U.S. Coast Guard Firsts, Lasts and/or Record Setting Achievements:

Please note that this is not an officially sanctioned list but only one put together by the Historian's Office as a means of keeping track of events of historical interest.  Unless indicated otherwise the entries are made up primarily of submissions sent to our office by the Coast Guard personnel involved as well as research by William R. Wells, II (see below).



Retired Coast Guardsman and historian William R. Wells II has published a list of firsts for officers of the Revenue Cutter Service entitled "Who's on First."  He compiled his list from his research in the original "Rosters of Officers of the Revenue Cutter Service."  Click here to view his list.

Oldest:

Station--Oldest by location: Boston Light (1716)

Oldest existing structure: Sandy Hook Lighthouse (1764) (transferred to National Park Service)

Oldest commissioned boat station still in service: Sandy Hook, NJ

Oldest cutter in active service: Acushnet (5 Feb 1944); Smilax (1 Nov 1944) is next in order of precedence

Oldest airframe in active service: HC-130H number 1500 (delivered August 1973); oldest rotary wing HH-65A number C6501 (delivered to CG on 14 Nov 1984)

Oldest structure still in service: Boston Light (1789)

In seniority, the Coast Guard is the oldest continuous sea-going service of the United States.  It was created on 4 August 1790 when President George Washington signed "The Tariff Act," a bill Congress passed, that was originally written by Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton.  The Act created a "system of cutters" charged with enforcing the new nation's customs' laws, which, at the time, were the only source of revenue for the federal government.  The "system of cutters," which was eventually named the Revenue Marine, is therefore older than the United States Navy.  The Continental Navy was disbanded after the end of the Revolutionary War and Congress did not authorize a "new" navy until 27 March 1794, when it passed an act that authorized the construction of six frigates of which only three were actually constructed and launched in 1797.  Congress did not even create an actual Department of the Navy until 1798, administering the frigates and their crews through the Department of War up until that time!  The 1794 act also authorized the creation of Marine detachments for each frigate, thereby marking the beginning of this illustrious sea service under the federal government.  The United States Coast Guard, the modern descendant of the Revenue Marine, therefore predates both the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.


Aviation:

First involvement in aviation: Life-Saving Service personnel from the Kill Devil Hills Lifesaving Station assisted Orville and Wilbur Wright during the world's first heavier than air flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, on 17 December 1903.

First Coast Guard Aviator: Elmer Stone, 1917

First enlisted Coast Guard aviator(s): Charles T. Thrun; Walter S. Anderson; Leonard M. Melka, 1917

First Coast Guard Air-Station: Morehead City, North Carolina; 24 March 1920 [closed due to a lack of funding the following year].

First use of a Coast Guard aircraft to chase rum runners was on 20 June 1925 [Vought UO-1 out of Ten Pound Island].

First seizure of a vessel with the assistance of an aircraft occurred on 24 June 1925 [Vought UO-1 out of Ten Pound Island].

First permanent Coast Guard Air Station: Cape May, New Jersey, 1926.

First Coast Guard aviator killed in the line of duty: CHGUN Charles T. Thrun, 1935.

Records for amphibian aircraft established by Coast Guard aircraft and aviators (records certified by the Federation Aeronautique International-FAI):

First Coast Guardsmen to be awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross: LT C. B. Olsen on 12 May 1938.

First Coast Guard helicopter pilot: Frank A. Erickson, 1943.

First rescue mission by helicopter: Frank A. Erickson was an aviation pioneer who led the Coast Guard’s acquisition and development of rotary wing aircraft. On 3 January 1944 he piloted a HNS-1 helicopter through 25-knot winds to bring urgently needed plasma from Brooklyn to a hospital in Sandy Hook, New Jersey. The plasma was used to treat the survivors of the explosions aboard the destroyer USS Turner.

First helicopter take-off and landing aboard a ship underway at sea: LT Stewart R. Graham, on board the SS Daghestan, North Atlantic, 16 January 1944.

First Coast Guard helicopter pilot to rescue personnel from the open sea: LT Stewart R. Graham, off Manasquan, New Jersey, on 2 October 1944.

15 March - 27 July 1946: For the first time, Coast Guard aircraft supplemented the work of the Coast Guard patrol vessels of the International Ice Patrol, scouting for ice and determining the limits of the ice fields from the air.  [USCG Public Information Division News Release, 31 December 1946.]

15 January 1947: The first helicopter flight to the base "Little America" in Antarctica took place.  The pilot was LT James A. Cornish, USCG and he carried Chief Photographer's Mate Everett Mashburn as his observer.  They flew from the Northwind.

On 6 April 1949 a U.S. Coast Guard H03S-1 [tail number 234] helicopter, piloted by then-LT Steward Graham, completed the longest unescorted helicopter flight in the world to that date.  The flight was also the first unescorted transcontinental flight by a Coast Guard helicopter.  The trip from Elizabeth City, NC, to Port Angeles, WA, via San Diego, CA, a distance of 3,750 miles, took 10 1/2 days to complete and involved a total flight time of 57.6 hours.

1950: Then-LT Steward Graham became the first Coast Guard pilot to exceed 1,000 hours of flying a helicopter and was the third pilot in the United States to hold this distinction.

On 17 December 1951 President Harry Truman presented the Collier Trophy to the Coast Guard, the Department of Defense and the "helicopter industry" in a joint award, citing "outstanding development and use of rotary-winged aircraft for air rescue operations."  Coast Guard commandant VADM Merlin O'Neill accepted the trophy for the Coast Guard.

On 13 May 1952 the U.S. Coast Guard announced the establishment of an Organized Air 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.

Bobby C. Wilks was the first African-American Coast Guard aviator (Coast Guard aviator 735) and the first African American to command a Coast Guard air station [he was the CO of AIRSTA Brooklyn].  He was also the first African American to reach the rank of Captain.

Beginning in 1959, for the first time, the U.S. Coast Guard used a helicopter instead of a small fixed-wing aircraft to support law enforcement activities of the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Division of the Treasury Department.  The helicopter proved to be considerably more effective than the fixed wing aircraft in locating illegal "stills."

Records for amphibian aircraft established by Coast Guard HU-16E 7255:

CGC Mellon’s first commanding officer was CAPT Robert P. Cunningham, the first Coast Guard aviator to command a 378-foot cutter.

On 7 May 1969 Coast Guard HC-130 CG-1453 based out of AIRSTA Kodiak became the first Coast Guard aircraft to ever fly directly over the geographic North Pole.  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 (No. 21-69; 23 May 1969, p. 6): "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."

USCG at the Aviation Training Center in Mobile, AL, was the first armed force to authorize instrument ratings based strictly on simulator flight time, 1973.

First female Coast Guard aviator was Janna Lambine, who graduated from naval aviation training at NAS Whiting Field, Milton, Florida on 4 March 1977.

First woman to graduate from the Aviation Machinist's Mate "A" School was Petty Officer Robyn L. Bregante.  She graduated from AD(A) School on 5 August 1977.

In 1977 AT2 Weldon "Diz" Rease became the first African-American enlisted navigator. The last Coast Guard enlisted aviator, ADCM (AP) John Pershing Greathouse, USCG, who retired in 1979.  He entered Coast Guard boot training in October, 1941, and as a Seaman 1/c served at the Fort Point Lifeboat Station, CA.  A year later, he entered flight training and graduated as an Aviation Pilot from the Naval Aviation Training Center, Pensacola, FL in August, 1943.  He was the first Coast Guard aviator to surpass 10,000 flight hours and he passed his own flight-time record of 12,000 hours in 1973.  By the time he retired he had accumulated a total of 14,146 flight hours.  He was also the first person to parachute from a helicopter (along with AD3 John Smith) when he bailed out of his "ailing" HOS-1G helicopter over Philadelphia on 25 September 1945.

After a month-long training program at AIRSTA Elizabeth City, four corpsmen from the Support Center became the first corpsmen to be designated as aircrewmen on the HH-3F.  They were HMC John Pettay, HM1 Jimmie Allen, HM3 David Lehmkuhl and HMS Johnny Midgett.

AD3 Carolyn DeLeo was the first woman to be awarded the Air Medal.  She received it for "Meritorious Achievement in aerial flight" in 1983.

The first Coast Guardsmen to become a NASA astronaut was LCDR Bruce E. Melnick, USCG, who was accepted by NASA in 1987.  He later went on to make two shuttle flights.

ASM1 Jeffery Tunks became the first Coast Guard rescue swimmer to be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross after conducting a heroic rescue in December, 1987 in Alaskan waters.

Kelly Mogk, USCG was the first female rescue swimmer in the Coast Guard.  Additionally she was the first female to graduate from the Navy's Rescue Swimmer School when she graduated on 23 May 1986. She earned an Air Medal for her first rescue in January, 1989.

Marilyn Melendez Dykman became the first Hispanic-American female Coast Guard aviator when she earned her wings of gold on 24 May 1991.

On 6 May 1994 the Coast Guard retired the last active HH-3F Pelican helicopter in Coast Guard service. This ended the Coast Guard's amphibious-era, as no aviation asset left in service was capable of making water landings. The final Coast Guard HH-3 flight occurred on 10 May 1994 when the HH-3 was flown from CGAS Clearwater to the National Museum of Naval Aviation in Pensacola, Florida for use as a museum artifact.

First Cuban-born Coast Guardsman promoted to CWO (Aviation): Angel L. Martinez, 1999.

The first set of the newly authorized ‘helicopter rescue swimmer insignia, or ‘wings’, were presented to the senior rescue swimmer in the Coast Guard, Master Chief Aviation Survival Technician (AST) Keith Jensen, at Coast Guard headquarters in Washington, D.C. on 19 July 2001.

In September 2002 CDR A. J. Berghorn took command of VT-2, becoming the first Coast Guard officer to command a US Navy training squadron.

In 2002, the United States Coast Guard’s Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron Ten or HITRON-10 for short became America’s first airborne law enforcement unit tasked with interdicting and stopping suspected drug-laden, high speed vessels known as ‘go-fasts.’

In December 2003 Coast Guard helicopter pilot LCDR Sidonie Bosin was recognized by the First Flight Centennial Commission's 100 Heroes Committee (formed for the commemoration of the Wright Brothers first powered flight) as being one of the "top 100 aviators of all time."  She was also the first female aviation officer in charge of air detachments deployed to the Coast Guard cutter Polar Sea in the Antarctic, including one made up of an all-female flight crew. 

On 24 June 2005 LTJG Jeanine McIntosh-Menze was awarded her wings at a ceremony at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, after completing training there.  She was the first African-American female Coast Guard aviator.

