U.S. Coast Guard
Chapter 8
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While the Coast Guard’s organizational positioning is unique—part of one cabinet level department during peace (Transportation) and another during war or under Presidential direction (Defense)—its contributions to national defense have been significant.  The USCG represents the oldest continuous seagoing service in this country and has fought in almost every war since implementation of the U.S. Constitution to include battles with pirates, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Seminole Indian uprising, the Spanish-American War, both world wars, Korea, Vietnam [1] , and most recently the Persian Gulf War, where the USCG was the only Armed Service with the ship search capabilities necessary to make the embargo of seagoing goods a success.

On a daily basis numerous Coast Guard personnel are serving in joint billets and as part of joint task forces falling under direct oversight of the Department of Defense.  In FY 1999, the USCG sent training teams to help more than 50 nations develop coast guards; participated in nation building in the Caribbean and South America; and sent cutters to support Operation Allied Force in the Mediterranean and the USS Constellation battle group enforcing the Iraqi oil embargo in the Persian Gulf. [2]   The U. S. Coast Guard truly is a full-time military organization with a genuine peacetime mission.

[1] Scheina, R. The Coast Guard at War.  URL:  http://www.uscg.mil/hq/g-cp/history/h_CGatwar.html .

[2] The 1999 Annual Report of the U. S. Coast Guard. pp. 7 and 30–31.  (also available at URL:  http://www.uscg.mil).

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