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The US Coast Guard is the smallest
of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The duties
and responsibilities of the Coast Guard include search and rescue,
marine environmental pollution control and maintenance of intercostals
and offshore aids to navigation (ATON). It renders law enforcement
duties too. There are five basic missions of the Coast Guard. Those
are- Maritime Safety, Maritime Security, Maritime Mobility, National
Defense and Protection of the Natural Resources. The motto of this
force is Semper Paratus, which means "Always Ready."
The US Coast Guard began operating on August 4, 1790 as the Revenue
Cutter Service under the Department of the Treasury. Then it became
a part of the Department of Transportation. On March 31, 2003, it
came under the Department of Homeland Security. The Coast Guard
reports to the Department of Defense in wartime as the "1st
An act of the United States Congress instituted The US Coast Guard
in 1915. This force was the union of two serving forces- the National
Lifesaving Service and the Revenue Cutter Service. Title 14 of the
United States Code provides the legal basis for the Coast Guard.
It states, "The Coast Guard as established January 28, 1915,
shall be a military service and a branch of the armed forces of
the United States at all times."
The US Coast Guard has its headquarters in Washington, DC. It has
a number of districts in its structure. Each district operates in
a particular region of the nation's coastline. Each district has
some large operational centers called Activities. They combine several
functions. There are smaller boat stations, which are called Stations.
Air Stations are there for aircraft operations. The Coast
Guard further designates Maritime Defense Zones for the
Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. A vice admiral is in command of each
The Admiral is the Commandant of the US Coast Guard. The service
tenure of the Admiral is of 4 years. It may be renewed for a period
of additional 4 years. The Master Chief Petty Officer (MCPO) serves
as an advisor to the Admiral. He is the senior enlisted man of the