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Daily Chronology of Coast Guard History

1 May

2 May
  • 1882-An Act of Congress (22 Stat. L., 55, 58), in an attempt to protect the Lifesaving Service from the evils of the "spoils System," declared that "the appointments of District superintendents, inspectors, and keepers and crews of life-saving stations shall be made solely with reference to their fitness and without reference to their political or party affiliations."
  • 1932- Northern Pacific Halibut Act re-enacted Act of 7 June 1924, after Convention with Canada and made it unlawful to catch halibut between 1st November and 15th February each year in territorial waters of United States and Canada and on high seas, extending westerly from them, including the Bering Sea. Coast Guard enforced this Act.
  • 1942-Coast Guard plane V-167 rescued two from a torpedoed freighter.
  • 1942-Coast Guard prewar search and rescue procedure discontinued for security reasons.
  • 1943-CG-58012 exploded and sank off Manomet Point, Massachusetts.  No lives lost.
  • 1995-Part of the Upper Mississippi and Missouri Rivers rose above the flood stage, flooding areas in Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois and Kentucky.  Coast Guard Disaster Response Units conducted SAR duties and assisted local authorities.  On 16 May MSO St. Louis closed all 366 miles of the Missouri River to all traffic.   The Secretary of Transportation authorized the involuntary recall of 300 reservists.  However, only 143 were called to duty.  Coast Guard Forces Paducah was at the epicenter of flood-relief operations with five DRUs working in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and the Olive Branch, Illinois, area.  Coast Guard aircraft, including an HH-60 Jayhawk from AIRSTA Clearwater (the 2nd District had no air station) provided daily over-flight and SAR missions.  CGC Sangamon was used as a staging platform for those working near Meridosa, Illinois.  Two DRU teams aided Meridosa and surrounding communities with emergency evacuations, ferrying emergency supplies and reinforcing threatened levees.  Coast Guardsmen were also called in to Slidell, Louisiana, where the evacuated 285 flood victims to safety.

3 May

  • 1882-The Treasury Department reported that the crew of the cutter Oliver Wolcott deserted their ship.  No reason was given for this mass desertion.

  • 1885-The Navy transferred the USS Bear to the Revenue Cutter Service.  The Bear became one of the most famous cutters to sail under the Revenue Cutter & Coast Guard ensigns.

  • 1944- An acoustic torpedo fired by the U-371 hit and destroyed the stern of the Coast Guard-manned destroyer escort USS Menges while she was escorting a convoy in the Mediterranean, killing thirty-one of her crew. [see 4 May 1944 entry]  The Menges was later repaired and returned to service.  She assisted in the sinking of the U-866 on 19 March 1945.

4 May

  • 1882-The Secretary of the Treasury was authorized to discontinue any lifesaving station, transfer apparatus, appoint keepers, etc.
  • 1910-Congress required every passenger ship or other ship carrying 50 persons or more, leaving any port of United States, to be equipped with a radio (powerful enough to transmit to a 100-mile radius) and a qualified operator.
  • 1942- The Chief of Naval Operations, ADM Ernest J. King, ordered the Coast Guard Auxiliary to organize into a anti-submarine patrol force, which becomes known as the "Corsair Fleet" for service along the east coast.  The Corsair Fleet was made up primarily of private yachts, crewed by their owners, and converted for ASW use.
  • 1944-The Coast Guard-manned destroyer escort USS Pride (DE-323), with three other Allied escort vessels, sank U-371 in the Mediterranean.  The U-371 had torpedoed the Coast Guard-manned USS Menges the previous day.
  • 1963-CGC Morris and CG-95318 escorted the annual Newport Harbor, California to Ensenada, Mexico Yacht Race which commenced 4 May 1963 and upon conclusion of the race made an informal visit to Ensenada.

5 May

  • 1947-The first meeting of the permanent International Civil Aviation Organization was held in Montreal, Canada with the Coast Guard being represented by LT John M. Waters, USCG.
  • 1950-Congress approved the Uniform Code of Military Justice for the "government of the armed forces of the United States."
  • 1973-The last Coast Guard personnel assigned to Vietnam departed for the United States.
  • 2004-On 5 May 2004 the Coast Guard presented the Purple Heart to BM3 Joseph Ruggiero in Miami for injuries sustained in action against the enemy while defending the Khawr Al Amaya Oil Terminal in Iraq on 24 April 2004.  Ruggiero's shipmate, DC3 Nathan Bruckenthal, was killed in this same bombing and was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart.  They were the first Coast Guard recipients of the Purple Heart since the Vietnam War.  

