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U.S. Coast Guard Flag

U.S. Coast Guard Flag
U.S. Coast Guard Flag
  • Year First Flown: Unknown; Possibly some time in the late 19th century
  • Design: A white flag with a blue eagle and a circle of 13 stars. the Air Force Coat of Arms placed in the middle and surrounded by a circle of 13 white stars.
  • Use Today: The standard of the U.S. Army is flown at official ceremonies and different government offices, while it is the Coast Guard ensign that is flown on the organization's ships and bases.

History of the Coast Guard

Revenue Cutter Service Emblem from 1915
Revenue Cutter Service Emblem from 1915

Although the U.S. Coast Guard is not technically a part of the Department of Defense, it is still considered a branch of the American military system. The Coast Guard was formed in 1790 as a part of the U.S. Customs and it was originally titled the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service. In 1915, the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service and the U.S. Life-Saving Service merged into one organization and called themselves the United States Coast Guard. In 1939, the U.S. Lighthouse Service would also merge with the Coast Guard. Today, the Coast Guard is officially a part of the Homeland Defense Department.

History of the Coast Guard Standard

Members of the U.S. Coast Guard carrying the American Flag and Coast Guard Flag
Members of the U.S. Coast Guard carrying the American Flag and Coast Guard Flag

The Coast Guard technically has two flags, the standard and the ensign. The Standard is what the Coast Guard uses in more ceremonial circumstances, while the ensign is used on Coast Guard ships and bases. The origins of the Coast Guard standard and very obscure, and no one is quite sure who designed it and when it was first flown. Historians believe that a flag very similar to the current Coast Guard standard was originally flown in 1840. In 1950, the current standard of the U.S. Coast Guard was made official and included a blue eagle, a circle of 13 stars, the text "United States Coast Guard", their motto "Semper Paratus", and the date "1790".