Gordon Daniels, age 17, of Kankakee, I11., for his question:
What is now today's United States Coast Guard started as a group called the Revenue Marine. The organization was created in 1790 at the recommendation of Alexander Hamilton, the first secretary of the Treasury.
Congress established a fleet of X10 tiny sailing vessels in an effort to stamp out smuggling and piracy along the coasts of the United States. Revenue Marine officers had permission to board all ships that entered United States waters, and to examine their cargoes.
Between 1790 and ~i798, the Revenue Marine served as the nation's only naval force. Then, in 1798 a regular Navy was also established.
The Revenue Marine continued to serve the nation, even though there was a new Navy. And the organization saw its first wartime activity from 1798 to 1800 when it cooperated with the Navy in fighting French privateers.
The group also fought during the War of 1812.
In 1831, the service began its first winter cruising to aid seafarers and ships in distress. The name of the service was changed to the Revenue Cutter Service in 4:863.
In 1837, Congress authorized the use of public vessels to cruise the coast in rough weather and help navigators in distress. Then the government took over all privately operated lifesaving stations in i871 and established the Lifesaving Service, operated by the Revenue Cutter Service.
In 4878 the Livesaving Service became an independent bureau of the Department of the Treasury. The Revenue Cutter and Lifesaving services were combined as the United States Coast Guard in 1915.
The Federal Lighthouse Service became part of the Coast Guard in 1939. In 1967, the Coast Guard was transferred from the Treasury Department to the Department of Transportation.
When it was first established, the Coast Guard was strictly a man's organization. That all changed in 1976, however, because in that year women students were admitted to the Coast Guard Academy for the first time.
During World War I, the Coast Guard's 200 officers and 5,000 men went into action with the Navy. Coast Guard crews were used to convoy cargo ships and screen transports. In proportion to its strength, the Coast Guard suffered greater losses in the war than any of the other United States armed forces.
During World War II the Coast Guard served as a specialized branch of the Navy. It took part in many Pacific operations and also developed beach landing methods for the Allied invasion of Europe in 1944.
From 4965 to 1972, during the Vietnam War, 52 Coast Guard cutters were assigned duty to patrol the coastal waters of South Vietnam.