Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Happy 225th Birthday to the US Coast Guard

As one of the America's five armed forces the Coast Guard can trace its roots to August 4, 1790 when it was first put into commission as the Revenue Cutter Service. As a result of the advocacy of Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury who saw the need for a floating police presence, the first session of the US Congress legislated that ten ships be constructed to enforce tariffs, prevent illegal smuggling, and ensure the collection of taxes.

 Over the years, the responsibilities of the Cutter Service grew to include life-saving and other humanitarian-oriented functions such as; the operations of the coastal Lighthouse Services and the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation.

Incidentally, Massachusetts lays at the center of the history of the lighthouse service having been the home for America’s first lighthouse. The colonial era Massachusetts Legislature ordered the construction of the Boston Light on Little Brewster Island in the outer harbor of Boston in 1716. Today, the Coast Guard, as the smallest of the five Armed Services, has several missions-- to protect the public, the environment, and our national economic interests in the country’s waterways, on the coast, and on international waters in support of national security operations.

Today, we see the benefit of a great Coast Guard legacy continuing with strength and effectiveness in our region. U.S. Coast Guard Stations Gloucester and Merrimack River and their crews provide safety at sea every day for commercial and recreational mariners through patrols, search and rescue missions, law enforcement, inspections and education and awareness.

These stations are critical to the safety and success of our commercial fishing industry. They are welcomed and valued parts of our communities, and often the venue for meetings and gatherings that bring together Coast Guard personnel, public officials and the public. Similarly, our area is truly fortunate to have U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Key Largo home ported in Gloucester and performing a number of key functions for Massachusetts, New England and our nation through long range patrols and other missions that enforce laws, promote safety and provide homeland security. We should never fail to recognize and appreciate the Captain and crew of Key Largo, which recently relieved U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Grand Isle after many years of distinguished service.

Yesterday, 418-foot National Security Cutter James arrived at Boston Base. James is docked at the U.S. Coast Guard base at 427 Commercial Street in the North End.

To learn more about the U.S. Coast Guard click here - http://www.uscg.mil/

If you have an opportunity to talk with a Coast Guard member, thank them for their service. And, don’t forget to congratulate them for being a part of an outstanding organization that began in our nation’s earliest days and continues to protect and defend us each and every day.