Coast Guard Turns 214 - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

08/04/04

Coast Guard Turns 214

Two hundred fourteen years ago, the United States Coast Guard began serving America. On August 4th, 1790, it was approved by Congress. Since then, the Coast Guard has undergone a number of name changes, but its commitment to protecting our country's shorelines has never been stronger.

The last year alone has been one of big changes. A little more than a year ago, the Coast Guard moved under the Homeland Security Department and stepped into an even larger role safeguarding our country.

"Since 9/11, it is our highest priority, right along with search and rescue," said LCDR Larry Greene of the Coast Guard Marine Safety Office in Savannah. "Much of our focus is now on port security."

They are spending more time on the water and in the air, inspecting the coastlines and the vessels that travel in and out of the port.

"It makes the entire country safer," LCDR Greene told us. "Many commissions and reports have come out lately that have said our ports are one of the areas that are vulnerable to attack."

The Coast Guard is determined to protect it on all fronts.

"We have a job 24 hours a day, seven days a week," said Yeoman First Class Nathalie Glass at Air Station Savannah. "We're always on duty."

The Coast Guard has made many changes in its 214 year history. From its beginnings in 1790 as the Revenue Cutter Service to over the years being part of the Treasury Department, the Transportation Department and now the Department of Homeland Security.

"It is worth noting that the Coast Guard, since its inception in 1790, has been involved in maritime and port security," said CDR Peter Troedsson. "Certainly though, since 9/11, there's been renewed emphasis using the new organization that we have and the new capabilities that we have."

But while the mission and the organization have changed, the commitment of the men and women who serve in the Coast Guard remains the same.

CDR Troedsson and LCDR Greene both say look to the Coast Guard to continue to grow and adapt to the changing security needs of the country. The Coast Guard in Savannah will celebrate the organization's 214th birthday on Saturday with a party at Memorial Park on Tybee.

Reported by: Liz Flynn, lflynn@wtoc.com

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