6 May

  • 1796-Congress increased the monthly compensation of Revenue Marine officers to masters $50; first mates $35; second mates $30; third mates $25 and mariners $20. 
  • 1896-President Grover Cleveland placed the Lighthouse Service within the classified federal civil service.
  • 1898-The cutter Morrill participated in an engagement at Havana, Cuba on 6 and 7 May 1898 during the Spanish-American War.  Her officers were awarded Bronze Medals by the authority of a joint resolution of Congress that was approved on 3 March 1901.
  • 1945-The Coast Guard-manned frigate USS Moberly (PF-63), in concert with USS Atherton, sank the U-853 in the Atlantic off Block Island.  There were no survivors.
  • 1958-During her 50 plus year career, the Huron Lightship WAL-526 at Port Huron, Michigan, survived many a Great Lakes storm without the loss of a single crewmember until that date in 1958 when Seaman (Boatswain Mate Striker) Robert G. Gullickson lost his life while attempting to swim for assistance to save another shipmate, CS1 Vincent Disch, after their small boat was swamped by a freighter's wake and sank.  Disch was rescued but Gullickson was lost at sea and his remains were never recovered.  Gullickson was posthumously promoted to BM3 for his rescue attempt and for sacrificing his life for his shipmate.
  • 1994- The last HH-3F Pelican helicopter in Coast Guard service was retired.  This ended the Coast Guard's "amphibious era," as no aviation asset left in service was capable of making water landings.
  • 2003-CGC Walnut completed its 20-day humanitarian mission in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  Walnut marked the navigational channel of the Khawr Abd Allah waterway leading from the North Arabian Gulf to Iraq’s critical port of Umm Qasr.  The cutter completely replaced 30 buoys and repaired an additional five along the 41-mile waterway, vastly improving the navigational safety of the waterway for humanitarian aid sailing to the port and providing a critical step towards the economic recovery of the people of Iraq.  The majority of the equipment used in the navigational improvements was located in a warehouse in Umm Qasr and was inspected and upgraded to ensure that the buoys matched as closely as possible to the charted channel.  Walnut was originally deployed to the North Arabian Gulf 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 interdiction 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.
  • 2014-CGC Active returned to its homeport of Port Angeles, Washington, following a 70-day deployment. During their deployment, the cutter and crew covered more than 11,500 miles on a counter-drug enforcement patrol in the Eastern Pacific, including patrolling waters off the coast of Central America. The crew conducted multiple at sea boardings, seizing more than 2,300 pounds of cocaine worth an estimated $37 million. While on a port call in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico to resupply the cutter, Active's crew participated in a community relations event where they painted and helped set up a playground at the local Children’s Cancer Center.

7 May

  • 1969-HC-130H CGNR 1453, stationed at Air Station Kodiak, flew over the geographic North Pole, becoming the first Coast Guard aircraft to do so.  The aircraft commander was LCDR Melvin J. Hartman and the copilot was LT Larry Minor.  The purpose of the flight was ice reconnaissance of a potential route for super tankers from the North Slope of Alaska to the east coast of the U.S.  According to a summary of the flight published in the Commandant's Bulletin: "COAST GUARD AIRCRAFT FLIES AROUND THE WORLD NONSTOP. . .During the course of this flight, the aircraft circled the north pole, crossing all meridians in eighty seconds."
  • 1969-On 7 May 1969 CGC Southwind returned to Baltimore, Maryland after circumnavigating the globe, becoming only the second cutter to do so.
  • 1979-During a city-wide strike by tugboat operators and longshoremen in New York City that began on 1 April 1979, Mayor Ed Koch of New York asked for federal assistance.  The Secretary of Transportation, Brock Adams, at the behest of President Jimmy Carter, ordered the Commandant, ADM John B. Hayes, to direct the commanding officer of the Third Coast Guard District, VADM Robert I. Price, "to cooperate with Mayor Koch in the movement of sanitation barges within the harbor."  Beginning on 7 May 1979,  the cutters Sauk, Manitou and Red Beech began moving 16 garbage scows from a Staten Island landfill site to refuse pick-up points in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx.  Although the Group received an anonymous bomb threat that proved to be a hoax, the towing effort was carried out without incident.  These three cutters were relieved of "garbage duty" in June by the cutters Snohomish and Chinook.
  • 1992- Astronaut and Coast Guard CDR Bruce Melnick made his second space flight when he served as a Mission Specialist aboard the space shuttle Endeavour on her maiden flight, Space Shuttle Mission STS-49, which flew from 7 to 16 May 1992.  During this mission, astronauts rescued and repaired the Intelsat VI satellite.  Melnick, by this point, had logged more than 300 hours in space.
  • 2004-CGC James Rankin set the historic "Francis Scott Key" buoy off of Fort McHenry, Maryland, near the Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland.  The buoy marks the spot where the British warship on which Francis Scott Key, the author of the Star Spangled Banner, was held aboard during the bombardment of Fort McHenry by the Royal Navy during the War of 1812.  Each year the buoy is set in the spring, marking the historic location of the event, and is then removed in the fall.

