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By Josh Loftis
As the United States Coast Guard celebrates its birthday this month, we thought we’d share a few facts.
The United States Coast Guard was created on August 4, 1790 by Congress at the request of Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton was, at the time, the Secretary of the Treasury, and the United States Coast Guard (known at that time as The U.S. Revenue Cutter Service) was purposed with collecting customs duties in our nation’s seaports.
The Coast Guard is its own branch of the Uniformed Services of the United States. During peacetime they operate under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and transfer under the U.S. Navy in times of war. The Coast Guard has been “activated” twice – in 1917 and in 1941.
Although the U.S. Coast Guard records the least personnel, it maintains approximately 240 patrol ships, tenders, tugs and icebreakers and about 1650 smaller boats, as well as around 200 aerial machines like helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft.
The Coast Guard is tasked with three basic roles:
Unique to the U.S. Coast Guard is that every active and reserved commissioned officer, and all warrant and petty officers are given authority to act as federal customs officers, with law enforcement authority.
The United States Coast Guard has participated in every major U. S. conflict since 1790 to today, to include Omaha Beach on D-Day, transporting groups during Vietnam, several missions during Operation Iraqi Freedom and the war in Afghanistan. They continue to be an invaluable asset on the Global War on Terror.
We thank all members and support staff of the United States Coast Guard for keeping our shores safe and secure.