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U.S. Coast Guard Beach Patrol During World War II

A Historic Photo Gallery

The following are official U.S. Coast Guard photographs that illustrate the Coast Guard's beach patrol duties during World War II:


A photo of John Cullen.

Original caption unknown, photo number/date/photographer unknown.

SN 2/c John Cullen, who helped foil one of two Nazi sabotage teams that were sent to the United States in 1942.  Cullen discovered the saboteurs, who had landed on a Long Island beach from their submarine U-202, during his six-mile patrol from Coast Guard Station Amagansett.  He immediately reported the incident to his superiors; they then contacted the FBI.  Neither sabotage team was successful and all of the Nazi agents were captured.


Coast Guard Beach Patrol

Original caption unknown, photo number/date/photographer unknown. 

Dogs and their beach patrol handlers leap into action from a surfboat during a landing exercise along the coast of South Carolina, circa 1943.


A photo of the Coast Guard's Beach Patrol.

Original caption unknown, photo number/date/photographer unknown.



A photo of the Coast Guard's Beach Patrol.

Original caption unknown, photo number/date/photographer unknown.

A Coast Guard beach patrolman at his lookout post somewhere along the northwest coast.



A photo of the Coast Guard's Beach Patrol.

Original caption unknown, photo number/date/photographer unknown.

In September 1942, horses were authorized for use by the beach patrol. The mounted portion soon became the largest segment of the patrol. For example, one year after orders were given to use horses, there were 3,222 of the animals assigned to the Coast Guard. All came from the Army. The Army Remount Service provided all the riding gear required, while the Coast Guard provided the uniforms for the riders. A call went out for personnel and a mixed bag of people responded. Polo players, cowboys, former sheriffs, horse trainers, Army Reserve cavalrymen, jockeys, farm boys, rodeo riders and stunt men applied. Much of the mounted training took place at Elkins Park Training Station and Hilton Head, the sites of the dog training schools.



A photo of the Coast Guard's Beach Patrol.

Original caption unknown, photo number/date/photographer unknown.


A photo of the Coast Guard's Beach Patrol.
"U. S. Coast Guard mounted beach patrol unit awaits inspection." 

Photo number/date/photographer unknown. 

 Photograph courtesy of the Coast Guard Museum Northwest.


A photo of the Coast Guard's beach patrol

Original caption unknown; Coast Guard Photo No. 293; date/photographer unknown.


A photo of the Coast Guard's Beach Patrol.

Original caption unknown, photo number/date/photographer unknown.



A photo of the Coast Guard's Beach Patrol.

"COAST GUARD CAVALRY: Members of the U.S. Coast Guard mounted beach patrol gallop along a wave washed beach on the Atlantic coast in an early morning drill.  Though they work mostly in pairs, patrolling the coasts for saboteurs, the Coast Guard cavalrymen are trained to work in large units as well as individually." 

Coast Guard Photo No. 1437-1; date/photographer unknown.



A photo of the Coast Guard's Beach Patrol.

"BEACH POUNDERS:' At the Mounted Beach Patrol and Dog Training Center, Hilton Head, S.C., Coast Guard personnel trained horses and dogs so that they in turn could assist them in the tedious work of patrolling the Southeastern coastline." 

Photo number/date/photographer unknown.


A photo of the Coast Guard's Beach Patrol.

Original caption unknown, photo number/date/photographer unknown.

Mounted beach patrol, somewhere along the Atlantic coast, circa 1943.



A photo of the Coast Guard's Beach Patrol.

"COAST GUARD CAVALRY: Members of the U.S. Coast Guard mounted beach patrol gallop along a wave washed beach on the Atlantic coast in an early morning drill.  Though they work mostly in pairs, patrolling the coasts for saboteurs, the Coast Guard cavalrymen are trained to work in large units as well as individually." 

Coast Guard Photo No. 1437-2; date/photographer unknown.


A photo of the Coast Guard's Beach Patrol.

"COAST GUARD PALS: Man, dog, and horse have always been inseparable pals.  U.S. Coast Guardsman Joe Opalka, blacksmith at a horse and dog beach patrol station on the Pacific Coast, prepares to shoe an equine Coast Guard member, while a canine guardian holds fast the reins."

Coast Guard Photo No. 1436; date/photographer unknown.




A photo of the Coast Guard's beach patrol.