On 1 January 2008 CDR Jose (Tony) Saliceti became the Coast Guard's first qualified Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) pilot and was designated CG UAS Pilot No. 1.

In October 2010 LTJG La'Shanda Holmes became the first African-American female helicopter pilot in the Coast Guard.


Marine Safety & Security:

The first Cutterman and Chamorro to be Captain of the Port was Juan T. Salas, Marine Safety Office Guam, 1992-1994.

In June, 2002, CAPT Jane M. Hartley, USCGR, was designated as the Commanding Officer of Marine Safety Office Wilmington, North Carolina and as such became the first woman in the Coast Guard to become Captain of the Port.

Then-LCDR Gerard A. Williams became the first African-American to command an MSST when he took command of MSST 91102 (Chesapeake) in 2004.

In 1962 YNC (CRXI) Frank Cook Sanders became the first African-American to be selected as a Coast Guard Intelligence and Law Enforcement Agent.  In 1968 he was designated as a Marine Investigating Officer while serving MIO San Francisco.  Chief Sanders retired in from the Coast Guard in 1968 and went on to another distinguished career, this time with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, where he retired in 1988.


Aids to Navigation:

Lighthouse Facts (First, Tallest, Oldest, etc.) [Click here for more information]

On 11 June 1764 the 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.

In 1820 the first U.S. government lightship, a decked-over small boat, took station off Craney Island, Virginia.  

The lightship variously known as "ZZ", Aurora Borealis or "Northeast Pass" was the first U.S. lightship on an exposed station when it entered service in 1820 off the outside of the Northeast Pass entrance of the Mississippi River.  The 1822 edition of The American Coast Pilot by Edmund M. Blunt noted: "A vessel with a floating light is moored by a chain and anchor, 1 1/4 mile due south of the bar of the N. E. pass of the Mississippi, between Wallace's and Bird islands, in lat. 29° 8' 40" N. and 5 miles E. by N. 1/2 N. of the block-house at the Balize, and 1 3/4 mile E. by S. 3/4S. from the unfinished lighthouse on Frank's island, which station she will not leave unless driven by stress of the weather.  By day she will be known by having a white flag with a red cross hoisted upon her mainmast.  By night her lantern will be hoisted 45 feet above the level of the water upon her mainmast.  A large bell is suspended near the windlass of this light vessel, which will be kept tolling during foggy weather both night and day; this bell may be heard 6 miles with the wind, and 4 miles against it, in moderate weather."

Anthony Christy, keeper of the Christiana Lighthouse in Delaware, died on duty in September 1862 at the age of 105.  He was the oldest lighthouse keeper on record.

On 23 August 1893, the Lighthouse Board reported that "This was the first instance in the history of the United States Light-House Establishment in which a light-ship has foundered at her moorings," when Lightship No. 37 was lost in rough seas at her station at Five Fathom Bank off the entrance to Delaware Bay.

On 23 May 1946 Commodore Edward M. Webster, USCG, headed the U.S. 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 would 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. 

On January 31, 1948- Mrs. Fannie M. Salter, keeper of the Turkey Point Lighthouse in upper Chesapeake Bay since 1925 and the last woman keeper of a lighthouse in the United States, retired from active service. This ended nearly 150 years during which women were employed as keepers of United States lighthouses.

In 1956, Captain Gavin L. Field, Master of the Lightship Savannah, retired from the service at the age of seventy.  He was the last civilian master of a lightship to serve in the Coast Guard.  He joined the U.S. Lighthouse Service in 1937 and stayed in when the Lighthouse Service was merged with the Coast Guard in 1939.  He elected to remain in a civilian status during his Coast Guard career.

Keeper Joseph Hindley and his wife Charlotte were the last civilian lighthouse keepers in the Coast Guard.  They retired from service at the Nobska Lighthouse in November, 1973.  

CWO4 William Musual retired from the Coast Guard on 1 November 1973.  His last assignment was as the commanding officer of Station Castle Hill, RI.  He was the last uniformed active duty Coast Guardsmen who had also served in the U.S. Lighthouse Service.

1978/79: Jeanette Roberts Burr became the light-keeper of the New Dungeness Light Station, becoming the first uniformed Coast Guard woman to become a light-keeper.  She was the first woman light-keeper since Fannie Mae Salter (who retired in 1947), a civilian Coast Guard employee.  

On 31 December 1981 the 14 remaining LORAN-A stations closed down at midnight, ending Loran-A coverage, which began during World War II.  

Last lightship in the Coast Guard: Nantucket I, WLV-612; Decommissioned 29 March 1985.


Ocean/Weather Stations, Marine Science & Environmental Protection:

The first environmental protection mission assigned to the Coast Guard came in 1822 when Congress created a timber reserve for Navy shipbuilding and authorized the President to use whatever force was necessary to prevent cutting of live oak on public lands.  The President ordered that revenue cutters assist in enforcing the provision.

The ocean station program was formally established on 25 January 1940 under order from President Franklin Roosevelt. 

The cutters Duane and Bibb were the first cutters to undertake ocean-weather station patrols.  Their first transmissions regarding meteorological data were on 10 February 1940.

The Coast Guard's formal Ocean Station Program ended on 30 June 1974 with the closing of stations "Bravo" in the Atlantic and "November" in the Pacific.  Station "Hotel" remained active but was not considered part of the OS Program and remained in use until 1977.

The cutter Taney departed Ocean Station "Hotel" on 30 September 1977 when the station was closed and replaced by a buoy.  This was the final ocean station patrolled by a Coast Guard cutter.

An oil spill along the coast of California off San Francisco in 1998 was traced to a 717-foot Liberian-flagged tanker Command.  A Coast Guard boarding team took samples of her cargo and matched it to oil found along the coast.  A Coast Guard spokesman noted: "This is the first time the Coast Guard has pursued an oil spill investigation into the international arena to the extent of stopping and boarding a vessel on the high seas, with permission of the vessel's flag state."


Cutter, Tender & Small Boat Operations:

First cutter to be launched: Vigilant, launched in March, 1791. 

Although she was launched later than a number of other cutters, by tradition the cutter Massachusetts is considered to be the first to actually enter active service.

First commissioned Revenue officer: Hopley Yeaton, commission dated 21 March 1791.

First Revenue "squadron" cruise on record: Scammel sailed on patrol with Massachusetts in November, 1791.

On 16 December 1831 Secretary of Treasury John McLane ordered Revenue cutters to conduct "winter cruises."  The cutter Gallatin became the first cutter "directly authorized by the government to assist mariners in distress."

On 22 December 1837 Congress authorized President "to cause any suitable number of public vessels, adapted to the purpose, to cruise upon the coast, in the severe portion of the season, and to afford aid to distressed navigators." First statute authorizing activities in the field of maritime safety. Thus interjecting the national government into the field of lifesaving for the first time. Although revenue cutters were specifically mentioned, the performance of this duty was imposed primarily upon the Revenue Marine Service and quickly became one of its major activities.

First steam-powered cutter was the Legare, which entered service in 1844.

First U.S. ship to police U.S. continental waters on the Pacific coast was the cutter Lawrence in San Francisco harbor, 1849.  She reached the west coast by sailing around Cape Horn.

First Lieutenant Michael Healy became the first African-American to command a vessel of the United States Government when he was appointed as the commanding officer of the Revenue Cutter Chandler in 1877.

Last sailing cutter built for the Revenue Service: Chase, completed 6 August 1878.

On 3 May 1882 the Treasury Department reported that the crew of the Revenue Cutter Oliver Wolcott deserted their ship.  No reason was given for their desertion.  This was the first and only time a crew deserted their cutter.

The McCulloch was the first cutter to transit the Suez Canal when she sailed from the east coast to join the Navy's Asiatic Squadron in Hong Kong in the spring of 1898.

First cutter to use wireless telegraph: Grant in 1903.

Light Vessel No. 58 was the first U.S. vessel of any type to transmit a distress call by radio when on 10 December 1905, during a heavy gale, while relieving Nantucket LV 66, a serious leak developed in fire-room compartment; suction pumps clogged repeatedly; distress messages sent by radio were handled by Newport Naval Station in Rhode Island.  Rising water eventually extinguished the boiler furnaces and the ship was then bailed by hand for 24 hours.  Tender Azalea responded, arriving at 0400 on December 11 and started towing about 1100.  Heavy cross seas hindered the operation and about 4 hours later, the lightship signaled "must abandon".  Her crew was safely taken aboard Azalea and 10 minutes later LV 58, listing heavily to starboard, went down by the stern in 25 fathoms of water about 18 miles northwest of the station.

In 1921, the first synchro-turbo electric drive on ships in any of the U.S. services was introduced by Captain Quincy B. Newman, Engineer-in-Chief of the U.S. Coast Guard.  They were to be used in his Tampa-class cutters.  He designed both the Tampa-class cutters and their revolutionary drive systems.

Clarence Samuels assumed command of the Coast Guard Patrol Boat AB-15 on 18 July 1928, thereby becoming the first African-American to command a Coast Guard vessel.

The cutter Sea Cloud became the first U.S. military vessel to sail with a fully racially-integrated crew when it set sail in November 1943.  Approximately half of the crew, including three commissioned officers, were African-American.

On 22 August 1944 the Liberty ship SS Alexander V. Frazer, named for the "first" commandant of the service, was launched.

LTJG Clarence Samuels became the first African-American to command a cutter since Michael Healy and the first to achieve command during wartime when he assumed command of the Light Vessel No. 115 on 28 July 1944. 

The cutters Spar, Bramble, and Storis became the first U.S. vessels to transit the Northwest Passage in July 1957.  The Spar also became the first U.S. vessel to circumnavigate the North American continent as well.

In 1960-61 the icebreaker CGC Eastwind became the first cutter to ever circumnavigate the globe.  She departed Boston on 25 October 1960, transited the Panama Canal, crossed the Pacific Ocean, visited New Zealand and then participated in Operation Deep Freeze in Antarctica.  She sailed home via the Indian Ocean, Suez Canal, the Mediterranean Sea, through the Straits of Gibraltar, and arrived back at Boston in May, 1961.

The icebreaker CGC Eastwind was the first cutter to ever circumnavigate Antarctica.  She accomplished this historic feat during Operation Deep Freeze 1967.  Eastwind was also the first ship to circumnavigate Antarctica since 1843.

On 13 October 1968 CGC Southwind departed Baltimore, Maryland for a seven-month deployment to Antarctica and other world-wide destinations.  By the time she returned to Baltimore on 7 May 1969 she had become only the second cutter in Coast Guard history to circumnavigate the globe.

