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On August 4, 1790, the first Congress authorized the construction of 10 ships to enforce tariff and trade laws, prevent smuggling, and protect the collection of federal revenue. This was the start of the long and illustrious history of the U.S. Coast Guard, the only branch of military service charged with enforcing our nation’s laws at sea and guarding her vast coastline. As our nation expanded its borders, the Coast Guard responsibilities expanded with it.
The Coast Guard held homes in the Treasury Department; the Department of Transportation; and, now resides here in the Department of Homeland Security. Today, the Coast Guard operates 1,683 boats, 246 cutters, and 197 fixed and rotary wing aircraft. On a typical day, our Coast Guard conducts 40 search and rescue missions, assists 60 people in distress, saves 11 lives, and facilitates movement of $12.6B worth of goods and commodities.
As the Coast Guard celebrates its 229th birthday, please join me in extending our thanks to our Coast Guard men and women – active duty, reserve, civilian, and auxiliary – for their service and sacrifice. Whether it is securing our ports and waterways, interdicting drug smugglers on the high seas, leading search and rescue missions, facilitating maritime commerce, or responding to national emergencies, the work they do – day in and day out – makes our nation and its people more secure.
Kevin K. McAleenan, Acting Secretary
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
~ With honor and integrity, we will safeguard the American people, our homeland, and our values. ~