History of the United States Coast Guard | Wikipedia audio article

History of the United States Coast Guard | Wikipedia audio article


The history of the United States Coast Guard
goes back to the United States Revenue Cutter Service, which was founded on 4 August 1790
as part of the Department of the Treasury. The Revenue Cutter Service and the United
States Life-Saving Service were merged to become the Coast Guard per 14 U.S.C. § 1
which states: “The Coast Guard as established January 28, 1915, shall be a military service
and a branch of the armed forces of the United States at all times.” In 1939, the United
States Lighthouse Service was merged into the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard itself was
moved to the Department of Transportation in 1967, and on 25 February 2003 it became
part of the Department of Homeland Security. However, under 14 U.S.C. § 3 as amended by
section 211 of the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2006, upon the declaration
of war and when Congress so directs in the declaration, or when the President directs,
the Coast Guard operates as a service in the Department of the Navy.==Early history==
The modern Coast Guard was created in 1915 by the merger of the United States Revenue
Cutter Service and the United States Lifesaving Service, but its roots go back to the early
days of the Republic. Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton lobbied Congress to authorize
a small fleet of vessels to enforce tariffs (an important source of revenue for the new
nation). On 4 August 1790 (now recognized as the Coast Guard’s official birthday), Congress
passed the Tariff Act, permitting the construction of ten cutters and the recruitment of 100
revenue officers. From 1790, when the Continental Navy was disbanded, to 1798, when the United
States Navy was created, these “revenue cutters” were the country’s only naval force.===United States Revenue Cutter Service===
Initially, the “system of cutters” was not an organized service. Each revenue cutter
operated independently, with each assigned to patrol a section of the east coast and
reporting directly to the Customs House in a major port. The cutters were collectively
referred to as the “Revenue-Marine,” and later officially organized as the “Revenue Cutter
Service.” As stated above, until the re-establishment
of the Navy in 1798, the Revenue-Marine cutters were the federal government’s only armed vessels.
As such, the cutters and their crews took on a wide variety of duties beyond the enforcement
of tariffs, including combating piracy, rescuing mariners in distress, ferrying government
officials, and even carrying mail. In 1794, the Revenue-Marine was given the mission of
preventing trading in slaves from Africa to the United States. Between 1794 and 1865,
the Service captured approximately 500 slave ships. In 1808, the Service was responsible
for enforcing President Thomas Jefferson’s embargo closing U.S. ports to European trade.
The 1822 Timber Act tasked the Revenue Cutter Service with protecting government timber
from poachers (this is viewed as the beginning of the Coast Guard’s environmental protection
mission).During times of war or crisis, the revenue cutters and their crews were put at
the disposal of the Navy. The Revenue-Marine involved in the Quasi-War with France from
1798 to 1799, the War of 1812, and the Mexican–American War. During the American Civil War, the USRCHarriet
Lane fired the first naval shots of the war, engaging the steamer Nashville during the
siege of Fort Sumter. Upon the order of President Lincoln to the Secretary of the Treasury on
14 June 1863, cutters were assigned to the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron. A Confederate
Revenue Marine was also formed by crewmen who left the Revenue Cutter Service.
In the 1880s through the 1890s, the Revenue Cutter Service was instrumental in the development
of Alaska. Captain “Hell Roaring” Michael A. Healy, captain of the USRC Bear, greatly
assisted a program that brought reindeer to Alaska to provide a steady food source. Healy
had the reputation as a rough sailing master and was court-martialed several times, but
was restored to rank again and again. In the winter of 1897–1898, the reindeer and lieutenants
in the Revenue Cutter Service participated in the Overland Relief Expedition to help
starving trapped whalers. During the Snake River gold rush of 1900, the Revenue Cutter
Service returned destitute miners to Seattle from Alaska.===United States Lifesaving Service===
A number of voluntary organizations had formed in coastal communities in the 1700’s and early
1800’s to assist shipwrecked mariners by means of small boats at shore-based stations, notably
the Massachusetts Humane Society (est. 1758). These stations were normally unoccupied – essentially
storehouses for boats and equipment to be used by volunteers. With the signing of the
Newell Act on August 14, 1848, Congress appropriated $10,000 to fund lifesaving stations along
the east coast. These were loosely administered by the Revenue-Marine, but still dependent
on volunteers (like many fire departments of the time).
This system continued until 1871 when Sumner Kimball was appointed Chief of the Revenue
Marine Division of the Treasury Department. Kimball convinced Congress to appropriate
$200,000 to construct new stations, repair old ones, and provide full-time crews. Shortly
thereafter, in 1878, the U.S. Lifesaving Service was officially born and so-named.
Although the Revenue Cutter Service is perhaps more recognized as the predecessor of the
Coast Guard, the Lifesaving Service’s legacy is apparent in many ways, not the least of
which is the prominence of the Coast Guard’s search and rescue mission in the eyes of the
public. The Coast Guard takes its unofficial search and rescue motto, “You have to go out,
but you don’t have to come back,” from the 1899 regulations of the United States Life
Saving Service, which stated: In attempting a rescue the keeper will select
either the boat, breeches buoy, or life car, as in his judgment is best suited to effectively
cope with the existing conditions. If the device first selected fails after such trial
as satisfies him that no further attempt with it is feasible, he will resort to one of the
others, and if that fails, then to the remaining one, and he will not desist from his efforts
until by actual trial the impossibility of effecting a rescue is demonstrated. The statement
of the keeper that he did not try to use the boat because the sea or surf was too heavy
will not be accepted unless attempts to launch it were actually made and failed [underlining
added], or unless the conformation of the coast—as bluffs, precipitous banks, etc.—is
such as to unquestionably preclude the use of a boat.
These regulations were repeated in the 1934 Coast Guard regulations.A number of Coast
Guard traditions survive from, or pay homage to, the Lifesaving Service as well. For example,
members of the Lifesaving Service were referred to as “surfmen,” and today the Surfman Badge
it awarded to coxswains who qualify to operate motor lifeboats in heavy surf conditions.
The badge’s design is similar to the Lifesaving Service’s seal.===Coast Guard Academy===
The School of Instruction of the Revenue Cutter Service was established in 1876, near New
Bedford, Massachusetts. It used the USRC Dobbin for its training exercises. It moved to Curtis
Bay, Maryland in 1900 and then again in 1910 to Fort Trumbull, near New London, Connecticut.
