Celebrating 221 years of service

Coast Guard Day 2011 banner

On August 4, 1790, President George Washington put pen to paper and created the Revenue Cutter Service. That service of “a few armed vessels, judiciously stationed at the entrances of our ports, might at a small expense be made useful sentinels of the laws” has grown into America’s maritime first responder. For 221 years, the United States Coast Guard has protected Americans on the sea, protected America from threats delivered by sea and protected the sea itself.

As the only military service with the ability to enforce laws within our borders and the only law enforcement agency authorized to enforce them outside our borders, the Coast Guard has evolved from its early beginnings but perhaps never so much as it has over the past decade. As America prepares to recognize the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, Coast Guard men and women are deployed throughout the world sharing their expertise in border protection, drug interdiction and counter-terrorism with our allies while their Shipmates stand a taut watch protecting the homeland.

“Every day I am sustained by the enthusiasm, excitement and pride of being a member of our Service,” said Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Bob Papp in his annual Coast Guard Day address. “As we celebrate Coast Guard Day, I encourage the entire Coast Guard Family – active, reserve, civilian, retired, auxiliary and contractors – to take a moment and honor those who served before us to make the U.S. Coast Guard the premier maritime service it is today.”

Each week, Coast Guard Compass takes the opportunity to honor an individual throughout – and occasionally outside of – the service as Shipmate of the Week. On this Coast Guard Day, we invite all of you to share the story of a Coast Guardsman who has made a positive difference in your community in the comment section below.

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  • John

    Hello to all the great USCG, I am deaf male and always want to become USCG. But….. I am support USCG for their hard work and to protection our country. God bless to all The United State Coast Guard.

  • eric smathers

    to all my Fellow Vets and the Active and reserve that are Our United States Coast Guard. Happy 221st. Served in the CG for a long time during all the 80s and part of the 90s. Sempur Paratus to all.

  • Ray Lafferty

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY to America’s Guardians of our seas. May you surely experience another 221 more! Semper Paratus! You’re the greatest.

  • Joan Mavros

    Here is to my Coast Guradsman…My son, CWO Scott A. Vorhees, who retired Aug. 1, 2011 after 30 years. Congratulations!!

  • Jody Mills

    Thank you for years of commitment and service! God bless those that gave
    their lives, those that have served before and all the men and women currently
    in service! Semper paratus!

  • Kimberly Duplisea

    Here’s to the COAST GUARDSMEN in my life and to the great job the do ! And the fine people they have all turned out to be. To my nephew Garrett Jesky…Love hugs and I’m so very proud of you !!

  • dan vascik (frm. DC)

    happy birthday to all my brothers and sisters. i am truly proud to have served a great service. be safe out there. it was an honor to to make my mark in history for the Coast Guard.

  • Lou

    Happy Birthday USCG! For all those who have served and continue to serve Semper Paratus and to my son AD BM2 I am very proud of you. (Sierra 158).

  • LTC (Ret) David Shaffer

    Best wishes to the USCG and my father, who served during WWII aboard the USS Harveson, DE 316, in the Pacific…”Haze Gray and Underway”. God’s Blessings and Rest in Peace Dad.

  • kathryn geary

    Happy Anniversary! My dad served in the US Coast Guard as Chief Petty Officer. We grew up as a proud Coast Guard family! Thanks for all you do to keep us safe!

  • Jayne Platt

    Best wishes to my son, First Class Cadet Ryan Huebner, USGCA, as he starts his “firstie” year at the Academy. Go Bears! Warm winds and smooth sailing to coasties throughout the world. Thank you for your dedicated service. Be safe out there. Semper Paratus!

  • Stacey

    Happy birthday to my favorite branch! I first came to be familiar with the Coast Guard when I “adopted” their lone KIA/BNR from the Vietnam War, Lt. Jack Rittichier, 12 years ago. I was in D.C. for his funeral in 2003, and was named an honorary member of the Coast Guard at my wedding in 2006. What an honor!!!

  • Barney Cline

    Happy Birthday and a big JOB WELL DONE! Everyday the Coast Guard puts men and women in harms way to protect and rescue Americans as well as others in Our waterways. We sometime forget that you have served in wars i.e. Vietnam, we embrace your service and proud history!

  • Heather Cooper

    Happy Birthday Coast Guard! To my ITC Chris Cooper and all that have and continue to serve :)

  • Piche

    Happy Birthday USCG! Proud to be a Coast Guardsman!

  • Jon Hulett

    Hoo-rah! Happy Birthday to Kodiak’s and Grand Haven’s finest.

    (Deadliest Catch Fanatic and West Michigan Resident at large)

  • Suzanne Leach

    Today I honor all the men and women who serve in the Coast Guard, especially my daughter Christina Leach currently stationed in Virgina. In reading your article regarding how the Coast Guard has evolved since 9/11, my daughter in her short career has been privileged to be a part of those changes. I’m so proud of her, her dedication, her professionalism, her sacrifice, and her heart to do what is right now matter the consequences. She is my hero in showing her commitment to serve this GREAT NATION in times of goodness and sorrow. I applaud all those who serve not only in the Coast Guard but in all our Armed Services. I raise my glass in salute to the top notch UNITED STATES COAST GUARD, wishing all of you the best birthday celebration in it’s history!