CGC Mellon’s first commanding officer was CAPT Robert P. Cunningham, who was the first Coast Guard aviator to command a 378-foot cutter.

In 1976 CGC Boutwell rolled 68-degrees in a storm on her way to Alaska for a fisheries patrol--the greatest roll on record for any cutter.

The first woman to command a U.S. "military vessel" was Beverly Kelley, who took command of the CGC Cape Newagen on 12 April 1979.

LTJG Mary Jane East Wixson was the third female Coast Guardsman and the first female Coast Guard Academy graduate to command a cutter when she took command of the Cape Straight.

In 1981 Cecelia (Oakes) Stoutamire became the first African-American female assigned to an icebreaker.

The icebreaker CGC Polar Star became the second cutter to circumnavigate Antarctica in 1982.

The first Chamorro to command a cutter was Juan T. Salas when he took command of CGC Lipan (WMEC 85) in 1986.

The first enlisted woman Officer in Charge of a cutter was Chief Boatswains Mate Diane Bucci who commanded the Capstan commencing in September 1988.

First woman chief petty officer to serve afloat: YNC Patricia Stolle, USCG, on board the Mellon in 1982.

First female to command a Coast Guard cutter in the Great Lakes: Sandra Stosz took command of the CGC Katmai Bay at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, 10 August 1990.

CAPT Joseph H. Jones: First African-American to Pre-Com a cutter -- PRECOMDET NEAH BAY -- Portsmouth, VA; First African-American to command a 140 foot ice breaking tug in the Great Lakes --- NEAH BAY; First African-American to Command a 210 foot Medium Endurance Cutter -- CGC RELIANCE in New Castle, NH; First African-American to Command a 378 foot High Endurance Cutter -- CGC DALLAS in New York, NY.  Also, he had command of three cutters, XO, OPS, DWO -- assigned to 6 cutters: OWASCO -- HEC; VIGOROUS --WMEC; NEAH BAY -- WTGB; UNIMAK -- WHEC; RELIANCE -- WMEC; DALLAS -- WHEC.

CGC Cape Hatteras (WPB 95305), decommissioned on 18 March 1991, was the last 95-foot patrol boat in the Coast Guard. (She was then transferred to Mexico).

In 1991 LTJG Katherine Tiongson (nee Faverey) took command of CGC Bainbridge Island, becoming the first Hispanic-American female to command an afloat unit.  She was also the first Hispanic-American female intelligence officer in the Coast Guard.

On 16 November 1992 CGC Storis became the cutter with the longest service in the Bering Sea, eclipsing the U.S. Revenue Cutter Bear which had held that distinction since 1929. The Bear was decommissioned in 1929 after serving in the Bering Sea for 44 years and two months.

In 1993 BM2 Kathy Niles was the first woman to qualify on the 47-foot MLB (47200).

On 15 December 1994 BM2 Jeralyn L. Mandell became the first female surfman qualified on the 52-foot MLB (she also qualified on the 44-footer).

CGCs Monomoy and Pea Island became the first WPBs to integrate women in the crew.  To that time women had only been part of the WPBs' command cadre.

The icebreaker CGC Polar Sea became the first U.S. surface vessel to reach the North Pole on 22 August 1994.  She sailed with the CCCS Louis S. Ste. Laurent.

Byron Ing was the first Chinese-American Coast Guardsman  to command a Medium Endurance Cutter when he commanded CGC Venturous from 1995-1997. 

In the fall of 1996, CGC Morgenthau was the first U.S. Coast Guard Cutter to deploy to the Arabian Gulf. Participating in Operation Vigilant Sentinel, Morgenthau enforced Iraq’s compliance with United Nations sanctions.

CGC Ironwood (WLB-297) was the last commissioned U.S. vessel still in service that earned the Korean Service Medal.

CGC Forward became the first medium endurance cutter to circumnavigate South America when it deployed for four months to South America in 1999.

LTJG Kathy Niles became the first woman to command an 87-foot WPB in 1999 when she took command of CGC Stingray at Mobile, Alabama.

CGC Sherman became the third cutter to circumnavigate the globe when she returned on 13 July 2001 from a six-month deployment to the Arabian Gulf--the first was Eastwind in 1960.

Coast Guard Auxiliarist Robert D. Dittman, a public affairs staff officer with Flotilla 74, Eighth Coast Guard District, became the first sightless Coast Guard employee to serve on board a cutter.  He sailed aboard CGC Dallas on 22 May 2002.

CGC Matagorda, a 110-foot Island Class patrol boat, became the first cutter to begin the Integrated Deepwater System modernization and life extension overhaul when she was decommissioned on 7 February 2003 at the Bollinger Shipyard in Lockport, LA.

LT Jorge Martinez assumed command of CGC Maui on 5 June 2003, becoming the first Cuban-American to command a Coast Guard cutter.

CGC Aquidneck was the first cutter to enter a drydock availability in war zone since the Vietnam war.  The availability occurred in 2003 and was held in the Kingdom of Bahrain  The Port Engineer assigned to oversee the critical availability was MKCS Della Rocco.  The successful availability became the template for the dozens of Coast Guard availabilities that followed.

CAPT Patrick Trapp was the first Korean-American commanding officer of a cutter - the 82-foot patrol boat CGC Point Camden, out of Long Beach, California.  CAPT Trapp was also the first Korean-American to command a sector.

CAPT Jeffrey Lee was the first Korean-American to graduate from Coast Guard OCS (1983).  CAPT Lee was the first Korean-American commanding officer of a 95-foot cutter - CGC Cape Cross (WPB-95321).  CAPT Lee was the first Korean-American commanding officer of an icebreaking tug, the 140-foot Biscayne Bay (WTGB-104).  CAPT Lee was the first Korean-American executive officer of a 378-foot cutter, the Hamilton (WHEC-715).  CAPT Lee was the first Korean-American to teach at the Leadership Development Center.  CAPT Lee was the first Korean-American to command a high endurance cutter, the Hamilton, taking command on 19 June 2006.

LTJG Angelina Hidalgo became the second Hispanic female to command an afloat unit, 2002.  She was also the second Hispanic female intelligence officer.

The first active-duty women in the Coast Guard to serve in a combat zone occurred when CGC Boutwell served in the Northern-Arabian Gulf in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom from January 2003 to June 2003.

CAPT Charley L. Diaz assumed command of USCGC Sherman in 2005, becoming the first Hispanic-American to command a 378-foot cutter.  While under his command in March, 2007, Sherman seized the M/V Gatun with nearly 20 tons of cocaine on board, the largest maritime drug smuggling bust in U.S. history.

LT Rachel Lewis was the first African-American female officer to serve aboard USCGB Eagle as Command Cadre (Operations Officer), 2006-2008.

In 2006 CGC Sequoia made a port call at Shanghai in support of the IALA conference, becoming the first cutter since World War II to visit a Chinese port.  The CGC Rush made a port call in China one week later.

CWO2 Apple G. Pryor, assigned as the Main Propulsion Assistant onboard the CGC Boutwell, was the first African-American female Naval Engineering Chief Warrant Officer of the Coast Guard, 2006.

In 2008, CAPT Jeffrey Lee retired.  CAPT Jeffrey Lee was the first Korean-American to go through and graduate Coast Guard OCS (1981).  He became the first Korean-American to command a 95-footer, an icebreaker, and a High Endurance Cutter.  He commanded CGC Hamilton when the cutter seized more than 1.6 billion dollars worth of contraband in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and also shared in the largest drug bust in maritime history by capturing 19.5 metric tons of cocaine.

LT Felicia Thomas took command of the CGC Pea Island on 19 June 2009.  She is the first African-American female commanding officer of a Coast Guard cutter. 

LT Carrie Wolfe and LT Olivia Grant became the first African-American female Engineering Officers on a major cutter when they reported on board CGC Spencer and CGC Venturous respectively in the summer of 2009.


SAR & Medals & Awards:

On 16 December 1831 Secretary of Treasury John McLane ordered Revenue cutters to conduct "winter cruises."  The Revenue Cutter Gallatin became the first cutter "directly authorized by the government to assist mariners in distress."

On 22 December 1837 Congress authorized President "to cause any suitable number of public vessels, adapted to the purpose, to cruise upon the coast, in the severe portion of the season, and to afford aid to distressed navigators." First statute authorizing activities in the field of maritime safety. Thus interjecting the national government into the field of lifesaving for the first time. Although revenue cutters were specifically mentioned, the performance of this duty was imposed primarily upon the Revenue Marine Service and quickly became one of its major activities.

On 3 March 1847 Congress appropriated $5000 "for furnishing lighthouses on the Atlantic Coast with means of rendering assistance to shipwrecked mariners."  It was not used until 1849 when it was turned over to Massachusetts Humane Society for boathouses on Cape Cod.  On the same date, an item added to the lighthouse appropriation bill for 1848 (9 Stat. L., 175, 176) provided for "furnishing the lighthouses on the Atlantic coast with means of rendering assistance to shipwrecked mariners." These were the first appropriations by the national government for rendering assistance from the shore to the shipwrecked.

Keeper Malachi Corbell saved two African-American fishermen whose boat capsized near Caffey's Inlet, North Carolina and in June 1877 became the first member of the U.S. Life-Saving Service to win the Congressional life-saving medal.  He was awarded a Silver Lifesaving Medal.

In 1875 the first Gold Life Saving Medal ever awarded was presented to Captain Lucien M. Clemens of the U.S. Life-Saving Service in Marblehead, Ohio, who was captain of one of the first life saving stations on the Great Lakes.  Medals were also given to his brothers, Al and Hubbard.  They rescued six crew and a female cook from the sinking schooner Consuelo in an open rowboat.

"To evaluate its use in lighthouse work, radio equipment was installed experimentally on Nantucket Lightship in August of 1901. On December 10, 1905, while riding out a severe gale, Lightship No. 58 on the Nantucket Shoals Station sprang a serious leak. There being no recognized radio distress signal at that time, the operator could only repeatedly spell out the word "help". Although no reply was received Newport Navy station (radio) intercepted the call and passed it on to the proper authorities. The lightship tender Azalea was dispatched to the assistance of Lightship No. 58, and upon arrival at the scene passed a towline. The long tow to a safe harbor began, but after a few hours it was quite evident that Lightship No. 58 was sinking. Azalea took off her crew of thirteen men only minutes before she sank. This pioneer use of radio had indeed proved Its worth in rescue operations."

