US Coast Guard or Navy?

Which coast is it the USCG is supposed to be guarding?:

The Admirals in the USCG want the same medals the other services get in troubled times. At least that is what I thought when their boats were over in Vietnam.


Read what the missions and capabilities are. The USCG has missions Worldwide as part of DOD. Been doing it since 1789.


Other nations have Coast Guards too. The Coast Guard may be administratively under the Navy, but they are guarding own coast(s) and EEZ. not looking for glory on the other side of the world.

PS> SAR, Emergency towing and Fishery Inspection may also be part of their duty. but they don’t take on the role of Maritime Authority.

This is what googles says:

That makes sense. The Coast Guard manned the landing craft in WWII because the Navy lacked personal with experience operating in the surf zone.

Into the Jaws of Death taken by Coast Guard Chief Photographer’s Mate Robert F. Sargent and manned by Coast Guard crew

U.S. Coast Guard personnel evacuating U.S. Marines from near Point Cruz on Guadalcanal under fire during Second Battle of the Matanikau River

That gives the coasties an argument to buy 2 more for domestic use of course. Why shouldn’t coasty admirals have the same bragging rights and medals as the huge horde of navy admirals?

During WW2 the navy had less than 230 admirals, now they have 244 according to Wikepedia - the navy doesn’t publish a count. That is about one admiral for every two ships.

The coasties apparently have around 53 admirals. They oversee about 475 vessels over 100 feet in length. So, it is obvious that the coasties have admiral envy, they are seriously under-admiraled compared to the navy.



These ships are Hulls #41 and 42 of 64 to be built…

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I recall seeing CG patrol boats in Bahrain a few years back so evidently it’s not a new thing.

From Wikipedia:

The Navy saw the Coast Guard’s cutters and skilled personnel as ideally suited to naval operations supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. The shallow coastal areas and waterways of Iraq are subject to heavy silting and strategists believed that Iraq’s primary threat to American naval units came from small boats, patrol craft and mine laying vessels. The Coast Guard’s patrol boats would expand the naval presence to shallow littoral areas where larger naval combatants could not navigate and Coast Guard cutters could remain on station for days as opposed to only a few hours typical of the Navy’s Special Forces boats. In addition, the law enforcement background of Coast Guard personnel would expand the Navy’s ability to intercept and board Iraqi vessels and Coast Guard cutters could serve in force protection and escort duty, thereby freeing naval assets to conduct offensive combat operations.

I was told that in general the Navy uses the CG whenever they have a task there that they want to get done. It was one of the coasties that told me that so he may have been biased.

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Also the Coast Guard can act as law enforcement for boarding purposes for many situations including in international waters and in many cases foreign flags as well. The Navy can not do this.

“(a) The Coast Guard may make inquiries, examinations,
inspections, searches, seizures, and arrests upon the high seas and
waters over which the United States has jurisdiction, for the
prevention, detection, and suppression of violations of laws of the
United States. For such purposes, commissioned, warrant, and petty
officers may at any time go on board of any vessel subject to the
jurisdiction, or to the operation of any law, of the United States,
address inquiries to those on board, examine the ship’s documents
and papers, and examine, inspect, and search the vessel and use all
necessary force to compel compliance…”

Yes that is what Coast Guards of other countries do as well, uphold the laws of their country in water that fall under it’s jurisdiction under UNCLOS.
In some case they may act on the high seas, outside their EEZ to uphold international laws and rules. Illegal fisheries in international water is one such case.

That is a far cry from the Coast Guard of a nation operating in waters far from home and where that nation has no jurisdiction, or is not acting on a UN mandate.

Alternative Titles: Revenue Cutter Service, Revenue Marine Service, USCG

United States Coast Guard (USCG) , military service within the U.S. armed forces that is charged with the enforcement of maritime laws. It consists of approximately 35,000 officers and enlisted personnel, in addition to civilians. It is under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security. In time of war, it functions as part of the U.S. Navy and is under the direction of the president.

Yes I’m fully aware that the USCG is not acting on their own without US Law behind it.
What I question is WHY does Coast Guard vessels operate in waters far from home and acting in roles that does not normally fall under a Coast Guard’s SOP?
Do you know of any other nation’s Coast Guard that do so??

If you want to play Navy, paint your ships gray.

Other nations coast guards likely had origins is something similar the the United States Life-Saving Service which began in 1848 but has it roots in volunteer service starting about 1786

From Wikipedia United States Life-Saving Service

The United States Life-Saving Service [1] was a United States government agency that grew out of private and local humanitarian efforts to save the lives of shipwrecked mariners and passengers

However the U.S. Coast Guard did not begin just as a life-saving service. It started as the Revenue Cutter Service or Revenue Marine in 1790. From the beginning it operated along with the Navy:

Between 1790 and 1798, the Revenue-Marine was the only armed maritime service of the United States, as the Navy had been disbanded

During the Quasi-War with France from 1798 to 1801, the U.S. Navy was formed and the Revenue-Marine fought alongside the Navy, capturing or assisting in the capture of 20 French ships.

The Revenue Cutter Service merged with the Life-Saving Service in 1915 and was renamed the U.S. Coast Guard.

One of the reasons for the USCG’s overseas deployment that there are “international missions” where a white hull is better than a grey hull.


My beloved nephew is a chief engineer and served on quite a few drug intradiction vessels. He is now shoreside in Maine in his latest billet. They travelled many thousands of miles on broke down machinery. The most underfunded outfit in the USA fleet.

I served in the Coast Guard and we go where needed. We can work under the auspice of the Navy. Traditionally the Coast Guard has filled in for the Navy where necessary. That was one reason I joined, whereas the other services were limited in their scope the Coast Guard could and did a lot more.