  • Matt Dukes

    I am proud to be a former Coastie from the Eighth. Happy Birthday, USCG.

  • DJ Miller

    Happy 221 to the US CG from a vet of the 9th district in the 1960′s. Here’s to another 220 years of service to our nation. Coasties on active duty: Thank you and Semper Paratus.

  • Cindi Pape

    Happy Birthday to the USCG. It is a privilege and honor to be in the Coast Guard “family’I am especially proud of my son who is 1 and 1/2 years into his Coast Guard career.I raise my Proud Coast Guard Mom
    coffee cup to salute you.:)

  • Pablo Roque, Jr.

    To all the great Coasties I served with,those that came before me and those that came after me, HAPPY COAST GUARD DAY. I salute you all.

  • Mike Tolan

    Happy Birthday to the greatest group of heroes in the world! The best memories of my life come from my time in the Guard and whenever I see you folks on the sea or in the air, I feel very secure.Thank You!!!

  • Russell Maher Jr.

    Happy Birthday to the U.S.Coast Guard and the men and women who serve in the finest branch of the military. I’m proud to have been one of you and am proud of those who came before me and after me and those that are yet to serve. Reading these posts from parents and relatives of those currently serving gives me chills because you can feel the sense of pride they have for their loved ones doing their duty. To all the coasties I’ve served with….it was an honor to be with you! SEMPER PARATUS!

  • Susan Caster

    Happy Birthday, CG! As a brat born and raised, I thank both my parents who served (father retired Cpt. 27 years; and mother served 20 yrs in the Reserves). Bless you all and my support is with you always.

  • Madeleine Gavin

    Happy Birthday Coast Guard. And to my son, Lt Brendan Gavin and all his great buddies in the CG for all the CG does for our country. Fair winds and following seas.

  • Madeleline Gavin

    Happy, happy birthday, Coast Guard, and to my son, Lt. Brendan Gavin and all his CG buddies, you are THE BEST! Fair winds and following seas.

  • BillCote

    Happy Birthday to all Coasties everywhere.
    I served in the 1960′s and the Coast Guard prepared
    me for everything life has thrown my way.
    I was in Romeo 59 in boot camp!

  • Greg Daugherty

    Semper Paratus – Happy Birthday. Proud to have been one of you.

  • Now Marine

    Happy birthday! I’ve never been a member of the Coast Guard, but there have been plenty of times when I’ve been very happy to have that striped ensign hull-down on the horizon. You serve us well, you serve our mariners well, you serve our nation well. Good job!!!

  • Chuck Miller

    Just an old ice breaker sailor from the ’60′s who considered it an honor to serve. happy Birthday Coast Guard.

  • Chris Williams

    Happy Birthday United States Coast Guard! Proud to be a member of your Team-

    IPFC 7-7
    USCG Aux

  • ed baragiola

    served small boats in california in the early 1970′s as a deck ape. this was a time of consierable social unrest and widespread dissatisfaction with anything that had to do with the federal government or anyone in uniform. protests over the war in vietnam were happening everywhere, washington dc was practically under siege and the country was reeling in reaction to the terrible events at kent state and elsewhere. yet anywhere we went as soon as anyone saw the shield on our sleeves identifying us as coasties politics and protests ended. doors would open, backs were patted, thanks were offered. none of us earned it individually, but it seemed everyone within 100 miles of the pacific ocean had been helped by the uscg at sometime. seems its still the same. here’s to all who serve, thanks. you sure as heck don’t do it for the money.

    ed baragiola

    y’know, i miss those old patrol boats and that unbelievable self righting 44 mlb…

  • Bob Di Corcia

    Happy Birthday USCG. Everyone should be proud of our heritage, history, and accomplishments.

    USCG Aux
    Past Watchstander, USCG Station Sandy Hook

  • MK3 PAROLINE

    Hey shipmates! thanks for your support. I know we will always stay “SEMPER PARATUS”. It’s individuals like you that make us strive for greater causes and give us the edge we need to get the job done. I would like to thank those Coasties who came before me and let them know they are the reason i’m proud to be a Petty Officer. Gentlemen and Ladies you paved the way for my generation to take the reins and run with the service. I just hope we do not do you a disservice and to Honor your memory. You give me the strive i need to do 20+ yrs and i thank you for that. I ask of you one thing never forget our traditions, be Semper Paratus always and stay true to our core values of ” HONOR RESPECT AND DEVOTION TO DUTY”. Once again thank you for your service and to those family members who put up with so much and follow us through it all. Thank You! you have no idea how much we appreciate YOUR sacrifices as well!

  • VFC Al Romero, USCG Aux

    Best wishes to all US Coast Guardsmen! SEMPER PARATUS and more power to the USCG!!

  • CW3 (USA Ret) Jack Bough

    Best wishes…My Dad retired as a LCDR in 1977 and my Son is an AMT at the Miami Air Station…Congrats Son..Hope you enjoyed the day

  • LT S. M. Young

    Starsecurities,

    This post was from last year and this year the Coast Guard celebrated 222 years. You can find the 2012 Compass post here:

    Very Respectfully,
    Lt. Stephanie Young
    Coast Guard Public Affairs