World War I Commemoration: 100 Year Anniversary

Please search the image and resource galleries at the bottom of the page for images, articles, documents and publications detailing the Coast Guard's involvement in World War I

The U. S. Coast Guard & U.S. Lighthouse Service in World War I

Crew of the USCGC TAMPA

    April 6th, 2017, marks the 100th anniversary of the Coast Guard’s entry into World War I and the Service’s important role in supporting the war effort.  It was on Friday, April 6th, 1917, the day Congress declared war on Germany, that the U.S. Navy’s communications center in Arlington, Virginia, transmitted the code words “Plan One, Acknowledge” to Coast Guard cutters, units and bases initiating the Coast Guard’s transfer from the Treasury Department to the Navy and placing the Service on a wartime footing.

     During the war’s nearly nineteen months, the Coast Guard and Lighthouse Service would lose almost two hundred men and five ships. These ships included two combat losses. On August 6th, 1918, U-140 sank the Diamond Shoals Lightship after her crew transmitted to shore the location of the marauding enemy submarine, but no lives were lost. However, on September 26th, 1918, after completing her convoy escort duty from Gibraltar to Milford Haven, England, Cutter Tampa was torpedoed by UB-91. The cutter sank killing all 131 persons on board, including four U.S. Navy men, sixteen Royal Navy personnel and 111 Coast Guard officers and men. It proved America’s greatest World War I naval loss of life due to combat.

    Nearly 9,000 Coast Guard men and women would participate in the war. This number included over 200 Coast Guard officers, many of whom served as warship commanders, troop ship captains, training camp commandants and naval air station commanders. In all, Coast Guard heroes received two Distinguished Service Medals, eight Gold Life-Saving Medals, almost a dozen foreign honors and nearly fifty Navy Cross Medals, dozens more than were awarded to Coast Guardsmen in World War II.


Department of Homeland Security World War I Centennial Poster Series

The U.S. Coast Guard during the First World War

Department of Homeland Security and the First World War

World War I Image Gallery
Officers & Crew of USCGC Yocona, 1925
USRC Rush, no date
USRC Perry off Unalaska
Revenue Cutters assigned to the Bering Sea Patrol in October, 1908, tied up at Unalaska.
Officers of the Bering Sea Patrol fleet, 27 September 1908.
The officers and crew of the U.S. Revenue Cutter Rush, 1 November 1908.
Revenue Cutters of the 1908 Bering Sea Patrol tied up in Unalaska, June, 1908, including USRC Bear on the right.
USRC Bear at anchor in July, 1908 off Alaska.
Salisbury Beach USLSS Crew, surfboat & cart
Coast Guard Patrol Boat MARION as she was about to sail from Boston, Mass., July 11, 1928, on scientific expedition to waters between Labrador and Greenland.
A 1944 photo of four SPAR CPOs:  Left to right: Judith Balinsky, Chief Yeoman, of Akron; Leone Peppard, Chief Storekeeper, of Grand Forks, North Dakota; Leta Belgard, Chief Storekeeper, of Fairport, New York, and Frances Brown, Chief Yeoman, of San Francisco."
African-American Coast Guard gun crew during World War II
Officers of the Coast Guard [sic--Revenue Cutter Service] Bering Sea Patrol Fleet, 1908
The former Revenue & Coast Guard Cutter Bear sinks while under tow off Newfoundland.
Joshua James and the Point Allerton Life-Saving Service crew.
Joshua James and the Point Allerton Life-Saving Service crew.
Life-saving crew on a surfboat at Neah Bay station.
MS Prinsendam sinking with a USCG HH-3 flying above the wreck
The crew of a revenue cutter, possible USRC Forward, circa 1900.
An aerial photo of the tanker Argo Merchant sinking off Nantucket Island in 1976.  USCGC Vigilant steams nearby.
World War I Resources
A report entitled "Aviation Mind-Set QAT Report of Findings," dated 13 May 1993.  The QAT was formed in response to a CCG order to determine CG aviator's mind-set "and how it may affect the efficiency and effectiveness of Coast Guard Aviation."
USCG Aviation Mind-Set QA...
Report of Open Sea Landing Tests & Study Conducted at the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station, San Diego, CA, October, 1945.  Report written by Captain D. B. MacDiarmid, USCG (CG-OAV).  Also referred to as "Open Seaplane Study - 1945."
Report of Open Sea Landin...
The Coast Guard and the North Atlantic Campaign, World War II Convoy Battles
North Atlantic Campaign &...
A Naval Message from VADM Zumwalt to CGC INGHAM as INGHAM finishes its tour of duty in Vietnam, 4 March 1969 & complete personnel roster & sailing list
VADM Zumwalt 1969 Bravo Z...
"Rules for the Organization and Service for the Lighthouse Towermen of the Island of Puerto Rico" from the newspaper "La Gaceta de Puerto Rico, dated May 2, 1882.

