Daily Chronology of Coast Guard History
- 1874-The light was first lit at Spectacle Reef Lighthouse, located on
a limestone reef at the northern end of Lake Huron, near the Straits of
Mackinac, ten miles from land. The structure of this lighthouse was
similar to that of Minots Ledge, and its construction was "a
notable engineering work."
- 1941-The Navy organized the South Greenland Patrol. It
consisted of three cutters and a Navy vessel.
- 1946-The Coast Guard returned to operation under the Treasury
Department after the end of World War II.
- 1948- The Coast Guard Training Center at Cape May, New Jersey, was
established as a receiving center for the initial classification,
outfitting, and indoctrination of recruits. The primary reason for
this move from the training station at Mayport, Florida, which was then
be decommissioned, was to locate more centrally the Service's facilities
for handling recruits.
CGC Vigilant escorted the
Liberian tanker Ain Taurga to an anchorage in New York
Harbor. The Coast Guard then boarded the ship at
the request of its Master, to ascertain whether there
was any danger from what was described as a labor
dispute involving five Indonesian crewmen, who were
reportedly roaming about the ship armed with guns and
knives. Negotiations with the crew, along with
representatives of the Libyan and Indonesian Missions
and the International Seafarers Union, were conducted
and the "mutiny" ended peacefully.
- 1882-At 8 in the morning the three-masted
schooner J.P. Decamdres,
bound for Milwaukee with a cargo of cord-wood and railroad ties,
stranded about one mile north of the life-saving station at the entrance
to Milwaukee Harbor (No. 15, Eleventh District) and became a total
wreck. Her crew of six men and a passenger were rescued by the
- 1941-President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order making
2,100 US Coast Guard officers and men available to man four transports,
USS Leonard Wood, Hunter Liggett, Joseph T. Dickman,
and Wakefield along with 22 other ships manned by US Navy
- 1982-USS Farragut towed two vessels seized by the Coast
Guard to San Juan, Puerto Rico, marking the first time that a Navy ship
took an active role in law enforcement and the interdiction of drug
smuggling in the Caribbean.
- 1963-USS Asterion and SS Kokoku Maru collided in
a heavy fog 40 miles west of San Francisco, killing one crewman of the
latter ship and injuring three others. The Coast Guard cutters Magnolia,
Comanche, Avoyel, and patrol boat CG-95311, as well
as two commercial tugs, converged on the scene. Comanche and Magnolia
successfully removed all 43 survivors from the disabled Kokoku Maru,
all of whom were subsequently delivered safely ashore. Although Asterion
was able to proceed under its own power, the Japanese ship had to be
towed by the commercial tugs to San Francisco. When the bilge pumps on
one of the tugs failed, Coast Guard aircraft dropped emergency pumping
equipment to control the flooding. The two tugs then successfully towed
the Kokoku Maru into San Francisco harbor.
- 1966-Coast Guard Explosive Loading Detachments (ELDs) 1 & 2 arrived
in South Vietnam and were assigned to U.S. Army logistics commands.
- 1794-The Third Congress authorized an additional 10 revenue cutters
and gave the Treasury Department the responsibility for lighthouses,
beacons, buoys, and piers.
- 1912-Senator Charles E. Townsend of Michigan introduced a bill to
consolidate Life-Saving Service and Revenue Cutter Service to form the Coast
Guard. The bill became law on 28 January 1915.
- 1975-On 5 June 1975 ENS Thomasania Montgomery
and ENS Linda Rodriguez graduated from Coast Guard Officer Candidate
School, Yorktown, VA, thereby becoming the first African-American female
commissioned officers in the Coast Guard.
- 1900-Secretary of the Treasury was authorized to establish anchorage grounds
at Kennebec River, Maine.
- 1912-The Novarupta-Katmai Volcano erupted near Kodiak, Alaska, from 6 to
9 June, 1912. Revenue Cutter Manning and other cutters as well
as personnel assisted in relief efforts, including providing fresh water
to the inhabitants of Kodiak, distributing relief supplies, and building
a new village for the displaced inhabitants. The new village was named
Perry after the commanding officer of Manning, Revenue Captain
K. W. Perry, USRCS. Captain Perry also established a refugee camp
for persons displaced by the falling ash.
- 1944-Nearly 100 Coast Guard cutters, Coast
Guard-manned warships and landing craft participated in the invasion of
Nazi-occupied Europe at
Normandy, France. The Coast Guard-manned landing craft LCI(L)s-85, 91, 92, and 93
were lost at the Omaha beachhead that day.
Sixty cutters sailed in support of the invasion forces as well, acting as search
and rescue craft for each of the five landing beaches. A Coast Guard manned
assault transport, the USS Bayfield, served as the command and
control vessel for the landings at Utah Beach. Coast Guard
officers commanded one of the assault groups that landed troops on
Omaha Beach that morning.
- 1945-Coast Guard-manned USS Sheepscot (AOG-24) went aground and
was lost off Iwo Jima. No lives were lost.
- 1977-Coast Guard recruiting officers were directed to advise all
women applicants that women were "now subject to possible assignments to
sea and isolated duty. In line with this change in policy, all
women enlisted personnel who are approaching reenlistment, and all women
officers reaching three years of service before an extension/integration
board, should be aware that they too will be subject to unrestricted
assignments to sea and isolated duty as the needs of the Coast Guard
require," according to a Coast Guard official announcement.
