes to inspire more Virgin Islanders to consider joining the Air National Guard, “the training and career possibilities are endless and highly rewarding.”