The Long Blue Line: African-Americans in the U.S. Coast Guard (Part 1)

The history of African-American participation in the Coast Guard and its predecessor services dates back to the very founding of the service in 1790. In over 225 years of Coast Guard history, African-Americans have been the first minority group to serve, first to fight and the first to sacrifice.


Cutter Etheridge

In behalf of humanity

Another vessel has joined the ranks and earned the title “Coast Guard cutter.” However this isn’t just any cutter, it’s a fast response cutter. At 154-feet long, the ship has an impressive array of capabilities, including sustained speeds of more than 28 knots and an armament of a stabilized 25mm machine-gun mount and four, crew-served .50-caliber machine guns. But more impressive than its technology, more impressive than its features, is the cutter’s namesake – Richard Etheridge.


Coast Guard Heroes: Richard Etheridge

This Compass series chronicles the first 14 heroes the Sentinel-class Fast Response Cutters have been named for. These men and women, who stood the watch before us, lived extraordinary lives as they lit the way for sailors in times past, […]


Guardians pay their respects to LT Herbert Collins

Earlier today Coast Guard leaders paid their respects to a Coast Guard hero. Vice Admiral Robert J. Papp, President Obama’s nominee to be the next Commandant of the Coast Guard, Rear Admiral Manson K. Brown, commander of the Coast Guard’s 14th […]


Remembering LT Herbert Collins

Lieutenant Herbert Collins, a Coast Guard legend and the last surviving member of the all-black Pea Island life saving station succumbed to cancer on Sunday evening. Born in 1921, Collins enlisted in 1939 at the age of 18 and would […]


“Rescue Men” – The story of the Pea Island Surfmen

“Rescue Men – The story of the Pea Island Surfmen” is a 90-minute documentary about to be released recognizing the extraordinary historical significance of the Pea Island Lifesaving Station. “Station 17” was manned by an all African American crew including […]


Black History Month: Honoring the service of African American Guardians

As part of the Coast Guard Compass’ ongoing celebration of Black History Month, we bring you the following article by Coast Guard Atlantic Area Historian William H. Thiesen. Mr. Thiesen’s piece on the history of African American service is a […]


The Coast Guard Celebrates Black History Month

Post Written by LTJG Virginia Hudgins, Coast Guard Diversity Workforce Staff Throughout the month of February, the Coast Guard will be celebrating Black History Month (BHM) with a special emphasis on the theme, “The History of Black Economic Empowerment”. This […]


Guardian of the Week – LT Felicia Thomas

Congratulations to Lieutenant Felicia S. Thomas for becoming the first female African American to command a Coast Guard cutter! During a change of command ceremony today at 9 a.m., she took command of the 110-foot CGC PEA ISLAND homeported in […]