In 1941, for the first time, Coast Guard uniforms became officially a modification of Navy regulations. The garments themselves were the same as naval uniforms and included the khaki undress combination with sewn in belt. Both services used the "combination cap": the officer's peaked headgear with interchangeable covers to match khaki, white or winter uniforms. Only the distinguishing corps devices, buttons, shoulder marks, etc., were distinctively Coast Guard. The officer's cap device for the Coast Guard was the most obvious difference. It consisted of a large spread eagle with shield, with a single horizontal anchor held in the eagle's talons. The naval device had, and still has, a smaller eagle over crossed anchors. Also, the naval eagle was silver; the Coast Guard's, gold.
The Coast Guard uniform coat also continued to have the national shield placed above the sleeve rank stripes. Coast Guard gilt buttons centered their design on a perpendicular anchor, with a rope like inner-rim. The Naval button consisted of an eagle, facing Dexter over a horizontal anchor.
The only major difference between the Navy and the Coast Guard concerned the latter's "Surfman" uniform. These were for the men who manned the lifeboat stations around the country's coastline, many of whom were veterans of the U.S. Life-Saving Service. To keep up their esprit de corps, the Coast Guard had authorized a special uniform for these men soon after the merger of the Revenue Cutter Service and the Life-Saving Service to create the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard decided to keep this unique surfman's uniform on the books at least until 1943 (see examples listed below). This uniform consisted of a single-breasted blue coat with four buttons, four pockets, and peaked lapels along with special collar devices. The cap was the same as authorized for chief petty officers except for the cap device, which was "brass, gold plated, fitted with a hinged clasp pin; crossed oars superimposed on a circular life buoy; oars to be about 1 3/8 inches in length, crossed in the middle of the life buoy; life buoy to be about 3/4 inch in diameter."
Please click on the image to see full-size photograph
|Coast Guard shield: officer|
|Coast Guard shield: enlisted|
|Surfman's Class A uniform.
This uniform was authorized for Coast Guard surfmen during the early
part of the war. It also had special collar and hat devices.
The Coast Guard surfman is Robert Resnick, USCGR.
|Dress blues: this uniform
was the same as worn by Navy sailors except for the shield device, in
white, on the lower right sleeve which denoted Coast Guard personnel
and the cap ribbon which had "U.S. Coast Guard" stitched on
it instead of "U.S. Navy."
The Coast Guardsman is Marvin Perret, USCGR.
|Dress blues with white
"Dixie Cup" hat; this was a typical uniform combination worn
while on liberty. This uniform was the same as worn by Navy
sailors except for the shield device, in white, on the lower right
The Coast Guardsman is Frank Salvucci, USCGR.
|Mounted Beach Patrol: pea coat, knit cap, dungarees & leggings, all standard Navy-issue.|
|Mounted Beach Patrol: foul
Note the radio on the back of the Coast Guardsman in the foreground.
|Landing Force: undress blue with leggings|
|Corsair Fleet: standard Navy-issue chambray shirt and dungaree trousers.|
|Corsair Fleet: cold weather gear.|
|Officers: standard Navy-issue tropical khakis; Coast Guard devices on shoulder boards & hats.|
|Aviator, officer: winter
working uniform. The aviators wore standard Navy-issue forestry
green Kersey coat, trousers and cap with Coast Guard distinguishing
The officer is noted Coast Guard aviator Edward Burke.
Navy-issue dress blues with Coast Guard devices on sleeves and hats.
To the right is CAPT Miles Imlay and on the left is CAPT Edward
The photo was taken in the hold of the USS Samuel Chase prior to the invasion of Normandy. Both men were important commanders of the Omaha Beach assault.
|CPO's on board USS Centauraus
wearing tropical khakis.
|CPO: dress blue|
The Coast Guard signalman operating the blinker lamp is SM 3/c Theodore Cholewinski, USCGR.
(Full-size photo is 300 dpi)
The Coast Guard signalman holding the signal flag is Wilbur Selbrede. The photo was taken on Okinawa on D-Day +5.
|Helmsman and talker on the bridge of a cutter at sea in the North Atlantic.|
|Winter clothing, kapok life
vests. Coast Guardsman on right is wearing the standard Navy
issue watch cap.
They are preparing to fire a "K" gun depth charge projector.
|North Atlantic: foul weather gear|