The school provided a two-year premise to ship supplemented by some class work and tutoring
in technical subjects. In 1903, the third year of instruction was added. The school
was oriented to line officers, as engineers were hired directly from civilian life. In
1906, an engineering program for cadets began. Nevertheless, the school remained small, with
5 to 10 cadets per class. In 1914 the School became the Revenue Cutter Academy and with
the merger of the Revenue Cutter Service and the Life Saving Service in 1915, it became
the United States Coast Guard Academy. In February 1929, Congress appropriated $1,750,000
for construction of buildings to be used for the academy. The city of New London purchased
the land on the Thames River and donated it to the government for use as a Coast Guard
facility. Construction began in 1931 and the first cadets began occupying the new facilities
in 1932.===Creation of the modern Coast Guard===
In 1915, the Revenue Cutter Service and the Lifesaving Service were merged to form the
Coast Guard. The United States Lighthouse Service was absorbed by the Coast Guard in
1939. On 28 February 1942, the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation was transferred
to the U.S. Coast Guard.In 1920 the House Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce
held hearings on merging the recently created Coast Guard into the United States Navy.==World War I=====Preparation===
The Coast Guard’s preparations for the coming war actually started before the Declaration
of War on 6 April 1917. In late 1916, the Interdepartmental Board on Coast Communications
recommended that telephone communications be improved and brought to a high state of
readiness all along the U.S. coastline to include lighthouses and lifesaving stations
as well as other government coastal facilities. Sensing a need for aviation, the Coast Guard
sent Third Lieutenant Elmer Stone to Naval Flight Training on 21 March 1916. On 22 March
1917 the Commandant issued a twelve-page manual titled Confidential Order No. 2, Mobilization
of the U.S. Coast Guard When Required to Operate as a Part of the U.S. Navy. Germany had already
announced a policy of unrestricted submarine warfare in January 1917, on all ships trading
with its enemies and included neutral shipping as targets. U.S. merchant ships sunk before
a declaration of war included the SS Healdton and the SS Housatonic and five others with
the loss of 36 American lives.===Declaration of war===
On 6 April 1917, with a formal declaration of war, the Coast Guard was transferred to
the operational control of the Navy. All cutters were to report to the nearest Naval District
commander and stand by for further orders. All normal operations were suspended with
the exception of rescues pending orders from the Navy. Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels
directed that although the Coast Guard was then a part of the Navy, that most of the
administrative details handled by Coast Guard Headquarters would not be changed. At the
outset of the war the Coast Guard consisted of less than 4000 officers and men, had 23
cruising cutters, 21 harbor cutters, 272 rescue stations and 21 cadets at the Coast Guard
Academy. The Coast Guard was still in a formative stage of development from the merger of the
U.S. Revenue Cutter Service and the U.S. Lifesaving Service. Because of this fact, there was not
much interaction between the two former entities during the war. A qualified Lifesaving Service
surfman who wished to transfer to a cutter had to be reduced to ordinary seaman upon
reporting because of a lack of shipboard skills. Because of this transfers were infrequent.
There were no chief petty officers in the Coast Guard at this time and Coast Guard petty
officers assigned to Navy ships often served under less experienced supervisors for less
pay. Coast Guard cutters were seen by the Navy
as ready assets and were used to fill in for a rapidly expanding Navy. The Navy recognized
Coast Guard officers and petty officers as the experienced mariners that they were and
often put them on Navy ships to fill in for crew shortages and lack of experience.
During the war, in 1918, twin sisters Genevieve and Lucille Baker of the Naval Coastal Defense
Reserve became the first uniformed women to serve in the Coast Guard.==The 1920s=====Prohibition===
In the 1920s, the Coast Guard was given several former U.S. Navy four-stack destroyers to
help enforce Prohibition. The effort was not entirely successful, due to the slowness of
the destroyers. However, the mission provided many Coast Guard officers and petty officers
with operational experience which proved invaluable in World War II. The Navy’s epithet of “Hooligan
Navy” dates from this era, due to the Coast Guard’s flexibility in enlisting men discharged
from other services to rapidly expand; it has endured due to the high proportion of
prior-other-service enlisteds, and become a term of pride within the service.===1927 Mississippi River flood===
During the disastrous 1927 Mississippi River flood, the Coast Guard rescued a total of
43,853 persons who they “removed from perilous positions to places of safety”. Additionally,
they saved 11,313 head of livestock and furnished transportation for 72 persons in need of hospitalization.
In all 674 Coast Guardsmen and 128 Coast Guard vessels and boats served in the relief operations.==The 1930s=====Increasing regulation of merchant shipping
===The Steamboat Inspection Service was merged
with the Bureau of Navigation, created in 1884, to oversee the regulation of merchant
seamen, on 30 June 1932. In 1934, the passenger vessel SS Morro Castle
suffered a serious fire off the coast of New Jersey, which ultimately claimed the lives
of 124 passenger and crew. The casualty prompted new fire protection standards for vessels
and paved the way for the “Act of May 27, 1936”, which reorganized and changed the name
of the Bureau of Navigation and Steamboat Inspection Service to the Bureau of Marine
Inspection and Navigation. Marine inspection and navigation duties under
the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation were temporarily transferred to the Coast
Guard by executive order on 28 February 1942. This transfer of duties fit well with the
Coast Guard’s port safety and security missions, and was made permanent in 1946.===Carl von Paulsen rescue===
Lieutenant Commander Carl von Paulsen set the seaplane Arcturus in a heavy sea in January
1933 off Cape Canaveral and rescued a boy adrift in a skiff. The aircraft sustained
so much damage during the open water landing that it could not take off. Ultimately, Arcturus
washed onto the beach and all including the boy were saved. Commander Paulsen was awarded
the Gold Lifesaving Medal for this rescue.==The 1940s=====World War II===
Before the American entry into World War II, cutters of the Coast Guard patrolled the North
Atlantic. In January 1940 President Roosevelt directed the establishment of the Atlantic
Weather Observation Service using Coast Guard cutters and U.S. Weather Bureau observers.After
the invasion of Denmark by Germany in April 1940, President Roosevelt ordered the International
Ice Patrol to continue as a legal pretext to patrol Greenland, whose cryolite mines
were vital to refining aluminum and whose geographic location allowed accurate weather
forecasts to be made for Europe. The Greenland Patrol was maintained by the Coast Guard for
the duration of the war. The USCGC Modoc (WPG-46), was peripherally
involved in the chase and sinking of the German battleship Bismarck.
Shortly after Germany declared war on the United States, German submarines began Operation
Drumbeat (“Paukenschlag”), sinking ships off the American coast. Many Coast Guard cutters
were involved in rescue operations following German attacks on American shipping. The USCGC
Icarus (WPC-110), a 165-foot (50 m) cutter that previously had been a rumrunner chaser
during Prohibition, sank U-352 on 9 May 1942, off the coast of Cape Lookout, North Carolina,
and took 33 prisoners, the first Germans taken in combat by any U.S. force.
