The United States Coast Guard, one of the country's five armed services, is also one of the most unique agencies of the federal government. We trace our history back to 4 August 1790, when the first Congress authorized the construction of ten vessels to enforce tariff and trade laws, prevent smuggling, and protect the collection of the federal revenue. Known variously as the Revenue Marine and the Revenue Cutter Service, we expanded in size and responsibilities as the nation grew.
These added responsibilities included humanitarian duties such as aiding mariners in distress. Our law enforcement functions also continued to expand. Congress tasked us with enforcing laws against slavery, piracy, and enlarged our responsibilities to prevent smuggling. We were also given the responsibility to protect the marine environment, explore and police Alaska, and chart the growing nation's coastlines, all well before the turn of the twentieth century.
This site contains a huge amount of information related to the United States Coast Guard. The Coast Guard Fact File offers information regarding the organization today on a wide range of topics. The site also offers photographic images, art, sketches, and insignias. Vessel and aircraft data sheets give stats and specifications for all Coast Guard equipment. A browser should follow the link to the office of the USCG historian to find the largest amount of historical information. This page links to more than 30 sections on topics from lighthouses, to search and rescue, to Coast Guard mascots. This part of the site offers transcriptions of oral histories, more images, several bibliographies, and an expansive number of articles, facts, and trivia. The site is an incredible resource for anyone researching histories of the military, maritime industries, coastal communities, or an almost unlimited number of other topics.