Daily Chronology of Coast Guard History
1859-The United States signed the "Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation" with Paraguay at Asuncion after the revenue cutter Harriet Lane, as part of a U.S. Navy expedition, forced the opening of the Paraguay and Parana Rivers.
1863-Commissioned officers of the Revenue Cutter Service were to be appointed by the President by and with advice and consent of the Senate. This act contained the first statutory use of term "Revenue Cutter Service." Previous laws referred only to "revenue cutters".
1881: Keeper Ida Lewis, the head keeper of the Lime Rock Lighthouse, rescued two soldiers from Fort Adams who had fallen through the ice "at the imminent risk of Mrs. Lewis-Wilson's life." For her heroic actions she was awarded a Gold Lifesaving Medal. She was officially credited with saving 13 persons during her distinguished career with the U.S. Lighthouse Service "and it is understood that the number was probably much greater."
1982- Attorney General William Smith declared at a press conference that Operation Tiburon was "the most successful international marijuana interdiction effort to date." The operation began in November, 1980, and accounted for the seizure of 95 vessels. It was a combined operation that included elements of the Coast Guard, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Customs Service and various state and local law enforcement agencies.
1999- The 639-foot freighter New Carissa ran aground north of Coos Bay, Oregon. Coast Guard helicopter crews rescued 23 crewmembers but the vessel remained firmly aground and attempts to refloat her failed. A unified command made up of Coast Guard and Navy personnel as well as marine salvors attempted to prevent a catastrophic oil spill as the ship began breaking apart. The team decided to set the oil on board the New Carissa on fire so it would burn away before being spilled and fouling the shore. It was the largest "in situ" burn ever tried in U.S. waters and it consumed a significant amount of the oil aboard the New Carissa. The Coast Guard's annual report for that year noted: "While some oil did spill out of the vessel, the unified command's efforts greatly reduced the potential environmental damage to the Oregon coast." The ship eventually broke in two and her bow section was towed to sea and sunk by the Navy.
2014-CGC Diligence returned to its home-port of Wilmington, North Carolina, after completing a 49-day patrol in the North Atlantic Ocean in support of Operation Atlantic Venture. The combined efforts of Diligence and the other Coast Guard assets involved in the operation resulted in nearly 75 vessel inspections that identified numerous violations of federal safety and fisheries regulations.
1882- The schooner Mary L. Vankirk, bound for Philadelphian from South Creek, Pamlico Sound, NC. carrying a crew of five men, encountered heavy weather. She lost sails and sprung a leak, so that before long she became water-logged and almost unmanageable. In this condition it was determined to run to leeward and seek refuge in Hatteras Inlet. Matters, however, became worse and it was decided to beach the vessel. She was discovered heading for the land by the crew of Station No. 18, Sixth District (Chicamicomico, NC). The surfboat was run out, but the life-saving crew returned to the station for the breeches-buoy apparatus. The latter arrived abreast of the schooner at 8:15, fifteen minutes after she struck the bar about half a mile north of the station. The schooner was so close that the keeper was able to wade out into the water and cast a heaving-line to those huddled in the rigging. As quickly as possible, the men in the rigging hauled off the whip-line. The breeches-buoy was soon rigged and went spinning out to the vessel. All five men were safely landed.
1946- Four Coast Guardsmen from Willapa Harbor Lifeboat Station perished in the line of duty while searching for two crab fishermen feared lost in Williapa Bay. The men were: BMC Joseph W. Miller, USCG; MM 1/c Geloyd J. Simmons, USCG; Coxswain James R. Graves, USCG; S 1/c Howard W. Hampton, USCG.
1973-The position of Senior Coast Guard Officer-Vietnam (SCGOV) was disestablished.
1975-The Coast Guard commissioned the Houston-Galveston Vessel Traffic System, the third VTS to be "implemented by the Coast Guard on a major waterway of the U.S."
1893- Secretary of Treasury was authorized to define and establish anchorage grounds for vessels in harbor of Chicago and adjacent waters of Lake Michigan.
