Every year, August 4 is celebrated as the U.S. Coast Guard Birthday, commemorating the military organization for its valor and discipline. Since 1790, the U.S. Coast Guard has kept the nation’s waterways safe, playing a critical role in national security.
The U.S. Coast Guard patrols our coasts for drug smugglers, human trafficking and both domestic and international terrorism. As the bad guys (and girls) have gotten more savvy with technology, the Coast Guard has developed sophisticated, effective technology to combat crimes on the water and at our ports. It’s a 24/7 job. Today, let’s give the U.S. Coast Guard the love it deserves.
U.S. Coast Guard Birthday timeline
Coast Guard moved to Homeland Security
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security took over jurisdiction following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The U.S. Coast Guard is a name change
The Revenue Cutter Service and U.S. Life Saving Service merged to form a single maritime entity called the U.S. Coast Guard.
Thank Hamilton for the U.S. Coast Guard
Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury, founded the Revenue Marine — which later became the U.S. Coast Guard.
How to Observe U.S. Coast Guard Birthday
Show up at a Coast Guard event
Neighborhoods often host events which mark the founding of the U.S. Coast Guard. These usually include games, food and music. Learn some Coast Guard history and see why we owe a debt of gratitude to this unique arm of our military.
Indulge in some Lego family fun
There are plenty of Lego sets dedicated to the U.S. Coast Guard, complete with rescue planes and ships. Get a Lego set, assemble some family and friends to lend some creativity, pop some corn and have some fun!
Treat retirees to a special lunch
Do you have U.S. Coast Guard retirees in your neighborhood? Show some appreciation for their service with an outing to their favorite restaurant. Or, go one further and get together with your neighbors and make it a real community event. Invite a group of retirees, cook a special lunch and even get the kids to put on a show!
4 Seaworthy Facts About The U.S. Coast Guard
The oldest serving Coast Guard member was 105
Anthony Christy, who manned the Christiana Lighthouse in Delaware, died while on duty in 1862.
High standards for U.S. Coast Guard rescue swimmers
The qualifying criteria is so tough that 50% of applicants fail every year.
A dog served in the U.S. Coast Guard during World War II
Sinbad was an official member of the crew, complete with his uniform, his own bunk, and paperwork.
U.S. Coast Guard tracks movements of icebergs
The U.S. Coast Guard is a part of the International Ice Patrol, which monitors and reports movements of icebergs around the world.
Why U.S. Coast Guard Birthday is Important
It's America's oldest continuing sea going service
The U.S. Coast Guard, first known as the "Revenue Marine," has been around for more than 200 years. The service is crucial to our national security.
It's the world's 12th largest naval force
The U.S. Coast Guard does a lot more than search and rescue missions. As Commander-in-Chief, the president can transfer U.S. Coast Guard operations to the U.S. Navy when necessary.
It inspires future generations
Celebrating the U.S. Coast Guard on its birthday can help in recruiting young people who want to make a difference in the world. Plus, the intensive training will thoroughly prepare young men and women for the technological challenges and changes in fighting crime on the seas.