The USCGC Thetis (WPC-115) sank U-157 on 10 June 1942. During the war, Coast Guard units
sank 12 German and two Japanese submarines and captured two German surface vessels.
When the USCGC Campbell (WPG-32) rammed and sank the German U-606, her enlisted mascot
Sinbad became a public hero at home and brought attention to the role of the Coast Guard in
convoy protection. Coast Guardsmen also patrolled the shores
of the United States during the war. On 13 June 1942 Seaman 2nd Class John Cullen, patrolling
the beach in Amagansett, New York, discovered the first landing of German saboteurs in Operation
Pastorius. Cullen was the first American who actually came in contact with the enemy on
the shores of the United States during the war and his report led to the capture of the
German sabotage team. For this, Cullen received the Legion of Merit.The Coast Guard had 30
Edsall class destroyer escorts under its command that were used primarily for convoy escort
duty in the Atlantic. Other United States Navy ships under Coast Guard command included:
75 patrol frigates 8 Flower-class corvettes
22 Troopships 20 Amphibious cargo ships
9 Attack transports 76 Landing Ship, Tank
28 Landing Craft Infantry 18 gasoline tankers
10 Submarine chasers 40 Yard patrol boatsIn addition to antisubmarine
operations, the Coast Guard worked closely with the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. Many
of the coxswains of American landing craft, such as the Higgins boat (LCVP), used in amphibious
invasions were Coast Guardsmen who had received amphibious training with the cooperation of
the U.S. Marine Corps. Coast Guard cutters and ships partially crewed by Coast Guardsmen
were used in the North African invasion of November 1942 (Operation Torch) and the invasion
of Sicily in 1943 (Operation Husky). Coast Guard crews staffed 22 tankers, 51 large tugs,
6 marine repair ships, and 209 freight and supply vessels for the United States Army.On
9 September 1942 the USCGC Muskget (WAG-48) was sunk with a loss of 121 crewmembers while
on North Atlantic weather patrol by U-755. In November 1942, legislation was passed creating
the Coast Guard Women’s Reserve, also known as the SPARS. Led by Captain Dorothy C. Stratton,
around 11,000 women served in various stateside positions, freeing men for overseas duty. On 3 February 1943 the torpedoing of the transport
SS Dorchester off the coast of Greenland saw cutters USCGC Comanche (WPG-76) and USCGC
Escanaba (WPG-77) respond. The frigid water gave the survivors only minutes to live in
the cold North Atlantic. With this in mind, the crew of Escanaba used a new rescue technique
when pulling survivors from the water. This “retriever” technique used swimmers clad in
wet suits to swim to victims in the water and secure a line to them so they could be
hauled onto the ship. Escanaba saved 133 men (one died later) and Comanche saved 97. Escanaba
herself was lost to a torpedo or mine a few months later, along with 103 of her 105-man
crew.During the Normandy invasion of 6 June 1944, a 60-cutter flotilla of wooden 83-foot
(25 m) Coast Guard cutters, nicknamed the “Matchbox Fleet”, cruised off all five landing
beaches as combat search-and-rescue boats, saving 400 Allied airmen and sailors. Division
O-1, including the Coast Guard-crewed USS Samuel Chase (APA-26), landed the U.S. Army’s
1st Infantry Division on Omaha Beach. Off Utah Beach, the Coast Guard crewed the command
ship USS Bayfield (APA-33). Several Coast Guard-crewed landing craft were lost during
D-Day to enemy fire and heavy seas. In addition, a cutter was beached during the storms off
the Normandy coast which destroyed the U.S.-operated Mulberry harbor. The USCGC Taney (WHEC-37), a notable World
War II era high endurance cutter, is the only warship still afloat today (as a museum ship
in Baltimore) that was present for the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, although she was
actually stationed in nearby Honolulu. On 27 August 1944, the all Coast Guard-crewed
USS LST-327 was torpedoed – but not sunk – by U-92 while crossing the English Channel.
22 Coast Guardsmen were killed. On 12 September 1944, the Liberty ship George
Ade was torpedoed by a German U-boat off Cape Hatteras, N.C. USCGC Jackson (WSC-142) and
USCGC Bedloe (WSC-128), heading to assist the survivors of the Ade, were caught in the
Great Atlantic Hurricane of 1944 the day after, sinking both cutters and killing 48 Coast
Guardsmen. A U.S. Navy seaplane rescued the survivors.On 29 January 1945, the USS Serpens
(AK-97), a Coast Guard-crewed Liberty ship, exploded off Guadalcanal, Solomons Islands,
while loading depth charges. 193 Coast Guardsmen, 56 Army stevedores, and one U.S. Public Health
Service officer were killed in the explosion. This was the biggest single disaster to befall
the Coast Guard during the war.As was common during this period, many of Hollywood’s able-bodied
screen stars became enlistees and left their film careers on hiatus in order to support
the national defense. Specifically, actors Gig Young, Cesar Romero, and Richard Cromwell
all served admirably in various capacities in the USCG in the Pacific for several years.
The A&P heir Huntington Hartford also served in the Pacific as a commander.====Douglas Munro====
Signalman 1st Class Douglas Munro (1919–1942), the only Coast Guardsman to receive the Medal
of Honor, earned the decoration during World War II as a small boat coxswain during the
Battle of Guadalcanal in 1942. A Navy destroyer escort, USS Douglas A. Munro (DE-422), was
named in his honor in 1944. The cutter USCGC Munro (WHEC-724) was commissioned in 1971,
and is still on active service.===Bermuda Sky Queen rescue===
On 14 October 1947, the American-owned Boeing 314 flying boat Bermuda Sky Queen, carrying
sixty-nine passengers was flying from Foynes, Ireland to Gander, Newfoundland. Gale-force
winds had slowed her progress and she was running low on fuel. Too far from Newfoundland
and unable to make it back to Ireland, the captain, Charles Martin, twenty-six-year-old
ex-Navy pilot, decided to fly toward USCGC Bibb (WPG-31) which was on Ocean Station Charlie
in the North Atlantic. The plane’s captain decided to ditch and have his passengers and
crew picked up by Bibb. In 30-foot (10 m) seas, the transfer was both difficult and
dangerous. Initially the Bibb’s captain, Capt. Paul B. Cronk, tried to pass a line to the
plane which taxied to the lee side of the cutter. A collision with the cutter ended
this attempt to save the passengers. With worsening weather, a fifteen-man rubber raft
and a small boat were deployed from the ship. The raft was guided to the escape door of
the aircraft. Passengers jumped into the raft which was then pulled to the boat. After rescuing
47 of the passengers, worsening conditions and the approach of darkness forced the rescue’s
suspension. By dawn, improved weather allowed the rescue to resume and the remaining passengers
and crew were transferred to the Bibb. The rescue made headlines throughout the country
and upon their arrival in Boston, Bibb and her crew received a hero’s welcome for having
saved all those aboard the ditched Bermuda Sky Queen.This event spurred ratification
of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) treaty establishing a network of ocean
weather stations in 1947. A second conference in 1949 reduced the number of Atlantic stations
to ten but provided for three Pacific stations.===Enlisted training center===
An enlisted training center was established in Cape May in 1948 and all recruit training
functions were consolidated in this facility in 1982, when the West Coast recruit center
at Government Island (Alameda), California was closed, the facility repurposed and the
island renamed. (See Coast Guard Island).==The 1950s=====Korean War===
During the Korean War, Coast Guard officers helped arrange the evacuation of the Korean
Peninsula during the initial North Korean attack. On 9 August 1950, Congress enacted
Public Law 679, known as the Magnuson Act. This act charged the Coast Guard with ensuring
the security of the United States’ ports and harbors on a permanent basis. In addition,
the Coast Guard established a series of weather ships in the north Pacific Ocean and assisted
civilian and military aircraft and ships in distress, and established a string of LORAN
stations in Japan and Korea that assisted the United Nations forces.===Pendleton rescue===On 18 February 1952, during a severe “nor’easter”
off the New England coast, the T2 tankers SS Fort Mercer and SS Pendleton broke in half.