1942- CGC Nike rescued 38 persons from SS China Arrow which had been torpedoed off Ocean City, Maryland.
1978-Coast Guard units from the First and Third Districts responded to a severe winter storm in New England, including stations providing shelter to displaced families and Coast Guard four-wheel drive vehicles serving as ambulances while an amphibious vehicle was the only means of transportation from the mainland from Sandy Hook, New Jersey, transporting nine people to safety from flooded areas. A 682-foot tanker Global Hope went aground in Salem Sound, Massachusetts, and an HH-3F from Air Station Cape Cod arrived on scene followed by CGC Decisive which removed 28 of the 32 persons on board, with four left aboard to assist in salvage and pollution control.
1990- Two Coast Guard Air Station Houston crews were the first to receive the Igor I. Sikorsky Award for Humanitarian Service. The award was presented by the Helicopter Association International at their Dallas convention. The crews were honored for their rescue of seven fishermen during Hurricane Chantal last year. They flew through driving rain, winds in excess of 65 miles-per-hour, thunderstorms and squalls to rescue the men from their capsized boat.
1996- Alas Nacionales Airlines Flight 301 crashed off the Dominican Republic and Coast Guard units conducted search and rescue operations.
1996- Coast Guard units responded to calls of assistance due to severe flooding throughout the Pacific Northwest.
1969-CGC Tern, commissioned on this date and stationed in New York, embodied an advanced concept in servicing aids to navigation. Her over-the-stern gantry system of handling buoys was unique. The automation and modernization of over-age, isolated lighthouses and light stations showed significant progress this year. A new, more effective version of the LAMP (Lighthouse Automation and Modernization Project) plan was promulgated in this year as well.
1980-CGC Cape Horn saved all six crewmen of the F/V Hattie Rose in a dramatic night-time rescue. The Hattie Rose, a Gloucester-based 75-foot stern trawler, began taking on water in 25-foot seas and 45-knot winds, 15 miles east of Provincetown. Sea and wind conditions prevented a rescue by air and so the Cape Horn, under the command of LTJG William L. Ross, and 11 crewmen, diverted from one SAR case to go to the Hattie Rose's assistance. The F/V Paul and Dominic, standing nearby the stricken vessel, helped direct the cutter to the area. The Cape Horn's crew got a line to the men, now standing on the bow which was still afloat, and pulled four of the crew to safety aboard the cutter. The line parted, however, and the two remaining fishermen began drifting away, but two of the Cape Horn's crew, Duncan Grant and Thomas Jennings, leaped into the 35-degree water and secured a line around the two. They were all then hauled safely aboard.
1992- Retired Coast Guard Chief Journalist Alex Haley, internationally noted author, crossed the bar.
1995-The 689-foot tank ship Mormac Star, carrying more than 4.7 million gallons of Jet A fuel and nearly 5.7 million gallons of number 2 diesel fuel, ran aground in Sandy Hook Channel, two miles off the beaches of Sandy Hook, New Jersey, spilling 33,600 gallons. COTP New York responded. Other responding units included Stations New York and Sandy Hook, VTS New York, and the Atlantic Area Strike Team. The spill was successfully contained and the vessel salvaged.
1802-Revenue Marine had a total of 38 commissioned officers in service: 9 captains, 10 first mates, 9 second mates and 10 third mates.
1983-The 605-foot collier Marine Electric capsized and sank off Virginia during a gale. Three of the 34 crewmen on board were rescued by Coast Guard and Navy assets. This sinking and consequent loss of life contributed to the establishment of a permanent rescue swimmer program for the Coast Guard.
1986- Rains began in northern California that lasted for a week, causing severe flooding. Coast Guard units participated in rescue and relief operations.
1960- A Coast Guard R5D aircraft from Honolulu dropped a pump to the Japanese training vessel Toyama Maru, which had radioed that it was taking on water and was in danger of sinking off Palmyra Island. The pump controlled flooding until the arrival of CGC Bering Strait, whose crew made repairs to the Japanese vessel, using 2,500 pounds of sand and cement parachuted by a Honolulu-based SC-130B plane.