- 1985-CGC Polar Sea departed Seattle for a voyage through the
Northwest Passage by way of the Panama Canal, the east coast, and then
Greenland, sparking an international incident with Canada. She
completed the first solo circumnavigation of the North American
continent by a U.S. vessel and the first trip by a Polar-Class
icebreaker. She also captured the record for the fastest transit
of the historic northern route. She arrived back in Seattle on 27
- 1993-The 150-foot tramp steamer Golden Venture ran aground on
Rockaway beach in New York with some 300 illegal Chinese migrants on
board. Ten drowned or died of hypothermia, six vanished and the
rest were rescued by the Coast Guard and local agencies.
- 2013-The Coast Guard today placed an order for sixteen Cutter
Boat-Over the Horizon-IVs (CB-OTH-IV) and associated parts and logistics
information from SAFE Boats International LLC of Bremerton, Washington.
- 1902-The Alaskan Game Law was passed and it was to be enforced by
the Revenue Cutter
Service "on request" of the Secretary of Agriculture. It
was not effectively enforced by Coast Guard until 1925, however.
- 1924-Congress passed the Oil Pollution Act and the enforcement responsibility was
assigned to the Coast Guard.
- 2011-On this date in 2011, the Coast Guard awarded four firm fixed-price
production contracts to deliver the first test boats for the seven-meter
Cutter Boat Over-The-Horizon-IV (CB-OTH-IV) project. The contracts were
awarded to MetalCraft Marine U.S. (Clayton, New York), SAFE Boats
International (Port Orchard, Washington), Silver Ships, Inc. (Theodore,
Alabama) and William E. Munson Company (Burlington, Washington).
The Coast Guard planned to acquire up to 71 seven-meter CB-OTH-IVs. The
acquisition also included up to 20 boats for Customs and Border
Protection and 10 boats for the U.S. Navy, for a total of up to 101 boats.
SAFE Boats won the competition.
- 1882-The sloop-rigged yacht Circe, of Cleveland, was
dismasted at 1 o’clock in the afternoon about a mile outside of
Cleveland Harbor. The crew of Station No. 8, Ninth District (Cleveland),
discovered the accident and towed her safely into the harbor.
- 1973-The first women since World War II graduated
from the Reserve Officer Candidate Program (OCS) and were
commissioned ensigns. They trained aboard CGC
Unimak for a two-week cruise, thereby becoming the first women to see service afloat.
- 1910-Congress passed the Motor Boat Act (Public Law 61-201, 36 Stat.
462). The Federal authority to regulate uninspected vessels originated
with the passage of this Act, which established standards with respect
to navigation lights, machinery requirements, life preservers, and for
the licensing of operators on small vessels (under 65-feet in length)
carrying passengers. It applied only to vessels "that are propelled by
machinery other than steam."
- 1968-LT Jack C. Rittichier was shot down and killed in action along
with his Air Force crew while flying a combat SAR mission as an
exchange pilot with the Air Force's 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery
Squadron (ARRS) in Vietnam.
- 1990-The 853-foot Norwegian tanker Mega Borg exploded near
Galveston, Texas, killing two of her crew. Coast Guard units
consisting of 500 Coast Guardsmen fought the fires and cleaned up the
resulting oil spill. The units included CGCs Buttonwood,
Point Spencer, Steadfast, Valiant and Cushing.
Steadfast became the on-scene commander and maintained
communications between the operations center at MSO Galveston and
personnel fighting the fire. Salvia worked with Navy
skimmers seven miles from shore in the Sabine Pass area. The
Atlantic and Pacific Strike Teams brought people and equipment from
across the country and MSOs in Houston, Mobile, Morgan City, New
Orleans, and Port Arthur sent personnel to assist MSO Galveston.
- 2001- Coast Guard Group Operations Center in Galveston, Texas, was
inundated with calls for assistance after Tropical Storm Allison dumped
over 36 inches of rain in a three-day period, causing massive flooding
in and around Houston. Coast Guard flood punts and helicopters
rescued over 220 persons.
- 2009-The U.S. Coast Guard’s first National Security Cutter,
Bertholf (WMSL 750), conducted a structural test fire of its
missile decoy launching system in the Southern California Operations
Area of the Pacific Missile Range Facility on this day in 2009. The crew of CGC Bertholf,
the Naval Surface Warfare Center
Dahlgren Division, and the Navy Research Lab successfully launched two
rounds from the Nulka Anti-Ship Missile Defense System. These MK-234
Nulka rounds hover in the air while attracting incoming anti-ship
missiles. This is the first time that a Nulka round has been launched from a
Coast Guard cutter. The successful completion of the test fire was the
first phase of the crew’s two-month multi-mission patrol which includes
a counter drug patrol in the Eastern Pacific under the tactical control
of Commander, Joint Interagency Task Force South for detection and
monitoring, and under the tactical control of Commander, Coast Guard
District Eleven for interdiction and apprehension.
- 2013-CGC Gallatin returned to homeport of Charleston, South Carolina
following a successful three-and-a-half month patrol in counter-drug missions, search and rescue, maritime exercises
and community outreach. Gallatin’s counterdrug operations
for this patrol resulted in the collective seizure of more than 2,200
pounds of cocaine and 3,500 lbs. of marijuana. Gallatin's patrol highlights include: three cocaine seizures
and four go-fast vessel disruptions; transfer of marijuana
seized May 10 by a Coast Guard Law Enforcement
Detachment aboard the Royal Netherlands Navy Vessel
HNMLS Friesland; search and rescue mission of passengers aboard a sinking panga March 15;
maritime exercises and
professional exchange missions with Dutch Naval Vessel
HNMLS Friesland and U.S. Navy’s Mayport, Florida-based HSV
Swift; and port calls in
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Bocas Del Toro, Panama; and Roatan,
Honduras. During the port calls, Gallatin’s crew
enthusiastically worked several community outreach
projects which included ship tours for more than 400
school children and their teachers in Guantanamo Bay and Roatan. The crew also painted, plumbed, and did
electrical work in local hospitals and churches.
