Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day ~ Semper Paratus

USCGC Steadfast

I was talking with a friend of my teenage son, and I mentioned the Coast Guard. She said "what is the Coast Guard?" and I was shocked. That conversation reminded me once again of how many people do not know about the valuable and dangerous work the men and women of the USCG do, each and every day.

Today seemed a particularly appropriate day to share a few facts, and also to mention that if you have not seen the Kevin Costner film "The Guardian," it is well worth the watch. The film was made in cooperation with the USCG and is the first time they have ever participated in such an endeavor. As a result, the film is amazingly accurate. The following is taken from the official CG web site.

The United States Coast Guard (USCG) is a military branch of the United States involved in maritime law, mariner assistance, and search and rescue, among other duties of coast guards elsewhere. One of the seven uniformed services of the United States, and the smallest armed service of the United States, its stated mission is to protect the public, the environment, and the United States economic and security interests in any maritime region in which those interests may be at risk, including international waters and America's coasts, ports, and inland waterways.

USCG has a broad and important role in homeland security, law enforcement, search and rescue, marine environmental pollution response, and the maintenance of river, intracoastal and offshore aids to navigation (ATON). It also lays claim to being the United States' oldest continuous seagoing service. The United States Coast Guard has about 40,150 men and women on active duty.

As members of a military service, Coast Guardsmen on active and reserve service are subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice and receive the same pay and allowances as members of the same pay grades in the other four armed services.

I always knew of the Coast Guard, and had a vague idea of what they did. Then I fell in love with one, and the term "Coastie" took on a whole new meaning. During the first few years of our relationship my hubby was finishing up his 23 year military career. I saw first hand the sacrifices these Coasties make - the lives they save - the criminals they catch - and the way they serve the people of our country. The CGC Steadfast was a ship my husband spent a great deal of time on.

May God bless all of those brave people who protect us every day, those who have given their lives, and the families who remain at home.

Semper Paratus - Always Ready

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