1963-The Bureau of Customs requested Coast Guard assistance to search the M/V Holland Diepe in Tacoma, Washington, for narcotics. Narcotics agents had previously apprehended three Chinese crew members of the vessel in a Seattle hotel. COTP-Seattle provided a search party of two officers and eight enlisted men, who joined with 10 Customs agents. Two-man teams searched assigned areas of the vessel. A first search of seven hours uncovered a considerable quantity of raw opium. The search party then departed, as if the search were ended, but 45 minutes later they boarded the vessel once more, lined up the crew in the mess hall, and searched them and the ship again. This search, lasting three hours, uncovered more opium, both raw and prepared for smoking, a small quantity of heroin, and several opium pipes. A total of six pounds of opium was seized. WPB 82336 conducted waterside surveillance during the search.
1969-The National Transportation Safety Board issued its "Study of Recreational Boat Accidents, Boating Safety Programs, and Preventive Recommendations".
1991- During Operation Desert Storm, two HU-25A Falcon jets from Air Station Cape Cod, equipped with AIREYE technology, departed for Saudi Arabia for service with the Inter-agency oil spill assessment team. They were accompanied in flight by two C-130 aircraft from Air Station Clearwater carrying spare parts and deployment packages.
1903- An Act of Congress (31 Stat. L., 825, 826, 827) that created the Department of Commerce and Labor provided for the transfer of the Lighthouse Service and the Steamboat Inspection Service from the Treasury Department. This allowed the Secretary of Commerce and Labor to succeed to the authority vested in the Secretary of the Treasury under the existing legislation.
1911-Congress transferred Fort Trumbull, New London, Connecticut from the War Department to the Treasury Department for the use of the Revenue Cutter Service as its cadet training school.
1943-CGC Calypso removed 42 persons from a lifeboat from the torpedoed vessel SS Buarque (Brazil) east of Cape Henry.
1980-The 70-foot fishing vessel Donna Catalina sank 40 miles south of Nantucket Island. After pumps lowered to the four-man crew failed to keep up with the flooding, a Coast Guard helicopter lifted the fishing vessel's crew to safety.
1926- Congress authorized the Secretary of the Treasury to "acquire a site at New London, Connecticut, without cost to United States, and construct thereon buildings for the United States Coast Guard Academy at a total cost not to exceed $1,750,000."
1993- The Haitian passenger ferry Neptune sank with the loss of all 1,215 on board. Coast Guard units participated in the search and rescue operation but found no survivors. They then assisted in recovering the bodies of those killed.
1934-CGCs Daphne, Hermes, Perseus, Aurora and Calypso stood out from New York harbor, bound for their new duty station on the West Coast. They arrived safely in San Diego, California on 21 March 1934 after passing through the Panama Canal. The cutters formed and were referred to as the "West Coast Squadron" of the Coast Guard.
1944-Coast Guardsmen participated in the invasions of Eniwetok and Engebi, Marshall Island.
1956-CGC Casco saved 21 persons from a U.S. Navy seaplane that was forced to ditch 100 miles south of Bermuda. The cutter then took the disabled seaplane under tow and delivered both the survivors and the seaplane to the Naval Air Station at St. Georgia Harbor, Bermuda.
1842-The House of Representatives passed a resolution requesting the Committee on Commerce make an inquiry into the expenditures of the Lighthouse Establishment since 1816. This was to explore the possibility of cutting down on expenses, to examine the question of reorganizing the establishment and administration, and also to ascertain whether the establishment should be placed under the Topographical Bureau of the War Department.
1935-Three newly acquired Douglas RD Dolphin amphibious aircraft, CG-131, CG-132 and CG-133, took off from Clover Field, Santa Monica, California on "the first every trans-continental flight ever undertaken by a unit of Coast Guard men and planes." CG-131 flew to Air Station Cape May, CG-132 flew to Air Station Biloxi, while CG-133 flew to its assigned duty station at Air Station Miami. All aircraft arrived safely. Total flight time for CG-133 totaled 25 hours and 50 minutes.