- 1872-Congress ordered that Life-Saving stations were to be erected "under supervision
of two captains of the revenue service." An Act of Congress
authorized government life-saving stations on Cape Cod and Block Island.
- 1922-Congress readjusted pay and allowances of Coast Guard
commissioned and enlisted personnel on basis of equality with other
services. Until this time a Coast Guard captain was equivalent to
a Navy lieutenant commander.
- 1764-Sandy Hook Lighthouse, at the south point of the
entrance to New York Harbor, was first lighted. Today, its octagonal
tower, built by Mr. Isaac Conro of New York City with money collected by a
group of New York merchants, is the oldest original light tower still
standing and in use in the United States.
- 1942-After the Battle of Midway, CGC Taney anchored at Midway Island after escorting USS
Regulus (AK-14) there. For the next four days Taney
conducted SAR operations in
the waters around Midway, the island itself, and then "went out into the
Pacific Ocean to look for survivors reported by plane." Taney
departed Midway Island on 16 June and escorted Regulus back to Honolulu.
- 1966-Finding itself disabled and adrift two miles from Cape Kubugakli,
Alaska, the fishing vessel Katy C radioed for assistance. A Coast Guard helicopter, after ascertaining that the ship was unable
to anchor by herself, took her in tow until she was out of danger.
- 1813- Revenue cutter Surveyor, at anchor in the York
River, Virginia, was surprised by a three-barge attack force launched from
the Royal Navy frigate HMS Narcissus. Outnumbered 50 to 15, the
cuttermen wounded seven and killed three of the enemy before the cutter
was captured. The British commanding officer of Narcissus was
so impressed by "the determined way in which her deck was disputed,
inch by inch," in hand-to-hand combat, he returned to Revenue Captain
William Travis, the commanding officer of Surveyor, "the sword
you had so nobly used."
- 1917-An Act of Congress appropriated $300,000 to enable the U .S.
Coast Guard to extend its telephone system to include all Coast Guard
stations not then connected as well as the most important light stations
with no means of rapid communication. The Life-Saving Service had
pioneered the use of the telephone beginning in the 1880s, linking the
various stations along the nation's coast with the new communication
- 1925-Lake Huron Lightship radio fog signal was placed in commission,
being the first signal of this kind on the Great Lakes.
- 1942-The U.S. Navy makes its first operational test with LORAN
equipment with a LORAN receiver mounted in a K-2 airship on a flight
from Lakehurst Naval Air Station.
- 1975-CGC Vigorous seized the Bulgarian F/V Argonaut
off the coast of New England. More than 500 pounds of lobster were
reported found aboard the fishing vessel by the Coast Guard boarding
party. Lobster was protected from foreign fishing by the
Continental Shelf Fishery Resource Law.
- 1999-The small cruise vessel Wilderness Adventurer ran aground
in Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska. All passengers and crew
were safely evacuated from the stranded vessel. The responders
from the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, Coast Guard,
and Glacier Bay Tours and Cruises (which operated the vessel) then
successfully refloated her and towed her to drydock. Oil
containment booms contained the 300 gallons of fuel that leaked from the
vessel. A Coast Guard spokesman later stated "This is the
best-run multi-agency operation I've seen in my career. It went
well. We still have a damaged vessel to take care of, but at least
it's not at the bottom of the ocean in a national park." The
Coast Guard also investigated the accident.
- 1903-A Gold Lifesaving medal was awarded to Captain Robert F. Longstreet "for
heroic conduct at Squan Beach, New Jersey," for his efforts to rescue
five fishermen from their capsized vessel on June 13, 1903. The
heavily—laden vessel was observed to capsize in "heavy breaking surf
caused the heavy ground swell and strong southerly wind, following a
storm which had just passed along the coast." Observers went to the
Squan Beach life—saving station for help, but because it was the
inactive season, only Captain Longstreet was present. Nevertheless, he
launched a small skiff with the help of a fisherman and rowed out the
- 1929-Coast Guard Radio Technician A. G. Descoteaux became the
first person to broadcast from an aircraft. In a Loening amphibian,
he reported the takeoff of a French aircraft on a trans-Atlantic flight at
Old Orchard Beach, Maine. The account was relayed by ground
equipment to an extensive national hookup and was received by U.S. and
- 1933-LT Richard L. Burke piloted a seaplane from AIRSTA
Cape May to rescue an ill seaman from the fishing trawler Shawmut 130
miles offshore. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for
- 1942-Coast Guardsman John C. Cullen (Seaman 2/c) discovered Nazi saboteurs landing on
beach at Amagansett, Long Island. He reported this to his
superiors. The FBI later captured the Nazis and Cullen was awarded
the Legion of Merit.
- 1942-CGC Thetis sank the German U-boat U-157 off the
Florida Keys. There were no survivors.
- 1943-CGC Escanaba exploded and sank off Ivigtut, Greenland,
with only two survivors. The cause for the loss has never been
- 1775-The official birthday of the U.S. Army: it was on this date in 1775
that the Continental Congress adopted "the American
continental army." The Army's
motto is: "This We’ll Defend."
- 1906-Congress passed the first regulatory fishing law for Alaska.
The new law was
enforced by the Revenue Cutter Service.
- 1941-CGC Duane rescued 46 survivors from the torpedoed SS Tresillian.
- 1979-The Coast Guard announced the award of a $215 million contract
for 90 Short Range Recovery (SRR) helicopters to Aerospatiale Helicopter
Corporation of Grand Prairie, Texas.
