Today is Coast Guard Day, the 214th anniversary of the founding of America’s oldest continuous seagoing service. The Coast Guard is a full fledged armed force on a par with the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps, and is charged primarily with defending our shores from foreign attack. The Coast Guard has taken part in every major American conflict, including The Civil War, World War I, World War II, The Korean War, The Vietnam War, The Gulf War, and The War On Terror.
Unlike the other armed forces, the USCG has law enforcement authority, and it has a long history as the undisputed champion in saving lives at sea. Our unofficial motto is “You have to go out, but you do not have to come back.”
I was proud to serve for 9 years as a Coastie, and this is one retiree who’d jump back into uniform if he could. If you see any Coasties today, wish ’em well.
Semper Paratus, shipmates!
When she steams into the harbor
People don’t flock ’round like bees;
For she ain’t no grim destroyer,
No dark terror of the seas,
And there ain’t a load of romance
To the guy that doesn’t know,
In a ship that just saves vessels
When the icy northers blow.
But men that sail the ocean
In a wormy, rotten craft,
When the sea ahead is mountains
With a hell-blown gale abaft;
When the mainmast cracks and topples
And she’s lurching in the trough,
Them’s the guys that greet the “Cutter”
With the smiles that won’t come off.
When the old storm signal’s flyin’,
Every vessel seeks a lee,
‘Cept the “Cutter,” which ups anchor
And goes ploughing out to sea,
When the hurricane’s a-blown’
From the Banks of old Cape Cod
Oh, the “Cutter,” with her searchlight,
Seems the messenger of God.— Author unknown