Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Happy "Belated" Birthday to the Coast Guard

I'm a day late but here goes. I had a full personal day yesterday and did not get to the blog post until late in the evening.

When I checked Facebook yesterday, I saw a post on the US Coast Guard's birthday. 225 years since inception of the revenue cutter service and 100 years since the incorporation of what is now the modern Coast Guard.

USRC Massechusetts (in service 1791-1792)

My mind questioned, "What did the US Coast Guard do in the Cold War?"

I did a flurry of research for the USCG participation in the Cold War and found three areas of interest, The Korean War, Vietnam War and the DEW Line effort in the 1950s. If there are any "Coasties" out there that have any Cold War stories to share, please do so.

The Coast Guard was instrumental in assisting Korea with establishing their own Coast Guard capacity prior to the outbreak of hostilities with the North. After the start of the Korean War the US Coast Guard performed their standard missions of harbor and waterways patrol, SAR, weather observation, and LORAN services. They were there supporting the UN mission for the duration of the war.

The LORAN [LOng Range Aid to Navigation] station at Pusan is one of the truly unsung Coast Guard stories of the war.  

In the late 1950s the USCG participated in a very important Cold War task.

The DEW Line (Distant Early Warning Line) effort was quite interesting and I marvel at the gargantuan effort it took to establish the bases and radar stations in such a hard climate. The USCG was quite valuable in providing waterway transit assistance for the cargo shipping.

If you are unfamiliar with the DEW Line story please watch a documentary here. The DEW Line story 1957. The coast Guard ice breaker capacity is mentioned at about 14 minutes in the video.

I also found an online article of how it only took 100 days to build the Thule Air Force base in Operation Blue Jay and that the USCG provided the ability to move the materials by waterway to the construction site in Greenland.

In Vietnam, besides the Naval gunfire support role of Cutter size vessels that had larger guns, I found a wonderful amount of information on the Coast Guard's participation in river "Brown Water"  warfare in Vietnam. This role was very similar to the U S Navy's "Brown Water" warfare effort and just as dangerous.

82 foot USCG cutter on river patrol Vietnam

The USCG definitely did their share in the Cold War!

The USCG website provided most of the information in one convenient place. Click here to learn more.

Here is a cool old cruise book I found on the USCG effort in the Arctic. Go to chapter three for their Cold War chapter. Here is the link.

Thank you to all the online resources that provided information for this post.

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Where did you serve? Military or Civilian? Stateside or Overseas. Fulda Gap? Berlin? NATO? CIA? State Department? The Dew Line? On a Missile Battery? Down in a Silo? At Sea? Under the Sea? In the Air? According to the VA over 26 million Vets are still alive. I'd bet that most served in the 1945-1991 time frame and I'd like to share your story on this blog. As long as it isn't still classified, email me with your story and I will post it here.