CAPE MAY, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — For the first time in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard, a woman has achieved the rank of gunner’s mate chief petty officer.

Chief Petty Officer 1st Class Kristin Werner received her new insignia of rank during a ceremony in Cape May, N.J., Tuesday.

The 34-year-old Seattle native told The Press of Atlantic City she never touched a weapon before joining the Coast Guard in 1995.

Werner has spent 15 years becoming an expert on Coast Guard weapons systems, including weapons training, safety, ammunition and maintenance.

Capt. William Kelly, who commands the Coast Guard Training Center, says about 37 of the 695 gunner’s mates in the Coast Guard are female.

Kelly says a second woman will be promoted later this year.

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