A rare photo showing Asian personnel aboard Cutter Bear. These men began to serve on West Coast cutters immediately after the Civil War. (Coast Guard Collection)

The Long Blue Line: Asian-American history of the Coast Guard

For over 165 years, thousands of ethnically Asian men and women have served with distinction in the U.S. Coast Guard. They have been diligent members of the long blue line and they will play an important role in shaping the service in the 21st century.


The Long Blue Line: The Pacific Islands – Coast Guard connection

Pacific Island men and women have participated in the U.S. Coast Guard for nearly 170 years, playing an important role in the history of the service and its predecessor services.


The Long Blue Line: Fraser – the Coast Guard’s forgotten visionary

Capt. Alexander Fraser introduced the service to professionalization, new technology and moved a reluctant service toward reforms and innovations that would take place long after his death. As the first commandant of the Revenue Marine Bureau, Fraser’s foresight and enlightened leadership set the service on course for growth and modernization. He was a true seaman, a visionary and a member of the long blue line.


First "standard" version pulling surfboat adopted by the Life-Saving Service in the early 1870s, with design based on square-stern surf fishing boats then in common use along the coast of New Jersey. Photo courtesy of life-savingservice.org.

A little piece of Kimball’s legacy of standardization

Lt. Brendan Rogers was researching a figure in Coast Guard history for a presentation on organizational change when he came across a letter written by the Honorable Sumner Kimball. Kimball was an administrator whose work was pivotal in standardizing and organizing the U.S. Life-Saving Service that soon merged with the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service to form what we know today as the U.S. Coast Guard.


Cmdr. Stephen Matadobra speaks at a U.S. Coast Guard ceremony. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Coast Guard to honor the officer with the most sea time

Cmdr. Stephen Matadobra holds the distinction of being one of the Coast Guard’s first officers in the service to have earned the permanent cutterman status (earned in 1987), and he will soon hold the title of the Coast Guard’s 15th Gold Ancient Mariner in May. He has experienced the peaks and valleys of the Coast Guard organization and shares his lessons learned in leadership in this blog.


Painting of Revenue Cutter Miami covering troop landings at Ocean View Beach near Norfolk, Va., by Charles Mazoujian. (Coast Guard Collection)

The Long Blue Line: Civil War operations of the Revenue Cutter Service

The U.S. Revenue Cutter Service cemented the role of the service in such missions as convoy duty, blockade operations, port security, coastal patrol and brown-water combat operations – missions that remain core competencies of the Coast Guard in future combat operations. The service’s operations during the Civil War also reinforced the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service’s reputation as a legitimate branch of the armed forces.


A World War II recruiting poster for SPARs, the Women’s Reserve branch of the U.S. Coast Guard. U.S. Coast Guard image.

The Long Blue Line: SPARs – female trailblazers of the Coast Guard

By the end of World War II, nearly 12,000 SPARs had served in the Coast Guard. They pioneered the role of their gender in the service, the federal government and the nation as a whole. They have since helped shape the Coast Guard into a better institution for all men and women and continue to do so today.


Commodore Bertholf, first commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard and first flag officer in the service’s history. U.S. Coast Guard image.

The Long Blue Line: Bertholf – second founder of the Coast Guard

The story of Ellsworth Bertholf is lost and forgotten to the American public, but to members of the Coast Guard past and present, he remains a legacy through his heroic feats in Alaska, his role in establishing the Coast Guard as a military service, and the distinguished National Security Cutter that now bears his name.


Lt. Holly Harrison aboard Coalition warship USS Milius. Coast Guard Collection.

The Long Blue Line: Holly Harrison – Bronze Star Recipient of Operation Iraqi Freedom

Holly Harrison became commanding officer of the Coast Guard Aquidneck in 2002 where she took part in Operation Iraqi Freedom becoming the first Coast Guard woman to command a Coast Guard cutter in combat. Under her command, Aquidneck and Harrison’s dedicated crew conducted innumerable maritime interdiction, search and rescue, escort and combat-related operations earning Harrison the Bronze Star Medal, of which she was the first woman in service history to achieve.


The Long Blue Line: The First Lady Harriet Lane and WMEC-903

Just over 160 years ago, at a time when women remained relatively invisible in public life, Harriet Lane was the nation’s most politically powerful and celebrated woman. She was the first woman to receive the title of “First Lady” during her time in the White House, and she was the first female namesake of a cutter.


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