New England Coast Guard family keeps mounted patrol history alive

Wayne Ormsbee, a Coast Guard civilian employee, and his daughter Petty Officer 2nd Class Keisha Kerr, a Coast Guard boatswain’s mate, reenact World War II Coast Guard mounted patrols at Fourth Cliff Recreation Area in Humarock, Massachusetts. The duo participates in parades around New England where they educate the public about the history of the mounted patrols.

On patrol

Mounted beach patrol: When the service saddled up

Beach patrols were normally done on foot, going back as early as 1871, when the Life-Saving Service, a predecessor of the modern Coast Guard, used foot patrols to watch the coastlines for ships in distress. The service used horses to haul boats from storage sheds to the launching point to rescue crews from ships run aground. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the wartime beach patrol was put into action and the seagoing service saddled up in 1942, when horses were authorized for use to patrol U.S. beaches. Using the horses allowed the patrols to cover far more territory faster and more easily than men on foot.