105th Anniversary of the Formation of the US Coast Guard

Photograph of Ellsworth P. Bertholf, Commandant of the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service from 1911 to 1915 and Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard from 1915 to 1919. Coast Guard photo.

Today mark the 105th Anniversary of the formation of the US Coast Guard. “An Act to Create the Coast Guard” (Public Law 239) was signed into law on 28 January 1915.

Credit for this should go to Ellsworth Price Bertholf. First he saved the Revenue Cutter Service from being disassembled and then after WWI saved it from being absorbed by the Navy. He was one of three heroes of the Overland Relief Expedition. He died at age 55.

Did you know he was court marshalled and dismissed while a midshipman at the Naval Academy?

1 thought on “105th Anniversary of the Formation of the US Coast Guard

  1. “Credit for this should go to Ellsworth Price Bertholf. First he saved the Revenue Cutter Service from being disassembled and then after WWI saved it from being absorbed by the Navy. ”

    I bit of disinformation here. Bertholf was the Captain-Commandant in 1915 when the agency of the U. S. Coast Guard was established within the U. S. Treasury Department. The old USRCS remained under Bertholf’s control but the USLSS remained intact under Sumner I. Kimball. Two services under one agency. This was the agreement between Bertholf and Kimball. It also created huge problems for the U.S. Coast Guard that did not end until 1939.

    There was no saving of the Coast Guard in 11919. If the majority of the officer corps had its way the Coast Guard would have shifted. They liked the naval ranks they had during WWI and the pay. The felt the “nicer sense of honor,” first mentioned by Alexander Hamilton in 1790, by having naval ranks. It was a matter of earned respect. It was Bertholf who did not want to move.

    This is an area of underdone Coast Guard history involving the character and development of the modern Coast Guard officer corps. Who will do it? Probably no one. No one likes anything other than the propaganda of the accepted narrative.

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