8 May

  • 1919-First Lieutenant Elmer F. Stone, USCG, piloting the Navy's flying boat NC-4 in the first successful trans-Atlantic flight, took off from the Naval Air Station at Rockaway, New York, at 1000 hours on 8 May, 1919, together with the NC-1 and NC-3.  Although the NC-1 and NC-3 did not complete the journey, the NC-4 successfully crossed the Atlantic and landed in Lisbon, Portugal on 27 May 1919.  Stone was decorated that same day by the Portuguese government with the Order of the Tower and Sword.  
  • 1926-Congress standardized the retired pay of Coast Guard officers with that of all the other armed services.
  • 1985- CGC Chase was crippled by an engine room fire that put the cutter out of service for almost six months.  One crewman, MK3 Nicholas V. Barei III,  was killed during the incident.
  • 1985-The largest cocaine seizure by the Coast Guard (to date) was made when Coast Guard units seized the Goza Now with 1,909 pounds of cocaine.  The unlit speedboat, or "go-fast," was first located by the CGC Cape Shoalwater as it raced towards Miami.  An AIRSTA Miami helicopter was dispatched to investigate and then began chasing it as it neared Miami Beach.  As they approached the shoreline, the three-man crew of the go-fast jumped overboard and escaped but a TACLET seized the abandoned Goza Now and her illicit cargo.  District 7 got a "Bravo Zulu" from Attorney General Edwin Meese.
  • 1987- Coast Guard units, including CGC Ocracoke, made the largest seizure of cocaine by the Coast Guard (to date).  They discovered 3,771 pounds (1.9 tons)  aboard the La Toto off the northwest coast of St. Croix. 

9 May

  • 1862-USRC Miami landed President Abraham Lincoln on Confederate-held soil the day before the fall of Norfolk.  The President had decided "to ascertain by personal observation whether some further vigilance and vigor might not be infused into the operations of the Army and Navy" during General George McClellan's Peninsula campaign.  The President, Secretary of State Salmon P. Chase, Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, and Brigadier General Egbert Ludovickus Viele departed Washington, D.C., on board the cutter on 5 May. 
  • 1939- President Franklin D. Roosevelt announced Reorganization Plan II that transferred the Bureau of Lighthouses to the Treasury Department for consolidation with the Coast Guard. The plan took effect on 1 July 1939.
  • 1942-CGC Icarus attacked and sank the German submarine U-352 off Moorehead City, North Carolina, and then rescued and took 33 prisoners-of-war, the first German prisoners taken in combat by any U.S. force in World War II.

10 May

  • 1800-Congress forbade citizens to own an interest in vessels engaged in the slave trade or to serve on such vessels.
  • 1956-President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed Public Law 519, which brought all previously uninspected vessels on navigable waters carrying more than six passengers for hire under inspection laws. These were chiefly party-fishing motorboats, excursion sailboats, and ferry barges. Public attention had been focused on the inadequacy of existing inspection laws by the hundreds of lives lost on uninspected vessels.
  • 1966-CGC Point Grey was on patrol near South Vietnam's Ca Mau peninsula when her crew sighted a 110-foot trawler heading on various courses and speeds. Suspicions aroused, Point Grey commenced shadowing the trawler. After observing what appeared to be signal fires on the beach, the cutter hailed the vessel, but received no response. The trawler ran aground and Point Grey personnel attempted to board it. Heavy automatic weapons fire from the beach prevented the boarding and two crew and one Army passenger were wounded aboard Point Grey.  CGC Point Cypress, and U.S. Navy units came to assist.  During the encounter the trawler exploded.  U.S. Navy salvage teams recovered a substantial amount of war material from the sunken vessel.  This incident was the largest, single known infiltration attempt since the Vung Ro Bay incident of February 1965 and was the first "suspicious trawler interdicted by a Market Time unit."  

11 May

  • 1898-USRC Hudson towed the crippled USS Winslow from certain destruction under the Spanish forts at Cardenas, Cuba during the Spanish-American War.  Congress later conferred a Gold Medal of Honor on her commanding officer, Revenue First Lieutenant F. H. Newcomb.  His officers and crew were awarded Silver and Bronze Medals.  
  • 1908-The Revenue Cutter Service was authorized to enforce Alaska game laws.
  • 1945-On the morning of 11 May 1945, four days after Nazi Germany surrendered unconditionally to the Allies, the Coast Guard-manned destroyer escorts USS Vance and USS Durant, underway off the Azores escorting their last convoy to the Mediterranean, sighted a light ahead of the convoy.  They closed to investigate.  Durant illuminated the target, which was the surfaced German submarine U-873, which had been at sea for 50 days. Vance, while screened by Durant, hailed the "erstwhile enemy" over her public address system, established her identity, and then ordered her to heave to.  On board were seven officers and 52 enlisted men.  Vance placed a 21-man prize crew on board the captured U-boat and delivered the prize at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on 16 May 1945.
  • 1963-Air Station San Francisco intercepted a teletype message from Fort Point Lifeboat Station to CG Radio Station San Francisco stating that the 36-foot F/V Pirate II had lost its engine and would be blown onto Seal Rocks within twenty minutes.  Coast Guard HH-19G helicopter CGNR-1309 was dispatched to assist.  The helicopter, commanded by LCDR Warren S. Petterson, located the fishing vessel in heavy surf and commenced "Operation Tugbird" by lowering a tow cable to Pirate II.  The helicopter then towed the vessel out of the surf and to a distance of one-half mile off shore where CG-82328 successfully took over.