- 1996-CGC Mellon seized the Polish fishing
vessel Admiral Arciszewski after it was found to be illegally fishing in
U.S. waters 385 miles northwest of Dutch Harbor. CGC Steadfast
escorted the fishing vessel into Kodiak.
- 1904-Nearly 1,000 lives were lost when the steamboat General Slocum
caught fire in the East River in New York. The disaster led to
improved safety regulations and life-saving equipment.
- 1917-Congress passed and President Woodrow Wilson signed into law the
Espionage Act, authorizing the Treasury Secretary to assume control of
U.S. ports, control ship movements, establish anchorages and supervise
the loading and storage of explosive cargoes. The authority was
immediately delegated to the Coast Guard and formed the basis for the
formation of the Coast Guard's Captain of the Ports and the Port
- 1944-Coast Guardsmen participated in the invasion of Saipan, Marianas.
The Coast Guard-manned transports that took part in the invasion included
the USS Cambria, Arthur Middleton, Callaway, Leonard
Wood, LST-19, LST-23, LST-166 and LST-169.
1949-Two hundred and forty-eight unidentified victims
of the 1945 explosion of the U.S. Coast Guard-manned Serpens at Guadalcanal were buried in Arlington National Cemetery in what was
described as the largest recommittal on record.
1986-Upon assuming the office of Commandant on 30 May
1986, ADM Paul Yost
banned the wearing of
beards by Coast Guard personnel, to be effective on 15 June 1986.
CGC Spencer returned to Boston after a 55-day
patrol in the North Atlantic. While conducting a law
enforcement inspection aboard the commercial F/V Heritage, on 6
June, Spencer’s rescue and assistance team fought and helped
extinguish a fire ablaze in their galley. Also during the patrol,
Spencer responded to a distress call from the S/V Alien I, 300
nautical miles offshore. After steaming through the night, Spencer
arrived on scene, rescued the couple onboard, and placed the vessel
in tow. Spencer towed the vessel for 300 miles, and delivered Alien
I and her passengers safely to Coast Guard Station Woods Hole three
days later. After breaking the tow, Spencer resumed normal
operations in the North Atlantic which is primarily living marine
resource protection. During its patrol, the cutter’s crew conducted
law enforcement operations including 51 commercial fishing vessel
inspections, day and night time helicopter operations, and live
gunnery fire. The crew conducted hours of training in damage
control, weapons handling, navigation and seamanship, medical
casualty, and engineering casualty response. Additionally, Spencer
was the Coast Guard's flag ship and largest cutter participant in
New York Fleet Week 2015, giving tours to more than 4,800 people and
supporting 13 Fleet Week community events. This patrol directly
followed an 89-day dry-dock at the Coast Guard Yard in Baltimore,
1832-The practice of utilizing
"surplus" naval officers as officers of the Revenue Marine
was discontinued. Revenue officer vacancies were henceforth
filled by promotion from within the service.
1910-An Act of Congress (36 Stat. L., 534) abolished
the Lighthouse Board and created the Bureau of Lighthouses to have
complete charge of the Lighthouse Service. This law constituted the
organic act under which the Lighthouse Service operated thereafter.
1942-The Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Fleet
ordered the organization of coastal pickets to combat the "submarine menace" off
Atlantic Coast. The hodge-podge fleet of primarily small private
recreational craft taken into government service under Coast Guard
direction became known as the "Corsair
1983-National Narcotics Border Interdiction System (NNBIS)
began operations under the direction of Vice President George Bush and
the executive board consisting of Secretaries of State, Transportation
and Defense, the Attorney General, the Counselor to the President, the
Director of Central Intelligence, and the Director of the White House
Drug Abuse Policy Office. "U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy, and
Marine Corps airborne and seaborne craft, intelligence, technology,
surveillance, and manpower now are used to augment operations by the
U.S. Coast Guard, Customs Service, the Drug Enforcement Agency, Federal
Bureau of Investigation, Immigration and Naturalization Service, Border
Patrol, and the U.S. Attorney's Office. The system provides a
coordinated national and international interagency network for
prioritizing interdiction targets, identifying resources, recommending
the most effective action, and coordinating joint special actions."
2013-The Coast Guard 13th District and the Royal Canadian Mounted
Police "E" Division signed a finalized agreement for the Pacific region
Integrated Cross-border Maritime Law Enforcement program, known as
"Shiprider," during a ceremony at the Peace Arch Provincial Park in
British Columbia, Canada. Shiprider was a program that enabled
specially-trained officials from both nations to pursue or interdict
suspected criminals transiting across the shared maritime border. The concept of Shiprider was first introduced in 2005. A
version of the agreement proved successful during the Winter Olympic
Games in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 2010.
- 1812-The United States declared war against Great Britain.
- 1838-The steamboat Pulaski, a passenger vessel
traveling between Baltimore and Charleston, suffered a boiler explosion
while at sea, killing over 100 passengers and crew.
was one of three fatal steamboat boiler explosions within as many months
that forced the Federal Government to begin regulating merchant steam
- 1878-On 18 June 1878 Congress established the U.S. Life-Saving
Service as a separate agency under the control of the Treasury
Department (20 Stat. L., 163).
- 1878-The 45th Congress enacted a rider on an Army appropriations bill
that became known as the Posse Comitatus Act [Chapter 263,
Section 15, U.S. Statutes, Vol. 20.] This act limited military
involvement in civil law enforcement leaving the Revenue Cutter Service
as the only military force consistently charged with federal law
enforcement on the high seas and in U.S. waters. The rider
prohibited the use of the Army in domestic civilian law enforcement
without Constitutional or Congressional authority. The use of the
Navy was prohibited by regulation and the rider was amended in 1976
outlawing the use of the Air Force. In 1981, however, new
legislation allowed the Secretary of Defense to bring Army, Navy, Air
Force and Marine Corps support to civilian authorities in intelligence,
equipment, base and research facilities, and related training.
