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My Coast Guard
Commentary | Nov. 4, 2021

BZ: Coast Guard Academy, Adm. Nimitz Pistol Competition, Coast Guard and Aviation History Month

By Nicole Bertrand, MyCG writer

Bravo Zulu to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy for ranking among the nation’s top institutions of higher learning. This year the academy once again ranked No. 1 in the Top Public Schools Regional Colleges North and the overall Regional Colleges North categories in the 2022 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges magazine. The academy was also ranked No. 4 in the Most Innovative Schools and No. 13 in the Best in Undergraduate Engineering Programs categories in the same publication. The Princeton Review also featured the academy in The Best 386 Colleges publication, a listing of the top 15% of colleges and universities in America. The annual college rankings publications are a comprehensive look at how accredited four-year colleges and universities in the U.S. compare in a set of widely-accepted indicators of excellence in higher education. The Academy offers a quality higher education experience that emphasizes leadership, physical fitness, and professional development leading to a guaranteed job upon graduation as an officer in the Coast Guard. 

Congratulations to the USCG shooting team who placed third in the Adm. Nimitz Pistol Competition during San Francisco Fleet Week 2021. San Francisco Fleet Week (SFFW) began in 1981 when then-Mayor Dianne Feinstein led the nation in celebrating America's sea services. Taking place every October on the Marina Green over Italian Heritage Weekend, SFFW's air show, the parade of ships, and many community events have become a significant and integral part of the city's local culture and economy. SFFW features a unique training and education program that brings together civilian and military forces to develop and share best practices in humanitarian assistance. Adm. Nimitz was commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet during World War II. One of the Navy’s foremost administrators and strategists, he commanded all land and sea forces in the central Pacific area. By June 1942, he had proudly announced the decisive victory at the Battle of Midway and the Coral Sea. In succeeding years, the historic battles of the Solomon Islands (1942–43), the Gilbert Islands (1943), the Marshalls, Marianas, Palaus, and Philippines (1944), and Iwo Jima and Okinawa (1945) were fought under his direction.

Let’s recognize USCG’s long history of successful aerial missions this November during Aviation History Month. Coast Guard aviation owes its beginnings to 2nd Lt. Norman B. Hall, 3rd  Lt. Elmer F. Stone, and their commanding officer, Capt. B.M. Chiswell. The United States entered World War I April 6, 1917, and the Coast Guard was transferred to the U.S. Navy. An additional eight Coast Guardsmen had obtained their wings by this time and all participated. The expansion of Naval aviation was rapid and the Coast Guard officers having had previous sea duty were senior in rank. After the armistice the Coast Guard was returned to the Treasury Department and opportunities for aviation duties were extremely limited. In the unsettled times following the war, Coast Guard aviation was all but lost. However, subsequent events reignited the need for Coast Guard aerial missions. In 1928 an aviation section was established at Coast Guard Headquarters under the command of Cmdr. Norman Hall. By 1938 a small group of dedicated individuals had established and given permanence to Coast Guard aviation. Aircraft proved to be extremely effective in locating maritime smugglers and rescuing those in distress. Many Coast Guard missions today can be attributed to the utilization of aircraft.