12 May

  • 1906-In part due to the lobbying efforts of the Maritime Association of the Port of New York, Congress authorized the construction of a cutter "equipped to cruise for and destroy derelicts and obstructions to navigation" for the Revenue Cutter Service.  The Service contracted with the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company to build this "derelict destroyer," which was christened USRC Seneca.  She was commissioned in 1908.
  • 1938- Lieutenant C. B. Olsen became the first Coast Guardsman to be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.  He earned the award for "heroism in removing Lieutenant Colonel Gullion, U.S. Army, who was stricken with acute appendicitis, from the Army transport 'Republic'" after making an open-water landing near the freighter.
  • 1939- On 12 May 1939, Boatswain's Mate First Class Clarence Samuels was appointed as a Chief Photographer's Mate (Acting), becoming the first African-American photographer in the Coast Guard and only the second Coast Guard photographer in the entire history of the Service.

  • 1957- CGC Wachusett, on Ocean Station NOVEMBER, halfway between Honolulu and San Francisco, rescued the two-man crew who had bailed out of a U.S. Air Force B-57 because of a fuel shortage.
  • 1984-The Coast Guard was a primary participant in the 1984 Louisiana World Exposition in New Orleans.  The Coast Guard Barque Eagle was opened to the public and the fair's organizers also chose the Coast Guard as the official honor guard for the exposition.  The service was also responsible for the exposition's waterfront security.
  • 1998-ADM Robert Kramke, Commandant of the Coast Guard, commissioned the Coast Guard's Leadership Development Center (LDC) in New London.  The LDC consolidated the leadership training courses of the service, including Officer Candidate School, Chief Warrant Officer Indoctriniation School, the Chief Petty Officer Academy, Command and Operations School, Officer in Charge/Executive Petty Officer Course and the Leadership and Quality Institue in one central location at the Coast Guard Academy.

13 May

  • 1905- An Executive Order extended the jurisdiction of the Lighthouse Service to the noncontiguous territory of Guam Island.
  • 1952- The Coast Guard announced the establishment of an Organized Reserve Training Program, the first in U.S. Coast Guard history.  Morton G. Lessans was sworn in as the first member of the Organized Air Reserve on 12 December 1951.

  • 1986-CGC Manitou stopped the 125-foot Sun Bird in 7th District waters and her boarding team discovered 40,000 pounds of marijuana hidden aboard.  The boarding team then located the vessel's builder's plate and learned that the Sun Bird was the decommissioned "buck-and-a-quarter" cutter Crawford.  The former cutter and her 14-man crew were taken into custody.  A newspaper article describing the incident noted: "If Crawford was a person, Miami would have probably seen it blush . . . The ex-Coast Guard cutter received more publicity for smuggling the drugs than for its 20-year Coast Guard career."

14 May

  • 1908-An Act of Congress (35 Stat. L., 160, 162) delegated to the Lighthouse Board the duty of caring for and maintaining the anchorage buoys previously placed by the United States in the harbors of New York and Philadelphia.
  • 1951-USS Valcour was rammed by the collier Thomas Tracy.  CGC Cherokee responded and assisted in extinguishing the resulting fires and towed the Valcour to Norfolk.  Thirty-seven Navy sailors perished.
  • 1997- The 757-foot containership Ever Grade collided with CGC Cowslip 10 miles upriver from the mouth of the Columbia River near Astoria, Oregon.  The buoy tender suffered significant damage from a glancing blow along her port side.  Visibility at the time was less than 20 yards due to thick fog in the area.  The Cowslip was repaired and returned to service.