"SOMETHING NEW IN FOOTWEAR: 'Dog-gone good shoes' says Poncho, a Coast Guard dog, as Captain Raymond J. Mauerman (left), chief training officer of the Coast Guard Dog Patrol, puts a set of the new canvas boots on the dog.  The boots are designed to protect the Coast Guard Dog Patrol animals from sustaining cut feet from the oyster shells during the long treks along the nation's beaches while on anti-saboteur beach patrol.  Lieutenant Charles H. Gardner (right) watches the demonstration." 

Coast Guard Photo No. 1147; date/photographer unknown.




A photo of the Coast Guard's Beach Patrol.

"COAST GUARD DOG PATROL: Armed Coast Guardsmen, ready for action, start out on their vigilant patrols of America's coastline with their keen and loyal canine partners.  On anti-saboteur patrol, dogs are playing a responsible part in guarding our shores from attempts of enemy spies and saboteurs to land on American beaches." 

Coast Guard Photo No. 727; date/photographer unknown.


A photo of the Coast Guard's Beach Patrol.

"DOGS IN THE COAST GUARD: Trained to guard America's shores and coastline from attempts of enemy spies and saboteurs to land or prowl around are tense dogs who fear nothing.  The Coast Guard Dog Patrol on lonely beaches and outposts is ready for action." 

Coast Guard Photo No. 721; date/photographer unknown.



A photo of the Coast Guard's Beach Patrol.

"Dog Beach Patrol, Parramore Beach."; Coast Guard Photo No. 699; 21 October 1943; photographed by "Gates."

In 1942, the Coast Guard recognized that the use of dogs, with their keen sense of smell and their ability to be trained for guard duty, would help enhance the patrols. The Coast Guard eventually received about 2,000 dogs for patrol duties. The dogs and their trainers were schooled on the 300-acre estate of P.A.B. Widnener, at the Elkin Park Training Station in Pennsylvania. Others trained at Hilton Head, S.C. The first dog patrols began at Brigantine Park, N.J., in August 1942. The dogs were so successful, that within a year, the animals and their handlers were on duty in all the districts.



A photo of the Coast Guard's Beach Patrol.

"DOGS OF WAR IN THE COAST GUARD: 'Man's best friend' is now an important member of the armed fighting forces.  On a lonely outpost on the Atlantic, this alert, trained dog gives the signal of warning to the Coast Guardsmen who then challenges any suspected enemy spies and saboteurs."

Coast Guard Photo No. 726; date/photographer unknown.



A photo of the Coast Guard's Beach Patrol.

"COAST GUARD WAR DOG: Snarling and snapping a defiant warning to any and all attempts of enemy spies and saboteurs to land on our shores. . .this brave canine member of the Coast Guard Dog Patrol symbolizes fighting spirit."

Coast Guard Photo No. 816; date/photographer unknown.


A photo of the Coast Guard's Beach Patrol.

Original caption unknown, photo number/date/photographer unknown.

A typical lookout tower built for the Coast Guard's beach patrol.



A photo of the Coast Guard's Beach Patrol.

Original caption unknown, Coast Guard Photo No. 272; date/photographer unknown.

Coast Guard dog patrol, east coast, circa 1943.


A photo of the Coast Guard team sent to China in 1944

Original caption unknown, photo number/date/photographer unknown.

The Coast Guard sent a team of beach patrol experts to China in 1944 to help train the Nationalist Chinese Army in the use of dogs and horses for patrol and counterinsurgency duty.  A total of 21 enlisted Coast Guardsmen and three officers comprised the Coast Guard team and they trained over 500 Nationalist Chinese Army troops.  Three veterinary officers were also sent along.  For more information, see Eleanor C. Bishop's book Prints in the Sand that is listed as a source below.



A Coast Guard mascot

Original caption unknown, date circa 1974; photo number/photographer unknown.

This is a photo of Jarman, a World War II Coast Guard veteran, just before he passed away at the ripe old age of 40 in 1974.  He started his military career in the Army as a caisson puller, but after his Army job was abolished he transferred to the Coast Guard.  During World War II, he served as a patrol horse with the Coast Guard's Beach Patrol, guarding Pismo Beach in San Luis Obispo County.  Here he is during his well-earned retirement, proudly wearing a blanket that bears his Coast Guard insignia.


Last Modified 11/17/2014