Coast Guard 225th Anniversary: A Special Edition of Coast Guard Outlook


The year 2015 marks the 225th anniversary of the United States Coast Guard.

On Aug. 4, 1790, the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service, one of five federal services that would eventually make up the Coast Guard, was established under the control of the Treasury Department. Over the next century, four more distinct and separate federal services would be amalgamated to become the U.S. Coast Guard. While the service’s missions have grown and evolved over the 225 years of its history, today the Coast Guard remains concentrated on ensuring the safety, security, and prosperity of the nation and its citizens. 

Synopsis of Editorial Contents

In commemoration of the Coast Guard’s 225th anniversary in 2015, this edition of Coast Guard Outlook focuses on the core roles of the Coast Guard. Each of these features will describe their historical origins, through operations, programs, and issues today, and in the future.

Interview: U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft

An interview with the service’s 25th commandant, who assumed command on May 30, 2014.

Saving Lives

Lifesaving, search and rescue, and preventative safety have been traditional Coast Guard missions. From the surfboats of the lifesaving service to modern helicopters winching crew and passengers from stricken ships, rescues at sea have been perhaps the most visible Coast Guard mission.

Enforcing the Law

From its origin on Aug. 4, 1790, the Coast Guard's law enforcement responsibilities have comprised one of its core missions. The service must enforce federal tariffs and trade laws, protect shipping from pirates and any other unlawful interdiction, and intercept material and human contraband. While the trade laws and contraband have changed over the years, the mission remains the same, and retains the same importance.

Ensuring Maritime Safety

Ensuring safe navigation for the nation’s citizens and its commerce is a vital responsibility of the Coast Guard. Operation and maintenance of lightships, lighthouses, and other aids to navigation, inspections and credentialing of commercial vessels and pleasure craft, and the Coast Guard’s International Ice Patrol mission, searching out icy hazards to navigation, retain their vital importance today.

Defending the Nation

Throughout its history, the Coast Guard has served alongside the U.S. Navy during wartime, when called upon to defend the nation as a component of the national fleet. The service today operates as a specialized service to support the homeland military strategy. At the same time, as a key part of the Department of Homeland Security, the Coast Guard defends the nation every day from terrorism and other threats.

Stewards of Marine Resources

The Coast Guard’s role in protecting natural resources dates to the 1820s, when the Revenue Marine was tasked to protect federal stocks of Florida live oak trees for shipbuilding. Charged with at-sea fisheries enforcement and marine resource management as well as protecting living marine resources and the sea itself, the Coast Guard has encountered increased pressures that have become a matter of national, and financial, security.

Doing More With Less Through Innovation

The proud Coast Guard tradition of doing more with less, finding ways to perform its mission with hand-me-down ships and aircraft, and exploring new innovations and efficiencies continues today. From the Coast Guard Research and Development Center down to the deck plate level, the spirit of innovation is alive and well.

The U.S. Coast Guard Academy

The Coast Guard Academy is the smallest and most specialized of America’s five federal service academies. From the service’s first class of eight cadets who reported aboard the topsail schooner Dobbin in 1876 to today, the academy has graduated fleet-ready junior officers.

Icons of the Air: Coast Guard Aircraft

The service has a storied history in aviation, which began in 1916 when the first lieutenants reported to Naval Aviation School at Pensacola, Florida. This feature is a look at the service’s most iconic or unique aircraft, through the eyes of those who flew them.

Legendary Cutters

From the establishment of the Revenue Cutter Service, commissioned to secure revenue customs and enforce laws against contraband through today, Coast Guard cutters enabled famous rescues and scientific research; fought in several wars, broke ice and tended buoys; and carried out littoral and offshore national security and law enforcement operations. This feature looks at the service’s most iconic and famous ships.

Coast Guard Ships and Aircraft

An overview of the service’s sea and air assets, including decommissionings, retirements, and acquisitions.

Snapshot and Flag Leadership

An update of the service’s facts, figures, data, and leadership.



Publication will ship in early December.

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