1952-During a severe "nor’easter" off the New England coast, the T-2 tankers SS Fort Mercer and SS Pendleton each broke in half. Coast Guard vessels, aircraft, and lifeboat stations, working under severe winter conditions, rescued 70 persons from the foundering ships. Five Coast Guardsmen earned the Gold Lifesaving Medal, four earned the Silver Lifesaving Medal, and 15 earned the Coast Guard Commendation Medal.
1966-Division 13 of Coast Guard Squadron One (RONONE), departed for Cat Lo.
1968-Engineman First Class Robert J. Yered was awarded the Silver Star for action on 18 February 1968 while attached to Explosive Loading Detachment #1, Cat Lai, Republic of Vietnam. EN1 Yered was supervising the loading of explosives on board an ammunition ship when an enemy rocket struck a barge loaded with several tons of mortar ammunition moored alongside. His citation noted that "without regard for his personal safety, [he] exposed himself to the enemy fusillade as he helped extinguish the fire on the burning barge. . .His courageous act averted destruction of the ammunition ship, and the Army Terminal." EN1 Yered also received the Purple Heart for injuries suffered during the incident.
1979-Coast Guard HH-3F helicopter CG-1432 crashed 180 miles southeast of Cape Cod, killing four of its five occupants. The helicopter was preparing to airlift a 47-year-old crewman from the Japanese fishing vessel Kaisei Maru #18.
1845-Administrative control of the Lighthouse Establishment was transferred to Revenue Marine Bureau.
1845-Metal buoys were first put into service. They were riveted iron barrels that replaced the older wooden stave construction.
1862-Congress authorized revenue cutters to enforce the law forbidding importation of Chinese "coolie" labor.
1941-The Coast Guard Reserve was established after Congress passed the Auxiliary & Reserve Act. The Auxiliary was created from former Reserve. The legislation was introduced by Representative Gordon Canfield of New Jersey.
1945-The invasion of Iwo Jima commenced. Coast Guard units that participated in this campaign included the Coast Guard-manned USS Bayfield, Callaway, 14 LSTs and the PC-469. Three of the LSTs were struck by enemy shore fire: LST-792, LST-758, and LST-760.
1988-The largest drug bust in Hawaiian waters to date took place with seizure of the Panamanian-flagged freighter Christina M 800 miles southeast of Hawaii. The units involved were the Navy fast frigate USS Ouellet with a Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment from the CGC Jarvis embarked, the CGC Mallow, and an AIRSTA Barbers Point HC-130.
1845-President John Tyler vetoed a bill providing that no cutter be built nor purchased unless an appropriation was first made by law, on grounds that sanctity of contract of those already contracted for should not be overridden by Congress. Congress overrode his veto on 3 March 1845.
2013-The first LRI-II was delivered by MetalCraft Marine U.S. to the Coast Guard on this date in 2013, and commenced testing activities soon after. The LRI-II, which were built to be deployed on the National Security Cutter fleet, was 35 feet long with a range of over 220 nautical miles and was capable of achieving speeds in excess of 38 knots. "The stern-launched LRI-II’s high speed and extended range significantly enhanced its host cutter’s ability to execute missions while underway, particularly in migrant interdiction and law enforcement operations where teams need to be put on scene quickly. Its ability to extend the reach of its host cutter is also critical to search and rescue operations, enabling NSC cutter crews to patrol larger search areas. The LRI-II can carry up to 15 passengers, including crew, and safely operate in seas up to 13 feet."
1943-CGC Spencer received credit from the U.S. Navy for attacking and sinking the U-225 in the North Atlantic. The British Ministry of Defence has since recorded that the U-225 was actually destroyed by B-24 Liberator "S" of RAF No. 120 Squadron on 15 February 1943 and they have revised the official British records to reflect this change. However, the renowned German naval historian, Professor-Dr. Jurgen Rohwer, stated that Spencer "probably" attacked and sank the U-529 instead, although the Spencer has not received official credit for that sinking.
