My Coast Guard
Commentary | Nov. 5, 2021

More than 230 years of service: Veterans Day reminds us of the sacrifices of those who have remained Semper Paratus 

By Nicole Betrand, MyCG Staff

Since the Coast Guard traces its inception back to Aug. 4, 1790, with a 10-vessel fleet under the name of the United States Revenue Cutter Service, members of the service time and again have shown they are a force to be reckoned with when protecting our nation. From 8,000 Vietnam veterans providing immeasurable support to limit coastal infiltration, curtail maritime smuggling, and save hundreds of lives, to troops facing concentrated mortar and surmounting fire laid by enemies that made it nearly impossible for boat crews to land on Iwo Jima shores, Coast Guardsmen have shown exceptional bravery. Service members over the years, like Petty Officer 2nd Class Earl Cunningham, who endured frostbite and ultimately death to save others and the legendary “Lucky Ox,” who demonstrated heroic acts during the Normandy landings, have exhibited the mettle and character that is required to be a Coast Guardsman. When faced with the horrific events of 9/11, the best shone forth in our fellow service members, such as Coast Guard Reservist Petty Officer 1st Class Jeffrey Palazzo, who gave his life. That day led to the reshaping of the Coast Guard to what it currently is now. Capt. Charles Satterlee, who received command of cutters Seminole, Mackinac, Tahoma, Acushnet, Miami, and Tampa and valiantly led before experiencing a surprise attack—an explosion that resulted in the worst combat loss suffered by U.S. Naval forces during WWI is another example of devotion to duty. In January 1945, Lt.j.g. Joseph Jenkins became the Coast Guard’s first African American commanding officer and the fourth minority skipper in service history, exemplifying the ideals of the Coast Guard. Maria Mestre de los Dolores is yet one more veteran, who, in 1859, was the first Hispanic-American woman to serve in a Coast Guard predecessor service and the first to oversee a federal installation. She was a tribute to the women that have served for more than two centuries. This Veterans Day, we can reflect on how both women and men of different backgrounds have contributed to the service.  

Read “The Long Blue Line” weekly on MyCG to learn more about the Coast Guard’s exceptional women, men, and history. Below are just a few articles to explore. MyCG is the official overview site for the United States Coast Guard where you will find information about the Coast Guard's missions, strategies, and news. 

The Long Blue Line: “American Healer”—A Coast Guard Corpsman in Vietnam 50 years ago 

The Long Blue Line: “Big Mac” attack--Icebreaker Mackinaw battles Lake Ice 75 years ago! 

The Long Blue Line: A Coast Guard scientist, maritime war hero, and polar icebreaker skipper 

The Long Blue Line: Over 230 years of women in the Coast Guard—America’s diversity trailblazers! 

The Long Blue Line: Danmark—the friend-ship between Denmark and the Coast Guard 

The Long Blue Line: Cutter Daphne and the “North Atlantic Vegetable War” 

The Long Blue Line: Lt. j.g. Harvey Russell--African-American trailblazer in the U.S. Sea Services 

The Long Blue Line: The storied career of ice cutter Northland and the Greenland Patrol 75 years ago! 

The Long Blue Line: Cutter Golden Gate’s response to the San Francisco Earthquake 115 years ago! 

The Long Blue Line: Hispanic American history of the Coast Guard—200 years of service! 

The Long Blue Line: Japanese “Good Luck” Flag captured in the Battle of Eniwetok 

The Long Blue Line: Asian cuttermen--the first 100 years of unique service history 

The Long Blue Line: “Into the Jaws of Death”—SM2 John Roberts and LCI-93 at Omaha Beach