Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz marked the 230th birthday of the U.S. Coast Guard today with a message lauding the women and men who “facilitate commerce in our ports and waterways; interdict illegal drugs at sea; patrol our coasts and protect our harbors and waterways; enforce laws and international treaties, and project sovereignty in the High Latitudes; and save lives.”
“We remain ‘Always Ready,'” Schultz said. “We operate on America’s maritime front lines, and have done so since Alexander Hamilton petitioned President George Washington to build a fleet of ten sea-going cutters in 1790.”
The commandant noted that the service “has once again faced unique challenges” as it turns 230.
“Through the COVID-19 global pandemic, the Coast Guard has answered the call, recalling Reservists as an essential element of our mission ready total workforce, providing members to support other agencies including the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), assisting with the safe transit, mooring, and security of the USNS COMFORT and USNS MERCY, and partnering with our fellow DHS agencies and municipal government officials to safely disembark over 250,000 cruise ship passengers from 76 vessels,” he said.
“Throughout this extraordinary period, the dedication and innovation of our Coast Guard active duty, reserve, civilian, auxiliarists, and the support of our families, have allowed us to overcome myriad challenges, best leverage resources, and mitigate risk to ensure the health and safety of our workforce while performing our statutory missions. We have appropriately prioritized operations that provide vital services to the American people in order to maintain national security, protect life and property, and enable the Marine Transportation System (MTS) which is responsible for $5.4 trillion of our Nation’s annual economy.”
Schultz added that “fueled by the adaptability and teamwork of our dedicated workforce, our Service has continued to maximize readiness and deliver mission success across the globe against the backdrop of the world wide pandemic.”
“These efforts have enabled the Coast Guard to successfully interdict over 40,000 kilograms of cocaine and nearly 30,000 pounds of marijuana, apprehend over 100 smugglers, and conduct numerous Living Marine Resource boardings since the beginning of the COVID-19 response,” he continued. “Additionally, the Coast Guard has responded to a 10% increase in Search and Rescue cases, and facilitated commerce and global maritime transportation from the Mississippi River to the Arctic Circle and beyond.”
Despite the challenges presented by COVID-19, “our Coast Guard remains Ready, Relevant, and Responsive to meet the needs of the Nation,” Schultz stressed.
“On this 230th birthday, as you stand the watch at sea, in the air, or ashore, I salute your dedication and resiliency as you continue to serve proudly as a member of our team – the World’s Best Coast Guard! As we have done since 1790, the Coast Guard stands the watch and remains ‘Always Ready.’”
The White House released a statement lauding the “courageous individuals” in the Coast Guard who “defend our borders, rescue mariners in distress, facilitate the passage of trillions of dollars of commerce safely into and out of our ports, and combat drug smugglers and human traffickers, among a host of other tasks essential to the security of the American people.”