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Coast Guard Day is Aug. 4

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- This Aug. 4, the U.S. Coast Guard would like to invite everyone to celebrate Coast Guard Day. The date commemorates the day in 1790 when Alexander Hamilton founded the Revenue Cutter Service. The Revenue Cutter Service started out as the sole enforcer of trade and tariff laws at sea and was charged with getting our nation back on its feet after the Revolutionary War making the Coast Guard America's oldest continuous sea going service.

As America grew and evolved so did the Coast Guard. Today's Coast Guard traces its lineage from not only the Revenue Cutter Service but also the Life Saving Service, the Lighthouse Service, the Steamboat Inspection Service, and other maritime navigation and regulatory government agencies. This combination of agencies and missions came together to form the U.S. Coast Guard, ready to take on the challenges of securing America's waterways to promote commerce, fight crime, and secure our borders.

The missions of the Coast Guard are extensive and require highly trained people to properly execute the duties assigned to them. However, the Coast Guard is a small service, with less than 40,000 active duty members. Because of its relatively small size, specialization is not always an option for Coast Guard personnel. Coasties often need to become proficient in multiple skill sets. Doing more with less is ingrained in the Coast Guard culture. Limited manpower and resources forces the Coast Guard to run lean and be ready to adapt to any situation.

When Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast, Coast Guard crews from air, sea, and land facilitated the rescue of over 35,000 people and assisted in restoring law and order in the devastated area until local law enforcement capabilities were re-established. The Coast Guard lacked the necessary supplies to mount a rescue mission on such a grand scale so crews used ingenuity and determination to provide assistance. Crews worked with the local community to salvage supplies, equipment, and fuel that were vital to the rescue effort. From the air, Coast Guard helicopter crews were the first on scene after the storm passed and continued working well past the point of exhaustion to pull survivors from roof tops and homemade rafts throughout the flooded city. The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina was the largest rescue in Coast Guard history and illustrates what a small, agile and dedicated force can achieve when confronted with a seemingly insurmountable mission.

This Coast Guard Day will mark the 220 year anniversary of the U.S. Coast Guard. From humble beginnings in 1790, as America's revenue collector, to today's complex mutli-mission military service, the men and women of the Coast Guard have been answering our nation's call to serve. With a small service comes great people and Coast Guard Day is a celebration of those who wear or have worn the uniform, the dedicated guardians, who since the beginning have fought in every major American military engagement, saved countless lives, and helped assure the security of our nation.

The men and women of the Coast Guard are what make the Coast Guard America's premier maritime service, helping them live up to their name, Guardians of the Sea, answering America's call with our motto, Semper Paratus - always ready.
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