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While the Coast Guard's organizational positioning is unique—part of one cabinet level department during peace (Transportation) and another during war or under Presidential direction (Defense)—its contributions to national defense have been significant.  The USCG represents the oldest continuous seagoing service in this country and has fought in almost every war since implementation of the U.S. Constitution to include battles with pirates, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Seminole Indian uprising, the Spanish-American war, both world wars, Korea, Vietnam(7), and most recently the Persian Gulf War, where the USCG was the only Armed Service with the ship search capabilities necessary to make the embargo of seagoing goods a success.

 On a daily basis numerous Coast Guard personnel are serving in joint billets and as part of joint task forces (e.g., drug interdiction) falling under direct oversight of the Department of Defense.  The USCG truly is a full-time military organization with a genuine peacetime mission.

  1. U.S. Coast Guard:  A Historical Overview.  URL: 
  2. p. 3 of 9.(go back)

 Go to Chapter 9 .

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