The United States Coast Guard has been saving lives at sea since 1790 when it was established as the Revenue Marine Service by the then Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton. It would later become the Revenue Cutter Service. In 1915 it was combined with the U.S. Life Saving Service (which had been formed in 1878) becoming the United States Coast Guard.
The Coast Guard was under the peacetime jurisdiction of the Treasury Department until 1967, when it was transferred to the Department of Transportation. In 2003 it found its present home under the Department of Homeland Security.
The Coast Guard has a wide variety of responsibilities today from enforcing all applicable federal laws in the waters that fall under federal jurisdiction, to protecting lives and property along all of our coasts. It develops and operates aids to navigation in order to maintain safe environs for both ports and vessels within territorial waters. Its many duties also include the operations of lighthouses, and lightships, buoys and electronic navigation aids. It also operates an extensive network of lifeboat and search and rescue stations, utilizing both surface vessels and aircraft.
As I have written about before, it also has icebreaking duties in Antarctica each year and conducts the International Ice Patrol in the arctic and North Atlantic shipping lanes.
I have written, too, about the Coast Guard’s duties in interdicting illegal drug smuggling on the high seas. The Coast Guard’s mission also parallels that of the United States Navy in many circumstances. I have a close friend who, for example, served on a Coast Guard minesweeper in Vietnam. And have written about the Coast Guard’s participation in WWII in both the European and the Pacific Theaters and in the current post 9/11 wars.
This video today, is simply about one of its most common and most recognized duties for most of us. This is a Coast Guard video taken within the last week of a rescue of a fisherman who began to suffer symptoms of a heart attack some 65 miles off of the Virginia coast.
The first part of it is silent and shows the patient being lifted off of the fishing vessel by a Coast Guard helicopter and crew. The last half is with sound and shows the arrival of the patient as he is off-loaded from the helicopter on the hospital roof and taken into the hospital.
Because of the Coast Guard’s many dimensional capabilities, including their air assets, situations like this, which would have been fatal years ago, now often end with life saving results.
The Veterans Site, once again, sends its thanks and respect to the men and women of the United States Coast Guard. Your skill, diligence, and dedication are more often than not the difference between life and death for countless numbers of people who require your services every day of the year.
Respect! Semper Paratus!Whizzco