Navy League salutes the Coast Guard as it celebrates 220th anniversary
- As the U.S. Coast Guard celebrates its 220th anniversary today, we within the Navy League recognize the service of its members and say thank you to Coast Guardsmen past and present.BRAVO ZULU____________________________________
With more than 250,000 square miles of territorial waters and 12,000 miles of coastline under U.S. control, keeping our shores protected is a daunting responsibility. Yet the men and women of the United States Coast Guard, the smallest branch of the military, embrace the challenge and rise to meet it with pride.
The First Force Afloat
On Aug. 4, 1790, Alexander Hamilton led the Congress in authorizing the construction of 10 vessels to enforce tariff and trade laws, prevent smuggling and protect the collection of federal revenue. This small fleet would come to be known as the Revenue Cutter Service, and formed the origins of the modern Coast Guard.
When the Revenue Cutter Service merged with the United States Lifesaving Service in 1915, the Coast Guard adopted its present name. And the branch continued to expand in later years as it absorbed the Lighthouse Service and the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation.
Today, the Coast Guard carries out a wide range of duties with a fleet of more than 2,000 ships and boats, as well as helicopters and airplanes. More than 40,000 active-duty Coast Guardsmen, along with thousands more reservists and volunteers, conduct search-and-rescue missions, come to the aid of distressed ships, prevent crime, facilitate commercial activities and protect our natural resources. They are active along the oceanfront, but also serve in our major lakes and rivers, and around U.S. territories such as Guam and Puerto Rico.
Coast Guard Facts
Motto: Semper Paratus, meaning "Always Ready."
On an Average Day, the Coast Guard:
- Saves 13 lives
- Responds to 64 search-and-rescue cases
- Halts 10 illegal immigrants
- Keeps 959 pounds of cocaine off the streets
Small But Strong: The Coast Guard is the smallest armed service of the United States, with 42,389 men and women on active duty.
Notable Coast Guard Alums:
- Walter Cronkite, newscaster
- Jack Dempsey, professional boxer
- Charles Gibson, newscaster
- Arnold Palmer, professional golfer
As a branch of the military, a maritime law enforcement agency and a federal regulatory agency, the Coast Guard's versatility is truly unique.
An Evolving Mission
In the past decade alone, the Coast Guard has demonstrated its diverse capabilities through some of America's hardest times.
- In the years that followed 9/11, the Coast Guard reinforced its efforts to protect U.S. seaports against enemies of the country. Working closely with the U.S. Customs Agency and public port authorities, the Coast Guard has revamped security procedures and put more people and technology in place to make our shores safer than ever before.
- In addition to its efforts at home, the Coast Guard contributes specialized resources to war efforts abroad, as it has in every major American conflict since the late 1700s. At the height of Operation Iraqi Freedom, there were 1,250 Coast Guard personnel deployed, including about 500 reservists.
- Back on the home front, the Coast Guard provided enormous support in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, widely considered the worst natural disaster in American history. Coast Guardsmen alone rescued 33,500 people from flooded homes and streets. And in the year that followed, they worked around the clock to reopen the city's ports and waterways.
With more than a million lives saved and untold disasters prevented since its founding, the Coast Guard's role in preserving the American way of life is perhaps the most undercelebrated of all military achievements.
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Official Blog of the U.S. Coast Guard
Commandants Coast Guard Day Message
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Written by: CDR Glynn Smith
Posted from ADM Papps All Hands e-mail of 8/3/2010:
Today, as it is our custom, we celebrate on the 4th day of August, the anniversary of the establishment of our Service.
The creation of the Revenue Cutter Service closely followed the birth of our Nation. Two hundred and twenty years ago today, or only fourteen years after the date of the Declaration of Independence, President George Washington signed an act of the First Congress providing for the creation of the Revenue Cutter Service.
While I could use this opportunity to recognize the outstanding work of our Active Duty, Reserve, Civilian and Auxiliary members over the past year in Haiti, Deepwater Horizon and across our many missions, I choose instead to honor your outstanding performance by using this occasion to reflect upon what it means to be a Coast Guardsman.
As Coast Guard men and women, we share a bond of pride in our rich heritage and a common purpose to uphold our honorable traditions.
We are defined by unsung heroism and selfless service. We defend our Nation. We risk our lives to save others. We give our utmost when cold, wet and tired. Countless times, we have extended our arm down into the water to rescue those in peril from the sea. We will unhesitatingly extend that same arm to help a shipmate in need.
Coast Guardsmen are always ready. We perform our security, humanitarian and environmental response missions with an unrelenting sense of pride. When disaster strikes, whether natural or manmade, we are first on scene. We are often the last to depart.
Coast Guardsmen are agile, adaptable and multi-missioned. Born as revenue cuttermen, lighthouse keepers, steamboat inspectors and surfmen, we have expanded to meet the maritime needs of our Nation. We are still the keepers of the lights, but we also now patrol far more distant waters. We readily go wherever there are important, difficult and dangerous maritime duties to be performed.
Coast Guardsmen are shipmates; they are family. Though our Service has grown, it is still small enough that we know our shipmates by name. We follow their careers. Their successes and achievements are a matter of interest and pride to the entire Service. This reason is also why it cuts deep when we lose a shipmate. We assemble to carry out the manners of our profession, to grieve their loss and honor their service, and we collectively feel the sorrow. This year has been no exception. We know their names. We know our lost shipmates and we miss them. As the Coast Guardsmans creed states, we revere that long line of expert seamen who by their devotion to duty and sacrifice of self have made it possible for us to be a member of a Service honored and respected, in peace and in war, throughout the world.
This is our chosen profession. This is our way. This is what we do. We are privileged to be members of a very unique Service that, due to our collection of missions, and legacy agencies, sometimes defies logic when someone attempts to classify us, or to place a label on us. For this reason, whenever I am asked to describe what I am, I always reply with pride, I am a Coast Guardsman. We are the men and women of the United States Coast Guard, past and present.
On this Coast Guard day, and for the many that will follow, we will continue to faithfully serve. Stand a taut watch.
Admiral Bob Papp
CommandantOfficial site of America's fifth armed service.
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