- 1903-Alaska’s first coastal lighthouse, Scotch Cap Lighthouse, was
first lit. It was located near the west end of Unimak Island on
the Pacific side of Unimak Pass, the main passage through the Aleutian
Islands into the Bering Sea.
- 1930-An Act of Congress provided "for the transfer of the old
lighthouse at Cape Henry, Virginia, to the Association for the
Preservation of Virginia Antiquities."
- 1938-The first low power, unattended "secondary" radio aid
to navigation was established at St. Ignace, Michigan.
- 1995-The 736-foot cruise ship Celebration suffered an
engine-room fire and lost power while off the coast of San Salvador,
Bahamas. CGC Forward responded and was designated as the
on-scene commander. CGC Vigorous was also diverted to lend
assistance. The cruise ship's Halon system put out the fire but
she was drifting dangerously close to shore. The Forward
then towed her throughout the night away from shore until the arrival of
commercial tugs the next day. A Coast Guard helicopter medevaced
one passenger. On 20 June the crew of the Forward and MSO
Miami team members stood by while the 1,735 passengers still aboard were
transferred from the Celebration to the cruise ship Ecstasy,
which had arrived in the area. The Ecstasy then sailed for
Miami and the Celebration, with one engine then on-line, sailed
to Freeport for repairs.
- 1999-CGC Midgett departed its homeport of Seattle for a
six-month deployment to the Persian Gulf. Midgett was
attached to a Navy carrier battle group and its crew
brought the Coast Guard's expertise in boarding ships to the group. Once in the Gulf, the cutter's primary mission was to
enforce United Nations' sanctions against illegal Iraq petroleum
shipments and conduct SAR operations.
- 1845-The Secretary of the Treasury had Lieutenants Thornton A.
Jenkins and Richard Bache detailed from the Navy and sent abroad to
procure information that might tend to the improvement of the lighthouse
system of the United States. Subsequently, when the Secretary submitted
the report of these two naval officers and asked that a board be appointed
to consider thoroughly the matter of lighthouse improvements. No
legislative action resulted.
- 1876-The first Gold Life Saving
Medals ever awarded were presented to private citizens Lucien M. Clemens and his
brothers Hubbard M. Clemons and Al J. Clemons. On 1 May 1875 the
Clemens' brothers "displayed the most signal gallantry in saving two men
from the wreck of the schooner Consuelo" in an open rowboat.
Five others on board the schooner perished when the schooner capsized in
the heavy seas "with the wind blowing a gale from the northeast" before
the brothers arrived on scene. The medals were awarded by the
- 1992-In a joint operation with INS, the Coast Guard assisted in the
seizure of the 167-foot Belize-registered freighter Lucky No. 1,
her 15-man crew, and 117 illegal Chinese migrants that were aboard. The
seizure took place off Oahu.
- 2008-The U.S. Coast Guard announced the launch of an ORBCOMM
concept demonstration satellite, equipped with Automatic Identification
System (AIS) capability, from Kapustin Yar, Russia, on this date in 2008.
The satellite attained a proper orbit was expected to start
transmitting operational data within the next three months. The U.S.
Coast Guard Nationwide Automatic Identification System (NAIS) Project
sponsored equipment on the satellite to test the feasibility and
effectiveness of AIS message reception and reporting from space for ship
tracking and other navigational activities. The NAIS project improved
maritime domain awareness for the U.S.
Coast Guard and Department of Homeland Security by using the integrated
network of AIS equipment and user interface services that display and
exchange AIS-equipped vessel information for maritime safety and
security. Data collected by the NAIS supports the nation’s maritime
interests by promoting vessel and port safety through collision
avoidance, and through detection, traffic identification, and
classification of vessels out to 2,000 nautical miles from shore.
- 2014-CGC Tahoma returned to its homeport in Portsmouth, New Hampshire
after a 64-day deployment in the Caribbean Sea. During the deployment,
the 100-member crew of Tahoma worked under
tactical control of Coast Guard Sector San Juan, Puerto Rico and
conducted flight operations, patrolled drug and migration, conducted sea
boarding, and assisted in the transfer or repatriation of 26 Haitian
migrants. The crew also participated in training and law enforcement
operations, migrant interdiction and counterdrug operations in support
of Operation Unified Resolve, and conducted Tailored Ship’s Training
Availability (TSTA). The crewmembers completed a total of 148 drills and exercises,
earning the prestigious Battle “E” for excellence in five areas of
- 1874-An Act of Congress provided for lifesaving stations on the
coasts of Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and Florida, as well as on the
Great Lakes and the Pacific Coast.
- 1874-The first Life Saving Medal enactment was passed, which was
updated in 1878 and 1882. Ship masters were also required to
report accidents and death in order to gather data to aid in evaluating
sites for search and rescue stations.
- 1906- Congress passed the Sponge Fishing Act and directed that the
Revenue Cutter Service enforce it.
- 1918-An Act of Congress (40 Stat. L., 607, 608) changed the
designation of Lighthouse Inspectors, who were in charge of the 19
lighthouse districts, to that of Superintendents of Lighthouses.
- 1964-CGC Reliance, the first of the Coast Guard's
medium endurance cutter class, was commissioned.
- 1966-CGC Point League attacked and crippled a North Vietnamese
junk attempting to run the Navy’s Market Time blockade. The
action continued into the next day as the junk stranded itself on the
shore and its crew fired a demolition charge, destroying their ship.
