August 4 is the 225th birthday of the United States Coast Guard. To mark the occasion, we compiled a list of 25 coast guard facts you may not know in order to celebrate one of the United States' oldest organizations.
Did you know these Coast Guard facts?
1. The history of the Coast Guard founding. The Coast Guard was founded on August 4, 1790, after Congress commissioned the construction of ten ships to help enforce federal tariffs and prevent smuggling.
2. A Writer’s Roots. Alex Haley, who wrote the acclaimed Pulitzer Prize-winning novel "Roots,“ was the Coast Guard’s first journalist.
3. Two flags are better than 1. The Coast Guard has two official flags: The Coast Guard standard and the Coast Guard ensign.
4. Sink or swim. One of the lesser-known Coast Guard facts is that becoming a Coast Guard rescue swimmer is extremely hard. More than half the people who try out fail.
5. Disney and the Coast Guard. Walt Disney created a special logo for the Coast Guard’s Corsair Fleet during World War II, featuring Donald Duck.
6. How many wars have Coast Guard members served in? Members of the Coast Guard have served in 17 wars and conflicts throughout U.S. history.
7. Who was Anthony Christy? Anthony Christy was the oldest active serving Coast Guard member. The keeper of the Christiana Lighthouse in Delaware, Christy died on duty in September 1862, at the age of 105.
8. Which department is the Coast Guard part of? Since 2003, the Coast Guard has been operating as part of the Department of Homeland Security.
9. The Launch of the Vigilant In 1791, the Coast Guard launched its first cutter, Vigilant.
10. Where was the first Coast Guard Air Station? The first permanent Coast Guard Air Station was located in Cape May, New Jersey, and was founded in 1926.
11. The origin of the racing stripe. Colors of the Coast Guard facts - in 1967, the Coast Guard adopted the trademark red slash design, or racing stripe, that appears on its vessels.
12. Women in the Coast Guard. In 1941, the Coast Guard hired its first civilian women to serve in secretarial and clerical positions.
13. The Coast Guard and World War II. 241,093 Coast Guard members served during World War II.
14. The Coast Guard motto. “Semper Paratus” is the Coast Guard motto.
15. Pups of the Coast Guard. While many animals have served as mascots aboard Coast Guard vessels, Sinbad, a dog, is one of the service’s most famous. He served on board the cutter Campbell during World War II, keeping troops company during their voyages.
16. The Revenue Cutter Service. The Coast Guard was referred to as the Revenue Marine and the Revenue Cutter Service throughout the late 18th and the 19th centuries.
17. All about battle streamers. The Coast Guard has authorized a total of 43 battle streamers, which are attached to the Coast Guard standard, replacing cords and tassels. Battle streamers are carried in all ceremonies representing heroic actions in all naval encounters from 1798 to today. Any Coast Guard unit may display the battle streamers.
18. What is a cutter, anyway? The Coast Guard refers to a vessel as a “cutter” if it’s over 65-feet long.
19. The Coast Guard hockey legacy. Do you know your Coast Guard sports facts? From 1942-44, the Coast Guard had a championship hockey team called the Cutters that played in the Eastern Amateur Hockey League, considered to be one of the most competitive leagues of its time.
20. Fellow U.S. naval services. Until the Navy was re-established in 1797, the Coast Guard was the only naval service in the country.
21. The first uniformed female Coast Guard members. In 1918, sisters Genevieve and Lucille Baker were the first uniformed women to serve in the Coast Guard.
22. Who was Captain Hopley Yeaton? President George Washington commissioned the first Coast Guard officer, Captain Hopley Yeaton, on March 21, 1791.
23. Where is the oldest boat station? The oldest Coast Guard boat station is in Sandy Hook, New Jersey.
24. The Eastwind. In 1967, the Coast Guard icebreaker Eastwind became the first cutter to ever sail around Antarctica. Eastwind was also the first ship to circumnavigate Antarctica since 1843.
25. On My Honor. The Coast Guard core values are honor, respect and devotion to duty.
–Information from uscg.mil and other sources.