15 May

  • 1820-Congress declared the foreign slave trade to be piracy and instituted the death penalty for any U.S. citizen engaged in the slave trade.
  • 1862-USRC Naugatuck participated in bombardment of Drewry's Bluff (James River) after accompanying USS Monitor in its engagement with CSS Virginia and engaging in an attack on Sewell’s Point.
  • 1931-Treasury Secretary Andrew W. Mellon laid the cornerstone of Hamilton Hall, the first building under construction at the "new" Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut.
  • 1934-The White Star Line passenger vessel RMS Olympic, in a dense fog, rammed and sank the lightship LV-117 on the Nantucket Shoals station.  Olympic, which had been homing in on the lightship's radio beacon very accurately, failed to steer clear in time.  Seven of the lightship's 11 crewmen were killed.  The White Star Line agreed to fund a new lightship.
  • 1945-On 12 May the Coast Guard-manned frigate USS Forsyth (PF-102) was called off her weather station to search through haze and fog for a German submarine that was attempting to surrender.  Three days later Forsyth joined Sutton (DE-771) in accepting the surrender of U-234 at 46 39' N. x 45 39' W.  This submarine was carrying a German technical mission and supplies, including a cargo of uranium, to Tokyo.  Earlier, two Japanese passengers on board committed suicide rather than surrender.  
  • 1975-CGC Modoc seized the Polish fishing vessel Kalmar 10 miles off Monterey, California, for fishing inside the 12-mile limit and escorted her to San Francisco.  
  • 1996-The Coast Guard formally closed Governors Island.  The Army left the base in the early 1960s and the Coast Guard took it over on 3 June 1966 as a way to consolidate its operations in the New York Area.  At the height of Coast Guard involvement on the island over 4,600 people lived and worked there.
  • 1997-Coast Guard Auxiliarist Frank Mauro, while assigned to Coast Guard UTB 41351, rescued nine victims who had been forced into the water after the strong current crushed their boat.  He was awarded the Gold Lifesaving Medal for his heroic actions.

16 May

  • 1846-Eleven cutters were assigned to cooperate with Army and Navy in the Mexican War.  Cutters McLane, Legare, Woodbury, Ewing, Forward, and Van Buren were assigned to the Army.  Cutters Wolcott, Bibb, Morris, and Polk were assigned to the Navy.
  • 1888-Secretary of Treasury was authorized to establish anchorage grounds New York Harbor, adopt suitable rules and "take all necessary measures" for their enforcement.
  • 1963-The Honorable Douglas Dillon, Secretary of the Treasury, at a ceremony at Cape May Receiving Center, awarded Life-Saving Medals to three enlisted men of the Coast Guard in recognition of their heroic action and performance of duty at the risk of their own lives.  Boatswain's Mate First Class John C. Webb, coxswain of CG-36455 was awarded the Gold Life-Saving Medal and his crewmen, Engineman Third Class Anthony D. Lloyd and Seaman Ray Dwayne Duerre were each awarded a Silver Life-Saving Medal.  The awards were based on their rescue of three persons from a stranded pleasure craft disabled approximately two miles northwest of Cape Alava, Washington, on 1 June 1962.

17 May

  • 1999-The Coast Guard "kept the peace" when the Makah Indian tribe hunted and killed a gray whale in Neah Bay, Washington.  The Makah were guaranteed the right to hunt whales in their 1855 treaty with the U.S.

18 May

  • 1920-Coast Guard officers and enlisted personnel were granted  the same pay, allowances and increases as the Navy.

19 May

  • 1846-Secretary of Treasury Walker assigned Revenue Captain John A. Webster to control movements of vessels assigned to Army and to cooperate with the Navy in the War with Mexico.
  • 1896-Congress authorized the Secretary of Treasury to patrol regattas.
  • 1921-Congress passed the "Emergency Immigration Act of 1921" (ch. 8, 42 Stat. 5), a quota law that limited the number of migrants in any year to three percent of the number of residents from that country already residing in the U.S. as of 1910.

20 May

  • 1882-The lookout of Station No. 10 (Louisville, Kentucky), 9th District, spotted two men and a skiff being swept toward the dam and falls of the Ohio River.  He sounded the alarm and "a boat at once shot out from the station, and reached the men in time to save them.  They were quite ignorant of rowing . . . and were at the mercy of the flood sweeping towards the dam.  They were terribly frightened and profuse in their thanks to their rescuers." 
  • 1999-CGC Bear arrived in Rota, Spain.  She was deployed to the Adriatic Sea in support of Operation Allied Force and Operation Noble Anvil, NATO's military campaign against the forces of the former Republic of Yugoslavia.  Bear served in the USS Theodore Roosevelt Battle Group providing surface surveillance and SAR response for the Sea Combat Commander, and force protection for the Amphibious Ready Group operating near Albania.  Bear provided combat escort for U.S. Army vessel's transporting military cargo between Italy and Albania.  This escort operation took Bear up to the Albanian coastline, well within enemy surface-to-surface missile range.

