U.S. Coast Guard Reserve Birthday
Reported By RET B.Lambert
Today the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve celebrates its 81st Birthday.
Originally established in June 1939 as a civilian all-volunteer reserve, on February 19th 1941 with the passage of the “Coast Guard Reserve and Auxiliary Act” created both the USCGR and the USCG Auxiliary, with the former becoming a paid military reserve force. The USCGR is under the direction of the Commandant of the Coast Guard, through the Assistant Commandant of the Reserve. Sharing the same mission as the active duty coast guard, they help protect the maritime borders of the United States, from security, interdiction, and law enforcement to search and rescue, marine safety, and navigation assistance.
During WWII, USCGR personnel outnumbered regular active duty USCG members by five to one. These “regular reservists” served alongside the regular guardsmen, manning Coast Guard and Navy ships and taking part in wartime operations including being coxswains for invasion landing craft, seeing combat in Iwo Jima, Guam, Normandy, and North Africa. Throughout the Cold War, USCGR participated in both the Korean and Vietnam wars, with 1,600 actively serving in the former and 8,000 in the latter. In October of 1972, USCGR members were given the duty to assist in peacetime operations, primarily after natural disasters or accidents. They took part in multiple rescues during flooding in Mississippi and Ohio, including flooding in the Red River and the Mariel Boatlift of 1980, as well as various maritime accidents. During this time, reservists were used more and more to augment regular Coast Guard units, leading to the concept of “Team Coast Guard” in which the old reserve units were disbanded and integrated into normal active duty units.
Currently, there are over 6,000 Coast Guard Reserves, who have helped in saving lives from hurricanes, flooding, oil spills, and other disasters, including Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Sandy, Deepwater Horizon, the Valdez oil spill, and even assisting Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. Along with this they help secure and protect America’s maritime borders, and maintain a constant state of readiness with a highly skilled and adaptable workforce.