- 1944-Cutters 83415 and 83477
assigned to Rescue Flotilla One wrecked off coast of
Normandy, France during a storm - no lives were lost. This is the
storm that wrecked the artificial harbor constructed by the Allies off the
coast of Normandy.
- 2013-Coast Guard Group/Air Station North Bend, located out of North Bend, Oregon, was
officially renamed Sector North Bend, "to match the Coast Guard standards of mission support
and execution." Group/Air Station North Bend was the final "legacy group in the Coast
Guard to be transitioned under the multi-year sector modernization effort."
- 1818-Boarding parties from the Revenue cutter Dallas
seized the privateer Young Spartan, her crew, and the privateer's
prize, the Pastora, off Savannah, Georgia. The crew of the Pastora
had been set adrift and their fate remained unknown. The New
York Evening Post noted that the crew of the privateer had committed
offenses "that can only be expiated by making their exits on the
gallows." (July 3, 1818 issue).
- 1936-Congress passed an act to define jurisdiction of Coast Guard.
In one of of the most sweeping grants of police authority ever written
into U.S. law, Congress designated the Coast Guard as the federal
agency for "enforcement of laws generally on the high seas
and navigable waters of the United States."
- 1940-Port Security responsibilities were undertaken again for the
first time since World War I when President Franklin Roosevelt
invoked the Espionage Act of 1917. The Coast Guard was to govern
anchorage and movement of all vessels in U.S. waters and to protect
vessels, harbors, and inland or coastal waterways of the U.S. The
Dangerous Cargo Act gave the Coast Guard jurisdiction over ships with
high explosives and dangerous cargoes.
- 1948-Congress enacted Public Law 738, which authorized the operation
of floating ocean stations for the purpose of providing search and
rescue communication and air-navigation facilities, and meteorological
services in such ocean areas as are regularly traversed by aircraft of
the United States.
- 1965-Coast Guard forces in Vietnam fired their
first shot of the war when LT John M. Cece, commanding CGC Point
gave the order to "commence fire" while patrolling the 17th
Parallel. The cutter was assigned to Coast Guard Squadron One.
- 1977-Secretary of Transportation Brock Adams introduced Ensign
Beverly G. Kelley and Boatswain's Mate 3/c Debra Lee Wilson during a
press conference as two of 12 women who had been assigned to sea duty.
"This is the first time in Coast Guard history that women have been
sent to sea." Both women had orders to report to the Morgenthau
later that year.
- 1982-The first successful hostage rescue at sea occurred when a
combined Coast Guard-FBI boarding party deployed from CGC Alert
took control of the 890-foot Liberian-flagged motor tanker Ypapanti.
The incident began on 16 May 1982 when the Ypapanti anchored off
the entrance to Delaware Bay after it was denied entrance to U.S. waters
by COTP Philadelphia, due to the lack of required safety equipment
aboard. Initially the CGCs Hornbeam, Active and Point
Franklin responded. After the situation stabilized, Active
and Point Franklin departed while Hornbeam stood by the
tanker to monitor the situation and to act as on scene commander; she
was relieved on 29 May by Alert. During the next few days
the tanker's crew mutinied and seized control of the tanker from the
master in a wage dispute. After a prolonged period of unsuccessful
negotiations and threats by the crew to kill various officers and to set
fire to the vessel, the Alert went alongside the tanker on 22
June 1982. A senior Coast Guard negotiating team went aboard to
present one last wage / repatriation offer to the crew. When this
offer was rejected a combined Coast Guard / FBI boarding team went
aboard from the Alert and took control of the Ypapanti
without injury. The vessel was then returned to the control of the
master and 12 loyal crewmen. Twenty-four mutineers were detained
on board the Alert and were transferred to the custody of the INS
in Cape May.
- 1716-The Province of Massachusetts authorized the erection of the
first lighthouse in America. It was built on Great Brewster Island
in Boston Harbor.
- 1817-The cutter Active forced a South American privateer posing as
an armed merchantman to leave the Chesapeake Bay and American waters.
- 1895-USRC Windom was launched. She was the service's
first attempt at "modern" ship construction and was designed by the Coast Guard's Engineering Division, complete with
in-house staff naval architects and engineers. Windom was
the first cutter to have a modern powerplant, in this case a triple-expansion steam
engine, and a fully
watertight hull with transverse and longitudinal bulkheads. She
was capable of making a top speed of 15 knots.
- 1934-CGC Nike departed on a thousand-mile trip to the sea
after it became the Coast Guard's first patrol boat built on an inland
waterway. It was built at Point Pleasant, West Virginia and was
launched into the Ohio River after being christened by Mrs. Charles O.
Weisenberger, wife of the president of the Marietta Manufacturing
Company which built Nike. The cutter was bound for
Pascagoula, Mississippi to replace the recently decommissioned cutter
Tuscarora, which itself had been in service for over 35 years.
- 1939-Congress created the Coast Guard Reserve which later became what
is today the Coast Guard Auxiliary.
- 1914-Congress authorized the Secretary of Treasury
to "detail for duty on revenue cutters such surgeons and other
persons of the Public Health Service as. . .necessary" and for cutters
with such medical personnel aboard to
extend medical and surgical aid to crews of American vessels engaged in
deep sea fisheries. This Act of Congress (38 Stat. L., 387)
regularized procurement and assignment procedures of Public Health Service
personnel to revenue cutters, launching a partnership between the two
services that continues to this day.
- 1930-An Act of Congress provided "that light keepers and vessel
officers and crews, who during their active service were entitled to
medical relief at hospitals and other stations of the Public Health
Service, may be given such relief after retirement as is now applicable
to retired officers and men in other branches of the Government service,
under joint regulations to be prescribed by the Secretary of the
Treasury and the Secretary of Commerce."