Pendleton was unable to make any distress call; she was discovered on the unusual shore
radar with which the Chatham, Massachusetts, Lifeboat Station was equipped, during the
search for Fort Mercer.Boatswain’s Mate First Class Bernard C. Webber, coxswain of Coast
Guard Motor Lifeboat CG 36500 from Station Chatham, and his crew, consisting of Engineman
Third Class Andrew Fitzgerald, Seaman Richard Livesey, and Seaman Ervin Maske, rescued the
crew from Pendleton’s stern section, with Pendleton broken in half. Webber maneuvered
the 36-footer under Pendleton’s stern with expert skill as the tanker’s crew, trapped
in the stern section, abandoned the remains of their ship on a Jacob’s ladder. One by
one, the men jumped into the water and then were pulled into the lifeboat. Webber and
his crew saved 32 of the 41 Pendleton crewmen. Webber, Fitzgerald, Livesey, and Maske were
awarded the Gold Lifesaving Medal for their heroic actions.In all, U.S. Coast Guard vessels,
aircraft, and lifeboat stations, working under severe winter conditions, rescued 62 persons
from the foundering ships or from the water. Five Coast Guardsmen earned the Gold Lifesaving
Medal, four earned the Silver Lifesaving Medal, and 15 earned the Coast Guard Commendation
Medal.The rescue of men from the bow of Fort Mercer was nearly as spectacular as the Pendleton
rescue, though often overshadowed by the Pendleton rescue. Nine officers and crew were trapped
on the bow of Fort Mercer, of whom four were successfully rescued using rafts and a Monomoy
surfboat. Less dramatically, all the men of the stern were also rescued and the Fort Mercer
stern was eventually towed back to shore and rebuilt, with a new bow, as the San Jacinto.The
first of the Coast Guard’s Sentinel-class cutters, USCGC Bernard C. Webber, was named
in BM1 Webber’s honor.The rescues are portrayed in the 2016 motion picture The Finest Hours,
based on the 2009 book by the same title.==The 1960s=====Transfer to the Department of Transportation
===On 1 April 1967 the Coast Guard was transferred
from the Department of the Treasury to the newly formed Department of Transportation
under the authority of PL 89-670 which was signed into law on 15 October 1966.===The Racing Stripe===
In 1967, the Coast Guard adopted the red and blue “racing stripe” as part of the regular
insignia for cutters, boats, and aircraft. It was recommended by the industrial design
firm of Raymond Loewy/William Snaith, Inc. to give Coast Guard units and vessels a distinctive
appearance, as well as clearer recognition from a distance. This “racing stripe” was
in turn adopted (in modified forms) by several other coast guards, in particular the Canadian
Coast Guard.===Vietnam War===The Coast Guard was active in the Vietnam
War beginning 27 May 1965 with the formation of Coast Guard Squadron One consisting of
Divisions 11 and 12. Squadron One assisted in Operation Market Time by interdicting resupply
by sea of Viet Cong and North Vietnamese forces. Seventeen Point class 82-foot WPB cutters
were transferred to coastal waters off Vietnam with their Coast Guard crews under the operational
control of the U.S. Navy Seventh Fleet. Division 13, consisting of nine additional WPB’s was
added in February 1966. Squadron One cutters were awarded the Navy Presidential Unit Citation
for their assistance provided the Navy during Operation Sealords. Coast Guard Squadron Three
was activated in support of Market Time beginning March 1967 and consisted initially of five
high endurance cutters (WHEC) tasked to the Navy for used in coastal interdiction and
naval gunfire support for shore operations in South Vietnam. The Coast Guard developed
a “piggyback” weapon that proved highly useful; an M2 Browning machine gun placed over a 81mm
mortar.Several Coast Guard aviators served with the U.S. Air Force 37th Aerospace Rescue
and Recovery Squadron and 40th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron in Southeast Asia from
1968 to 1972. They were involved in combat search and rescue operations in both Vietnam
and Laos.The Coast Guard provided Explosive Loading Detachments (ELD) to the U.S. Army
1st Logistics Command in several locations in Vietnam. The ELD’s were responsible for
the supervision of Army stevedores in the unloading of explosives and ammunition from
U.S. Merchant Marine ships. The ELD’s were also responsible for assisting the Army in
port security operations at each port and eventually were made a part of a Port Security
and Waterways Detail (PS&WD) reporting to the Commanding General, United States Army,
Vietnam (USARV). They earned the Army Meritorious Unit Commendation for their efforts.
In December 1965 Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara requested Coast Guard assistance
in constructing a chain of LORAN-C stations for use by naval vessels and combat aircraft
for operations in Southeast Asia. Construction started almost immediately at five locations
in Thailand and Vietnam and they were operational after 8 August 1966.
On 22 April 1966, USCGC Planetree (WLB-307) arrived in Cam Ranh Bay to commence Aids to
Navigation (ATON) operations in the coastal waters of South Vietnam. She was responsible
for the marking of freshly cut channels and harbors with buoys and daymarks so that merchant
and naval ships could safely navigate the waters. This direct support mission ended
on 17 May 1971 with the departure of the last buoy tender, USCGC Blackhaw (WLB-390). The
buoy tender crews were tasked with training South Vietnamese crews in the ATON effort
prior to the departure of the Blackhaw as a part of the ‘Vietnamization’ policy of the
Nixon Administration. After May 1971 ATON was serviced on a ‘as needed’ basis by USCGC
Basswood (WLB-388) homeported in Guam. In August 1970 the Coast Guard finished turning
over to the South Vietnamese Navy the patrol boats of Squadron One. The training of South
Vietnamese crews had started in February 1969 and continued through to the end of operations
for Squadron One. USCGC Yakutat (WHEC-380) and USCGC Bering Strait (WHEC-382) were turned
over to the South Vietnamese Navy on 1 January 1971. Eventually three other WHECs were turned
over to the South Vietnamese Navy. The Coast Guard’s involvement in the Vietnam War ended
at 1246 local time 29 April 1975 when LORAN Station Con Son went off the air for good.