Translation provided by Dr. Jose Edwin Nieves, USCG Auxiliary who noted: "I am sending for your records, a translation of the Rules and Regulations Governing the Lighthouse Towermen in PR while under the Spanish. It was posted as a 'public notice' in 'La Gaceta de Puerto Rico' on 2 MAY 1882. I am enclosing the original posting. It is clear the R/R's continue on the next page but I was not able to find it. I <bracketed> prepositions and words deemed necessary for syntax/clarity."
Rules for Lighthouse Towe...
Newsletter for CG Air Station "Borinquen Beacon"; Volume 2, No. 7 (September 14, 1977); PDF copy provided by AMTCM Stanley C. deVegter, CMC, AIR STATION BORINQUEN, 2020.
Borinquen Beacon, 1977
The commanding officer of CGC Tiger's Action Report on his cutter's activities on 7 December 1941
CGC Tiger Pearl Harbor Ac...
The following is a narrative written by Captain (then-Lieutenant) Frank Erickson, USCG (Ret.) to the Sikorsky Company about his experiences at Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941.  He was a first-hand witness to the carnage that day as he was the Taney's aviation officer assigned, along with his aircraft, to Ford Island.  He was the duty officer at Ford Island when the first wave of the Japanese attack struck.
LT Frank Erickson's R...
OIC of CG-8's Action Report of his cutter's actions during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor
CGC CG-8's Action Rep...
Barber's Point Lighthouse Keeper's action report of events at the light station during and after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Barbers Point Light Stati...
A transcript of the action report filed by the commanding officer of USCGC Taney after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941
CGC Taney's Action Re...
Oral History Interview with ETCM Melvin Bell, USCG, Ret., a Hawaiian native and veteran of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor
ETCM Melvin Bell, USCG OHI
A list of Coast Guard units in Hawaii on December 7, 1941
USCG Units in Hawaii, 7 D...
A Thesis
Presented to the
Faculty of
San Diego State University
In Partial Fulfillment
of the Requirements for the Degree
Master of Arts
Matthew M. Kroll
Spring 2017
USCG Public Affairs Progr...
USCG Air Station Borinquen's newsletter entitled "Borinquen Beacon", Volume 2, No. 7, September 14, 1977
CGAS Borinquen Beacon (1977)
Gilbert Study ( February 1987) - "Realignment of Support and Management Functions in the U.S. Coast Guard"; report of results recommended by a study group led by RADM Marshall Gilbert, including Thad Allen, that recommended the reorganization of the maintenance and logistics support functions at two Regional Maintenance and Logistics Commands.
Gilbert Study (1987) - Re...
1990 Women in the Coast Guard Study
1990 Women in the USCG Study
Recollections, reminisces, and thoughts about life on a lightship from five former crewman and the daughter of LV-116's first commanding officer. The interviews were conducted by historian Frank Hebblethwaite. We recently discovered a number of relatively old cassette tapes in the back of a file cabinet and asked our tireless volunteer, Ms. Seamond M. Roberts, to transcribe them for us. She cheerfully obliged and presented us with, much to
our surprise and delight, a transcript of a series of interviews with five former crewmen of Light Vessel Number 116, each of whom served on board during the 1930's. Also included was an interview with the daughter of the first commanding officer of LV-116. The interviews were conducted by historian Frank Hebblethwaite and to our knowledge they are the only transcribed interviews of lightship sailors available on the World Wide Web.
LV 116 1930s Crew Oral Hi...
An oral history interview with Rear Admiral Robert Duncan, USCG, who commanded the Eighth Coast Guard District when Hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit the U.S. Gulf Coast in 2005.
RADM Robert Duncan's ...
An oral history interview with MCPOCG Charles "Skip" Bowen, USCG (Ret) as conducted by his daughter, Kristen.
MCPOCG Charles "Skip...