The United States Coast Guard, one of the country's five armed services, is a unique agency of the federal government. 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 then had a single maritime service dedicated to saving life at sea and enforcing the nation's maritime laws. The Coast Guard began to maintain the country's aids to maritime navigation, including operating the nation's lighthouses, when President Franklin Roosevelt authorized the transfer the Lighthouse Service 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.
TITLE 14--COAST GUARD
PART I--REGULAR COAST GUARD
CHAPTER 1--ESTABLISHMENT AND DUTIES
Sec. 1. Establishment of Coast Guard
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. The Coast Guard shall be a service in the Department of Homeland Security, except when operating as a service in the Navy.(Aug. 4, 1949, ch. 393, 63 Stat. 496; Pub. L. 94-546, Sec. 1(1), Oct. 18, 1976, 90 Stat. 2519; Pub. L. 107-296, title XVII, Sec. 1704(a), Nov. 25, 2002, 116 Stat. 2314.)
As a veteran I'm appalled that there are school districts out there promoting the celebration of FOUR armed military services and not FIVE!