Coast Guard is a branch of the military, too

Published 7:22 am Wednesday, November 15, 2017

My wife and I were in attendance at the Austin Bruins game this past Saturday. Aside from it being the first game I’ve attended that the Bruins won, it was also Military Appreciation Night.

In between periods, the various official songs of each branch were played as veterans of those respective branches stood up: “The Army Goes Rolling Along” for the U.S. Army, “Anchors Aweigh” for the U.S. Navy, “Wild Blue Yonder” for the U.S. Air Force, and “Marines’ Hymn” for the U.S. Marine Corps.

I couldn’t help but notice there was one song I did not hear at the game: “Semper Paratus
(Always Ready)” for the U.S. Coast Guard.

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I spoke to the Austin Bruins and was told the song was played during last year’s Military Appreciation Night, but because this year’s MAN was so busy, it got lost in the chaos.

Before anyone jumps to conclusions, I’m not saying we should be mad at the Bruins. I know they meant no disrespect and sometimes things like this happen. At the same time, I can’t say I’m too surprised. It seems like when it comes to honoring veterans, the Coast Guard is frequently overlooked, and I can’t help but wonder why. Is it because it was recently under the Department of Transportation before being placed under the Department of Homeland Security? Is it because it is viewed more as a law enforcement agency than a military branch? Do people just think it’s part of the Navy? What exactly is it?

The U.S. Coast Guard was established as the Revenue Cutter Service in 1790 (eight years before the U.S. Navy) and, under Title 10 of the U.S. Code, is a part of the armed forces. The name was changed to the Coast Guard in 1915. The president can transfer any asset of the Coast Guard to the Department of the Navy during times of war. The Coast Guard has fought in almost every U.S. war since it was established, most notably in World Wars I and II. Although it is the smallest of the U.S. military branches, with almost 80,000 members, it is the 12th largest naval force in the world. Like the Marine Corps, it is commanded by a commandant, in this case an admiral, that is appointed by the president to a four-year term.

Every day, members of the Coast Guard conduct search and rescue missions, board and search vessels, intercept drugs and illegal immigrants, and aid in navigating lost boats to safety.

So next time we’re honoring our veterans, let us not forget that often overlooked yet still deserving branch the Coast Guard.

And to all Coast Guard veterans, Semper Paratus!

Reach Austin Daily Herald reporter Mike Stoll at