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The United States Coast Guard Portal

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The United States Coast Guard (USCG) is a branch of the United States armed forces involved in maritime law, mariner assistance, and search and rescue, among other duties of coast guards elsewhere. As one of the seven uniformed services of the United States, and the smallest armed service of the United States, its stated mission is to protect the public, the environment, and the United States economic and security interests in any maritime region in which those interests may be at risk, including international waters and America's coasts, ports, and inland waterways.

USCG has a broad and important role in homeland security, law enforcement, search and rescue, marine environmental pollution response, and the maintenance of river, intracoastal and offshore aids to navigation (ATON). It also lays claim to being the United States' oldest continuous seagoing service. The United States Coast Guard has about 40,150 men and women on active duty.

The Coast Guard's motto is Semper Paratus, meaning "Always Ready".

The legal basis for the Coast Guard is 14 U.S.C. § 1 which states: "The Coast Guard as established January 28, 1915, shall be a military service and a branch of the armed forces of the United States at all times." On February 25, 2003, the Coast Guard was placed under the Department of Homeland Security. The Coast Guard reports directly to the Secretary of Homeland Security. However, under 14 U.S.C. § 3 as amended by section 211 of the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2006, upon the declaration of war and when Congress so directs in the declaration, or when the President directs, the Coast Guard operates as a service in the Department of the Navy.

As members of a military service, Coast Guardsmen on active and reserve service are subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice and receive the same pay and allowances as members of the same pay grades in the other four armed service.

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Aerial view of Washington Parade field and campus

The United States Coast Guard Academy (USCGA), located in New London, Connecticut is a U.S. military academy that provides education to future officers of the United States Coast Guard. Unlike the other Service Academies, admission to the Coast Guard Academy is purely merit-based, and does not require a Congressional nomination.[1] The Academy is regularly cited as being the most difficult U.S. college-level institution to gain entrance into. Each year some 400 students are selected from an applicant pool about eight times that size for appointments to the Academy. About 280 of those 400 students accept the appointment and report to the USCGA in early July for "swab summer," a basic military training program designed to prepare them for the rigors of their Fourth Class year. Each cadet takes two semesters of classes during the school year and then spends the majority of the summer in military training. After four years of study and training, approximately 175 cadets will graduate with a B.S. degree and be commissioned as Ensigns in the United States Coast Guard, to begin serving their five years of obligatory duty. Around 30% of the Corps of Cadets is female.

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United States Coast Guard Motor Life Boat CG-44381 at the National Motor Life Boat School, Cape Disappointment, WA.

Photo credit:Seasee


Did you know...

  • ... that the motto and slogan of the Coast Guard is Semper Paratus, or always ready?

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Selected biography

Daniel Burbank.jpg

Daniel C. Burbank (born 27 July 1961) is an American astronaut and a veteran of two space shuttle missions. Burbank, a Captain in the United States Coast Guard, is the second Coast Guard astronaut (the first was Bruce Melnick).

Burbank, born in Manchester, Connecticut and raised in Tolland, Connecticut, where he graduated from Tolland High School. He attended the United States Coast Guard Academy, earning his commission in 1985. In 1987, he went through flight training and became an instructor pilot, serving at various Coast Guard stations in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and Sitka, Alaska. NASA selected him as an astronaut candidate in 1996 and flew as a mission specialist aboard STS-106 in 2000. He was a mission specialist on STS-115, which launched on September 9, 2006 and returned to Earth on September 21, 2006. Burbank made his first spacewalk on September 13, during a 7 hour EVA to activate the solar panels on the International Space Station's new P3/4 truss.

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Quotes

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"The U.S. Coast Guard is a shining example of how well a Federal agency can perform with its flexibility, speed, and expertise. " — Russ Carnahan

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