Born 220 years ago when Congress authorized the construction of ten ships to fight smuggling and enforce tariff and trade laws, the U.S. Coast Guard has matured into a full-spectrum guardian of the seas. If a disaster occurs near or on the waters within or surrounding the United States, the Coast Guard gets the call.
Like firefighters who head toward the flames, the Coast Guard goes out when the weather is bad and the conditions are at their worst. Every time you hear about a tropical storm or hurricane approaching the United States, the Coast Guard is on call, ready to respond.
But this isn’t your father’s Coast Guard. Today, Coastguardsmen are deployed all over the world, including Southwest Asia.
They are rescuers. Guardians. They are brave. They are fearless.
They are the ones you hope to see when all seems lost, when life hangs in the balance. They are often the only thing between a sailor on a floundering vessel and a terrifying, lonely death at sea.
They protect. Capital ships of the U.S. Navy, elite vessels in the most powerful fleet in the world, never leave port without a Coast Guard escort.
The only ones in the world who hope to never see the distinct orange slash of a Coast Guard vessel are the bottom feeders. The druggies. The bad guys. To them, the Coast Guard represents something entirely different. To them, the service represents a nation of laws. A country whose guardsmen protect the liberties of its citizens.
It is a fine service, one that richly deserves its place as a member of the armed forces of the United States.
It is always ready. Always there.
Semper Paratus, and happy birthday.