Its signal was necessary for the safe evacuation of Saigon by U.S. Embassy personnel in the
final days before the fall of the South Vietnamese government and it was kept on the air as long
as possible. On 3 October 1975 the Coast Guard disestablished the remaining LORAN-C stations
in Thailand.Seven Coast Guardsmen were killed during the war in combat and search and rescue
operations. Additionally, the US Department of Veterans Affairs has determined that Coast
Guard veterans who served aboard designated vessels while deployed to Vietnam during the
war are “eligible for the presumption of Agent Orange herbicide exposure”. The vessels include
U.S. Coast Guard Patrol Boats (WPBs), High Endurance Cutters (WHECs), Buoy Tenders (WLBs),
and Cargo Vessels (WAKs).==The 1970s=====The “New Guard”===
In the mid-70s the Coast Guard adopted the blue uniforms seen today, replacing Navy-style
uniforms worn prior to the Vietnam War. Known jocularly as “Bender’s Blues,” they were implemented
as part of the postwar transition to an all-volunteer force. It is noteworthy that the enlisted’s
and officer’s uniforms differed only in rank insignia and cap devices, reflecting the value
the service placed on its enlisted members (although it caused saluting confusion among
members of other services). The stylish new women’s uniform was created by Hollywood costume
designer Edith Head, upon the request of Capt. Eleanor L’Ecuyer. Enlisted uniform buttons
were gold while officer’s buttons were silver. This was just opposite of most military services.
Women were integrated into the Coast Guard during the 1970s, beginning with the end of
the separate Women’s Reserve (SPARS) in 1973, the modification of 378’s for mixed-gender
crews beginning in 1977, and the opening of all ratings to women in 1978. These stages
of integration preceded the DOD military by roughly a year or so, as separate legislation
restricted their deployment of women.Altogether, the shift from Treasury to the DOT in 1967,
the uniform change, the end of Ocean Station service, growth of the shore-side establishment
by newly added missions, the steady if belated retirement of venerable but aging World War
II cutters, and gender integration marked the oft-lamented end of the “Old Guard” (“wooden
ships and men of steel”). The Ancient Order of the Pterodactyl was founded
in 1977 in order to preserve the history of Coast Guard aviation, as the service’s last
amphibious seaplane, the Grumman Albatross or “Goat,” was nearing retirement, as was
also the service’s last enlisted pilot, John P. Greathouse.===End of ocean stations, beginning of the
200 nautical miles (370 km) limit===One major mission of the service, maintaining
Ocean Stations, came to an end as improvements in oceanic aviation (turbojet airliners and
improved radionavigation) obviated the need. However, the Magnuson–Stevens Fisheries
Conservation and Management Act of 1976 brought an increase in offshore fisheries patrols,
to which the newer WHECs (the 378s) were redeployed, as the aging boiler-powered World War II-vintage
wooden-deckers were gradually retired.===The Kudirka incident===
On 23 November 1970, Simonas “Simas” Kudirka, a Soviet seaman of Lithuanian nationality,
leapt from the 400-foot (120 m) mother ship Sovetskaya Litva, anchored in American waters
(near Aquinnah, Massachusetts on Martha’s Vineyard Island), aboard the USCGC Vigilant,
sailing from New Bedford. The Soviets accused Kudirka of theft of 3,000 rubles from the
ship’s safe. Ten hours passed; communications difficulties contributed to the delay, as
the ship was unfortunately in a “blind spot” of Boston Radio’s (Marshfield) receivers,
resulting in an awkward resort to using the public marine operator.
After attempts to get the U.S. State Department to provide guidance failed, Rear Admiral William
B. Ellis, commander of the First Coast Guard District, ordered Commander Ralph E. Eustis
to permit a KGB detachment to board the Vigilant to return Kudirka to the Soviet ship. This
led to a change in asylum policy by the U.S. Coast Guard. Admiral Ellis and his chief of
staff were given administrative punishment under Article 15 of the UCMJ. Commander Eustis
was given a non-punitive letter of reprimand and assigned to shore duty. Kudirka himself
was tried for treason by the Soviet Union and given a ten-year sentence in prison. Subsequent
investigations revealed that Kudirka could claim American citizenship through his mother
and he was allowed to go to the United States in 1974.
The incident, known for several years as the Coast Guard’s “Day of Shame,” was portrayed
in a 1978 television movie, The Defection of Simas Kudirka, with Alan Arkin playing
Kudirka and Donald Pleasence playing the captain of the Soviet ship and USCGC Decisive playing
the part of USCGC Vigilant. It was also portrayed in the 1973 book Day of Shame: The truth about
the murderous happenings aboard the Cutter Vigilant during the Russian-American confrontation
off Martha’s Vineyard by Algis Ruksenas.===The Rescue of AF586===
At 1430 on 26 October 1978, “Alfa Foxtrot 586”, a Navy P-3C flying with a crew of fifteen
on a reconnaissance mission from the VP-9 detachment at Naval Station Adak, Alaska,
ditched near position 52°39′N 167°24′E (approximately 290 miles west of Shemya Island
in the Aleutians) following a propeller malfunction and succession of engine fires in its number
one engine. VP 9’s Aircraft Accident Report recorded conditions at the time of ditching
as “1500 foot ceiling, one and one-half to three miles visibility in rain showers, wave
height 12-20 feet, winds 223 degrees at 43 knots.” Water temperature was approximately
40 degrees. The aircraft sank within 90 seconds.The crew of Coast Guard HC-130H CGNR 1500 were
instrumental in saving the lives of ten crew members from Navy P3C PD-2 “Alfa Foxtrot 586”
(Bureau No. 159892) after that aircraft ditched in the North Pacific Ocean west of Shemya
Island on 26 October 1978. Arriving on scene after dark in turbulent weather, CG 1500 marked
the reported position of the survivors’ rafts with a buoy and smoke floats, proceeded to
and established communications with a Soviet fishing vessel, Mys Sinyavin, located approximately
25 miles west of datum, and then directed that vessel to both rafts, ultimately resulting
in the rescue of ten survivors and the recovery of three dead crewmembers from AF 586. The
latter died from exposure after approximately ten – twelve hours in the water-laden rafts,
and it is unlikely that the other ten crewmembers could have survived in their rafts much longer
as they were all in the advanced stages of hypothermia when rescued by Mys Sinyavin.==The 1980s=====The Blackthorn Tragedy===
On 28 January 1980, the 180-ft buoy tender USCGC Blackthorn (WLB-391) collided with the
605-foot oil tanker S.S. Capricorn and capsized when the Capricorn’s anchor entangled the
cutter. 23 Coast Guardsmen were drowned. Coming close behind the loss of 11 men in the collision/sinking
of the OCS training ship USCGC Cuyahoga, the impact of this disaster upon morale in the
close-knit service was magnified.===Prinsendam rescue===
On 4 October 1980, the Coast Guard and Canadian Coast Guard were involved in the rescue of
the passengers and crew of the Dutch cruise vessel MS Prinsendam in the Gulf of Alaska.
