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August 04, 2006

Coast Guard Day!

*(for the story behind the artwork - hit the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry)

To the Men and Women of the Coast Guard:

Today marks the 216th Birthday of our Coast Guard. This anniversary offers us a moment to celebrate our rich history, reflect on our past and focus on our future. The Coast Guard’s unique legacy as America’s lifesaver and maritime guardian evolved from the selfless courage and unflinching determination of our predecessors. It is in their honor that we celebrate today. In 1790, Congress authorized secretary of the treasury Alexander Hamilton to build a fleet of ten cutters to secure our freedom and protect our coast. For the next eight years, the Revenue Marine was the nation’s only naval force. Over time, it evolved and acquired new responsibilities to meet the growing needs of a democracy in the early years of a new nation.

The world has changed dramatically since 1790 and continues to change with every day. The global war on terrorism, the Maritime Transportation Security Act, The Homeland Security Act, the National Strategy for Homeland Security, and the National Strategy for Maritime Security have given the Coast Guard additional areas of mission emphasis. Meeting those new maritime security demands, while sustaining the trust and confidence of the public we serve in preserving our maritime safety and exercising our maritime stewardship duties, requires us to continually challenge ourselves and improve the way we do business. By focusing on superior mission execution in all that we do, our active duty, reserve, civilian and auxiliary men and women are meeting these challenges head on, often times in unique and innovative ways. I am proud of these tremendous efforts and your hard work.

With the arrival of our 217th year of continuous service, we can look forward to the promise of more opportunities to serve America, and even more challenges. I reaffirm my commitment to each of you on this special day to ensure that our Coast Guard men and women are the most versatile workforce in government, equipped with the most capable fleet of ships, aircraft and boats, along with the most effective systems that will support them. We have an extraordinary legacy of excellence as America’s Coast Guard. We will build on that legacy. We will rise to meet the challenges facing us. And we will remain always ready.

Happy Birthday and Semper Paratus!

Admiral Thad Allen

What he said!

*In 1898, when America declared war on Spain, the Revenue Cutter Service - a precursor agency of the modern Coast Guard - was placed under the Navy Department. The cutter Hudson, a tug that had during peacetime been stationed in New York Harbor, was one of eight vessels charged with helping blockade Cuban harbors. During a reconnaissance mission near Cardenas, Cuba, Hudson and two Navy vessels came under heavy fire. A torpedo boat, Winslow took the heaviest shelling and requested help from Hudson. Unfavorable winds made getting a towline to Winslow difficult, and 30 minutes passed before cutter successfully passed a line between the two vessels, with shells all the while striking the torpedo boat and passing overhead and near Hudson. Just before the towline was secured and Winslow was pulled to safety, a bursting shell killed an officer and three men on board the Navy warship. For their distinguished service, all of Hudson's officers and crew were awarded medals from Congress.