21 May

  • 1849-Revenue Captain Douglas Ottinger reported completing the construction and furnishing of eight life-saving stations on the New Jersey coast between Sandy Hook and Little Egg Inlet, marking the beginning of Federal life-saving efforts.
  • 1944-The Coast Guard-manned USS LST-69 exploded at Pearl Harbor.  None of her crew were killed but 13 were seriously injured.
  • 1951-The Coast Guard announced the formation, within the Washington, DC area, of a new Organized Reserve Training Unit (Vessel Augmentation). The mission of this new unit was to develop a force of experienced personnel, well-trained in all shipboard billets, with particular emphasis on anti-submarine warfare, and the use of radar, radio, and other branches of electronics. Training was to be directed towards readying personnel of the unit for immediate assignment to ships of the Coast Guard and Navy in the event of mobilization.
  • 1986-Japan's Maritime Safety Agency vessel Settsu arrived in Juneau for three days of meetings with 17th District staff members, SAR talks, softball games (against the crew of CGC Morgenthau -- the MSA crew won one game out of three), and comparing operational notes.  The 348-foot Japanese vessel was homeported in Kobi, Japan.
  • 2013-The Commandant, ADM Robert Papp, released the Coast Guard's Arctic Strategy report.  He noted that this strategy would "guide our efforts in the region over the next 10 years. This strategy is based on nearly 150 years of Coast Guard experience in maritime operations in the Arctic region, since the U.S. Revenue Cutter Lincoln first arrived in the new U.S. territory of Alaska in 1867. The U.S. Coast Guard Arctic Strategy documents our intent to pursue three key objectives: improving awareness, modernizing governance and broadening partnerships. Beyond these objectives, we will continue to build upon our Service’s long heritage of leadership in the Arctic, working with Federal, state, local and territorial partners to ensure maritime governance in the region.

22 May

  • 1920- An Act of Congress, which provided a system of general retirement for the civil employees of the US Government effective 21 August 1920, benefited those employees of the Lighthouse Service who were not covered by the retirement law of 20 June 1918, which provided retirement for certain classes of employees in the Lighthouse Service.
  • 1926- An Act of Congress extended the benefits of the Public Health Service to apply to light keepers located at isolated points, who previously had been unable to avail themselves of such benefits, and made provisions for medical supplies and hospital services for the crews of the vessels of the Lighthouse Service, including the detail of medical officers.
  • 1959- Two US Air Force jets collided near Ocean Station ECHO, patrolled at that time by the CGC Mendota.  A U.S. Air Force weather plane spotted both pilots in the water and, within two hours of collision, the Mendota rescued them.
  • 1967-CGC Barataria conducted the first fire-support mission for the newly created Coast Guard Squadron Three in Vietnam. This force initially consisted of five Coast Guard 311-footers used to support Market Time operations.

23 May

  • 1928-CGC Haida and the USLHT Cedar rescued 312 passengers and crew from the sailing vessel Star of Falkland near Unimak Pass, Alaska after Star of Falkland had run aground in the fog the previous evening.  Both the cutter and the tender managed to save all but eight from the sailing vessel.  This rescue was one of the most successful in Coast Guard history and was also one of the few instances where the Coast Guard and one of its future integrated agencies worked together to perform a major rescue.
  • 1930-Lieutenant Commander Elmer F. Stone received a medal from Congress for extraordinary achievement in making the first successful trans-Atlantic flight in 1919.  Stone was the pilot of the Navy's NC-4.
  • 1946-Commodore Edward M. Webster, USCG, headed the US Delegation to the International Meeting on Radio Aids to Marine Navigation, which was held in London, England.  As a result of this meeting, the principal maritime nations of the world agreed to make an intensive study of the World War II-developed devices of radar, LORAN, radar beacons, and other navigational aids with a view to adapt them to peacetime use.  This was the first time that the wartime technical secrets of radar and LORAN were generally disclosed to the public. [USCG Public Information Division News Release, 7 June 1946.]
  • 1972-President Richard Nixon and the Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, N. V. Podgorny, signed the "Agreement on Cooperation in the Field of Environmental Protection between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics."  Under the agreement, the U.S. Coast Guard was the lead U.S. agency, in association with the EPA and MARAD, for the Task Group on Prevention and Cleanup of Pollution of the Marine Environment from Shipping.

24 May

  • 1830-Navy officers, under furlough from the Navy until April 1832, were given commissions in the Revenue Service.
  • 1941-CGC Modoc sighted the German battleship Bismarck while the cutter searched for survivors of a convoy southeast of Cape Farewell, Greenland.  British Swordfish torpedo planes from the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Victorious circled Modoc as they flew towards the German battleship.  Modoc's crew then spotted flashes caused by anti-aircraft fire from the Bismarck and then sighted British warships on the opposite horizon.  The cutter then maneuvered to avoid contact with any of the warships and managed to steam out of the area unscathed.
  • 1977-On 24 May 1977 the Coast Guard issued a request for female volunteers to serve afloat on board cutters as members of the cutters' permanent crew.  Beginning in late-September of that year the first of 24 women chosen for afloat assignments began reporting on board the CGCs Gallatin and Morgenthau as members of their permanent crew.  Twelve women--two officers and 10 enlisted--served on board each cutter.

