Category: History

The Long Blue Line: Mrs. Friedman—the Coast Guard’s “Cryptologist-in-Charge” and NSC namesake

By 1931, Friedman had trained T-Men to use new radio direction finders. They mounted them on Coast Guard radio detection trucks to track the rum runners’ pirate radio stations. She also persuaded the Treasury Department to give her a team of analysts. She interviewed and hired three men, then trained them in the latest codebreaking methods.

The Long Blue Line: Great Galveston Hurricane—Coast Guard’s first superstorm 120 years ago

Chart showing the track of the 1900 Galveston Hurricane. (Library of Congress)

In early September of 1900, a hurricane of massive force struck the Gulf Coast west of Galveston, Texas. The Great Galveston Hurricane would prove far deadlier than any man-made, environmental or weather-related disaster in U.S. history, with approximately 8,000 killed in Galveston and roughly 2,000 more lost in other parts of the Gulf Coast.This death toll is greater than the combined casualty figure for the 1941 Pearl Harbor attack, Hurricane Katrina, the 9/11 terrorist attacks as well as Hurricane Ike, which struck Galveston in 2008.

The Long Blue Line: Royal Signalman Eddy Priestly and D-Day’s Saviors

Posed photograph of Royal Signalman Edmund Lowry “Eddy” Priestly in uniform. (Ms. Vivienne Davis)

Eddy never forgot how that Coast Guardsman had saved his life and how the Royal Signalmen had watched as the brave American swam powerfully through the waves to save strangers he would never see again. After they secured the tow rope, the Signalmen tried to thank the Coast Guardsmen, but he just waved and swam back to his rescue boat never to be seen again.

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The Long Blue Line: Florence Finch—Asian-American SPAR and FRC namesake dons uniform 75 years ago!

Florence Smith Finch supplied food and medicine to American POWs in the Philippines then became a Coast Guard SPAR late in World War II. (Coast Guard Collection)

Florence Finch Smith was the first Asian-American woman to don a Coast Guard uniform. In 1995, the Coast Guard honored Finch’s service by naming the administration building for her at Coast Guard Base Honolulu. She passed away in 2016 at the age of 101. Of her wartime activities, she stated “I feel very humble because my activities in the war effort were trivial compared with those of people who gave their lives for their country.”