~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Protectors of the coast, sailors, engineers, pilots, mothers, fathers, children—these are just a handful of descriptive titles that identify many of the members of the U.S. Coast Guard. These defenders of freedom are an integral part of the United States military. In fact, in January of 1915, 93 years ago, the Coast Guard was named a branch of the U.S. Armed Forces. Specifically, Title 14 of the United States Code (U.S.C.) details the matter.
Still, the USCG is not a part of the Department of Defenses (DOD). Rather, it is a component of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and was formerly a part of the Department of Transportation (DOT). Many members of the Coast Guard and their families are continuously faced with the task of reminding others that yes, the Coast Guard is, in fact, a military branch.
Unfortunately, the Coast Guard is often forgotten in terms of discounts from companies providing military discounts. You'll find this sets many spouses afire! As it rightly should. Or should it? That's a debate in and of itself, but that's not the point of my writing.
Anyway, the next time someone says the Coast Guard isn’t the real military, invite them to meet the family of deployed coasties overseas serving in Patrol Forces Southwest Asia, Activities Far East, Activities Europe, or a cutter deployed (for 365 days+) in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom or even someone from one of CG ships that deploys every 6 weeks only to risk their lives in the war on drugs. The training and fortitude of the members of the Coast Guard is not for the faint of heart. Sure, there are desk jobs to be had, but one thing is for sure, even these people who are manning the desks, fielding phone calls at all hours of the night and dropping things on a moments notice for a recall are anything but ordinary citizens. They sacrifice and they do it with pride!
Of course, combat is not the only job of the USCG. Still, it is important to note that it has been involved in every major war our country has seen since the Civil War, which predates the 1915 establishment in the U.S.C. There's some good trivia for ya'!
Many folks associated with the Coast Guard view it as a family. With it’s approximately 38,000 active duty members, we are a pretty-close knit community. I can only speak for myself, but I'm proud to be a member of this group, and I look forward to enjoying the wave ride up through to retirement years.