National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and reflecting pool in Washington, D.C. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

The Long Blue Line: Police Week–Coast Guard law enforcers lost in the line of duty

In October 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed Public Law 87-726 designating May 15 of each year as Peace Officers Memorial Day to honor federal, state and municipal officers who have been killed or disabled in the line of duty. The act also designates the calendar week during which May 15 occurs as “Police Week” in recognition of the service given by the men and women who serve in law enforcement. During this week, the law enforcement community lays a wreath at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial where 23 Coast Guard names are inscribed on the memorial. We honor those who have served and sacrificed including the 23 Coast Guardsmen who gave the final measure.


The Long Blue Line: National Strike Force—the Guard’s global responder for 45 years!

The U.S. Coast Guard has been the steward of the nation’s maritime environment for nearly 200 years. As a vital component of the National Response System and homeland security mission, the National Strike Force minimizes the human and environmental impact of oil discharges, hazardous material releases, Weapons of Mass destruction (WMD) incidents, and other natural and man-made disasters. The National Strike Force remains Semper Paratus, “always ready,” to expand and adapt its mission to ever-changing natural and man-made threats to the nation and its environment. The National Strike Force remains “Ready Relevant and Responsive” for any hazard, any place.


Coast Guard Shallow-Water Response Boat Team 3 crew members and members of the North Carolina National Guard assist residents of Old Dock, N.C., evacuate after flooding forced them from their homes Sept. 17, 2018. The Coast Guard conducted search and rescue operations in support of state and local emergency operation centers. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Stephen Kelly.

The Long Blue Line: Coast Guard’s storm warriors fight Hurricane Florence

As some North Carolinians were returning to their homes and recovering from 2016’s Hurricane Matthew, a new storm was tracking towards the East Coast. On Friday, Sept. 14, 2018, at 7:15 a.m., Hurricane Florence made landfall at Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, with sustained winds of 90 mph. However, the flooding associated with Florence would prove more devastating than just hurricane-force winds. Hurricane Florence dropped more than 33 inches of rain in portions of North Carolina, causing widespread destruction that people could never have imagined.


Headstone of William Flores at his final resting place in Benbrook, Texas. Photo courtesy of Find-a-Grave.

The Long Blue Line: Coast Guard hero and FRC namesake William Flores

On Jan. 28, 1980, the Coast Guard Cutter Blackthorn and tanker S.S. Capricorn collided while outbound from Tampa Bay. Seaman Apprentice William Flores sacrificed his life to save the lives of his shipmates. In the years after the sinking, surviving crew members who had witnessed Flores’s bravery, lobbied the service to recognize and honor their fallen shipmate. In 2012, the Coast Guard commissioned the Fast Response Cutter William Flores homeported in Miami.


Locals wave for help in the central highlands of Puerto Rico. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

The Long Blue Line: “Semper Paratus”—Coast Guard men and women in Hurricane Maria

U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliarist J. Edwin Nieves compiled oral histories from Coast Guard members who responded in the wake of Hurricane Maria in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Every one of these recorded oral histories proved compelling and revealed the commitment to service, devotion to duty and willingness to make sacrifices that characterizes the Coast Guard and the Coast Guard community. Each of the interviewees made sacrifices for others and endured personal privations.


Adm. Karl Schultz, Coast Guard commandant, salutes during the commissioning of Coast Guard Cutter Terrell Horne at Coast Guard Base Los Angeles-Long Beach, Calif., March 22, 2019. USCGC Terrell Horne is the third Fast Response Cutter to be homeported at Coast Guard Base Los Angeles-Long Beach and will operate throughout the 11th Coast Guard District, which includes all of California and international waters off Mexico and Central America. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Cory J. Mendenhall.

A Fitting Tribute: The commissioning of Coast Guard Cutter Terrell Horne

In 2012, Senior Chief Petty Officer Terrell Horne III made the ultimate sacrifice to save the life of his coxswain during a law enforcement mission that ended in a collision off the coast of Southern California. On March 21, 2019, the Coast Guard paid tribute to Horne by commissioning the Coast Guard’s newest Fast Response Cutter in his name. This new cutter honors his bravery, dedication and spirit of public service.


Danny Hahn mans the Central Tool Room at the Coast Guard Yard in Curtis Bay, Md. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

The Long Blue Line: Danny Hahn

Daniel “Danny” Hahn came from a family long associated with the Coast Guard Yard in Curtis Bay, Maryland. He served 50 years continuously at the Yard and set the record as the longest-serving wage grade civilian in Coast Guard history. He died in 2017 but will always be remembered as a hard-working Coast Guard civilian who served with distinction as a member of the long blue line.


Photograph of the 165-foot cutter Icarus. (U.S. Coast Guard)

The Long Blue Line: Icarus – WWII combat cutter, OPC namesake

In 1942, the crew of Coast Guard Cutter Icarus, commanded by Lt. Maurice Jester, sank German U-352 off the coast of North Carolina. Shortly after sinking, the Coast Guard crew rescued 33 survivors of the 48-man crew – they were the first enemy combatants captured by U.S. forces in World War II. The cutter was decommissioned in 1948 but will soon live on as the namesake of the sixth in the first flight of Offshore Patrol Cutters in the “Heritage”-class.


Cutter Argo (WPC-100) on patrol. Originally designed for Prohibition law enforcement, this type of cutter was particularly seaworthy and maneuverable. With the U.S. entry into World War II, Argo was attached to the Atlantic Fleet as a convoy escort vessel. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

The Long Blue Line: A wartime rescue by Cutter Argo 75 years ago

It’s been 75 years since the wartime search and rescue efforts of the cutter Argo but it will forever remain a chapter in the saga of the long blue line. Cutters Argo and Thetis were part of a convoy off Cape May, New Jersey, when American tanker Camas Meadows steamed unescorted by an inexperienced crew, fatally rammed a Navy patrol gunboat. Argo’s officer of the day activated a search and rescue operation and rescued 23 survivors – 106 crew members of the Navy gunboat were lost.


The 22-acre Alcatraz Island is visited by approximately 1,750,000 tourists a year. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Barry Bena.

Legacy of Light: Oldest west coast light marks ‘The Rock’

The Alcatraz Lighthouse not only guides mariners through the San Francisco Bay but also welcomes tourists to the island that used to house America’s most notorious inmates. Alcatraz Island was first used for a fort and military prison before becoming the most famous and formidable federal penitentiary in the nation. Today, members of Coast Guard Aids to Navigation Team (ANT) San Francisco keep the famous Bay Area light shining.


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