Two hundred and twenty one years ago today, Congress created the U.S. Revenue-Marine to protect a vulnerable young nation’s shores, on a date we now celebrate as the birthday of the United States Coast Guard.
Since then, generations of Americans have bravely served our oldest continuous seagoing service, keeping our homeland safe, protecting our maritime resources, and indeed benefitting every citizen regardless of whether we live on or near the water or far inland.
In fact, Admiral Bob Papp, Commandant of the United States Coast Guard, recently observed that, “In the past year, our citizens have witnessed the Coast Guard in action like never before,” and I would add that this service extends far beyond our Nation’s shores.
From the six cutters and 700 Coast Guardsmen who support operations in the Arabian Gulf, to the men and women fighting piracy off the coast of Africa, to counter-drug operations in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific, the Coast Guard’s global impact continues to grow, all the while keeping our people, our ports and our waterways safe, by responding to situations as diverse as the unprecedented oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico to the flood ravaged Ohio and Mississippi River Valleys this spring.
From humble beginnings, the United States Coast Guard has emerged as a model within our government and, indeed, around the world. I am so very proud to serve with you and your families who make possible everything their loved ones do for our Nation.
The Joint Chiefs and I salute the extraordinary men, women, and families of our United States Coast Guard, Reserve and Auxiliary. America is safer and more secure because of you.
Happy Birthday … and Semper Paratus!