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The Revenue Cutter Service

Us Coast Guardsmen In Oxnard, California Unload Debris From Alaska Airlines Flight #261 February 1, 2000 Which Crashed January 31, 2000 In The Pacific Ocean Northwest Of Los Angeles. (Photo By Pool/Getty Images)

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Never heard of it have you? “The Revenue Cutter Service” is not a deficit reduction plan. On August 4, 1790, the “Revenue Marine” was founded. It’s the oldest continuous seagoing service.

While the US Navy was formed in 1775, but that was disbanded in 1785 and the Navy we know today was founded in 1794.

Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton headed the Revenue Marine whose duties included custom’s collections at all US seaports. By the 1860’s the name became more popularly known as the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service.

In 1915 it became officially known as the United States Coast Guard.

The Seven Uniformed Services of the United States

There are currently seven uniformed services headed by a federal executive department and a civilian Cabinet overseer.

  • The United States Army
  • The United States Marine Corps
  • The United States Navy
  • The United States Air Force
  • The United States Coast Guard
  • The United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps
  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps

Only the first five of these branches carry, maintain or use weapons.

Coast Guard And Our Nation’s Wars

On a global scale, the US Coast Guard would be the 12th largest navel force in the world. The Coast Guard has played a role in every war the US has fought since the year 1790. The Coast Guard played a part in landing troops on the beaches during the D-Day invasion during WWII.

Over 90,000 active duty, reservists, auxiliary and full time civilian employees keep the Coast Guard operational.

Title 14 of the United States Code: states…

The Coast Guard as established January 28, 1915, shall be a military service and a branch of the armed forces of the United States at all times. The Coast Guard shall be a service in the Department of Homeland Security, except when operating as a service in the Navy.

Today’s Coast Guard

When President George Bush signed the Homeland Security Act on November 25, 2002 the Coast Guard was placed under the Department of Homeland Security. The Coast Guard had previously been administered by the US Department of Transportation.

Some Final Thoughts

I always thought the Coast Guard was considered the stepchild of the five armed services. Most people think they are regulated to drug smuggling, immigration and boating safety.

I’ve never seen a homeless guy at a freeway exit with a sign saying “Coast Guard Vet.” They are usually always Marines.

I thought we should all take a moment on this anniversary date to appreciate the long, proud, and historic achievements of this small but mighty branch that contributes to our safety and helps protect our way of life.

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