Coast Guard Day, 2011

Happy Coast Guard Day to  all. Anniversary of the founding of a unique American institution. Perhaps under appreciated, Coast Guard “you done good”–over and over again.

3 thoughts on “Coast Guard Day, 2011

  1. Chuck, I agree. It was, and is, a unique organization.

    The start was bumpy to say the least. Although some officers had been “appointed” to oversee the upcoming construction of the new cutters, none had commissions. The only actively serving master was James Montgomery at Philadelphia who succeeded Joseph Rice in command of the 1789 General Greene. Rice, officially, carries the signal number “1”. Rice took command in September 1789.

    The next couple years highlighted the Service’s lack of organization and planning. Although most of the cutters ran over budget and beyond contract time, they were cheaply built on too small a plan. The were undermanned (minimally) to keep down manpower costs and the masters were ordered to keep sailing with minimal repairs and upkeep.

    Their armaments, not that they needed them, were the worst of war (Revolutionary) surplus and not even of the same manufacture or national origin. However, they were free from the West Point Arsenal and that counted most. (BTW, there is no truth to the “Black Maria” and early cutter story).

    Hamilton’s tenure as Treasury Secretary set the tone for the later Coast Guard. His concern for expenses created a cultural watchfulness for what things cost, but some where things got off track as the missions changed.

    Although Hamilton proposed the cutters in 1789, I like to think of August 4, 1790, as the beginning of a good idea.

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