SPAR Marjorie Bell Stewart was awarded the Silver Lifesaving Medal by CAPT Dorothy Stratton, becoming the first SPAR to receive the award.

The Coast Guard Medal was established on 4 August 1949.  It is the highest award for heroism not involving combat with an enemy that can be awarded by the Coast Guard.

Boatswain's Mate 3/c Raymond A. Johnson and Engineman 3/c were the first Coast Guardsmen to be awarded the Coast Guard Medal.  They received the new medal on 13 June 1958.

On 28 April 1960 LTJG Kenneth R. Rider was awarded the Coast Guard Medal, the first Coast Guard officer to receive the award.

On 6 September 1966 GM1 Lester K. Gates was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with a combat "V" device for "meritorious service and action against the enemy" while serving on board Point White (WPB-82308) in Vietnam.  The Point White attacked and captured a Viet Cong junk while patrolling the Soi Rap River.  GM1 Gates was the first enlisted Coast Guardsman to be awarded the Bronze Star since World War II.

4 April 1972: BMC (later BMCM) Thomas D. McAdams became the first Coast Guardsmen to receive the new Coxswain insignia.  Then-Commandant Chester Bender presented the insignia to Chief McAdams at a ceremony at the Coast Guard's Small Boat School in Ilwaco, Washington, where McAdams was the OIC.

On 21 June 1979, SN Ina J. Toavs was awarded the Coast Guard Medal, the first woman to receive the award.

ASM1 Jeffery Tunks became the first Coast Guard rescue swimmer to be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross after conducting a heroic rescue in December, 1987 in Alaskan waters.

Kelly Mogk, USCG was the first female rescue swimmer in the Coast Guard.  Additionally she was the first female to graduate from the Navy's Rescue Swimmer School when she graduated on 23 May 1986. She earned an Air Medal for her first rescue in January, 1989.

In 1995 BM2 Kathy Niles became the first woman to win the Munro Award.

On November 24, 1995, Dauntless rescued 578 migrants from a grossly overloaded 75 foot coastal freighter, the largest number of migrants rescued from a single vessel in Coast Guard history.

The first set of the newly authorized ‘helicopter rescue swimmer insignia, or ‘wings’, were presented to the senior rescue swimmer in the Coast Guard, Master Chief Aviation Survival Technician (AST) Keith Jensen, at Coast Guard headquarters in Washington, D.C. on 19 July 2001.

LT Nicole Carter was the first African-American female officer to receive a permanent Cutterman's Pin.

On May 5, 2004 the Coast Guard presented the Purple Heart to BM3 Joseph Ruggiero in Miami for injuries sustained while defending the Khawr Al Amaya Oil Terminal in Iraq on April 24, 2004.  Ruggiero, the first Coast Guard recipient of the Purple Heart since the Vietnam War, received the award from VADM James D. Hull, Commander Coast Guard Atlantic Area.  Ruggiero's shipmate, DC3 Nathan Bruckenthal was killed in this same bombing and was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart.


Ice & Arctic Operations:

15 March - 27 July 1946: For the first time, Coast Guard aircraft supplemented the work of the Coast Guard patrol vessels of the International Ice Patrol, scouting for ice and determining the limits of the ice fields from the air.  [USCG Public Information Division News Release, 31 December 1946.]

December 1946-January 1947: CGC Northwind became the first Coast Guard cutter to cross the Antarctic Circle.  Northwind's crew also managed to rack up a number of other firsts for their voyage south: First ever baseball game played that far south; first double-header played that far south (and without the aid of electric lights); the first golf tournament played on Antarctica; and the first helicopter flight to the base "Little America," the pilot was LT James A. Cornish, USCG and he carried Chief Photographer's Mate Everett Mashburn as his observer.

In July, 1957 CGCs Spar, Bramble, and Storis become the first U.S. vessels to transit the Northwest Passage.  Spar became the first U.S. vessel to circumnavigate the continent during the year as well.

Eastwind made history when she became the first cutter to ever circumnavigate the globe in 1960-61.  She departed Boston on 25 October 1960, transited the Panama Canal, crossed the Pacific Ocean, visited New Zealand and then participated in Operation Deep Freeze in Antarctica.  She sailed home via the Indian Ocean, Suez Canal, the Mediterranean Sea, through the Straits of Gibraltar, and arrived back at Boston in May, 1961.

CGC Eastwind was the first cutter to ever circumnavigate Antarctica.  She accomplished this historic feat during Operation Deep Freeze 1967.  Eastwind was also the first ship to circumnavigate Antarctica since 1843.

On 7 May 1969 Coast Guard HC-130 CG-1453 based out of AIRSTA Kodiak became the first Coast Guard aircraft to ever fly directly over the geographic North Pole.  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 (No. 21-69; 23 May 1969, p. 6): "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."

On 25 August 1971 the Secretary of Transportation announced the awarding of a contract to the Lockheed Shipbuilding and Construction Company of Seattle, WA, "to build the world’s most powerful icebreaker for the US Coast Guard," Polar Star, the first of the Polar-Class of icebreakers.

On 29 July 1970 CGC Vigorous became the first 210-foot cutter to cross the Arctic Circle.  This took place while she was part of the 1970 Cadet Cruise Squadron.  At the time, CDR George Wagner, USCG, was the commanding officer.

SN Cecelia M. (Oakes) Stoutamire became the first African-American woman to be assigned to an icebreaker when she reported aboard CGC Glacier in 1981.  She also became the first African-American woman to participate in an Operation Deep Freeze cruise while aboard, participating with Glacier during Operation Deep Freeze 1981.

In 1982 CGC Polar Star became the second cutter to circumnavigate Antarctica.

CGC Polar Sea became the first U.S. surface vessel to reach the North Pole on 22 August 1994.  She sailed in concert with the CCCS Louis S. Ste. Laurent.

AMT1 Mark R. Mobley, USCG, was the first active duty Coast Guardsman to stand on the North Pole, August 22, 1994.  He was assigned to the Aviation Attachment on board CGC Polar Sea during its historic 1994 voyage to the North Pole.


Law Enforcement:

The first recorded narcotics seizure by a cutter occurred on 31 August 1890 when the USRC Wolcott, stationed in the Straits of Juan de Fuca, boarded and discovered a quantity of undeclared opium on the U.S. flagged steamer George E. Starr.  The cutter seized both the vessel and the opium for violations of Customs laws.

First use of a Coast Guard aircraft to chase rum runners was on 20 June 1925 [Vought UO-1 out of Ten Pound Island].

First seizure of a vessel with the assistance of an aircraft occurred on 24 June 1925 [Vought UO-1 out of Ten Pound Island].

CGC Vigorous was the first cutter to make a seizure of a foreign-flag fishing vessel in the high seas when she seized the Italian fishing vessel Tontini Pesca Cuarto for illegally taking lobster on 31 January 1975.  All of the other fishery seizures prior to this were of vessels that had violated territorial seas (TS) or Contiguous Fishing Zone (CFZ).  At the time, Vigorous was under the command of CDR Paul Welling, USCG.  The arresting officer was ENS S.T. Fuger, Jr., USCG.

CGC Sherman set the record for the largest USCG maritime-marijuana seizure to date when she seized the M/V Don Emilio on 13 October 1976 100 miles off the coast of Acklins Island, Bahamas.

In April of 1977 CGC Decisive made the first seizure of a foreign-flag vessel under the new Magnuson Fisheries Conservation and Management Act of 1976 [FCMA] when she seized the 275-foot Soviet trawler Taras Shevchenko on Georges Bank with a cargo of illegally caught fish.  After spending a month detained in Boston, the Taras Shevchenko forfeited her cargo and paid $250,000 in fines before being released.

On 6 June 1979 CDR George R. Rinch was the first Coast Guardsman to graduate from the FBI National Academy at Quantico, Virginia.

On 1 March 1982 CGC Vigilant seized the fishing vessel Lady Jay on Georges Bank for violating the FCMA which prohibited fishing in the area for cod, haddock and yellowtail flounder during the spawning season, from March to May.  It was the first Coast Guard seizure of a domestic vessel made under the FCMA.

On 9 August 1982- The Department of Defense approved the use of Coast Guard law enforcement detachments (LEDETs) on board Navy vessels during peace-time.  The teams conducted law enforcement boardings from Navy vessels for the first time in U.S. history.

On 1 November 1984 the largest USCG maritime-marijuana bust to date in West Coast history took place as CGC Clover seized the 63-foot yacht Arrikis 150 miles southwest of San Diego.  The yacht was loaded with 13 tons of marijuana.

On 4 November 1984 CGC Northwind seized the P/C Alexi I off Jamaica for carrying 20 tons of marijuana, becoming the first icebreaker to make a narcotics seizure and breaking the record set by CGC Sherman in 1976.

CGC Taney seized the M/V Sea Maid I on 4 October 1985 300 miles off Virginia.  Sea Maid I was towing a barge loaded with 16 tons of marijuana.  This seizure tied the record set by CGC Sherman in 1976 but did not surpass CGC Northwind's record marijuana seizure of 20 tons set the year before.

On 8 May 1987 Coast Guard units, including CGC Ocracoke, made the largest seizure of cocaine by the Coast Guard to date: 1.9 tons.

1988: LTJG John T. Broadway became the first African-American OIC of a LEDET when he took command of Group Cape Hatteras LEDET in September, 1988.

On 19 August 1994, Operation Able Vigil commences during a massive influx of Cuban migrants fleeing Cuba.  It was the "largest joint peace-time operation" in Coast Guard history, according to the then-commandant, ADM Robert Kramek.

1995: LT Ricky Sharpe became the first African-American CO of a TACLET when he took command of TACLET Gulf.  In July 1995, one of his LEDET's, under the command of LTJG Robert Landolfi out of Mobile, seized the F/V Nataly I when the team discovered 24,325 pounds of cocaine hidden on board, making this the largest U.S. maritime seizure of cocaine to date.

On November 24, 1995, CGC Dauntless rescued 578 migrants from a grossly overloaded 75 foot coastal freighter, the largest number of migrants rescued from a single vessel in Coast Guard history.

LT Jose L. Rodriguez was the first Hispanic to command a TACLET when he took command of TACLET South, 1996-1998.

On 1 October 1996, Operation Frontier Shield commenced.  It was the largest counter-narcotics operation in Coast Guard history to-date.

In June, 1998, the cutters Boutwell, Jarvis, Polar Sea, Coast Guard aircraft, along with two Russian fisheries patrol vessels seized a total of four Chinese fishing vessels suspected of high-seas driftnet fishing.  This was the largest high-seas driftnet fisheries bust ever for the Coast Guard.

