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U.S. Coast Guard Reserve Birthday – February 19, 2023

The U.S. Coast Guard Reserve Birthday takes place on February 19 annually. On June 23, 1939, Congress gave the Coast Guard Reserve a legislative mandate to use civilians. It was done to promote safety on the high seas and the nation’s navigable waters. It was non-military and was formed by unpaid, volunteer U.S. citizens who owned yachts or boats. On February 19, 1941, Congress amended the 1939 Act by passing the Auxiliary and Reserve Act of 1941. It designated the Reserve as a military branch, with the civilians forming the Auxiliary. It became the Coast Guard Reserve, and its founding day is February 19. 

History of U.S. Coast Guard Reserve Birthday

In the late 1930s, a group of volunteer U.S. citizens who owned boats and yachts got together to promote water safety, seamanship, and other water-based missions. Known as the Coast Guard Auxiliary in 1939, the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve bears little to no resemblance to the organization from back then. In 1939, a federal law authorized the Auxiliary.

Another law passed by Congress in 1941 modeled the Auxiliary after the Naval Reserve and named it the Coast Guard Reserve. Today, the Coast Guard Reserve falls under the U.S. military, under the Department of Homeland Security. The Coast Guard Reserve comprises the Regular Reservists, who were on active duty during World War II, and the Temporary Reservists, who performed coastal patrols and port security duties. The Coast Guard Reserve made up over 90% of the 214,000 members who served in the Coast Guard in World War II and is one of the seven reserve components of the U.S. armed forces. 

Through the eight Port Security Units, the Coast Guard Reservists help with the national response to terrorism, and disasters, providing important expeditionary support to the Department of Defense. Participating in various joint military and rescue exercises across the world, the Reserve personnel have provided help for 12 hurricane and six major flood operations, along with active duty and participation in Operations Desert Shield or Storm and Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti.

U.S. Coast Guard Reserve Birthday timeline

1939
The U.S. Coast Guard Reserve is Established

The U.S. Coast Guard Reserve is established on June 23 as a civilian reserve to promote seamanship, safety, and security of the nation’s navigable waters.

1941
The U.S. Coast Guard Reserve is Renamed

The Coast Guard Reserve and Auxiliary Act 1941 is passed on February 19 and the civilian reserve is renamed the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. 

1942
  Patrol Duty Begins

The Chief of Naval Operations requests the Coast Guard Reserve to organize the Coastal Picket Patrol, also known as the Corsair Fleet, to patrol and even attack enemy submarines. 

1943
First African-American Commissioned Coast Guard Reserve Officer

Officially recognized as the first African-American officer in the Coast Guard, Joseph C. Jenkins graduates as an ensign in the Coast Guard Reserves. 

U.S. Coast Guard Reserve Birthday FAQs

How old should you be to join the Coast Guard Reserves?

You can become a Reservist if you are between the ages of 17 and 40. You can contact your local recruiter to join specific programs if you’ve served before.

Is it hard to get into the Coast Guard Reserve?

The Coast Guard Reserve is one of the more difficult branches to join because it accepts far fewer recruits than the other military branches, and qualifying requirements are strict.

Do Coast Guard Reserves have to go to bootcamp?

Coast Guard Reservists must complete Basic Training at the Coast Guard Training Center in Cape May, New Jersey. The training lasts for eight weeks, and Reservists also train one weekend monthly and every Summer for two weeks.

How to Observe U.S. Coast Guard Reserve Birthday

  1. Share Coast Guard Reserve stories

    With its rich and unique history of civilians being part of the World War, the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve Birthday can be observed by sharing stories. You can talk to war veterans and civilians who were part of the Coast Guard Reserve to share war stories and other missions. 

  2. Read books on the Coast Guard Reserve

    There are many books available online and offline that talk about the various stories and contributions of the Coast Guard Reserve during World War II and other missions. So, pick up a book and read about the unique contributions of the civilians during those times.

  3. Watch movies featuring the Coast Guard Reserve

    Many movies have featured the Coast Guard Reserve and its exemplary service. On this day, you can watch a few such films to commemorate the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve Birthday and all it has done.

5 Important Facts About The Coast Guard Reserve

  1. The Coast Guard Reserve seal

    The Coast Guard Reserve seal was created in 1991 to celebrate the Reserve’s 50th anniversary and is very similar to the Coast Guard seal.

  2. Women in service

    The Coast Guard Women’s Reserve, nicknamed SPARS, was formed in 1942 and though it was disbanded in 1946, it inspired the success of women in the Coast Guard Reserve today.

  3. The Coast Guard Reserve changed in 1994

    Downsizing led to the Coast Guard Reserve stopping the operations of its all-reserve units, except for the Port Security Units.

  4. The Coast Guard Reserve anthem

    Called the ‘Golden Reserve,’ the anthem talks about being ready for the call in all conditions and serving the nation.

  5. Celebrities in the Coast Guard Reserve

    Many celebrities such as Beau and Jeff Bridges, Ford Rainey, Guy Madison, Patrick Wayne, and others have served in the Coast Guard Reserve. 

Why U.S. Coast Guard Reserve Birthday is Important

  1. It commemorates the sacrifices of Coast Guards

    Many who have served in the Coast Guard Reserve have sacrificed their time and lives to protect and serve the American people. Observing the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve Birthday not only honors their sacrifice but also encourages the youth to understand the rich history of the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve.

  2. It encourages civilians to be part of the country and community

    As the Coast Guard Reserve offers an opportunity to citizens to serve their country and community on a part-time basis, celebrating its birthday encourages others to do the same. It boosts the community’s morale to see youth participate in duties of maritime safety, mobility, security, national defense, and the protection of natural resources.

  3. It celebrates the rich naval history of the U.S.

    During the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve Birthday, many internal events and activities encourage the community to celebrate. This showcases the rich history of the U.S. Naval Forces, along with the Coast Guard Reserve.

U.S. Coast Guard Reserve Birthday dates

YearDateDay
2023February 19Sunday
2024February 19Monday
2025February 19Wednesday
2026February 19Thursday
2027February 19Friday

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