On this day in 1790, Congress authorized Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton to assemble a group of vessels to protect our newborn Nation’s commerce and revenue streams. What started as just a few small cutters has evolved into the world’s premier maritime governance, security, and safety service, now known as the United States Coast Guard.
In the 230 years that have passed since the creation of the Coast Guard, our Nation has grown stronger because of the Coast Guard’s dedication to its motto Semper Paratus—“Always Ready.” Each day, the more than 40,000 active duty and civilian and more than 7,000 reserve men and women of the Coast Guard help secure and advance our national preparedness, response, and economic prosperity. These courageous individuals defend our borders, rescue mariners in distress, facilitate the passage of trillions of dollars of commerce safely into and out of our ports, and combat drug smugglers and human traffickers, among a host of other tasks essential to the security of the American people.
Last month, I was proud to visit the United States Southern Command in the great State of Florida. I was heartened by the tremendous work that our Coast Guard and their fellow service members have accomplished through Southern Command’s counter narcotics surge operations. Since its launch, this whole-of-government and international operation against transnational organized criminals and their networks has produced more than 1,000 arrests and interdicted 120 metric tons of narcotics—including billions of dollars’ worth of fentanyl, heroin, cocaine, and countless other deadly substances. These efforts are keeping the American people safe while advancing our Nation’s interests both at home and abroad.
On the 230th birthday of the United States Coast Guard, the First Lady and I send our best wishes to all Coast Guard service members and their families as they celebrate this special occasion. We join a grateful Nation in thanking these brave men and women, along with all of America’s service members, for their service and sacrifice to our country.