Each August 4 the U.S. Coast Guard celebrates its birthday.
The Coast Guard is one of America’s five armed forces and traces its founding to Aug. 4, 1790, when the first Congress authorized the construction of 10 vessels to enforce tariff and trade laws, prevent smuggling, and protect the collection of federal revenue. Responsibilities added over the years included humanitarian duties such as aiding mariners in distress.
The service received its present name in 1915 when the Revenue Cutter Service merged with the U.S. Life-Saving Service to form a single maritime service dedicated to the safety of life at sea and enforcing the nation’s maritime laws.
The Coast Guard is a multi-mission, maritime, military service and the smallest of the five Armed Services. Its mission is to protect the public, the environment and U.S. economic interests in the nation’s waterways, along the coast, on international waters, or in any maritime region as required to support national security.1
The mission of the United States Coast Guard is to have a Role in Coastal Waters for: Missions ◦ Non-homeland security missions ◦ plus Homeland security missions. Also Search and rescue ◦ National Response Center ◦ National Maritime Center ◦ Authority as an armed service ◦ Authority as a law enforcement agency.
The Coast Guard was created by Congress on August 4, 1790 at the request of Alexander Hamilton as the Revenue-Marine, it is the oldest continuous seagoing service of the United States.As Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton headed the Revenue-Marine, whose original purpose was collecting customs duties in the nation’s seaports. By the 1860s, the service was known as the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service and the term Revenue-Marine gradually fell into disuse.
The modern Coast Guard was formed by a merger of the Revenue Cutter Service and the U.S. Life-Saving Service on 28 January 1915, under the U.S. Department of the Treasury. As one of the country’s five armed services, the Coast Guard has been involved in every U.S. war from 1790 to the Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan.
The Coast Guard has 40,992 men and women on active duty, 7,000 reservists, 31,000 auxiliarists, and 8,577 full-time civilian employees, for a total workforce of 87,569.
The Coast Guard maintains an extensive fleet of 243 coastal and ocean-going patrol ships, tenders, tugs and icebreakers called “cutters”, and 1650 smaller boats, as well as an aviation division consisting of 201 helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. While the U.S. Coast Guard is the smallest of the U.S. military service branches in terms of membership, the U.S. Coast Guard by itself is the world’s 12th largest naval force. 2
Historical Events of the Coast Guard
1915 – The Revenue Cutter Service merges with the U.S. Life-Saving Service, and is officially renamed the Coast Guard, making it the only maritime service dedicated to saving life at sea and enforcing the nation’s maritime laws.
1939 – President Franklin Roosevelt orders the transfer of the Lighthouse Service to the Coast Guard, putting it in charge of maritime navigation.
1946 – Congress permanently transfers the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation to the Coast Guard, putting merchant marine licensing and merchant vessel safety in its control.
1967 – The Coast Guard is transferred to Department of Transportation.
2003 – The Coast Guard is again transferred, this time to the Department of Homeland Security, where it currently serves. 3
August 4, 2019 the United States Coast Guards celebrated it’s 229 birthday.
We thank you for your continued service and to all the men and women who have served in the Coast Guard.
2. The Uniteds States Coast Guard.