Written by Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft.
July 4th is a celebration of American Independence and an appropriate time to reflect upon our Nation’s proud 239 year history. It is a history forged by the strength of our founders who suppressed tyranny and established a new republic on a bedrock of freedom and prosperity. I am especially grateful for those of you providing maritime security at more than 130 holiday related events around our Homeland today, selflessly devoting your holiday to vigilantly protect our Nation’s freedom. In one month, we will celebrate the Coast Guard’s 225th year of service to this great Nation and our enduring role in the safety, security and stewardship of America’s maritime interests – from the Aztec shore to Arctic zone, to Europe and Far East.
Today, members of our 88,000 person force of active duty, reserve, auxiliary and civilian personnel serve around the globe in the long shadow of those who have answered the call in times of war and peace. The geostrategic challenges we face today include transnational criminal organizations in our own hemisphere that are using drug profits to destabilize governments throughout Central America and threaten our security at home. We are witnessing resurgence in American energy production that has increased the flow of commerce on portions of our Maritime Transportation System. We have seen a tremendous increase in human activity in the Arctic, and we are seeing new threats and demands in cyber that are having profound impact on everything we do.
Those of you supporting and operating on the front lines through surf and storm and howling gale to meet the challenges across these emerging domains, do so with the hard fought experience and knowledge gained by our predecessors. Our cyber experts, intelligence community, marine inspectors, deployable specialized forces, search and rescue units, air stations, aids to navigation units, watch standers and all of those throughout our mission support, acquisition and financial enterprise are adapting our rich heritage and experience to meet emerging demands. Stratton, with an embarked Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron unit, patrols the transit zone today conducting intelligence driven operations against criminal networks armed with the lessons learned by Scammel who fought rum runners in 1791. Healy sails to the Arctic today along a trackline not far from those laid down by her namesake in the Revenue Cutter Bear in 1886. Every day, the commanders of Coast Guard sectors issue Captain of the Port orders against vessels operating in disregard of safety or pollution requirements utilizing the same authorities vested in Capt. Godfrey Carden who served as the Coast Guard’s first Captain of the Port in 1917.
As we celebrate America today, and all our Coast Guard has accomplished with our mission and our pride, we invest in a 21st Century Coast Guard that will continue our Service to Nation – 225 years strong – to achieve national maritime objectives with high purpose and Semper Paratus as our guide.
God bless America and the men and women of our United States Coast Guard!