24 Things You Should Know About the Coast Guard for Its 224th Birthday

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Today marks the 224th birthday of the United States Coast Guard. To celebrate, here’s 24 facts about one of the federal government’s oldest organizations.

  1. The Coast Guard was founded on August 4, 1790, after Congress commissioned the construction of ten ships to help enforce federal tariffs and prevent smuggling.
  2. The Coast Guard has two official flags: The Coast Guard standard and the Coast Guard ensign.
  3. Walt Disney created a special logo for the Coast Guard’s Corsair Fleet during World War II, featuring Donald Duck.

    Donald Duck photo via US Coast Guard.

    Donald Duck photo via U.S. Coast Guard.

  4. Members of the Coast Guard have served in 17 wars and conflicts throughout U.S. history.
  5. Anthony Christy was the oldest active serving Coast Guard member. The keeper of the Christiana Lighthouse in Delaware, Christy died on duty in September 1862 at the age of 105.
  6. Since 2003, the Coast Guard has been operating as part of the Department of Homeland Security.
  7. In 1791, the Coast Guard launched its first cutter Vigilant.
  8. The first permanent Coast Guard Air Station was in Cape May, New Jersey, in 1926.
  9. In 1967, the Coast Guard adopted the trademark red slash design – or racing stripe – that appears on its vessels.
  10. In 1941, the Coast Guard hired its first civilian women to serve in secretarial and clerical positions.
  11. 241,093 Coast Guard members served during World War II.
  12. “Semper Paratus” is the Coast Guard motto.
  13. While many animals have served as mascots aboard Coast Guard vessels, Sinbad, a dog, is one of the service’s most famous. He served on board the cutter Campbell during World War II, keeping troops company during their voyages.
  14. The Coast Guard was referred to as the Revenue Marine and the Revenue Cutter Service throughout the late 18th and the 19th centuries.
  15. The Coast Guard has authorized a total of 43 battle streamers, which are attached to the Coast Guard standard, replacing cords and tassels.  They are carried in all ceremonies representing heroic actions in all naval encounters from 1798 to today.  Any Coast Guard unit may display the battle streamers.
  16. The Coast Guard refers to a vessel as a “cutter” if it’s over 65-feet long.
  17. From 1942-1944, the Coast Guard had a championship hockey team called the Cutters that played in the Eastern Amateur Hockey League, considered to be one of the most competitive leagues of its time.

    Team photo via via US Coast Guard.

    Team photo via via U.S. Coast Guard.

  18. Until the Navy was re-established in 1797, the Coast Guard was the only naval service in the country.
  19. In 1918, sisters Genevieve and Lucille Baker were the first uniformed women to serve in the Coast Guard.
  20. President George Washington commissioned the first Coast Guard officer, Captain Hopley Yeaton, on March 21, 1791.
  21. The Coast Guard was featured in the 1996 featured film “White Squall” starring Jeff Bridges.
  22. The oldest Coast Guard boat station is in Sandy Hook, New Jersey.
  23. In 1967, the Coast Guard icebreaker Eastwind became the first cutter to ever sail around Antarctica. Eastwind was also the first ship to circumnavigate Antarctica since 1843.
  24. The Coast Guard core values are honor, respect and devotion to duty.

–Information from uscg.mil and other sources.

15 thoughts on “24 Things You Should Know About the Coast Guard for Its 224th Birthday

  1. Coast Guard, that is buddies ever ready to rescue people on danger and face challenges of any type, hard situation other than be warriors deployed for any war’s situation. We appreciate them and it is with happiness we fest their birthday, that, remembering the corp was founded more years ago, is of an ever young corp, part of our history such us of our present. Ever ready, ever present, ever honored. I partecipate to your gladness. claudio alpaca

  2. #1 should read 1790 not 1770….

    4 August 1790-Congress authorized the Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton’s proposal to build ten cutters to protect the new nation’s revenue (Stat. L. 145, 175). Alternately known as the system of cutters, Revenue Service, and Revenue-Marine this service would officially be named the Revenue Cutter Service (12 Stat. L., 639) in 1863. The cutters were placed under the control of the Treasury Department. This date marks the officially recognized birthday of the Coast Guard.


  3. My son has served in the Coast Guard for almost twenty years. I couldn’t be more proud of him and the hard work he does to serve this country. He has sacrificed so much of his children’s growing up.
    I am also proud of my daughter-in-law who works hard to support him and his career. She has been a ‘single’ parent for long periods while he has been far away. She and my grandsons are also heroes that make this
    shining star of our military an essential part of keeping our nation moving and safe.

  4. I am on water they protect Lake Michigan 16 different times a year salmon fishing with my boat.. Good to know you are near and no I don’t mind the safety boardings. I served in the US Navy.

  5. My dad was in the Coast Guard for 22 years. He is deceased, died at the early age of 64. I am so proud of the career he chose and am so blessed to have written him a letter during the John F. Kennedy, Jr. search to tell him how proud I was of what he did. He was on the Eastwind in 1967. I have beautiful slides of glaciers, penguins, ice masses. My grandson is entering his senior year in high school. When he was still in Jr. High he told us at dinner one night that he planned to join the Coast Guard when he graduated. My dad would be so proud and thrilled. Can’t wait to see him in that uniform.

  6. I’m currently going through enlistment.procedures into the U.S. Coast Guard. Im following in my dads footsteps he.was a DC3 on the USCGC Chase.(WHEC-718) I’m wanting to be an ME (Maritime Enforcement Specialist). Can’t wait to go to Cape May like my dad did.

  7. I too Celebrate the US Coast Guard’s 224th Birthday. I Thank them for Rescuing me in Jamaica Bay near the Marine Parkway/Gil Hodges Bridge in the 1990’s.
    I Honor & Pay Tribute to These Brave Men & Women as a Member of the Navy League of the United States, New York Council Member & a Coast Guard Auxiliarist.
    “Semper Paratus”!

  8. My husband Michael Z Perigo Chief Petty officer Perigo , when he retired after twenty two years. I’m very proud to say it was an honor to see him grow threw the years and take pride in his career. We moved a lot and raised our children threw all of the journey. Our youngest child is now following in dads footsteps and tried to service in the Coast Guard but had to many tattoos so chose the army!! We are very proud that he didn’t let that get him down. He graduated from bootcamp with the George Patton Jr award, a great honor. In less than two years he has made sergeant
    And is a great asset to the Army!!
    The Coast Guard showed our family many things and made our family a proud and secure home. Our son learned that our country needs responsible men to defend this country at an early age!!! Thank you And Happy Birthday!

  9. #21 Missed the best bit.
    Jeff Bridges who starred in White Squall was in the Coast Guard Reserve. He served with my father in the early 70’s on the Point Bridge WPB-82338 out of Marina Del Ray California.

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