Coast Guard, U.S.

Established by law in 1915, the modern Coast Guard joined together the Revenue Cutter Service, whose origins date back to 1790, and the civilian Life Saving Service. In 1939, the Lighthouse Service was amalgamated with the Coast Guard. Historically, they performed numerous functions, from enforcing customs laws to steamboat inspections. Between 1915 and 2003, the Coast Guard operated under the control of the Navy, Commerce, and Transportation Departments at various times. In 2003, the Coast Guard was transferred to the Department of Homeland Security as part of a reorganization of governmental law enforcement agencies. This entry discusses the history, missions, personnel, and vessels and aircraft of the U.S. Coast Guard.

History and Organization

America’s Coast Guard is a uniformed military service, even though it is not part ...

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