A fire broke out on the Prinsendam off Yakutat, Alaska on 4 October 1980. The Prinsendam was
130 miles (210 km) from the nearest airstrip. The cruise ship’s captain ordered the ship
abandoned and the passengers, many elderly, left the ship in the lifeboats. Coast Guard
and Canadian helicopters and the cutters Boutwell, Mellon, and Woodrush responded in concert
with other vessels in the area. The passenger vessel later capsized and sank. The rescue
is particularly important because of the distance traveled by the rescuers, the coordination
of independent organizations and the fact that all 520 passengers and crew were rescued
without loss of life or serious injury.===Marine Electric sinking===
On February 12, 1983, the cargo ship SS Marine Electric sank in a storm off the coast of
Virginia. Despite efforts by multiple Coast Guard and Navy vessels, most of the crew were
lost. As a result of this, the Coast Guard undertook massive review of its rescue procedures,
its ship inspection procedures, and its requirements for safety equipment aboard ships. Some of
the reforms that resulted included the items below.
greater attention to inspection of deck hatch covers during ship inspections.
requirement for all ships to provide equipment for survival in cold water for all ship’s
crew personnel. the establishment of the Coast Guard rescue
swimmer program in 1984, in order to greatly improve readiness and training for all rescue
swimmers.===The Mariel boatlift===
In April 1980, the government of Cuba began to allow any person who wanted to leave Cuba
to assemble in Mariel Harbor and take their own transport. The U.S. Coast Guard, working
out of Seventh District Headquarters in Miami, Florida, rescued boats in difficulty, inspected
vessels for adequate safety equipment, and processed refugees. This task was made even
more difficult by a hurricane which swamped many vessels in mid-ocean and by the lack
of cooperation by Cuban Border Guard officials. By May, 600 reservists had been called up,
the U.S. Navy provided assistance between Cuba and Key West, and the Auxiliary was heavily
involved. 125,000 refugees were processed between April and May 1980. (See Mariel boatlift.)===The end of the lightships===
The number of lightships steadily decreased during the 20th century, some replaced by
“Texas Tower” type structures (e.g., Chesapeake, Buzzards Bay, both now automated) [1] [2],
and others by buoys. However, the Columbia River and Nantucket Shoals Lightships were
not replaced by large navigational buoys (LNBs) until 1979 and 1983, respectively, due to
the difficulty of anchoring buoys securely at their heavy-weather locations. [3] [4].
The technology of all aids to navigation evolved dramatically during this era, reducing manning
and maintenance requirements. The Coast Guard also managed the worldwide VLF OMEGA Navigation
System and operated two of its stations from the early 1970s until its termination in 1997
(having been superseded, though not truly obsoleted, by GPS).===Drug War at Sea Escalates===
During the 1980s, Coast Guard cutters and aircraft were increasingly deployed to intervene
drugs far offshore. While the service has interdicted contraband since its inception,
the “Drug War” was the biggest effort since Prohibition. Though the Drug War began before
the 1980s and continues to this day, it was during the 1980s that the Coast Guard, working
with the Drug Enforcement Administration and other law enforcement agencies, used a blend
of new and old laws to interdict far from the shores of the United States. Formerly,
it was more difficult to prosecute cases involving seizures made beyond 24 nautical miles from
shore. President Ronald Reagan’s efforts to secure funding for federal agencies and courts
to prosecute cases got the Coast Guard’s attention. The Coast Guard instituted a “no tolerance”
policy toward drugs, began testing its own employees for drug use, and required that
all boardings be carried out by trained and armed boarding officers and petty officers.
The Caribbean was the focus of efforts in the 1980s, but in recent years the major drug
busts at sea have been occurring more in the waters of the Pacific Ocean between California
and Peru.===Libyan attack on LORAN Station Lampedusa
===On 15 April 1986, Libya fired two Scuds at
the U.S. Coast Guard radio navigation station on the Italian island of Lampedusa, in retaliation
for the American bombing of Tripoli and Benghazi. However, the missiles passed over the island,
landing in the sea, and caused no damage. As a result of the attack, the Coast Guard
station was commissioned as a NATO base, including security hardening and an armory, as well
as an Italian security detail stationed nearby.===Exxon Valdez oil spill===
In March 1989, the oil tanker Exxon Valdez struck Prince William Sound’s Bligh Reef and
spilled 260,000 to 750,000 barrels (41,000 to 119,000 m3) of crude oil. Because the incident
took place in navigational waters, the Coast Guard had authority for all activities relating
to the cleanup effort. The Coast Guard largely served as the Federal On-Scene Coordinator
between Exxon Mobil and all of these organizations, acting within authority under the Clean Water
Act. Coast Guard cutters were one of the first
to respond to the spill, quickly establishing a safety zone around the stricken Exxon Valdez.
At least eleven cutters were present in April 1989, the majority of them overseeing booming
and skimming operations. Early that month, Coast Guard vessel activity went through a
rapid buildup phase. The Coast Guard maintained a heavy cutter presence for two weeks in mid-April
and then reduced it towards the end of the month. Four or five cutters were on hand in
early May and that number was reduced to two or three by the end of the month. Three cutters
were assigned to cleanup operations by the beginning of June, but only one remained two
weeks later – and it stayed that way for the remainder of the 1989 response.
Several C-130s from Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak airlifted more than 11 ¼ tons of cleanup
equipment by 10 April 1989. HU-25 Falcon jets from Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod flew
twice a day tracking oil with side-looking radar equipment. Five Coast Guard helicopters
also assisted thirty-nine skimmers working in Prince William Sound.[5]==The 1990s=====’90 Operation Desert Shield===On 17 August 1990, at the request of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff; the Secretary of Transportation and the Commandant of the Coast Guard committed
Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachments (LEDET) to Operation Desert Shield. A total of 10
four-person teams served in-theater to support the enforcement of UN sanctions by the Maritime
Interdiction Forces. Approximately 60 percent of the 600 boardings carried out by U.S. forces
were either led by or supported with the LEDETs. Additionally, a 7-man liaison staff was designated
by the Commandant as Operational Commander for the Coast Guard forces deployed in theater.
