Portal:United States Coast Guard

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The United States Coast Guard's seal

The United States Coast Guard (USCG) is a branch of the United States Armed Forces involved in maritime law, mariner assistance, and search and rescue, among other duties of coast guards elsewhere. As one of the seven uniformed services of the United States, and the smallest armed service of the United States, its stated mission is to protect the public, the environment, and the United States economic and security interests in any maritime region in which those interests may be at risk, including international waters and America's coasts, ports, and inland waterways.

USCG has a broad and important role in homeland security, law enforcement, search and rescue, marine environmental pollution response, and the maintenance of river, intracoastal and offshore aids to navigation (ATON). It also lays claim to being the United States' oldest continuous seagoing service. The United States Coast Guard has about 40,150 men and women on active duty.

The Coast Guard's motto is Semper Paratus, meaning "Always Ready".

The legal basis for the Coast Guard is 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." On February 25, 2003, the Coast Guard was placed under the Department of Homeland Security. The Coast Guard reports directly to the Secretary 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.

As members of a military service, Coast Guardsmen on active and reserve service are subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice and receive the same pay and allowances as members of the same pay grades in the other four armed services.

Selected article

Aerial view of Washington Parade field and campus

The United States Coast Guard Academy (USCGA), located in New London, Connecticut is a U.S. military academy that provides education to future officers of the United States Coast Guard. Unlike the other Service Academies, admission to the Coast Guard Academy is purely merit-based, and does not require a Congressional nomination.[1] The Academy is regularly cited as being the most difficult U.S. college-level institution to gain entrance into. Each year some 400 students are selected from an applicant pool about eight times that size for appointments to the Academy. About 280 of those 400 students accept the appointment and report to the USCGA in early July for "swab summer," a basic military training program designed to prepare them for the rigors of their Fourth Class year. Each cadet takes two semesters of classes during the school year and then spends the majority of the summer in military training. After four years of study and training, approximately 175 cadets will graduate with a B.S. degree and be commissioned as Ensigns in the United States Coast Guard, to begin serving their five years of obligatory duty. Around 30% of the Corps of Cadets is female.

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44581.jpg

United States Coast Guard Motor Life Boat CG-44381 at the National Motor Life Boat School, Cape Disappointment, WA.

Photo credit:Seasee


Did you know...?

  • ... that the motto and slogan of the Coast Guard is Semper Paratus, or always ready?
  • ...that the Coast Guard has a higher percentage of pilots than the US Air Force?

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Selected biography

US Coast Guard Capt Commandant Ellsworth P. Bertholf.jpg

Ellsworth P. Bertholf (April 7, 1866-November 11, 1921) was a Congressional Gold Medal recipient who later served as the fourth Captain-Commandant of the United States Revenue Cutter Service and after the merger of the Revenue Cutter Service with the United States Life Saving Service to form the United States Coast Guard, he continued to serve as Commandant during World War I.

United States Coast Guard news

Quotes

"The lighthouse and the lightship appeal to the interests and better instinct of man because they are symbolic of never-ceasing watchfulness, of steadfast endurance in every exposure, of widespread helpfulness."
— George R. Putnam, the first Commissioner of Lighthouses
U.S. Lighthouse Service, 1906-1935

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