Lucille "Pam" Thompson became the First African-American woman to serve as a Coast Guard Special Agent.  She served as a Special Agent from July, 2000 to July, 2004.

On 28 April 2001 a LEDET assigned to the USS Rodney M. Davis, with later assistance from the Active (based in Port Angeles, WA) made the largest cocaine seizure in maritime history (to date) when they boarded and seized the Belizean F/V Svesda Maru 1,500 miles south of San Diego.  The fishing vessel was carrying 26,931 pounds of cocaine.

CGC Dauntless became the first cutter in history to seize one million pounds of marijuana, an accomplishment signified by a large gold marijuana leaf painted on her superstructure.  As of 2002, Dauntless had over 85 illegal narcotics "busts" to her credit, more than any other cutter.

Special Agent Andrew B. Clapp, Coast Guard Investigative Service, was the first (and to date, the only) Coast Guard agent to achieve: Honor Graduate of the Year, Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Glynco, Georgia, for the year 2002.  Preceded by Honor Graduate of the Criminal Investigator Training Program at FLETC (2002, class number CITP-222).

In 2004 the Coast Guard made the largest cocaine seizure in its history (to date) when Coast Guard and Navy forces located and seized 30,000 pounds of cocaine aboard the fishing vessel Lina Maria approximately 300 miles southwest of the Galapagos Islands.  LEDET 108, embarked aboard the USS Curts, made the seizure.  A second Coast Guard and Navy team intercepted the Lina Maria's sister ship, the fishing vessel San Jose, 500 miles west of the Galapagos, and discovered and seized 26,250 pounds of cocaine.

On 18 March 2007 the Coast Guard made the largest cocaine seizure in its history (to date) when CGCs Hamilton and Sherman seized 42,845 pound of cocaine aboard the Panamanian-flagged M/V Gatun off the coast of Panama.  The Gatun was first located by an HC-130 on 17 March.

On 15 June 2009 law enforcement officers from the 14th Coast Guard District reported aboard the USS Crommelin (FFG-37) to support U.S. Coast Guard fisheries enforcement in Oceania in an operation called the "Fight for Fish" mission.  It marked the first time a Navy warship was utilized "to transit the Western Pacific enforcing fishing regulations in a joint effort with the Coast Guard to stop illegal fishing in this region."


National Defense & Military Preparedness:

On 10 October 1798, Secretary Stoddert, first Secretary of the Navy, sent first instructions to cutters acting in cooperation with Navy via collectors of customs.  This was in the beginning of the first "war" fought by the United States: The Quasi-War with France.  The U.S. only had the revenue cutters as a naval force ready to meet French navy warships and privateers as there was as yet no warships in the Navy.  The cutters, with privateers, first upheld the new nation's dignity on the high seas in this war.

The Revenue Cutter Service cutter Harriet Lane fired the first naval shot of the Civil War on 12 April 1861 when she stopped the steamer Nashville with a shot across the bow when the Nashville refused to show her colors off Charleston.  The Harriet Lane was under the command of Revenue Captain John Faunce and the famous shot was fired by Revenue Lieutenant Daniel D. Thompkins.

On 13 August 1864 Revenue Captain Thomas M. Dungan became the first Revenue officer to be killed in action against the enemy.  He was the commanding officer of the cutter Reliance and perished during an attack on Confederate forces when the cutter was five miles up the great Wicomico River (as per William R. Wells, II "Who's on First").

First vessel to carry the news of Admiral George Dewey's victory over the Spanish fleet at Manila was the Revenue cutter McCulloch, which carried news of the victory from Manila to Hong Kong, where it was put out via telegraph.  In joining Dewey's fleet the McCulloch made a number of firsts, including being the first cutter to transit the Suez Canal and the first to sail in the western Pacific.

The Coast Guard made the first capture of enemy forces by any U.S. service in World War II when the cutter Northland seized the Norwegian vessel Buskoe off the coast of Greenland.  The Norwegians were in the service of Nazi Germany and were attempting to establish a weather station along the Greenland shore.

Signalman 1/c Douglas Munro was the first and only Coast Guardsman to be awarded the Medal of Honor.

On 17 April 1943, Lieutenant Ross P. Bullard and Boatswain's Mate First Class C. S. "Mike" Hall boarded the U-175 at sea after their cutter, the Spencer, blasted the U-boat to the surface with depth charges.  They were part of a boarding party sent to seize the U-boat before the crew could scuttle it.  The damage to the U-boat was severe, however, and it sank after both had boarded it and climbed the conning tower.  Both men ended up in the water as the U-boat slipped beneath the waves.  Nevertheless, they carry the distinction of being the first American servicemen to board an enemy warship underway at sea since the War of 1812.

Lieutenant Junior Grade Clarence Samuels became the first African-American to command a major vessel since Michael Healy and the first to achieve command during wartime when he assumed command of the Light Vessel No. 115 on 28 July 1944. 

The Coast Guard Cutter USCG 83434 became the first and only cutter to host an official surrender ceremony when Imperial Japanese Army Second Lieutenant Kinichi Yamada surrendered the garrison of Aguijan Island on board the cutter, 4 September 1945.   Rear Admiral Marshall R. Greer, USN, accepted the surrender for the United States.

On 6 September 1966 GM1 Lester K. Gates was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with a combat "V" device for "meritorious service and action against the enemy" while serving on board CGC Point White (WPB-82308) in Vietnam.  The Point White attacked and captured a Viet Cong junk while patrolling the Soi Rap River.  GM1 Gates was the first enlisted Coast Guardsman to be awarded the Bronze Star since World War II.

Lieutenant Commander Vivien Crea became the first woman from any service to serve as the Presidential Military Aide.  She carried the "football" for President Ronald Reagan for three years.

Lieutenant Glenn Sulmasy became the first Coast Guardsman to participate in Operation Desert Shield when the Dwight D. Eisenhower Battle Group went "on scene" after Iraq invaded Kuwait.  Sulmasy was assigned to the battle group.

On 15 September 1990 the Secretary of Transportation and the commandant committed the first-ever deployment of a Coast Guard Reserve port security unit overseas: Port Security Unit 303.

Lieutenant Commander Everett F. Rollins III was the only Coast Guard officer assigned to JTF Proven Force which was the northern Iraq component of Operation Desert Shield, and the only Coast Guard officer assigned to Operation Provide Comfort.

The first Coast Guardsmen to enter Kuwait after its liberation were Wayne Chamberlain and MCK Monez of PSU 302.  Both were assigned to a Navy MUIW unit that swept Kuwait harbor for mines.  They also connected about 20 of the port city's street lights to a generator and were therefore the "first" to bring power to the city.

A USCG tactical port security boat ("Raider") [TPSB] of PSU 301 (B), stationed in Al Jubayl, Saudi Arabia, was the first boat in the newly reopened harbor, Mina Ash Shuwaikh in Kuwait City, Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm.  The USCG TPSB led a procession of multinational vessels into the harbor on 21 April 1991.

During Operation "Uphold Democracy" in 1994, Telecommunication Specialist First Class Jerry D. "Burly" Burleson was the first Coast Guardsman to enter Port Au Prince, Haiti.  PO Burleson and two other members, TC3 James "Jim" Bell and TC3 Robert "Rob" Sherlin provided communications support for port security units and the Navy commodore assigned to the Haitian theater.  Using satellite telephones, high-frequency and line-of-site equipment, vital information was delivered to the communications staff for relay.  The days consisted of long hours and very hot days because of the situational requirement to maintain full body armor and log sleeve BDU's.

First Coast Guard person to command a U.S. Marine Corps unit: Jose L. Rodriguez took command of the Riverine Training Center, Special Operations Training Group, II MEF at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina in July 1999.  The first Hispanic-American Coast Guardsman to earn his Gold Navy/Marine Corps jump wings while in the Coast Guard and assigned to a Jump Billet (USMC Majors Billet at Special Operations Training Group II MEF) was Jose Rodriguez in 1999.

Six U.S. Navy Cyclone-Class patrol coastal warships were assigned to Operation Noble Eagle on 5 November 2001.  This was the first time that U.S. Navy ships were employed jointly with the U.S. Coast Guard to help protect our nation's coastline, ports and waterways from terrorist attack.

The first active-duty women to serve in a combat zone happened when CGC Boutwell served in the Northern-Arabian Gulf in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom from January 2003 to June 2003.

USCGC Aquidneck (WPB 1309) was the first CG cutter to enter a drydock availability in war zone since the Vietnam war.  The availability occurred in 2003 and was held in the Kingdom of BahrainThe Port Engineer assigned to oversee the critical availability was MKCS Della Rocco.  The successful availability became the template for the dozens of Coast Guard availabilities that followed.

LCDR Daniel Clark, USCGR, was the first Coast Guardsmen assigned directly to the United Nations for a staff position in a mission.  He was assigned in 2004 as the Maritime Operations Officer for the UN's Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).

First MSSTs ever commissioned were commissioned by two Hispanics: first two COs of MSSTs 91101 and 91102 (East and West Coast) were LCDR Ramon Ortiz and LCDR Jose Rodriguez.

On May 5 2004 the Coast Guard presented the Purple Heart to BM3 Joseph Ruggiero in Miami for injuries sustained while defending the Khawr Al Amaya Oil Terminal in Iraq on April 24.  Ruggiero, the first Coast Guard recipient of the Purple Heart since the Vietnam War, received the award from VADM James D. Hull, Commander Coast Guard Atlantic Area.  Ruggiero's shipmate, DC3 Nathan Bruckenthal was killed in this same bombing and posthumously received the Purple Heart.


Commandants:

On 12 April 1843 Revenue Captain Alexander V. Fraser, Revenue Cutter Service, was appointed Chief of the newly created Revenue Marine Bureau of the Treasury Department, thereby becoming the "first" Commandant.  

First head of service to be dismissed from the service: Revenue Captain Alexander V. Fraser on 14 August 1856 (as per William R. Wells, II "Who's on First").

The first Revenue Cutter Service cadet to be reprimanded for "licentious conduct" was Cadet Orin D. Myrick, on 4 July 1877 while aboard the training ship Dobbin.  Cadet Worth G. Ross (who later became Commandant) received the same charge on 20 July 1877 (as per William R. Wells, II "Who's on First").

First to become Commandant the day after being promoted to the rank of Revenue Captain: Captain Charles F. Shoemaker, 19 March 1896.  He became the first commandant to take command of a cutter (the Windom in 1897) while still serving as commandant and was the first commandant to visit the west coast (as per William R. Wells, II "Who's on First").

