U.S. Coast Guard History

Articles, Information & Downloadable Files (PDFs, PowerPoints, etc.)

The cutter Rush at Dutch Harbor, Alaska, in 1901.  Photo taken from Standard Oil Dock (now the Delta Western Fuel Dock).

The Revenue Cutter Rush fires a salute on Independence Day, 1901,
 at Dutch Harbor, Alaska

Overview Histories:

History of the U.S. Coast Guard, Revenue Marine & Revenue Cutter Service:

  • "Moments in History:" An illustrated history of the Coast Guard published during the Bicentennial Commemoration in 1989.

  • "History of the United States Revenue Marine:" An article by Lieutenant Worth G. Ross (who later became Commandant) entitled: "Our Coast Guard: A Brief History of the United States Revenue Marine Service", Harper's New Monthly Magazine, from November 1886.

  • The First Cutter? "Forerunners of The Cutter Fleet" by RADM Stephen H. Evans, USCG (Ret.)

  • "Commerce Ruled in "Old Guard': Our humanitarian traditions aren't as traditional as you may have thought.  Behind almost every mission the Coast Guard carries out, there was originally a profit motive--Congress wanted the Treasury Department to build a commercially-healthy and wealthy America." An article by GMCM William R. Wells, II exploring the humanitarian history of the early revenue cutters--or the lack thereof. Published originally in the Commandant's Bulletin, Issue 4-84 (February 7, 1984), pp. 16-17.

  • "Life Below Decks." An article by GMCM William R. Wells, II discussing the habitability for the enlisted crew of the early revenue cutters. Published originally in the Commandant's Bulletin, Issue 16-84 (August 3, 1984), pp. 14-15.

  • "Two in the Belt: The increase in law enforcement operations in the Coast Guard is not new to the service.  The Revenue Cutter Service, predecessor to the Coast Guard, was involved in many such operations--from national defense to chasing smugglers of salt."  An article by GMCM William R. Wells, II discussing the small arms carried on board early cutters. Published originally in the Commandant's Bulletin, Issue 25-83 (December 9, 1983), pp. 14-15.

U.S. Lighthouse Service History:U.S. Lighthouse Service logo

U.S. Life-Saving Service History:

  • History of the Life-Saving Service  PowerPoint icon   PDF icon

  • Sand Pounders: An Interpretation of the history of the U.S. Life-Saving Service, Based on its Annual Reports for the Years 1870 Through 1914 by Captain Robert F. Bennett, USCG (Ret.).

  •  Organization and Methods of the United States Life-Saving Service, (a paper "read before the Committee on Life-Saving Systems and Devices, International Marine Conference, November 22, 1889" by Sumner I. Kimball, General Superintendent of the Service, and published on 5 January 1894 "for the information of officers and employees of the Service and others interested." Washington: GPO, 1894).

U.S. Steamboat Inspection Service & U.S. Bureau of Navigation History:

General Histories (by region, period, missions, etc.):

  • Rum War At Sea, by Malcolm F. Willoughby USCGR (T), 1964 (reprinted 1972)

 Publications and History: 2000 to the Present:

Heritage, Traditions & Miscellaneous:

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Last Modified 8/14/2014