United States Coast Guard - 200th Anniversary

United States Coast Guard History

United States Coast Guard History


The U.S. Coast Guard marks two hundred years of service to the nation on August 4, 1990. It all began on August 4, 1790, as a tiny fleet of cutters enforcing customs and tariffs on maritime commerce. The Service quickly established itself as a viable military force battling pirates, privateers, and smugglers. Coast Guard cutters went on to participate in every major war of this nation, including Vietnam and the recent Grenada Expedition.

Over the years the Coast Guard experienced the same growing pains as our great Nation. The Coast Guard evolved to eventually comprise the Revenue Cutter Service, the Lighthouse Service, the Life-Saving Service, the Bureau of Navigation and the Steamboat Inspection Service.

Today, the Coast Guard's many missions revolve around Maritime Safety, Military Readiness and Law Enforcement. Every day the Coast Guard interdicts drugs, protects fisheries, fights pollution, maintains aids to navigation, protects ports and waterways, breaks ice, carries out search and rescue missions and exercises its defense readiness capabilities.

This booklet offers a brief glimpse of the dedication and sacrifices of the men and women of the United States Coast Guard during its first two hundred years.

The scenes depicted reflect significant "Moments in History" that have prepared this small but vital Coast Guard for the duties of tomorrow. The renowned artists, who created these paintings, are members of the Coast Guard/Society of Illustrators Program (COGTLL).