- 1938-Under an Executive Order of this date, "about 35 positions
of steward on lighthouse tenders were brought under the classified civil
- 1995-CGC Juniper was launched, the first of the
new 225-foot Juniper Class buoy tenders.
- 1935-Coast Guard aviator LT Richard L. Burke set a world record when he flew the Coast Guard Grumman JF-2
(V-167) at 173.945 miles per hour over a 100 kilometer course with a 500
kilogram load in 21 minutes and 20 seconds, besting the previous record
by roughly 14 miles per hour.
- 1936-"The act of June 25, 1936 was in reality an amendment
to the Seamen’s Act of 1915, and had been called the Merchant Marine Act
of 1936. This law provided for (1) "qualifications, examinations, and
issuance of certificates of service or efficiency to unlicensed personnel;
(2) the issuance of continuous discharge books to all seagoing
personnel," a three-watch eight-hour day, and certain citizenship
requirements. The act greatly increased the workload of the shipping
commissioners, particularly in providing for the issuance of discharge
books and various certificates. This had the effect of both increasing the
efficiency of unlicensed personnel and raising the dignity of the
- 2002-U.S. Deputy Secretary of Transportation Michael Jackson, joined
by U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Thomas H. Collins, announced the award of
the Integrated Deepwater System (IDS) contract. It was the largest
acquisition project in the history of the Coast Guard.
- 2014-"The Coast Guard took a step toward introducing the C-27J
into its medium range surveillance fleet with the commissioning of the
C-27J Asset Project Office (APO) at Elizabeth City, N.C., June 25, 2014.
The C-27J APO’s primary mission is to provide a purposeful,
sequential plan to incorporate 14 C-27Js into Coast Guard operations.
The aircraft are being transferred from the U.S. Air Force as required
by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014.
Among the C-27J APO’s responsibilities will be development of Coast
Guard-specific operational and maintenance procedures, training plans,
technical manuals and crew duties."
- 1944-LCDR Quentin R. Walsh and his commando unit forced the surrender of Fort du Homet, a
Nazi stronghold at Cherbourg, France, captured 300 German soldiers
and liberated 50 U.S. paratroopers who had been captured on D-Day.
For his heroic actions Walsh was awarded the Navy Cross.
- 1948-In order to implement the expanded postwar activities of the
Coast Guard in the field of aids to navigation, Congress approved Public
Law 786, which provided legislative authority for the Coast Guard to
establish and operate maritime aids for the armed forces and LORAN
stations essential for the armed forces and maritime and air commerce of
the United States.
- 1978-The first U.S. ocean-monitoring satellite, SEASAT-A, was
launched into earth orbit from Vandenberg AFB.
- 1851-The British bark Henry stranded off Bridgehampton
Beach, Long Island with 204 persons on board. All were safely landed with
government surf boat.
Guard aviator LT Richard L. Burke set a world record for altitude in an
amphibious aircraft when he reached 17,877.243 feet with a 500 kilogram
load on this date in 1935. He piloted Coast Guard Grumman JF-2
- 2003-CGC Walnut, homeported in Honolulu,
returned home after being deployed in support of Operation Iraqi
Freedom. She deployed to the North Arabian Gulf in January with an
oil spill recovery system in the event the regime of Saddam Hussein
committed any acts of environmental terrorism. When those threats
did not materialize, the cutter conducted maritime interception
operations enforcing U.N. Security Council resolutions, participated in
the search for two downed United Kingdom helicopters, and patrolled and
provided assistance to captured Iraqi offshore oil terminals being
secured by Coast Guard port security personnel. The
cutter’s crew completely replaced 30 buoys and repaired an additional
five along the 41-mile Khawr Abd Allah Waterway. This ATON mission
vastly improved the navigational safety of the waterway for humanitarian
aid, commercial, and military vessels sailing to the port and was a
critical step to economic recovery for the people of Iraq.
- 2014-CGC Assateague returned to home port in
Apra Harbor, Guam following a six-day exclusive economic zone
enforcement patrol. While underway the cutter patrolled the
western-most area of the exclusive economic zone extending 200 nautical
miles west of Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana's Island chain,
ensuring no foreign fishing vessels were fishing within waters of the
United States and that all U.S. fishing vessels were doing so in
accordance with the United States' applicable maritime laws. Additionally,
during its transit north,
the cutter transported supplies to the Pagan Installation Project, which
consists of a joint partnership with the Army Corps of Engineers, U.S.
Geological Survey, NOAA, and
the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands government. The
project, which is being done on the remote island of Pagan in the
northern part of the CNMI chain, is being done to install seismic
sensors, monitoring stations, and seismic cables in an effort to monitor
volcanic activity. To facilitate their efforts, Assateague crewmembers
met with project managers in Saipan to pick up 700 pounds of five gallon
water jugs, 1,200 pounds of cement bags, tents and camping supplies and
various sized batteries, which were all then transported to Pagan. These
items were greatly needed due to the sheer isolation and remoteness of
Pagan, which houses only seven permanent residents and is 170 miles
north of Saipan, the closest inhabited island with modern amenities.
- 1946-Peacetime cruises for the cadets of the U.S. Coast Guard
Academy at New London Connecticut, were revived.
