Looking Back: Coast Guard celebrates 225th anniversary

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Courtesy photo

By DINA ARÉVALO
Port Isabel-South Padre Press
editor@portisabelsouthpadre.com

Tuesday, August 4, marked the 225th anniversary of the United States Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard, which patrols the country’s maritime borders, is a branch of the Armed Forces, but it’s a lot more than that.

It began as the Revenue Cutter Service in 1790, said Station South Padre Island Commander Lt. William Bell Tuesday. Alexander Hamilton presented the proposal to Congress, which created the service, he said.

Over the years, the organization evolved and took on new names and responsibilities. “We’ve had the Revenue Cutter Service, we’ve had the Steamboat Inspection Service, we’ve had the Lifesaving Service, the Lighthouse Service … and they all combined in 1915 and that created what we call the Coast Guard today,” Bell said.

The Coast Guard has been involved from every war the United States has participated in since 1790, including the Vietnam War and the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. Locally, the Coast Guard maintains a patrol of the country’s exclusion economic zone, which stretches 200 miles from shore, Bell said. “We’re always out patrolling the waters of the Gulf of Mexico or the Laguna Madre.” he said.

Though stations across the country held celebrations on Tuesday, including at Corpus Christi, Bell said the Island’s observance was more quiet. “What we did this morning (Tuesday) is we had the entire crew outside formed up, and we observed colors,” he said. The National Anthem and the Coast Guard service song was also played, Bell said. “It’s a good time for us to reflect,” he said.

Courtesy Photo

Courtesy Photo

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