The first boarding of an Iraqi vessel in the theater of operations conducted by a LEDET
occurred on 30 August 1990. President George H. W. Bush, on 22 August 1990, authorized
the call up of members of the selected reserve to active duty in support of Operation Desert
Shield. Three Port Security Units (PSU), consisting of 550 Coast Guard reservists are ordered
to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Desert Shield. This was the first involuntary
overseas mobilization of Coast Guard Reserve PSUs in the Coast Guard Reserve’s 50-year
history. A total of 950 Coast Guard reservists were called to active duty.===’91 Operation Desert Storm===
Prior to the launch of Operation Desert Storm, Coast Guard LEDET personnel aboard the USS
Nicholas (FFG-47) assisted when the frigate cleared eleven Iraqi oil platforms and took
23 prisoners on 18 January 1991. On 21 April 1991, a Tactical Port Security Boat (TPSB)
of PSU 301, stationed in Al Jubayl, Saudi Arabia, was the first boat in the newly reopened
harbor of Mina Ash Shuwaikh in Kuwait City. Because of certain security concerns, a determination
was made to send one of the 22-foot Raider boats belonging to PSU 301 and armed with
M2 and M60 machine guns, to lead the procession into the harbor and provide security for the
operation.During the war, Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi army was seeking to pollute the Persian
Gulf by pouring oil into in an effort only partly stymied when Air Force F-111F Aardvarks
bombed the source of the deliberate spill. A giant slick was spreading rapidly, wreaking
environmental havoc and threatening Saudi desalinization plants that supplied potable
water for coalition troops. Two HU-25B Guardians from Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod, Mass.,
were dispatched 13 Feb 1991, supported by two HC-130H Hercules from CGAS Clearwater
Florida, Operating from Saudi and Bahraini airfields. The HC-130s brought in supplies
and returned to the United States 25 Feb.. The HU-25Bs flew over the oil spill to monitor
dispersion, rate of flow, the effects of weather and currents, and other data essential for
preparing a response plan.===Operation Buckshot, “The Great Flood of
’93″===During April and again in June 1993, Coast
Guard Forces St. Louis (CGF)was activated for flooding on the Mississippi, Missouri
and Illinois River basins. The ‘500 year’ flooding closed over 1,250 miles (2,000 km)
of river to navigation and claimed 47 lives. Historic levels of rainfall in the river tributaries
caused many levee breaks along the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers displacing thousands
of people from their homes and businesses. The commander of CGF St. Louis set into motion
a preconceived operations plan to deal with the many requests for assistance from state
and local governments for law enforcement assistance, help with sandbagging, water rescues,
evacuation of flood victims, and aerial surveillance of levee conditions. The unprecedented duration
of the flood also caused Coast Guard personnel to assume some humanitarian services not normally
a part of flood operations. Food, water and sandbags were transported to work sites to
assist sandbagging efforts by local governments. Red Cross and Salvation Army relief workers
were given transportation assistance. Many homeless animals displaced by the flood waters
were rescued and turned over to local animal shelters. Utility repair crews were assisted
with transportation of personnel and repair parts. Disaster Response Units (DRU) were
formed from active duty and reserve units throughout the Second Coast Guard District
and consisted of eight members equipped with three 16-foot flood punts powered by 25 horsepower
outboard motors. The DRU’s accounted for 1517 boat sorties and 3342 hours of underway operations.
Coast Guard helicopters from CG Air Stations in Traverse City and Detroit, Michigan; Chicago,
Illinois; Elizabeth City, North Carolina; and Mobile, Alabama provided search and rescue,
logistical support and aerial survey intelligence. The Coast Guard Auxiliary provided three fixed
wing aircraft. There were 473 aircraft sorties with 570 hours of aircraft operations. CGF
St. Louis stood down from the alert phase of operations on 27 August. A total of 380
Active Duty, 352 Reserve, 179 Auxiliary, and 5 Coast Guard civilians were involved in the
operation.===1994 Cuban boat rescues===In 1994, about 38,000 Cubans attempted to
sail from Cuba to Florida, many on homemade rafts. The Coast Guard and Navy performed
intensive search and rescue efforts to rescue rafters at sea. Sixteen 110-foot (34 m) cutters—half
the complement of the Coast Guard—were involved in this operation, as well as buoy tenders
not normally assigned to high seas duty. Due to a change in Presidential policy, rescued
Cubans were sent to the U.S. Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.===1999 Kosovo===
In the summer of 1999, USCGC Bear (WMEC-901) deployed to the Adriatic Sea in support of
Operation Allied Force and Operation Noble Anvil with the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN
71) Battle Group providing surface surveillance and SAR response for the Sea Combat Commander,
and force protection for the Amphibious Ready Group operating near Albania. The Bear also
provided security to the US Army vessels transporting military cargo between Italy and Albania.
This escort operation took Bear up to the Albanian coastline, well within enemy surface
to surface missile range. Bear earned the Kosovo Campaign Medal and the NATO Kosovo
Medal.[6]==
The 2000s==For details on the Coast Guard’s response
to the September 11, 2001 attacks, see Missions of the United States Coast Guard above.===Transfer to the Department of Homeland
Security===The Coast Guard was transferred from the Department
of Transportation to the Department of Homeland Security on 1 March 2003 under the Homeland
Security Act (Public Law No. 107-296). In 2002, the Coast Guard sent several 110-foot
(34 m) cutters to the Persian Gulf to enforce the U.N. embargo on goods to and from Iraq.
Port Security Units and Naval Coastal Warfare units also accompanied the U.S. military buildup.===Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan===
During Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, the Coast Guard had deployed
its largest contingent of Coast Guardsmen and assets overseas since the Vietnam War.
Coast Guard cutters primarily assisted in force protection and search and seizures of
suspected smugglers in Iraqi and international waters, often in close proximity to Iran.
Military trainers improved the capabilities of the Iraqi Navy and other government forces
in core competencies and maritime law enforcement. The Coast Guard also sent military advisors
to Iraq to provide technical assistance to Iraqi officials on the implementation of international
port security standards and requirements. The USCGC Walnut (WLB-205) conducted an assessment
of Iraq’s river and coastal navigational aids, such as buoys, and then replaced or corrected
the aids in order to allow for the safe navigation of the Khor Abd Allah River flowing up to
the port of Umm Qasr for military, humanitarian and commercial vessels. The Coast Guard sent Redeployment Assistance
and Inspection Detachment (RAID) teams to both Iraq and Afghanistan. The teams assisted
the units of other services with the proper declaration, classification, labeling and
packaging of container shipments as well as the inspection of containers for structural
integrity to ensure each one is seaworthy to cut down on potential shipping problems.