Worth G. Ross was the first Commandant to make an inspection of the service in the 20th century when he began his inspection tour in 1905 (as per William R. Wells, II "Who's on First").

On 15 June 1905 Revenue First Lieutenant John E. Reinburg became the first officer assigned as an aide to the Commandant on a full-time basis (as per William R. Wells, II "Who's on First").

Revenue Second Lieutenant Russell R. Waesche was the first officer who would later become Commandant to serve aboard a cutter that was lost at sea.  He was aboard the cutter Perry when it was lost on 27 July 1910 (as per William R. Wells, II "Who's on First").

LCDR Alfred C. Richmond, who later served as Commandant from 1954-1962, graduated from George Washington University's law school in 1938 and became the Coast Guard's first "legal specialist."


Legal:

The first Revenue Cutter Service court martial occurred on 7 December 1793 aboard the cutter Massachusetts.  The offender, Third Mate Sylvanus Coleman of Nantucket, was summarily dismissed from the service for "speaking disrespectfully of his superior officers in public company. . . .insulting Captain John Foster Williams [the commanding officer] on board, and before company. . . .for keeping bad women on board the cutter in Boston and setting a bad example to the men by ordering them to bring the women on board at night and carrying them ashore in the morning. . . ." and for writing an order in the name of the commanding officer.

The first Revenue Cutter Service cadet to be reprimanded for "licentious conduct": Orin D. Myrick, on 4 July 1877 while aboard the schoolship Dobbin.  Cadet Worth G. Ross (who later became commandant) received the same charge on 20 July 1877 (as per William R. Wells, II "Who's on First").

The first Revenue Cutter Service cadet charged with drunkenness: James H. Scott on 21 January 1891 (as per William R. Wells, II "Who's on First").

In 1929, Horace Alderman, convicted of murdering two Coast Guardsmen and a Secret Service agent in 1927, was hanged at Coast Guard Base 10 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  He was the only person ever executed by the government on a Coast Guard base.

Coast Guard attorney LCDR Robert W. Bruce, Jr., became the first member of the armed forces to argue a case before the Supreme Court in uniform when he represented the Coast Guard in Solorio vs. United States on 24 February 1987. 


Personnel:

Oldest Coastie?  Anthony Christy, keeper of the Christiana Lighthouse in Delaware, died on duty in September 1862 at the age of 105.  He was the oldest lighthouse keeper on record.

On 21 March 1791, President George Washington commissioned Hopley Yeaton of New Hampshire as "Master of a Cutter in the Service of the United States for the Protection of the Revenue." This first commission of a seagoing officer of the United States was signed by George Washington and attested to by Thomas Jefferson. Twelve other commissions of other officers of revenue cutters were signed on the same date. Yeaton was subsequently assigned to the revenue cutter Scammel whose station was Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

The first warrant officers of the service received their appointments on 5 March 1830.  They were: Beverly Diggs, Thomas Sands, and William Maurice.  Congress first authorized warrant officers in December of 1829.  George Hayes became the first warrant officer to be commissioned as a regular officer when he was promoted from warrant to Revenue second lieutenant on 31 December 1832.  Thomas Sands closely followed Hayes when he was promoted to second lieutenant on 3 January 1833 (as per William R. Wells, II "Who's on First").

On 30 April 1832 all commissions of naval officers in the Revenue Cutter Service were revoked. Vacancies were thereafter filled by promotion for the first time.

On 20 August 1835 Revenue Captain Thomas M. Randolph died while on active service at Key West (he was not aboard a cutter).  He is the first recorded Revenue officer to die while on active duty (as per William R. Wells, II "Who's on First").

On 8 September 1835 Revenue Second Lieutenant William M. A. Moore died while aboard the revenue schooner Ingham, probably from yellow fever.  He was the first Revenue officer to die on active service while aboard a cutter (as per William R. Wells, II "Who's on First").

On 13 August 1864 Revenue Captain Thomas M. Dungan became the first Revenue officer to be killed in action against the enemy.  He was the commanding officer of the cutter Reliance and was killed during an attack on Confederate forces when the cutter was five miles up the great Wicomico River (as per William R. Wells, II "Who's on First").

D. F. A. de Otte signed aboard a cutter as an ordinary seaman on 17 August 1886.  He remained in the service and became the first officer in the 20th century to rise from the ranks (as per William R. Wells, II "Who's on First").

The first surgeon (medical doctor) to receive a regular commission in the Revenue Cutter Service was S. J. Call.  He received a commission as a Revenue First Lieutenant on 20 March 1905 (as per William R. Wells, II "Who's on First").

The first recorded instance of a Revenue officer being murdered while on active duty was Revenue First Lieutenant William A. Whittier, who was murdered on 20 August 1911 while he was on liberty in Boston  (as per William R. Wells, II "Who's on First").

First commissioned SPAR: Dorothy Stratton, USCGR.

First SPARs to enlist for duty in World War II: Theodora Jennings [Banner], & Dorothy Tuttle.

On 14 April 1943 Joseph C. Jenkins graduated as ensign in the Coast Guard Reserve, becoming the first commissioned African-American officer in the Coast Guard.

On 1 June 1943 the Coast Guard promoted warrant officer Clarence Samuels to Lieutenant, Junior Grade, making him the first African-American officer to reach that rank in the Coast Guard. 

Lieutenant Junior Grade Clarence Samuels became the first African-American to command a cutter since Michael Healy and the first to achieve command during wartime when he assumed command of the Light Vessel No. 115 on 28 July 1944. 

On September 27, 1944 Clarence Samuels was promoted to the rank of lieutenant, the first African-American to reach that rank in the Coast Guard.

On January 31, 1948- Mrs. Fannie M. Salter, keeper of the Turkey Point Lighthouse in upper Chesapeake Bay since 1925 and the last woman keeper of a lighthouse in the United States, retired from active service. This ended nearly 150 years during which women were employed as keepers of United States lighthouses.

Justo Gonzalez became the first Hispanic-American to make the rank of chief petty officer when the Coast Guard promoted him to Chief Machinist's Mate (acting) on 16 February 1944.  The promotion was made permanent on 16 October 1948.

In 1962 YNC (CRXI) Frank Cook Sanders became the first African-American to be selected as a Coast Guard Intelligence and Law Enforcement Agent.  In 1968 he was designated as a Marine Investigating Officer while serving MIO San Francisco.  Chief Sanders retired in from the Coast Guard in 1968 and went on to another distinguished career, this time with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, where he retired in 1988.

James W. Parks became the first African-American Gunner's Mate in the Coast Guard when he made GM3/c on 16 April 1949.  He became the first Coast Guard African-American Chief Gunner's Mate when he was advanced to GMC on 1 November 1956 and the first Senior Chief Gunner's Mate on 1 April 1965.  He retired from the Coast Guard after twenty years honorable service in 1967.

First Coast Guardsman to earn an advanced degree under U.S. Coast Guard sponsorship through night class attendance: Lieutenant F.  X. Riley.  He received his M.A. in Public Administration from the American University on 29 May 1949.

In 1956, Captain Gavin L. Field, Master of the Lightship Savannah, retired from the service at the age of seventy.  He was the last civilian master of a lightship to serve in the Coast Guard.  He joined the U.S. Lighthouse Service in 1937 and stayed in when the Lighthouse Service was merged with the Coast Guard in 1939.  He elected to remain in a civilian status during his Coast Guard career.  

First Coast Guard SPAR advanced to warrant officer: Elizabeth Splaine, 1958.

Master Chief Yeoman Jack Kerwin became the first Coast Guardsman to advance to E-9 when he was advanced on 1 November 1958.  A few months later a second group of chiefs from the February 1959 examinations were elevated to E-8 and E-9 effective on 16 May 1959.

First SPAR advanced to E-7: Pearl Faurie, 1962.

In 1962 LTJG Arthur H. Bleich was the first (and, to date, only) Coast Guardsman to win the title of Military Photographer of the Year awarded by the National Press Photographers Association.

First woman to make master chief petty officer: YNCM Pearl Faurie, USCGR, 1967.

First woman to retire from the Coast Guard with full retirement benefits: Mary Ashley, 1968.

First SPAR to be sworn into the regular Coast Guard: Alice Jefferson, 1973.

CWO4 William Musual retired from the Coast Guard on 1 November 1973.  His last assignment was as the commanding officer of Station Castle Hill, RI.  He was the last active duty person who had also served in the U.S. Lighthouse Service.

The first group of women ever enlisted as " regulars" in the U.S. Coast Guard began their 10-weeks of basic training at the Coast Guard Training Center in Cape May on 15 January 1974.  Thirty-two women were in the initial group and formed Recruit Company Sierra- 89.

SN Debbie Atkin became the first woman graduate of the Reserve Training Center's Boatswain's Mate School in 1974.

On 22 June 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 14 women who were 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 of the USCGC Morgenthau later that year.

First woman to graduate from the Aviation Machinist's Mate "A" School: Petty Officer Robyn L. Bregante.  She graduated from AD(A) School on 5 August 1977.

First African American to make the rank of captain: Bobby C. Wilks was promoted to O-6 on 1 September 1977.  He was also the first African American Coast Guard aviator and the first African American Coast Guardsman to command a Coast Guard air station [AIRSTA Brooklyn].

First female company commander at Cape May: YNC Holly, 1978.

LT Kay Hartzell became the first female commanding officer of an isolated duty station when she took command of LORAN Station Lampedusa, Italy in 1979.

First female Boatswain's Mate First Class (BM1): Debra Chambers Buchanan, 1979.

First Class Storekeeper Mary Alice "Mike" Shaffer retired in 1981 from the Coast Guard Reserve after 34 years of service.  She was the last World War II-era SPAR to retire from the service and was probably the only former SPAR to leave in compliance with legal maximum age requirements.

First female quarters manager was Petty Officer Beth L. Suher.  She was at Elizabeth Dole's dining room as well as ADM Paul Yost's quarters in the early 1980s.  She received her training at the Culinary Institute of America.

Petty Officer Otis Tukes was the first black Coast Guardsman to receive training at the Culinary Institute of America in the Coast Guard's equivalent to the Navy's White House Program of Chef Training and Service.

First African-American female to be advanced to E-7: Edith S. Brown, 1 March 1981.

First active-duty woman to be advanced to chief petty officer: PAC Day Boswell, USCG, 1982.

Lia deBettencourt became the first woman to make Coast Guard Person of the Year for an entire District (D-5 in 1983 and D-3 in 1985).

