222 years ago Saturday, at the beginning of his second year in office, President George Washington signed the Tariff Act, “… that authorized the construction of ten vessels, referred to as “cutters,” to enforce federal tariff and trade laws and to prevent smuggling.” (USCG Historian)
After name changes and consolidation with other agencies, the Coast Guard as we know it came into being in 1915.
One look at the Coast Guard’s website tells you all you need to know about the scope of the responsibility the service has assumed since then. Serving from inland waters to combat zones on the other side of the world, Coastguardsmen protect far more than the shores of the United States.
Right now its sailors are patrolling drug lanes in the Gulf of Mexico and boarding suspect vessels in the Middle East. They are finding lost sailing vessels in the Great Lakes and rescuing fishermen in the Gulf of Alaska. They have fought wars and responded to distress calls in the most destructive weather Mother Nature could throw at them.[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSgs8Q-81u0[/youtube]
They are the good guys and always have been. Happy Birthday to the men and women of the U.S. Coast Guard. You are our heroes of the week.