US Coast Guard - History and Misssion

The United States Coast Guard (USCG) is a branch of the United States armed forces and is involved in maritime law enforcement, mariner assistance, search and rescue, and national defense. As 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.

The Coast Guard is currently a component of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), unlike the other branches of the military which are components of the Department of Defense.

The United States Coast Guard 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. As of January 2005, The United States Coast Guard has about 39,000 men and women on active duty, 8,100 reservists, 7,000 full time civilian employees and 35,000 auxiliarists.

The Coast Guard's motto is Semper Paratus, meaning "Always Ready". USCG has participated in every U.S. conflict from landing troops on D-Day and on the Pacific Islands in World War II, extensive patrols and shore bombardment during the Vietnam War, to Operation Iraqi Freedom. Maritime interception operations, coastal security patrols, and law enforcement detachments are the major roles in Iraq.