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The United States Coast Guard
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Naval Orientation - Military manual for administrative purposes
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Department of the Navy
In the mid-1800s Congress established the U.S. Lifesaving   Service,    an   organization   of   local stations  scattered  along  the  U.S.  coast.  Shortly after  the  turn  of  the  century,  the  Lifesaving Service and the Revenue Cutter Service merged to  form  the  U.S.  Coast  Guard.  This  merger provided  the  Coast  Guard  with  its  traditional image—the  lifesavers. In  1939  the  Coast  Guard  joined  the  Light- house  Service  and  assumed  the  responsibility for  establishing  and  maintaining  aids  to  nav- igation  in  U.S.  waters.  This  responsibility has  grown  to  such  an  extent  that  today  the Coast Guard maintains nearly 50,000 navigational aids,  including  worldwide  electronic  navigation systems. MISSION The  mission  of  the  U.S.  Coast  Guard  is twofold.   During   peacetime   the   Coast   Guard’s modern-day  mission  is  an  interesting  mixture. Various  peacetime  roles  include  the  following: Enforcement  of  maritime  laws  and  treaties Search  and  rescue  operations Enforcement of U.S. drug and contraband laws Installation  and  maintenance  of  aids  to navigation Ice-breaking  operations  that  keep  commer- cial  vessel  traffic  moving  in  domestic waters  and  support  scientific  research  in the  Arctic  and  Antarctica As  the  primary  maritime  law  enforcement agency of the United States, the Coast Guard is responsible  for  enforcing  maritime  regulatory  laws concerning  the  following: Safety regulations for all U.S. commercial vessels,  offshore  structures,  and  recreational boating Port safety and security, including ports, harbors,  and  their  approaches The  movement  of  vessels  in  ports  and waterways during crisis situations •  Marine    environmental    protection    to prevent and contain spills of oil and other hazardous substances Because  the  Coast  Guard  is  a  military service—one  that  has  ships,  planes,  and  boats—it also has a military readiness mission. The Coast Guard  works  closely  with  the  Navy,  undergoes regular refresher training for its major cutters, and participates  in  joint  operational  exercises. With  the  advent  of  World  War  II,  the  Coast Guard  assumed  the  responsibilities  of  in-port safety and security and commercial vessel safety. The  Coast  Guard  has  continued  to  grow  and shoulder  additional  responsibilities.  In  the  last 30 years, the Coast Guard has acquired respon- sibilities  for  polar  and  domestic  ice  breaking, cleanup  and  protection  of  the  marine  environ- ment,  and  recreational  boating  safety.  In  1967  the Coast  Guard  became  part  of  the  newly  formed Department   of   Transportation. In wartime the U.S. Coast Guard has always served  with  pride.  Today,  during  a  wartime condition,  the  U.S.  Coast  Guard  would  operate directly under the Chief of Naval Operations. It would  still  have  the  same  mission  as  it  did  during World War II, plus added roles. The Coast Guard would  assume  convoy  duties  as  well  as  anti- submarine warfare missions. Its cutters are well suited  for  convoy  duties  as  they  have  a  long cruising  range  and  room  for  armament. The air search and rescue section of the Coast Guard would fly rescue missions and would also be  used  for  reconnaissance  flights.  They  also would  be  used  as  antisubmarine  aircraft.  The Coast  Guard’s  mission  in  wartime  would  strain its limited assets. FUNCTION The primary functions of the Coast Guard are as  follows: Enforcing all applicable federal laws upon the  high  seas  and  in  waters  that  are subject  to  the  jurisdiction  of  the  United States Safeguarding  against  destruction  or  loss from sabotage or other subversive acts all vessels,   harbors,   ports,   and   waterfront facilities   in   the   United   States   and   its territories 11-10

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