City Salutes Coast Guard on Its Anniversary
By Pam Spencer, City of Paducah
PADUCAH, KY - The U.S. Coast Guard is celebrated its 222nd birthday on Saturday, August 4. The City of Paducah salutes the U.S. Coast Guard and the local active duty, reserve, retired, civilian, auxiliary, and family members.
Even though the U.S. Coast Guard is the smallest of our nation’s five armed services, it has the largest active duty military presence in McCracken County. Paducah Mayor Bill Paxton says, “On behalf of the City of Paducah, we wish the U.S. Coast Guard a happy birthday. Paducah is honored to have both the Marine Safety Unit and the National Towing Vessel Center of Expertise within the city limits.” Mayor Paxton adds, “Citizens of Paducah should feel proud that we have the experience and professionalism of the Coast Guard men and women right here in the city. Furthermore, we will continue to look for other opportunities on how we can build new partnerships.”
The U.S. Coast Guard began August 4, 1790, two years before Kentucky became a state. At the urging of Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, Congress authorized the construction of a fleet of ten revenue cutters to protect against smuggling and enforce federal tariff and trade laws. The “Revenue Cutter Service” expanded in size and responsibilities as the nation grew, eventually becoming responsible for a variety of missions: maritime homeland security, national defense, maritime law enforcement, marine rescue, aids to navigation, marine environmental protection, merchant mariner licensing, and merchant vessel safety. The service received its present name in 1915 under an act of Congress when the Revenue Cutter Service merged with the Life-Saving Service. In later years, the Coast Guard absorbed both the Lighthouse Service and the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation. The Coast Guard transferred into the Department of Homeland Security in 2003.
For more information about the history of the U.S. Coast Guard, contact the Seamen’s Church Institute, Center for Maritime Education in Paducah at 270-575-1005.