U.S. Coast Guard

United States Coast Guard

The United States Coast Guard (USCG) is the maritime security, search and rescue, and law enforcement service branch of the United States Armed Forces. The Coast Guard is one of the oldest organizations of the federal government. The Coast Guard was established in 1790, when the Treasury Department, under Alexander Hamilton, secured funds to construct 10 cutters - a small fleet of vessels needed to enforce and collect tariffs for the new nation. Called the “Revenue Marine” at the time, the Coast Guard served as the nation's only armed force on the sea until Congress launched the Navy Department eight years later.

These cutters frequently took on additional duties, including combating piracy, rescuing mariners in distress, ferrying government officials, and even carrying mail. In addition to its regular law enforcement and customs duties, revenue cutters served in combat alongside the Navy in various armed conflicts including the American Civil War.

The modern Coast Guard was formed by a merger of the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service and the U.S. Life-Saving Service in 1915. In 1939, the U.S. Lighthouse Service was also merged into the Coast Guard. As one of the country's six armed services, the Coast Guard has been involved in every major U.S. war since 1790, from the Quasi-War with France to the Global War on Terrorism