Two hundred and twenty years ago today, the United States Congress created the U.S. Revenue-Marine to safeguard our young Nation’s shores. We proudly celebrate this as the day the United States Coast Guard was born.
Over the years, generations of men and women have bravely stood the watch in our oldest continuous seagoing service, keeping our homeland safe, protecting our maritime resources and nobly serving as America’s Maritime Guardians.
I note with special pride the 2,500 Coast Guardsmen on duty in and around the Gulf of Mexico right now, working hard each day to help clean up the worst oil spill in our nation’s history. Having just visited one of our command centers down in New Orleans, I can attest to the professionalism and the sheer determination they are bringing to that critical job.
Their service also extends well beyond our shores. This year alone, Coast Guard men and women responded superbly to the devastating earthquake in Haiti, fought piracy off the coast of Africa, and executed counter-drug operations in the Caribbean, all the while keeping our people, our ports and our waterways safe and secure.
Quite simply, Coast Guardsmen serve wherever America needs them. And Coast Guard families are right there, too, making possible through their own service and sacrifice everything their loved ones do for the nation.
This remarkable story of global service points to a courage and flexibility that makes the Coast Guard’s history a very special one. From the humble beginnings of ten schooners designed to protect a small nation from smugglers, the United States Coast Guard now stands as a model around the world. I am very proud to serve with you.
The Joint Chiefs and I salute the incredible men, women, and families of our United States Coast Guard, Reserve and Auxiliary. America is safer because of you.
Happy Birthday … and Semper Paratus!
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