Come with Me Down the Novel Research Hole

Come with me down the novel research hole. Learn about the U.S. Coast Guard(USCG). It is busier than you know. On an average day, the Coast Guard:

  • Conducts 45 search and rescue cases; s
  • Saves 10 lives;
  • Saves over $1.2 M in property;
  • Seizes 874 pounds of cocaine and 214 pounds of marijuana;
  • Conducts 57 waterborne patrols;
  • Interdicts 17 illegal migrants;
  • Escorts 5 high-capacity passenger vessels;
  • Conducts 24 security boardings
  • Screens 360 merchant vessels for potential security threats;
  • Conducts 14 fisheries conservation boardings;
  • Services 82 boys and fixed aids to navigation;
  • Investigates 35 pollution incidents;
  • Completes 26 safety examinations of foreign vessels;
  • Conducts 105 marine inspections;
  • Investigates 14 marine casualties involving commercial vessels;
  • Facilitates movement of $8.7B worth of goods and commodities through the Nation’s Maritime Transportation System.


President George Washington signed the Tariff Act on August 4, 1790. The act authorized the construction of ten vessels referred to as “cutters.” The Revenue Cutter Service (RCS) was to enforce federal tariff and trade laws and to prevent smuggling. The Service grew in size and responsibilities as the United States grew.

Image of a US Coast Guardsmen lined up on a ship wearing combat helmets. Come with me down the novel research hole. Learn about the U.S. Coast Guard(USCG).

New Responsibilities

In 1915, the RCS merged with the Life-Saving Service and was renamed the Coast Guard. 

Eventually, Congress transferred the Lighthouse Service to the Coast Guard. 

Later, Congress transferred the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation to the Coast Guard. That meant merchant licensing and merchant vessel safety was under the Coast Guard’s control.

In 1967, they transferred the Coast Guard to serve under the Department of Transportation. However, in 2003, Congress transferred the USCG to the Department of Homeland Security. That made it the only armed service within the Department of Homeland Security.

Image of a large Coast Guard cutter escorted by a smaller Coast Guard Cutter.
The Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton is escorted by the Coast Guard Cutter William Flores off the coast of Miami Beach, Nov. 11, 2014. The Hamilton is the fourth National Security Cutter designed to replace the 378-foot high endurance cutters. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Mark Barney) Public Domain

The USCG Motto

Semper Paratus

(Always Ready)

Today’s USCG

The Coast Guard is both a federal law enforcement agency and a military force. It protects and defends over 100,000 miles of U.S. Coastline and inland waterways. 

The USCG has four national defense missions: maritime intercept operations, deployed port operations/security and defense, peacetime engagement, and environmental defense operations. 

Today, over 56,000 members of the Coast Guard operate a multi-mission, interoperable fleet of 243 Cutters, 201 fixed and rotary-wing aircraft, and more than 1,600 boats. 

Coast Guard Veterans

By U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary – USCG Newsroom. The U.S. Coast Guard’s official media relations site. Public Domain

If you’re of a certain age, you may remember a television show called Sea Hunt, starting Lloyd Bridges (father of Jeff and Beau Bridges). Did you know that Lloyd served in the Coast Guard? During WWII, he left his show and joined the Coast Guard. His two sons followed in his footsteps and also served in the Coast Guard. They awarded Beau Bridges the Lone Sailor Award in 2011.

Other famous people served in the USCG include:

  • Nick Adams (Actor)
  • Humphrey Bogart (Actor)
  • Sid Caesar (Comedian)
  • Walter Cronkite (newscaster)
  • Arthur Fiedler  (Conductor, Boston Pops Orchestra)
  • Sid Gordon (2-time All Star major league baseball player)
  • Alex Haley (writer)
  • And many, many more. See the list here.

Heroes of the USCG

Douglas Munro commanded a group of Higgins boats at the Battle of Guadalcanal, Munro coordinated the evacuation of over 500 Marines who came under heavy fire, using his boat as a shield to draw fire. He is the only Coast Guardsman to receive the Medal of Honor.

Lt. Thomas “Jimmy” Crotty was the first Coast Guard prisoner of war since the War of 1812.

After her father had a stroke, Ida Lewis took over as the keeper of Lime Rock Lighthouse, Rhode Island. Over her 39 year career, Lewis saved 18 lives.

There are many other heroes of the USCG. You can read about them here.

Recent Tragedy

I have been deep down the novel research hole about the USCG before the deadly dive boat fire off the California coast happened. My condolences to the families of the missing and presumed dead. After watching many YouTube videos of USCG servicemen and women, I know they feel these loses keenly. May they find peace in knowing they did what they could.

Down the novel research hole?

Thanks for following me down the novel research hole. In the sequel to My Soul to Keep, Miranda and Beryl will have an encounter with the USCG. Like everything in the world of My Soul to Keep, it’s not quite the same USCG as the one in our reality. Guess what differences the U. S. Coast Guard would have to have in Miranda’s world and time? 


  1. My aunt and uncle both proudly served in the Coast Guard during WW II. That’s where they met. This brought back memories of their stories, and other associations. Thanks for sharing this USCG spotlight!

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