Historians believe this to be a rendering of the cutter Pickering. If so, it is the earliest known rendering of a U.S. revenue cutter. Illustration courtesy of Coast Guard Historian’s Office.

The Long Blue Line: Combat Cutter Pickering—lost 220 years ago, now an OPC namesake

During the Quasi War, U.S. naval authorities considered the Pickering one of their finest combat cutters. Today, 220 years later, Pickering will be recognized and remembered as one of the Coast Guard’s newest class of cutters. The cuttermen of Pickering and their heroic cutter will always remain a part of the long blue line.

The Long Blue Line: “Siempre Preparado” – operations of Revenue Cutter Algonquin

Revenue Cutter Algonquin, commissioned in 1898, was a re-assuring sight on San Juan’s waterfront for 13 years. It was known as “Siempre Preparado” for always being ready to resond to the needs of Puerto Rico and its citizens. The cutter and its crew participated in several medical and humanitarian missions, transported local dignitaries and government officials and fought fires along the harbor. Algonquin was later reassigned to Oregon, to the Navy during WWI and later to Alaska, never returning to the Caribbean but always “Siempre Preparados.”

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.

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.

) 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.

The Offshore Patrol Cutter: Honoring the Past, Securing the Future

The Offshore Patrol Cutter – the Coast Guard’s highest investment priority – will provide the Coast Guard with a renewed level of presence and effectiveness in the offshore environment.

The Long Blue Line: Rogue cutter James Madison and first Coast Guard POWs

In a high stakes gamble against the Royal Navy, revenue cutter James Madison’s captain George Books beat the odds for a time, but his luck eventually ran out. He sacrificed the freedom of his enlisted crewmembers, one of whom paid the ultimate price in England’s ghastly prison-ship system. Brooks and his men were members of the long blue line, who went down in history as the service’s first prisoners-of-war.

The Long Blue Line: Arctic Cutter Bear—“A symbol for all the Service represents” Part 2

In part two of The Long Blue Line’s history of Cutter Bear, we learn about its venerable history bringing reindeer to Alaska in the Overland Expedition, its time in WWI and WWII. Read here to find out what happened to this cutter at the end of its time serving in the Coast Guard.

The Long Blue Line: Master Lee and the Fight for Eagle III

During the War of 1812, the Treasury Department required revenue cutters, such as the Connecticut-based Eagle, to enforce tariffs and trade laws, and protect American maritime commerce. Frederick Lee was one of the most noted revenue cutter captains at the time, bravely facing enemy fire against the Royal Navy. Revenue Cutter Eagle was the last cutter lost in the war.

The Long Blue Line: Samuel Travis, Cutter Surveyor and the Battle of Gloucester Point

Master Samuel Travis and his men aboard the Revenue Cutter Surveyor are members of the long blue line who fought valiantly against overwhelming odds during the Battle of Gloucester Point.

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