In addition, the Coast Guard provided multiple men and women as a part of intelligence and
cyber detachments across Afghanistan.On 24 April 2004, Petty Officer 3rd Class Nathan
B. Bruckenthal, 24, from the USS Firebolt (PC-10), became the first Coast Guardsman
to die in a combat zone since the Vietnam War. He was killed in a suicide boat attack
on a Basra oil terminal off the coast of Iraq as the crew of the Firebolt performed their
maritime security mission. At the height its involvement in both wars,
the Coast Guard deployed over 1,200 men and women, including about 500 reservists, 11
ships (two large cutters, a buoy tender, and eight patrol boats), 4 port-security units,
law enforcement detachments, and other specialized teams and support staff in order to perform
a wide range of operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, and the Persian Gulf.Coast Guard units
and personnel – both active and reserve component – continue to deploy to the Middle East region
even after the end of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn. The Coast Guard is
charged with providing harbor defense and security to ports, seaward approaches, and
waterways within U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility and ensuring the free flow
of personnel, equipment and commerce in the region.===Hurricane Katrina===
After Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, the Coast Guard dispatched a number of helicopters,
fixed-wing aircraft, small boats, and Auxiliary aircraft as well as 25 cutters to the Gulf
Coast, rescuing 2,000 people in two days, and around 33,500 people in all. The crews
also assessed storm damage to offshore oil platforms and refineries. More than 2,400
personnel from all districts conducted search, rescue, response, waterway reconstitution
and environmental impact assessment operations. In total, the Coast Guard air and boat rescued
more than 33,500 people and assisted with the joint-agency evacuation of an additional
9,400 patients and medical personnel from hospitals in the Gulf coast region.
In May 2006, at the Change of Command ceremony when Admiral Thad Allen took over as Commandant,
President George W. Bush awarded the entire Coast Guard, including the Coast Guard Auxiliary,
the Presidential Unit Citation for its efforts after Hurricane Katrina.===HC-130 #1705 crash===
On 29 October 2009, Coast Guard HC-130 aircraft No. 1705 with seven crewmembers, based at
Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento, collided with a United States Marine Corps (USMC) AH-1
Cobra helicopter with two crewmembers 15 miles (24 km) east of San Clemente Island. Both
aircraft crashed into the ocean and all nine crewmembers in both aircraft are believed
to have perished. The C-130 was searching for a missing boater while the USMC aircraft
was heading towards a military training area in company with another Cobra and two CH-53
Sea Stallions from Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. An investigation found no one directly
responsible for the crash.==The 2010s=====Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill======CG-6535 crash===
A U.S. Coast Guard MH-65C Dolphin helicopter with 4 crew members on board crashed 28 Feb
2012 into Mobile Bay, Alabama. The helicopter was on a training mission out
of U.S. Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile.===The anti-drug mission and the budget===
Due to Budget sequestration in 2013, the USCG’s ability to interdict drug shipments to the
United States has been made more difficult due to a lack of resources, and interdictions
are down 30 percent, while untracked shipments have increased. United States Southern Command’s
traditional support for the drug mission was cut back at the same time with no USN warships
assigned to the theater.===Icebreakers===
By 2015, due to lack of funding allocated to the billion-dollar class of craft, the
United States was operating one medium and one heavy icebreaker, down from a fleet of
eight. The Coast Guard estimated it needs three heavy and three medium icebreakers to
fulfil its mission. With Russia operating about 27, China preparing to launch a second,
and Canada, Finland and Sweden operating more than the United States, President Obama, various
lawmakers, and the FY2017 Coast Guard budget request have called for funding at least one
replacement for the Polar Star (which will reach end of life by 2020).===U.S. Navy sailors detained by Iran===
USCGC Monomoy, a 110-foot Island-class patrol boat, received one of the first reports of
the 2016 U.S.–Iran naval incident and assisted in the eventual rescue of ten American sailors,
assigned to Riverine Squadron 1, who were detained by Iranian naval forces in January
2016. A Navy second class petty officer activated a radio beacon while at gunpoint. The signal
was received by Monomoy, and information was passed to the group’s parent unit, Task Force
56.7, aiding the search and rescue operation where eventually the cutter escorted the sailors
to safety after they were released.==Future==
The Integrated Deepwater System Program is designed to meet future threats to the U.S.
from the sea. Although the program involves obtaining new ships and aircraft, Deepwater
also involves upgraded information technology for command, control, communications and computers,
intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR).
A key part of the Deepwater system is the Maritime Security Cutter, Large (WMSL), which
is designed to replace the 378-foot (115 m) high-endurance cutters currently on duty.
This ship will have a length of 421 feet (128 m), be powered by a gas turbine engine with
two auxiliary diesel engines, and be capable of 12,000 nautical mile (22,000 km) voyages
lasting up to 60 days. The keel laying of the USCGC Bertholf (WMSL-750), the first ship
in this class, took place in September 2004. The ship was delivered in 2008. The second
keel, USCGC Waesche (WMSL-751), was laid in 2005.
Another key vessel is the Maritime Security Cutter, Medium (WMSM), which will be 341 ft
(104 m) long, displace 2,921 long tons (2,968 metric tons), and be capable of 45-day patrols
of up to 9,000 nautical miles (17,000 km). Both the WMSL and the WMSM cutters will be
able to carry two helicopters or four VTOL Unmanned Air Vehicles (VUAVs), or a combination
of these. Billions in cost overruns have plagued the
Deepwater program. The GAO and agency observers have offered several opinions for this, and
some have questioned whether the USCG should invest in greater number of less sophisticated
vessel and air assets rather than paying dearly for cutting edge technology.==Frank LoBiondo Coast Guard Authorization
Act of 2018==In December 2018, President Donald Trump signed
Senate bill S. 140, also known as the Franklin LoBiando Coast Guard Authorization Act of
2018. This legislation was proposed to approve the budget of $7.9 billion which was allocated
for operating expenses for the U.S. Coastal Guard. An additional $2.6 was authorized for
the overall improvement of its infrastructure. It also authorized the active duty of 43,000
employees for 2018 and 44,500 personnel for the following year.==Coast Guard Museums==
Coast Guard Museum Northwest Virginia Beach Surf & Rescue MuseumCoast Guard
Heritage Museum==
See also==Military history of the United States
History of the United States Army History of the United States Navy
History of the United States Marine Corps History of the United States Air Force
Defense of the Cutter Eagle

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