2008-On 20 February 2008, two U.S. Air Force F-15C fighter jets from Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, collided over the Gulf of Mexico off Panama City. Coast Guard HC-144A, No. 2303, and its crew, which were diverted to the scene from a routine training flight. They located the first pilot and directed his recovery. Both F-15C pilots were eventually recovered; regrettably only one was recovered alive. This search & rescue (SAR) mission included two important “firsts” for the U.S. Coast Guard’s new HC-144A Ocean Sentry Maritime Patrol Aircraft. For the HC-144A, the incident marked its first SAR mission, and its first use as an On-Scene Coordinator (OSC) platform.
1943-CGC Campbell under the command of CDR James A. Hirshfield and assigned to the international escort group A-3 that was escorting Convoy ON-166 through the North Atlantic, engaged numerous submarine contacts during a running battle across the sea. Campbell's attacks damaged at least two U-boats. The cutter also rescued 50 survivors from a torpedoed Norwegian freighter. Then, on 22 February 1943, as Campbell returned to the convoy after rescuing the Norwegians, it detected a radar contact closing the convoy. Campbell raced toward the target and soon made visual contact. It was the surfaced U-606, earlier disabled by a depth charge attack delivered by the Free Polish destroyer Burza. Campbell closed to ram while its gunners opened fire. The big cutter struck the U-boat with a glancing blow and one of the submarine's hydroplanes sliced open Campbell's hull, flooding the engine room. The crew dropped two depth charges as the submarine slid past, and the explosions lifted the U-boat nearly five feet. Hirshfield later noted, "I felt sure he was ours." Campbell illuminated the U-boat with a spotlight and the gunners continued to fire into the submarine's conning tower and hull. Hirshfield was hit by shell fragments but remained at his station. When he realized the Germans had given up, he ordered his men to cease firing. Campbell then rescued five of the U-606's crew. Due to the collision, Campbell was towed to safety, repaired, and returned to service. CDR Hirshfield was awarded the Navy Cross for this action.
1944-Coast Guardsmen participate in the invasion of Parry Island in the Marshall Islands.
1966-Division 13 of Coast Guard Squadron One (RONONE) arrived at Cat Lo for service with Operation Market Time in Vietnam.
1822-Congress authorized the Revenue Cutter Service to protect the natural environment by preventing "scoundrels" from cutting down live oak on Florida public lands. The oak was used for naval construction.
1837-Congress called for an inspection of the coast from Chesapeake Bay to the Sabine River "with regard to the location of additional light-houses, beacons, and buoys." Captain Napoleon L. Coste, commanding the Revenue cutter Campbell, was dispatched. He reported that the first addition to aids to navigation on this entire coast should be at Egmont Key, Tampa Bay. A lighthouse was authorized immediately and built the next year.
1877-First Lieutenant Dorr F. Tozier, USRCS assisted in saving the French bark Peabody, which had gone aground on 23 February 1877 off Horn Island in the Mississippi Sound. Tozier was awarded a Gold Medal by the President of the French Republic "for gallant, courageous, and efficient services" in saving the French vessel.
1964-A U.S. Coast Guard ice skiff rescued 25 persons from an ice flow that had broken loose from the shore near Camp Perry, Ohio. A similar rescue took place almost simultaneously at St. Clair Shores, Michigan when another Coast Guard ice skiff and a police helicopter removed five more from an ice flow.
1987-Coast Guard attorney LCDR Robert W. Bruce, Jr. became the first member of the armed forces to argue a case before the Supreme Court in uniform. He represented the Coast Guard in Solorio vs. United States on 24 February 1987.
1989-Coast Guard units searched for survivors of United Airlines Flight 811 after it crashed off the coast of Hawaii. The units included a HC-130, two helicopters, and CGCs Cape Corwin, Mallow and Sassafras. No survivors were found and the units then assisted in the retrieval of debris.