1820-On 29 June 1820 the Revenue cutter Dallas captured
the 12-gun brig-of-war General Ramirez, which was loaded with 280
slaves, off St. Augustine. The 8 July 1820 issue of the Savannah
"On the 28th ultimo, while the Cutter DALLAS was lying in the
St. Mary's River, Captain Jackson received information that the Brig of
war GENERAL RAMIREZ, supposed to be a piratical vessel was hovering off
St. Augustine. The Cutter forthwith got under way in pursuit of
the Brig having first obtained 12 United States soldiers from Fernandina
to strengthen the Cutter's force. At half past three the next day,
she hailed the Brig and received for answer, "This is the Patriot
Brig GENERAL RAMIREZ----." Captain Jackson finding a number of
blacks on board took possession of the vessel and brought her into St.
Mary's, arriving on the 1st instant. Captain Jackson found on the
Brig about 280 African slaves. The Captain and crew, 28 in number,
acknowledged themselves Americans."
- 1944-CDR Frank A. Erickson landed a helicopter on the flight deck of
CGC Cobb. This was the first rotary-wing aircraft-shipboard landing by Coast
- 1950-The Coast Guard adopted a Navy directive relative to security
measures, including precautions against possible sabotage at
installations and aboard ships.
- 1982- The Soviet Union launched COSPAS I, the first search and rescue
satellite ever launched. In combination with later SARSAT
satellites, a new multi-agency, international, search and rescue service
was made operational.
- 2013-A Coast Guard Advanced
Interdiction Team (AIT) returned home from a four-month counter piracy
deployment to the Middle East. The team was
comprised of three units: Maritime Safety and Security Team (MSST) Los
Angeles-Long Beach, MSST San Diego, and the Pacific Tactical Law
Enforcement Team (PACTACLET) out of San Diego. Under the direction of the U. S. Navy’s
5th Fleet, the team served aboard the U.S. Naval guided
missile destroyer USS Stockdale, working side by side with the ship’s
Visit, Board, Search and Seizure (VBSS) team assigned to Combined Task
Force 151. While on board the Stockdale, the team’s
primary mission was to fight maritime terrorism and counter piracy.
The AIT and VBSS conducted joint training for counter piracy,
illegal activity interdictions, and boardings. The training also
included space accountability for hidden compartments, mock medical
emergencies, and planning and executing mission contingencies. CTF-151 was a multi-national task force
working under Combined Maritime Forces to conduct counter-piracy
operations in the Southern Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Somali Basin, Arabian
Sea and Indian Ocean. Augmented by members from the Coast Guard, the
joint-unit team was engaged in stemming illegal piracy and armed robbery
- 1932-The Steamboat Inspection Service and Bureau of Navigation were
combined to form the Bureau of Navigation and Steamboat Inspection (47
Stat. L., 415). The new agency remained under the control of the
- 1933-The airways division, which had been conducted as a division of
the Lighthouse Service, but under the administrative supervision of the
Assistant Secretary for Aeronautics, Department of Commerce, was
separated from the Lighthouse Service. (USLHS AR 1933, p. 97).
- 1933-The Coast Guard reported that during its existence, from 28
January 1915 through the end of the Fiscal Year (30 June) of 1933 the
service had either "rescued from peril" or "saved" the lives of 60,982 persons
and the value of vessels and cargoes the Coast Guard saved or assisted
was $659,632,287 (CGM, April, 1934, p. 28).
- 1939-"The total personnel of the Service as of June 30, 1939, was
5,355, consisting of 4,119 full—time and 1,156 part—time employees,
the former including 1, 170 light keepers and assistants; 56 light
attendants; 1,995 officers and crews of lightships and tenders; 113
Bureau officers, engineers and draftsmen, and district superintendents
and technical assistants; 226 clerks, messengers, janitors, and office
laborers; 157 depot keepers and assistants, including watchmen and
laborers; and 482 field-force employees engaged in construction and
- 1939-"At the end of the year, the total number of lighthouse
tenders was 65, of which 64 were in commission and ‘.1 was out of
commission and advertised for sale. Of the vessels in commission, 42
were steam-propelled, 18 had diesel engines, and 4 had diesel-electric
drive. The average age of the fleet of tenders is 19.52 years. There are
10 tenders, aggregating 8,535 tons, 35 years of age and over. Thirty
lighthouse tenders are equipped with radiotelegraph; 38 with radio
direction finders; and 55 with radiotelephones."
- 1939-"Lightships were maintained on 30 stations during the year.
At the close of the year, the total number of lightships was 43, which
included 9 relief ships and 4 ships out of commission."
- 1939-"The total number of aids to navigation maintained by the
Lighthouse Service at the close of the fiscal year was 29,606, a net
increase of 849 over the previous year."
- 1942- The Coast Guard's Beach Patrol Division was established at Coast Guard
Headquarters under the command of Captain Raymond J. Mauerman, USCG.
- 1946-The general World War II demobilization task was completed with
all Separation Centers decommissioned, resulting in a reduced number of Coast
Guard personnel to 23,000 officers and enlisted personnel from a
wartime peak of about 171,000 on 30 June 1945.
- 1946-By this date, all lightships removed from their stations as a war
measure had been restored, except Fire Island Lightship which had been
replaced by a large-type whistle buoy offshore and a radio-beacon on
shore at Fire Island Light Station, New York.
- 1946-The U .S. Navy returned the Coast Guard’s eleven air stations
to the operational control of the Coast Guard.
- 1947-The Fourth Coast Guard District, which comprised parts of New
Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware and was based out of Philadelphia,
was abolished and the functions, responsibilities, and
facilities in this area were transferred to the Third Coast Guard
District, based at New York, New York. Additionally the
Seventeenth Coast Guard District was abolished, and the Territory of
Alaska, which it comprised, was added to the Thirteenth Coast Guard
District, which included Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and
- 1987-As part of a major reorganization and consolidation effort the Coast Guard
disestablished the Third and Twelfth Coast Guard