First woman Coast Guard diver: BM2 Linda Moroz, 1984 (she was assigned to the National Strike Force Dive Team, Elizabeth City, NC).

First female MSTC: Lia deBettencourt, 1986.

First woman promoted to CWO (PERS): Pamela Jones, 1986.

First Coast Guardsmen to become a NASA astronaut: Lieutenant Commander Bruce E. Melnick, USCG.  He later went on to make two shuttle flights: selected in 1987.

First woman promoted to CWO (F&S): Ellen Terrill, 1987.

First woman promoted to CWO (MED): Connie Swaro, 1987.

First African-American OIC of a LEDET: LTJG John T. Broadway when he took command of Group Cape Hatteras LEDET in September, 1988.

First African-American female engineer advanced to E-7: Pamela Autry, 1988.

First Asian-American female warrant officer: Grace Parmalee, 1988.

LT Monyee Kazke and LT Jody Turner were assigned to 270s in 1989 as EOs, becoming the first female EOs of a Coast Guard cutter.  LT Kazek was assigned in 1987 as the Pre-commissioning EO of the CGC Thetis.

The first Chamorro (Pacific Islander from Guam) to graduate from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and from any military service academy was Juan T. Salas, Class of 1968.  He was also the first Chamorro to command a cutter, USCGC LIPAN (WMEC 85) 1986-1988.  Additionally he was the first Cutterman to be Captain of the Port, Marine Safety Office Guam, 1992-1994.

YNC Joyce M. Harrell became the first African-American female Officer in Charge of a recruiting office when she took command of Recruiting Office San Francisco Bay in 1989.

Boatswains Mate 1/c Krystine Carbajal became the first female Officer in Charge of a Coast Guard Station when she took command in March 1989.

First active-duty woman to make senior chief petty officer: Connie Swaro (1 September 1981)

First woman promoted to CWO (ELC): Lauren Cantatore, 1989.

First woman promoted to CWO (COMMS): Robin Patton, 1989.

First African-American female reservist to be advanced to E-7, 1/1/90: Mary Hughes Holmes

First woman promoted to CWO (BOSN): Anne Visser, 1990.

First woman promoted to SSC(FS): Karen Nault, 1990.

First African-American Command Master Chief Petty Officer: Stephen Spencer, 1991.

First African-American CO of a TACLET: ENS Ricky Sharpe, 1991.

First Hispanic-American female advanced to E-7 was YNC Grisel Hollis, who was advanced on 1 May 1991.  The second was Sonia Colon, who was advanced in 1992.  Hollis was later promoted to CWO(PERS) on 1 June 1995 while assigned to the USCGC Hamilton as the YNC.

First active-duty woman to make master chief petty officer: YNCM Patricia Stolle, USCG, 1993.

First woman advanced to MUCM: Constance I. Coghlan; also the first female member of the Coast Guard Band.

First woman advanced to Chief Telephone Technician (TTC):  Tammie Bustamante, 1 June 1993.

First enlisted woman since the SPARs to be advanced to E-9: Patricia Stolle, 1993.

First military woman assigned as Chief Judge of the Coast Guard: Lane McClelland, 1993.

First woman advanced to E-7 in a weapons rating: Jo Wildman, 1993.

First African-American to become the commanding officer of a TACLET: LT Ricky Sharpe, 1995.  He took command of TACLET Gulf.

First active duty African-American woman to be promoted to warrant officer: Doris Hull, 1995.

First woman advanced to SSCS (FS): Karen Naulty, 1995.

First female admiral appointed from the Public Health Service to head the Health and Safety Directorate of the Coast Guard: Joyce Johnson, 1997.

First woman command master chief: Both YNCM Patricia Stolle and BMCM Diane Bucci, 1998.

First woman promoted to CWO (WEPs): Jo Wildman, 1999.

First African-American admiral: Erroll M. Brown, 1998.

First African-American Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard: Vincent Patton, III, 1998.

First woman advanced to FSCM: Karen Naulty, 1999.

First woman advanced to MKC: Gayla Thompson, 1993.  She was also the first female who held the qualifications for EPO Ashore/Afloat.

First women promoted to CWO (ENG): Gayla Thompson & Karyn Terry, 1999.

ASM1 Terry Hallmark made over 1,200 jumps under orders while he was assigned to the CG ASM instructor at NAS Lakehurst, NJ.

ASM1 Terry A. Hallmark was the first Coast Guardsman to earn the gold Navy/Marine Corps parachute "jump" wings.  He was assigned to NAS Lakehurst, NJ as a ADM-A school instructor from 1977 to 1980 and earned his wings and navy jumpmaster rating.  He performed numerous parachute demonstrations and made over 1,200 jumps under orders until his retirement in 1987.  ASM1c Hallmark designed the parachute air delivery system (PAS) that is used by the U.S. Coast Guard today.

The first Coast Guardsman to "earn jump wings while on active duty at Fort Benning, Georgia Airborne School" was Jose L. Rodriguez on 1 October 1999. 

First woman promoted to flag rank in the Coast Guard: RADM Vivien S. Crea, 2000.

In 2000 GM3 Tajuana Usry became the first African-American woman to receive the Small Arms Instructor (SAI) designation.

First African-American woman to serve as a Coast Guard Special Agent: Lucille "Pam" Thompson, who served as a Coast Guard Special Agent from July, 2000 to July, 2004.

First woman to command the Coast Guard Recruiting Command & first female School Chief of the Coast Guard Officers' Candidate School: Captain Jody A. Breckenridge.

First active-duty Asian-Pacific-Islander-American to attain the rank of 0-6 in the Coast Guard: Captain Juan Salas.

First Japanese-American to attain the rank of O-6 in the Coast Guard: Captain Gilbert Kanazawa.

CAPT Earl R. Fox, USPHS was the oldest person on active duty with any of the uniformed services and was the last World War II veteran on active duty prior to his retirement on 19 November 1999.  His last assignment was as the Senior Medical Officer at the Coast Guard Military Personnel Command.  He had served in the U.S. Navy during World War II.

First Cuban-born Coast Guardsman promoted to CWO (Aviation): Angel L. Martinez, 1999. Click here for his biography.

First woman promoted to CWO (Aviation), Deborah Walsh, 1 June 2000.

On 1 November 2000 Angela McShan became the first African-American woman to advance to master chief.

First female Reserve officer promoted to flag rank: RADM Mary P. O'Donnell, USCGR, 2000.

CDR Sharon Donald-Baynes was the first African-American woman to command an operations ashore unit.  She commanded, beginning in 2001, Group Lower Mississippi River, Memphis, Tennessee.  Additionally, she was the senior African-American woman in the Coast Guard as of 2001.

With his promotion to rear admiral, Kenneth Stevens Harrison, USCGR, Chief Counsel of the U. S. Coast Guard, became the first flag officer ever appointed in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve.

Brothers Richard Atteberry and Carl Atteberry were both advanced to Chief Petty Officer on 1 August 2001.  They were initiated at the same time except they were stationed on opposite coasts.

CWO2 Thomas Keenan was the first Coast Guardsman to hold the designation as a U.S. Air Force C-12 crewmember (designation began on 1 November 2001).  He was the first Coast Guardsman to work PCS at an embassy in Latin America under Defense Intelligence Agency auspices -- he transferred to Colombia on 19 October 2001.

CAPT Joseph H. Jones, USCG: First African-American to Pre-Com a cutter -- PRECOMDET NEAH BAY -- Portsmouth, VA; First African-American to command a 140-foot ice breaking tug in the Great Lakes -- NEAH BAY; First African-American to command a 210-foot Medium Endurance Cutter -- CGC RELIANCE in New Castle, NH; First African-American to Command a 378-foot High Endurance Cutter -- CGC DALLAS in New York, NY. Captain Jones commanded three cutters, he also served as XO, OPS, DWO -- Capt Jones was assigned to 6 cutters: USCGC OWASCO -- WHEC; USCGC VIGOROUS --WMEC; USCGC NEAH BAY -- WTGB; USCGC UNIMAK -- WHEC; USCGC RELIANCE -- WMEC; USCGC DALLAS -- WHEC; Captain Jones was the First African-American to be assigned as Executive Assistant to an Assistant Commandant; Captain Jones was the First African-American to be assigned as the chief of operations of a CG District (District Seven, Miami, Florida); Captain Jones was the First African-American tactics officer at the USCGA; Captain Jones was the First O-6 CG-man in the Defense Attaché System served as the Senior Homeland Security Rep at the US Embassy in Mexico City, MX; Captain Jones was the second African-American Security Assistance Officer accredited to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

Coast Guard Auxiliarist Robert D. Dittman, a public affairs staff officer with Flotilla 74, Eighth Coast Guard District, became the first sightless Coast Guard employee to serve on board a cutter.  He sailed aboard Dallas on 22 May 2002.

In September 2002 CDR A. J. Berghorn took command of VT-2, becoming the first Coast Guard officer to command a US Navy training squadron.

On 16 May 2003 LT Greg Duncan became the first African-American Coast Guardsman to successfully complete the scuba diver course at the Navy Dive and Salvage Center in Panama, Florida.

LT Jorge Martinez assumed command of the Maui (WPB-1304) on 5 June 2003, becoming the first Cuban-American to command a Coast Guard cutter.

In July 2003 Coast Guard Auxiliarist Robert Dittman completed the Coast Guard's Reserve Enlisted Basic Indoctrination course at Coast Guard Training Center, Cape May, New Jersey.  He was the first Auxiliarist and first blind person to go through such a training program in any of the five branches of the U.S. military.

First African-American Female Coast Guard officer to earn a 20-year retirement: LCDR Rhonda Fleming-Makell, 2004.  Click here for her biography.

YNC Crystal A. Sparks was the first female to be the Company Commander School Chief (training Company Commanders) at TRACEN Cape May, 2004.

CAPT Patrick Trapp, the commanding officer of Group Portland, Maine, was the senior Korean-American in the Coast Guard.  He was the first Korean-American commanding officer of a cutter - the 82-foot patrol boat Point Camden (WPB-82373), out of Long Beach, California.  He was also the first Korean-American to graduate from the Coast Guard Academy (1981).  CAPT Trapp was the first Korean-American commanding officer of a Coast Guard station -- first at Station Grays Harbor, Washington then at Station Sandy Hook, New Jersey.  CAPT Trapp is the first Korean-American to attain the rank of O-6.  He was also the first Korean-American to command a sector.