1799-Congress passed "An Act for the augmentation of the Navy" that authorized President John Adams to place the revenue cutters in the naval establishment. This was done in response to the Quasi-War with France and it had the effect of "redefining the maritime character of the Revenue Cutter Service and making it a service with the dual character of a military establishment and of a maritime service" (Irving King, George Washington's Coast Guard, p. 152).
1825-Congress empowered the Revenue Marine to enforce state quarantine laws.
1942-Wartime port security was delegated to the Coast Guard by Executive Order 9074.
2001-The tugboat Swift sank after colliding with the freighter A.V. Kastner on the Elk River in the upper Chesapeake Bay. Coast Guard units from New Jersey and Philadelphia worked with state police and local rescue agencies to rescue three survivors. Two crewmen perished. The Coast Guard also conducted the marine casualty investigation.
1793-Alexander Hamilton, first Secretary of the Treasury, submitted to the Senate the first official list of cutters with stations, officers' names, rank and dates of commission.
1984-Five people died, three were injured, and 22 rescued when the tanker American Eagle exploded 180 miles southeast of New Orleans. An AIRSTA New Orleans HH-3 took the three injured crewmen ashore while a British tanker watched over the crippled ship until a commercial tug could arrive. The next day the American Eagle started to break up and sink. The 24 remaining crewmen abandoned ship. Oil rig supply boats and a Coast Guard helicopter recovered 22. The other two became the subject of an HU-25 search but the SAR case was suspended after three days.
1925-An Act of Congress repealed the law providing a ration allowance for keepers of lighthouses and increased their salaries correspondingly. This change was not only advantageous to the light keepers, but also simplified office work.
1949-Aerial ice observation flights by long-range aircraft operated from Argentia, Newfoundland. An International Ice Patrol by vessels was neither required nor established during the 1949 season, and it was the first time that aircraft alone conducted the ice observation service.
1953-CGC Coos Bay, on Ocean Station Echo, about half-way between Bermuda and the Azores, rescued the crew of 10 from the U.S. Navy patrol plane that was forced to ditch in the Atlantic Ocean.
2003-CGC Dallas was ordered to deploy overseas to support Operation Enduring Freedom and to prepare for future contingencies. She was underway on patrol when she received the order from the Atlantic Area commander to sail overseas to the Mediterranean. Dallas deployed with an HH-65B Dolphin helicopter and 7-member aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City, New Jersey.
2004-The Coast Guard repatriated 531 Haitian migrants to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, after they were rescued in the Windward Pass. The migrants were from 13 boats stopped since 21 February 2004. The repatriations were completed by three cutters: CGC Valiant transported 290 migrants, CGC Vigilant delivered another 241, and CGC Nantucket escorted the cutters for safety and security. The migrants were turned over to the Haitian coast guard.
1867-As ordered by the Treasury Department, each officer of Revenue Cutter Service, while on duty, was entitled to one Navy ration per day.
1871-Congress passed 16 Stat. 458 which addressed shortcomings in previous legislation regarding the inspection and certification of steamboats and their crews. This Act established the Steamboat Inspection Service (SIS) within the Department of Treasury headed by a Supervisory Inspector General answerable to the Treasury Secretary. The Act also provided SIS inspectors with greater authority over more aspects of the maritime field.
1942-Certain duties of the former Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation were transferred to the Coast Guard temporarily by Executive Order 9083. The transfer was made permanent on July 16, 1946. Also, the U.S. Maritime Service was transferred to the Coast Guard from the War Shipping Administration on this date.
1963-With the arrival of the ferry crew on this date in 1963 to accept delivery of the HC-130B CGNR 1351 at Marietta, Georgia, the Coast Guard completed its program for the procurement of 12 long range, long endurance, four engine landplanes. The aircraft were assigned to Air Station Elizabeth City and Air Detachments Argentia, San Francisco, and Barbers Point.