AUGUST 4, 1945
NEW YORK, Friday—Today (August 4) is the one hundred and fifty-fifth anniversary of the Coast Guard. When the war opened, there were only 23,261 enlisted men and 1, 741 officers in this service. Today there are approximately 159,000 men and 13,000 officers. In addition, they have 50,000 temporary reservists, including members of the Auxiliary and Volunteer Corps Security Force, who have borne their share of Coast Guard responsibility.
It is well for us to look back every now and then, I think, on the history of our various services. The Coast Guard was created on August 4, 1790. It was given its present name in 1915, when the Revenue Cutter Service was merged with the Life Saving Service, an organization dating back to 1848.
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In times of peace, the Coast Guard's responsibility includes such duties as manning life stations, maintaining the iceberg and weather patrol, supervision of merchant marine inspection, serving as aids to navigation, patrolling our 40,000 miles of shore line and protecting our numerous harbors. At one time the Coast Guard was under the Treasury Department, but in every way the Coast Guard has fought as part of the Navy, and an executive order of November 1, 1941, transferred the Coast Guard directly to the Navy.
In every one of our wars this service has borne its full part, often suffering heavy losses. The Coast Guard motto, "Semper Paratus," meaning "always ready," is never forgotten by men not only afloat but at their shore stations. Their unofficial slogan is "You have to go out, but you don't have to come back." I have often thought of that motto when watching them launch their lifeboats from their lifesaving stations, in a storm, to rescue people in trouble off shore.
In both the Atlantic and Pacific, some of the Coast Guard ships have made history. In the Pacific the Coast Guardsmen gained fame as invaders and, from the opening drive at Guadalcanal to the assault on Okinawa, they have joined in spearheading attacks to wrest island outposts from the enemy.
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Ten thousand Spars have entered the Coast Guard service since the beginning of the war, releasing that number of Coast Guardsmen for service on cutters and on landing craft taking men to the far shores of the world. Many of the Spars are now serving overseas at Hawaiian and Alaskan bases. These girls have proved that there is a place for women in this service as in other branches of the armed forces, and that when given responsibility they will live up to the traditions of their service as well as any of the men.