CAPT Jeffrey Lee was the first Korean-American to graduate from Coast Guard OCS (1983).  CAPT Lee was the first Korean-American commanding officer of a 95-foot cutter - the Cape Cross (WPB-95321).  CAPT Lee was the first Korean-American commanding officer of an icebreaking tug, the 140-foot Biscayne Bay (WTGB-104).  CAPT Lee was the first Korean-American executive officer of a 378-foot cutter, the Hamilton (WHEC-715).  CAPT Lee was the first Korean-American to teach at the Leadership Development Center.  CAPT Lee was the first Korean-American to command a high endurance cutter, the Hamilton, taking command on 19 June 2006.

YNCM Pamela J. Carter was the first female active duty master chief petty officer to retire with 30 years of active-duty service when she retired on 1 June 2004.

First female commanding officer of the Coast Guard Institute: Theresa Tierney, August, 2004.

On 24 June 2005 LTJG Jeanine McIntosh-Menze was awarded her wings at a ceremony at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, after completing training there.  She is the first African-American female Coast Guard aviator.  Click here for more information and photographs of the ceremony.

In May of 2006 Senior Chief Boatswains Mate Emmanuel Zambrana became the Officer-in-Charge of Station San Juan, Puerto Rico.  He was the first Puerto Rican to command the Puerto Rican-based CG Small Boat Station.  He transferred in June 2007 after his promotion to CWO.

First woman warrant boatswain to command a Coast Guard station: CWO3 Mary Ward commanded Station Port Canaveral until her retirement on 16 June 2006.

CWO2 Apple G. Pryor, assigned as the Main Propulsion Assistant onboard the CGC Boutwell, was the first African-American female Naval Engineering Chief Warrant Officer of the Coast Guard.

Byron Ing was the first Chinese-American Coast Guardsman  to command a Medium Endurance Cutter when he commanded USCGC Venturous from 1995-1997.  He was the first Chinese-American and Coast Guard Liaison Officer to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (J7-Doctrine) in 1997.  He was the first Chinese-American DAWIA/DHS Level III Certified Systems Acquisitions (2002) and was the first Chinese-American Major Acquisitions Systems Project Manager for Response Boat-Medium (RB-M), where he served from 2002-2006.   

Martha E. Utley became the first female master chief for the Hospital Corpsman/Health Services Technician rating as of 1 June 2007.  On 1 June 2010 she became the first female to serve as Command Master Chief for the USCG HSWL Service Center.

Mary Cunningham became the first African-American female and the first active-duty female to make Chief Damage Controlman when she was advanced from DC1 to DCC on 1 August 2007.  

ISCM David Rochefort (Rating Force Master Chief), ISCM Mark Pearson (Rate Training Master Chief), and ISCM Brian Lincoln (Signals Intelligence Training Manager) became the first Coast Guard Intelligence Specialists when they were inducted into the new IS Rating on 23 April 2007.

On 11 March 2008, ENS Mark A. Unpingco became the first Chamorro (Asian Pacific Islander from Guam) Dive Officer of the Coast Guard after graduating from the Marine Engineering Dive Officer (MEDO) course at the U.S. Navy Dive and Salvage Training Center in Panama City, FL.

Jennifer Lowden became the first female school chief for Training Center Yorktown on 01 June 2008.  She also became the first female MKCS in the Coast Guard when she was advanced on 01 August 2008. 

CWO Melvin W. Williams, Jr., USCG (Ret) was the first African-American male to make Chief in the rate of then-Aviation Survivalman (ASM) and then from ASMC to Chief Warrant Officer (CWO2) before retiring.  While serving as an ASM1 he was credited with the development of the Float Strobe Light.  He was the first African-American male to make parachute jumps at NAS Lakehurst while undergoing Parachute Rigger training in the CG transition of combining CG Aviation Ordnanceman with CG Aviation Parachute Rigger, performed three CPRs, rigged, loaded and dropped the ADAPT system, nighttime helo recsue of two missing divers with the aide of the Night Sun CGAS Miami.  He was awarded the Sikorsky Winged "S" on 23 February 1974 for rescues flying in CG HH-52s stationed at CG Air Station Miami.

In April 2008 OSC Patrick Hagan became the first Coast Guardsman to receive a National Operations Security (OPSEC) Award.

MECM Randy Krahn (Chief, ME "A" School), MECM Steven Lowry (Rate Training Master Chief), MECM Gorgon Muise (Rating Force Master Chief) & MECM William "Sam" Allred (PS Rating Force Master Chief) became the first Coast Guard Maritime Enforcement Specialists when they were inducted into the new ME rate in December, 2008.

LT Felicia Thomas took command of the CGC Pea Island on 19 June 2009.  She is the first African-American female commanding officer of a Coast Guard cutter. 

LT Carrie Wolfe and LT Olivia Grant became the first African-American female Engineering Officers on a major cutter when they reported aboard the CGC Spencer and CGC Venturous respectively in the summer of 2009.

First woman ISS Warrant Officer: Ronetta G. McNeill, 1 June 2010.


Coast Guard Academy:

On 25 May 1877 training of first class of Revenue Cutter cadets began on the schoolship Dobbin at Curtis Bay with nine cadets, three officers, one surgeon, six warrant officers and 17 crew members.

On 12 December 1876, the first examination for Revenue Cutter cadets was held in Washington.

The first cadet to be reprimanded for "licentious conduct": Orin D. Myrick, on 4 July 1877 while aboard the schoolship Dobbin.  Cadet Worth G. Ross (who later became commandant) received the same charge on 20 July 1877. 

The first cadet to die on active service was Cadet Maurice M. Holmes who died on 7 December 1878 at Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts.

The first cadet charged with drunkenness: James H. Scott on 21 January 1891.

The cadet with the shortest career as a cadet: Walter Seely.  He was only enrolled as a cadet from 12 to 16 January 1894.

The first Hispanic-American graduate of the Coast Guard Academy was Paul Powers Perez, Class of 1945.

The first Chinese-American graduate of the Coast Guard Academy was Jack Jones, Class of 1949. 

The first native Chinese-born graduate of the Coast Guard Academy was Kwang-Ping Hsu, Class of 1962. 

The first African-American graduate of the Coast Guard Academy was Merle Smith, Jr., Class of 1966.

The first Chamorro (Pacific Islander from Guam) to graduate from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and from any military service academy was Juan T. Salas, Class of 1968.

In 1978 Cadet 1/c Manson K. Brown became the first African-American brigade commander at the Coast Guard Academy.

In 1979 Cadet 1/c Linda Johansen became Regimental Commander of the Cadet Corps, the first woman to win Corps command at any of the four service academies.

The first Korean-American graduate of the Coast Guard Academy was Pat Trapp, Class of 1981.

The first female African-American graduates of the Coast Guard Academy were Angela Dennis and Daphne Reese, Class of 1983.

The first female Hispanic-American graduates of the Coast Guard Academy were Jacqueline A. Ball and Deborah R. Winnie, Class of 1983.

The first Chinese-American commissioned officer to serve in the Rotating Commissioned Teaching Corps who taught an academic subject at the Coast Guard Academy Academy was T. L. Mar.  He taught during the 1988-1989 academic year.

Allen L. Thompson, III graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.  His father, Allen L. Thompson, Jr. graduated from the Academy in 1974.  They were the first African-American father and son graduates of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.

Captain Joseph H. Jones was the first African-American tactics officer at the Coast Guard Academy.

ENS Andrea Parker is the first African-American female to graduate with an engineering degree from the Coast Guard Academy, 2001.

Cadet 1/c Sarah Salazar became the first Hispanic Regimental Commander at the Coast Guard Academy, 2002.

Kjell Rommerdahl was the first Coast Guard Academy graduate to have two Coast Guard enlisted parents: PO1 Linda Rommerdahl (USCGR, Ret.) & MCPO Kurt Rommerdahl, USCG.

CAPT Steven H. Ratti, a graduate of the Academy Class of 1978, was promoted to RADM on 2 November 2007.  His father, RADM Ricardo A. Ratti, was a 1944 Academy graduate. They were the first father-son Academy graduates to make flag rank.

LTJG Miguel Augustin was recognized as the 2009 Leon Y. McGaughey Adult Military Learner of the Year by the Commission on Military Education and Training, the first member of the U.S. Coast Guard and the first African-American Coast Guardsman to receive this award.  He also received an honorable mention as the 2009 Coast Guard Collateral Duty Education Service Officer of the Year.

The first father-daughter graduates of the Academy were Mark E. Butt, Jr. (Class of 1982) and EvelynAnn M. Bruno (Class of 2007).

Sandra L. Stosz was promoted to RADM, becoming the first female graduate of the Coast Guard Academy to reach flag rank.


General & Miscellaneous Firsts:

Vice Commandant-select RADM R. H. Scarborough, then-commander of the Ninth District, personally swore-in the first set of quadruplets to enlist in a U.S. military service when he gave the oath to the "Guinnane quads, Gerard, Paul, Vincent and Peter of Detroit" on 20 March 1978.

Jeffrey LaCava and Charlene LaCava were reportedly the first married couple to go through boot camp together.  They began basic training in 1979.

BM3 Emmanuel Garcia became the first Coast Guardsman to be married by proxy when he wed FN Chelsea Jayne Garcia on 7 September 2004.  Garcia was stationed at STA Sabine Pass and his wife was "on her way to 'A' school."

SN Michael Christensen, stationed with PATFOR SWA in Bahrain, became the second Coast Guardsman to be married by proxy when he wed Jennifer Rivard, who was in Washington state, on 8-9 August 2006.  Although the state of Washington does not permit such marriages, officials there made a one-time exception for SN Christensen and his bride.  Click here for more information.

On 31 March 1995, Coast Guard Communication Area Master Station Atlantic sent a final message by Morse Code and then signed off, officially ending more than 100 years of telegraph communications.  [Three operator's used their skills to regretfully end a tradition of Coast Guard communications services to all nations.  The operator's names and ranks were: Telecommunication Specialist First Class Jerry D. "Burly" Burleson; Telecommunication Specialist Second Class Timothy L. Hilf; Telecommunication Specialist Third Class Sergio M. Morales.  At 010030Z APR 95 the last message was delivered to those that were copying the Morse code signals by the three operator's. Once completed, the operator's secured the equipment carrying out the order given by the Commanding Officer Captain Freddy L. Montoya.  The official logs and Morse code hand keys are on display at CAMSLANT Chesapeake ending the era of pounding brass and sparking clicks.]


Download Plug-Ins
Download Plug-Ins: Some of the links on this page require a plug-in to view them. Links to the plug-ins are available below.
Click Here to Download Adobe Acrobat Reader Adobe Acrobat Reader (PDF)
Last Modified 10/27/2014