This weekend, the U.S. Coast Guard celebrated an auspicious milestone: It is 222 years old! Here are 10 things you may not have known about the Coast Guard:
1. It was founded by Alexander Hamilton in 1790. At first, it was known as the Revenue Marine, and later, the Revenue Cutter Service.
2. The motto of the U.S. Coast Guard is Semper Paratus, or "Always Prepared."
3. As of now, the Coast Guard shares its birthday with President Barack Obama. At 51 years old, Obama is a wee bit younger, though. He wrote a nice note for the Coast Guard's birthday.
4. There are 14 official Coast Guard Cities. These are cities chosen by the Coast Guard for their exemplary appreciation, recognition and hospitality for local Coast Guard members and their missions. Do you live in a Coast Guard city? They are:
5. Alex Haley, who wrote the legendary work "Roots: The Saga of an America Family," was a member of the Coast Guard for 20 years. He served in the Pacific theater of operations during World War II. Singer Tom Waits, tennis star Jack Kramer and legendary golfer Arnold Palmer all served in the Coast Guard.
6. If you want to get a glimpse of some of the action the Coast Guard sees, you could tune into one of the two Weather Channel reality shows based on real Coast Guard activities. "Coast Guard Alaska: Search and Rescue" follows a search-and-rescue unit in Kodiak, Alaska, and "Coast Guard Florida: Search and Rescue" follows units based in Miami and Clearwater, Florida.
7. In 2011, the Coast Guard boasted 43,000 active duty members, along with nearly 49,000 other members with reserve, civilian employee or volunteer auxiliary status.
8. The three official roles of the U.S. Coast Guard are "maritime safety," "maritime security," and "maritime stewardship."
9. The Coast Guard is the only one of the five branches of the military that is allowed to enforce federal law.
From Aztec Shore to Arctic Zone,
To Europe and Far East,
The Flag is carried by our ships
In times of war and peace;
And never have we struck it yet
In spite of foemen's might,
Who cheered our crews and cheered again
For showing how to fight.
We're always ready for the call,
We place our trust in Thee.
Through surf and storm and howling gale,
High shall our purpose be.
"Semper Paratus" is our guide,
Our fame, our glory too.
To fight to save or fight and die,
Aye! Coast Guard we are for you!