25 May

  • 1877-The training of first class of Revenue Cutter cadets began on the school-ship Dobbin at Curtis Bay, Maryland, with nine cadets, three officers, one surgeon, six warrant officers and 17 crew members on board.
  • 1963-On 25 May 1963 the first of the new class of 210-foot cutters, CGC Reliance (WPC-615, later WMEC-615), was christened at Todd Shipyard, Houston, Texas.  The wife of the Commandant at the time, Mrs. Edwin J. Roland, was the sponsor for the cutter.  A news report published at the time noted: "The CGC RELIANCE, to be stationed at Corpus Christi, Texas, marks a significant milestone in the building program of the Coast Guard as it is the first cruising cutter of any size built for Coast Guard service in almost twenty years."

26 May

  • 1906-Congress passed an act to regulate enlistments and punishments in Revenue Cutter Service was passed.
  • 1924-Congress passed the "Immigration Act of 1924," (Pub. L. 68-139; 43 Stat. 153) that limited the number of immigrants annually who could be admitted to the U.S.  to two percent of the number of people from that country who were already living in the U.S. in 1890.  This was a one percent reduction from the three percent limit established by Congress in 1921.
  • 1988-Admiral Paul Yost, Commandant, explained the new "Zero Tolerance" initiative to Congress's Subcommittee on the Coast Guard and Navigation.  Yost noted: "The Coast Guard Zero Tolerance policy is that, subject to statutory and jurisdictional limitations, individuals possessing measurable quantities of controlled substances aboard vessels will be subject to the full extent of available criminal and civil sanctions. . .Zero Tolerance means that the Coast Guard, in the course of its regular patrols, boardings and inspections, will now, within the limits of the law, seize vessels and arrest individuals when 'personal use' quantities of illegal drugs are discovered."
  • 1995-The Secretary of Transportation authorized the involuntary recall of 300 reservists to assist in the relief efforts in the Midwest after the Missouri and Mississippi rivers flooded.  However, only 143 were called to duty.  (See the 2 May 1995 entry.)

27 May

  • 1919-The U.S. Navy's flying boat NC-4, piloted by First Lieutenant Elmer F. Stone, USCG, landed in the Tagus River estuary near Lisbon, Portugal on 27 May 1919, thereby completing the first successful trans-Atlantic flight.  Stone was decorated that same day by the Portuguese government with the Order of the Tower and Sword.  
  • 1936-Public Law 622 reorganized and changed the name of the Bureau of Navigation and Steamboat Inspection Service to Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation (49 Stat. L., 1380). The Bureau remained under Commerce Department control.
  • 1943-Douglas Munro's posthumous Medal of Honor was given to Douglas Munro's parents, Mr. and Mrs. James Munro of South Cle Elum, Washington, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in a ceremony at the White House on Thursday, May 27, 1943.  The citation read: "Awarded posthumously to DOUGLAS ALBERT MUNRO, SIGNALMAN FIRST CLASS, U.S. COAST GUARD 'For extraordinary heroism and conspicuous gallantry in action above and beyond the call of duty as Office-in-Charge of a group of Higgins boats, engaged in the evacuation of a Battalion of Marines trapped by enemy Japanese forces at Point Cruz, Guadalcanal, on September 27, 1942.  After making preliminary plans for the evacuation of nearly 500 beleaguered Marines, Munro, under constant risk of his life, daringly led five of his small craft toward the shore.   As he closed the beach, he [signaled] the others to land, and then in order to draw the enemy's fire and protect the heavily loaded boats, he valiantly placed his craft with its two small guns as a shield between the beachhead and the Japanese.   When the perilous task of evacuation was nearly completed, Munro was killed by enemy fire, but his crew, two of whom were wounded, carried on until the last boat had loaded and cleared the beach.  By his outstanding leadership, expert planning, and dauntless devotion to duty, he and his courageous comrades undoubtedly saved the lives of many who otherwise would have perished.  He gallantly gave up his life in defense of his country.'"
  • 1954-The aircraft carrier USS Bennington (CV-20), with about 2,000 persons aboard, suffered an explosion and fire 35 miles south of Brenton Reef Lightship, injuring some 100 persons. U.S. Coast Guard aircraft from Salem Air Station and Quonset Point proceeded to the scene, assisted in transporting medical personnel to Bennington and provided air cover for all helicopter operations. One of the Coast Guard’s helicopters made seven landings aboard the aircraft carrier and transported 18 injured to the hospital; another transported 14 injured.
  • 1965-Coast Guard Squadron One was commissioned for service with Operation Market Time in Vietnam.
  • While on leave, Coast Guardsman Kevin S. DeGroot rescued 12 people who had been thrown into the water when their boat capsized.  For his "extreme and heroic daring" that day, he was awarded the Gold Life-Saving Medal.
  • 2008-CGC Dallas departed Charleston, SC for a planned 4-1/2 month deployment to conduct maritime safety and security exchanges with countries along the central and west coasts of Africa, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea.  It was an historic voyage that included delivering relief supplies to Georgia after that country was attacked by Russia in "Operation Assured Delivery (she was the second U.S. military ship to deliver relief supplies to Georgia) and a port visit to Sevastopol, Ukraine.  

