04 August 2005

Coast Guard is 215 Years Old

Today marks the 215 Anniversary of what is known today as the United States Coast Guard. For those of you keeping score, the Coast Guard is the oldest continuously operating maritime service in the U.S.

Here is a brief history lesson courtesy of the official U.S. Coast Guard site:

We trace our history back to 4 August 1790, when the first Congress authorized the construction of ten vessels to enforce tariff and trade laws, prevent smuggling, and protect the collection of the federal revenue. Known variously as the Revenue Marine and the Revenue Cutter Service, we expanded in size and responsibilities as the nation grew.

The service received its present name in 1915 under an act of Congress when the Revenue Cutter Service merged with the Life-Saving Service. The nation now had a single maritime service dedicated to saving life at sea and enforcing the nation's maritime laws. We began to maintain the country's aids to maritime navigation, including operating the nation's lighthouses, when the Lighthouse Service was transferred to the Coast Guard in 1939. Later, in 1946, Congress permanently transferred the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation to the Coast Guard, thereby placing merchant marine licensing and merchant vessel safety under our purview.

The Coast Guard is one of the oldest organizations of the federal government and, until the Navy Department was established in 1798, we served as the nation's only armed force afloat. We have continued to protect the nation throughout our long history and have served proudly in every one of the nation's conflicts. Our national defense responsibilities remain one of our most important functions even today.

In times of peace we operate as part of the Department of Homeland Security, serving as the nation's front-line agency for enforcing our laws at sea, protecting our coastline and ports, and saving life. In times of war, or on direction of the President, we serve under the Navy Department.
While 215 years have passed beneath our collective keels, not much has changed in the CG world. Lives are still saved, aids to navigation are still tended, contraband is still intercepted and the Nation is still defended. We did all of those things when I was on AD in the 1980's and they are still being done today.

So, all this being said, Semper Paratus and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Thanks to Mr and Mrs Greyhawk for their Open Post.

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