I am not at all pleased when the President of the United States and Commander-in-Chief of the US Armed Forces forgets that there are FIVE armed military services. Recently President Obama thanked the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines, but he forgot to thank the Coast Guard for their service in Afghanistan. Yes, you heard it...Afghanistan. The Coast Guard is armed and ready and serving everywhere. In fact when it was brought up that he missed the Coast Guard, he seemed surprised they were even there.
For those who don't know...the USCG was founded August 4, 1790 and is the oldest seagoing service (the Navy Dept was not established until 1798) and one of the oldest organizations in the federal government. Known previously as the Revenue Cutter Service and Revenue Marine, it eventually earned the name United States Coast Guard in 1915. At that time its sole service was maritime law enforcement and rescues at sea.
Through the years the USCG picked up additional responsibilities including operation the nation's lighthouses, merchant marine licensing and merchant vessel safety ops. The Coast Guard has been a participant in every war the US has fought in since 1790. The USCG operates under the Department of Homeland Security in peacetime and under the Department of the Navy in wartime, at the direction of the President.
Signalman Douglas Munroe won the Medal of Honor for sacrificing his life to save marines trapped on a beach at Guadalcanal. In recent years, the Coast Guard has been more active than ever before. The Coast Guard rescued over 33,000 people after Hurricane Katrina. The Coast Guard coordinated the "largest maritime evacuation in history on 9/11" when it coordinated boats to move half a million people off lower Manhattan after the collapse of the Towers. Armed Coast Guard vessels patrolled the shores 24/7 after 9/11. Since its creation, the USCG has saved a million lives including 300,000 illegal immigrants.
The Coast Guard is everywhere. We participate in military missions, port security, aids to navigation, environmental disaster response, drug enforcement operations, maritime law enforcement, icebreaking, ship safety inspections, search and rescue, just to name a few of our responsibilities. The Coast Guard has been an important part of this nation's maritime and military history. Coastie men and women have given their lives and sacrificed much to serve their country.
That's your history lesson for today. Like my fellow Coasties past, present and future, I am honored to have served. I don't need the President to thank me to feel good about my accomplishments in the USCG, but it would have been nice for him to at least acknowledge the sacrifices these brave men and women make every single day.