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Monday, August 04, 2008



Date: August 4, 2008

Contact: (202) 372-4620

Coast Guard Celebrates 218 years of Service

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Coast Guard is celebrating 218 years of service as America's maritime guardians today.

"The Coast Guard has a proud history, and on the occasion of our birthday, we must pay tribute to those who came before us," said Adm. Thad W. Allen, commandant. "We must also rededicate ourselves to making the Coast Guard the best it can be for those who will follow in our footsteps."

This year's birthday coincides with a historic event and an important step forward in the Coast Guard's modernization, the commissioning of the first National Security Cutter, Bertholf, in Alameda, Calif.

The Bertholf and its sister ship Waesche, which was christened on July 26, are at the forefront of the Coast Guard's fleet modernization. The National Security Cutters will improve operational readiness and enable the Coast Guard to fulfill its multi-mission roles more effectively through better sea keeping, higher sustained transit speeds, greater endurance and range, and a greater ability to launch and recover improved small boats, helicopters, and eventually unmanned aerial vehicles - all key attributes in enabling the Coast Guard to implement increased security responsibilities.

Additional modernization efforts include added capabilities to workhorse assets like the MH-65C helicopter, C-130 aircraft and the Medium Endurance Cutter (WMEC) fleet as well as introduced new assets such as the Response Boat-Medium and the HC-144a Ocean Sentry patrol aircraft. The Coast Guard is also adding capacity to its marine safety program, improving our shore-based command and control capabilities and achieving a greater degree of maritime domain awareness. All Coast Guard modernization efforts are designed to improve mission execution and enable the Coast Guard to be more adaptive to the maritime challenges of the 21st century.

The Coast Guard is one of America's five armed forces and traces its founding to Aug. 4, 1790, when the first Congress authorized the construction of ten vessels to enforce tariff and trade laws, prevent smuggling, and protect the collection of the federal revenue. Considerable responsibilities have been added over the years including humanitarian duties such as aiding mariners in distress. The service received its present name in 1915 when the Revenue Cutter Service merged with the U.S. Life-Saving Service to form a single maritime service dedicated to safety of life at sea and enforcing the nation's maritime laws.

The United States Coast Guard -- Proud History. Powerful Future.

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