The “Pacific Prowler” concludes its service in the Pacific

The Coast Guard Cutter Galveston Island, a 110-foot Island Class patrol boat home ported in Honolulu, was recently decommissioned after nearly 26 years of service to the nation.

Beverly Kelley, first woman to command a U.S. military vessel, on the bridge of the 95-foot cutter Cape Newhagen. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

The Long Blue Line: Officer Candidate School and female trailblazers in the Coast Guard’s officer corps

Since the 1970s, women in the Coast Guard have come a long way with female service members occupying every active duty role formerly reserved for men. During this period, female graduates of the Coast Guard’s Officer Candidate School helped shape the Coast Guard and pioneered the role of their gender in the service, the federal government and the nation as a whole. They have made the U.S. Coast Guard into a better institution for all men and women and they will continue to play an important role in leading the service in the 21st century.

These men and women were the first known minority service members to graduate from the Coast Guard Academy. U.S. Coast Guard photos.

The Long Blue Line: The Coast Guard Academy – commissioning minority officers for 75 years!

The U.S. Coast Guard has had a history of ethnic diversity that rivals all other federal agencies. Therefore, it is only fitting that we should document the service’s diverse history by focusing on the Coast Guard Academy, which has commissioned minority officers for 75 years.

Capt. Bobby Wilks was the first minority aviator in the service who later became the first minority air station commander. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

The Long Blue Line: African-American Coast Guard achievements and diversity highlights of the last century

While the service celebrates highlights of African-American service in the Coast Guard, it should recognize the accomplishments of hundreds of thousands of African-Americans over the course of its 228-year history. These members of the long blue line have struggled for equal rights and persevered with a dedication that has benefited all who serve in the U.S. Coast Guard.

This image shows minority Lt. j.g. Joseph Jenkins and Lt. j.g. Clarence Samuels aboard Coast Guard operated USS Sea Cloud in the North Atlantic in World War II. Coast Guard photo.

The Long Blue Line: A history of African-Americans in Coast Guard combat

African-Americans have served in every conflict fought by the Coast Guard and its predecessor services, and currently comprise the longest serving minority in the service. Today, we commemorate the achievements and sacrifices of hundreds of thousands of African-Americans over the course of the service’s 228-year history.

An American periscope photograph of USS Big Horn on its first weather patrol. Only one of five big guns are visible from a submarine perspective; four of them hide behind false bulkheads. Photo courtesy of Coast Guard retired Cmdr. Douglas L. Jordan.

The Long Blue Line: USS Big Horn – the Coast Guard’s “Q-Ship”

USS Big Horn was one of the only Q-Ships to serve in the U.S. Coast Guard performing combat missions, weather patrols and tanker duty. The ship and its crews marked a truly unique chapter in Coast Guard history.

Coast Guard Cutter Bear conducts sea trials after completing construction. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Coast Guard Cutter Bear celebrates 35 years of service

In its 35 years of service, Coast Guard Cutter Bear and its crews have valiantly service the nation providing humanitarian aid, drug and immigration enforcement, and search and rescue. Through it all, Bear’s most defining achievement is sharing the knowledge that there is no stronger bond than that shared by the crew. Bear crews define themselves as “first in fleet, and second to none.”

The Long Blue Line: USS Serpens—the Coast Guard’s greatest loss

Nearly 73 years ago on Jan. 29, 1945, a catastrophic explosion destroyed the Coast Guard-manned transport, USS Serpens. In terms of lives lost, the destruction of the Serpens ranks as the single largest disaster ever recorded in Coast Guard history.

) Illustration of the Tabasco River Fleet in 1846. (Source unknown)

The Long Blue Line: Revenue cutter operations in the Mexican-American War

On May 13, 1846, President James Polk signed the declaration of war with Mexico. Revenue cutter captain John Webster formed an 11-cutter squadron to blockade and patrol along the coast of Mexico. Until the end of the war in 1848, the crews of the squadron convoyed merchant vessels, transported troops and supplies, blockaded enemy ports, delivered important dispatches to naval commanders and played a vital role in shallow water combat and amphibious operations.

Fred Mann, U.S. Coast Guard retired, celebrates his 97th birthday at Station South Padre Island in 2016. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

The Long Blue Line: Fred Mann, Silver Star Medal hero of Guadalcanal

When a Japanese bomber hit USS George Elliott off the beaches of Guadalcanal in 1942, Frederick “Fred” Dean Mann gallantly re-entered a burning compartment to fight the blazes. His actions prevented a catastrophic explosion, and allowed all troops and crew, including Mann, to safely evacuate the ship. This Coast Guard war hero earned the Silver Star, Purple Heart and a Presidential Unit Citation. He died last year but continues to be celebrated as a member of the long blue line who served the Coast Guard with distinction during wartime and peacetime.

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