28 May

  • 1813-Revenue Cutterman John Bearbere died of pneumonia while being held as a Prisoner of War by the British after his cutter, James Madison, was captured by the Royal Navy frigate HMS Barbadoes near Savannah, Georgia on 24 November 1812 during the War of 1812.  He was one of five crewmen captured aboard the cutter who died in captivity.  James Madison had only recently captured and seized the 300-ton, six-gun British brig Shamrock in July, 1812.
  • 1938-CGC Icarus, patrol boats CG-176 and CG-135 as well as motor lifeboats from stations Rockaway Point and Sandy Hook responded to a distress call after the collision of two vessels, the SS Acadia and SS Mandalay, in New York Harbor.  The Coast Guard vessels safely transported to New York City all 325 passengers and crew from the Mandalay which sank soon after the collision.
  • 1947-The Coast Guard announced the disestablishment of all U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Marine Details in foreign ports. During World War II, a total of 36 foreign Merchant Marine Details had been activated for the purpose of performing "on-the-spot" services in connection with the preventive aspects of safety of life and property of the US Merchant Marine. These functions reverted to the continental U.S. ports in which there were located U.S. Marine Inspection Offices.  The Merchant Marine Details disestablished were located in the following ports: Antwerp, Belgium; Bremerhaven, Germany; London, England; Cardiff, Wales; Le Havre, France; Marseille, France; Naples, Italy; Piraeus, Greece; Shanghai, China; Manila, Philippine Islands; and Trieste, Venezia Giulia.
  • 1984-The first Marine Safety Information System module was deployed Coast Guard-wide.  The Port Safety Module replaced the Interim MSIS system, first established when the Port and Tanker Safety Act of 1978 was passed, to provide field units with vessel histories.  The replacement module was vital in the day-to-day execution of Port Safety and Marine Violation functions.

29 May

  • 1995-A request from the Commander in Chief of Naval Forces Europe led to the deployment of CGC Dallas, under the command of Captain Joseph Jones, USCG, to the Mediterranean.  She departed Governors Island on 29 May 1995 and visited ports throughout the Mediterranean and Black Sea, including Istanbul and Samsun in Turkey; Durres, Albania; Varna, Bulgaria; Constanta, Romania; Koper, Slovenia; Taranto, Italy; and Bizerte, Tunisia.  The crew trained with naval and coast guard forces in each country. She deployed for a few days with the Sixth Fleet and served as a plane guard for the USS Theodore Roosevelt.  The crew was also able to coordinate schedules with six NATO and non-NATO nations to conduct boardings.  She returned to the U.S. in August and arrived at Governors Island on 28 August 1995.

30 May

  • 1767-The Charleston Lighthouse was built on Morris Island, South Carolina. The first stone of the tower was laid on this date.
  • 1996-On 30 May 1996 the 8th and 2nd Coast Guard Districts were combined to form the new 8th Coast Guard District.
  • 1996-CGC Yocona was decommissioned in Kodiak, Alaska.  She had been in Coast Guard service since 1946.

31 May

  • 1947-Authority of the U.S. Coast Guard for the establishment and disestablishment of prohibited, restricted, and anchorage areas, conferred by the Espionage Act (50 U.S.C. 191) and Proclamation No. 2412 of 27 June 1940 was terminated by Proclamation No. 2732, signed by the President on this date.
  • 1948-The Coast Guard assumed command of the former Navy base at Cape May, New Jersey, and formally established its east coast recruit training center there the next day.  
  • 1963-The Commandant authorized the disestablishment of Light Station Alcatraz, California.
  • 1983-Former world heavyweight boxing champion Jack Dempsey passed away at the age of 87.  He served in the Coast Guard during World War II and achieved the rank of commander.
  • 1988-The first search and rescue agreement with the Soviet Union was signed at a summit in Moscow.  The agreement set a general line, or boundary, separating SAR regions and provided for exchange visits to SAR coordination centers in both countries, joint SAR exercises, and regular communication checks.
  • 1988-CGC Fir became the oldest cutter in commission after CGC Ingham was decommissioned this day in 1988.
  • 2009-CGC Boutwell arrived in the port of Tubruq, Libya, during her around-the-world cruise, becoming the first U.S. military ship to visit Libya in more than 40 years.
  • 2013-Coast Guard Group Humboldt Bay, the Coast Guard command responsible for operations from the California-Oregon border south to the Mendocino-Sonoma county line, was renamed Coast Guard Sector Humboldt Bay during a formal ceremony held on 31 May 2013.

Last Modified 9/15/2016