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
The crew of the US Lighthouse Service Tender Cedar,
Personnel from COTP New York in World War I.  Carden Collection.
USCG COTP, New York, World War I
USCG Spars, early 1970s
Two Coast Guard personnel outside of the Coast Guard Information Building at the 1965 World's Fair in New York.
Crew of the 125-foot patrol boat MARION before leaving on scientific expedition to waters between Labrador and Greenland. Boston Harbor, Mass., July 11, 1928.
Crew of the 125-foot patrol boat MARION, New London, Conn., preparatory to making the Baffin Bay Expedition crew.
African-American Coast Guard recruits march at TRACEN Manhattan Beach during World War II
A photo of LT Clarence Samuels, USCG at sea aboard USS SEA CLOUD.
USS Sea Cloud's Coxswain of the Watch
6-pounder Drill aboard a Revenue Cutter
The first group of Coast Guard women assigned to sea duty here aboard their cutter USCGC UNIMAK on 9 May 1973
A group of SPARS, circa 1972, including Captain Eleanor L'Ecuyer (front row, center).
A Coast Guard 82-foot WPB conducts boarding operations in South Vietnam.
A photograph of the Commandant RADM Frederick Billard and the administrative staff of the U.S. Coast Guard in front of USCG HQ in Washington, D.C.  In the back row, second from left, stands CDR Russell R. Waesche.
Commandant (RADM F.C. Billard) and administrative staff, U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters, October 27, 1928.
A photograph of U.S. Coast Guard Base 4 in New London, CT, circa late 1920s (scan provided courtesy of Laurie Friel, the granddaughter of Coast Guardsman Clifford Gardner who served during Prohibition.
A portrait photograph of Vice Admiral Howard B. Thorsen, USCG
Coast Guard Gunner's Mate William "Bill" Wells, II, mans one of CGC POINT GLOVER's .50 caliber machine guns for a Navy photographer during the turnover of the cutter to the South Vietnamese Navy in the fall of 1969 in DaNang, South Vietnam.
A photo of the officers of Revenue Cutter Tahoma circa 1909
World War I Resources
Regulations Governing the Uniforms of the Officers and Men of the United States Li8ghtouse-House Service, Treasury Department (Washington, DC: USGPO, 1893).
Uniforms of the Lighthous...
United States Light-House Establishment, Instructions to Light-Keepers, July, 1881, By Authority of the Light-House Board (Washington, DC: USGPO, 1881).
Instructions to Light-Kee...
A report written by Winslow Lewis listing each lighthouse keeper along with their salaries.  Report is dated September, 1815.  Report was sent to Samuel Smith, Esquire, Commissioner of the Revenue.

Original report is held by NARA and was digitized by noted historian and lighthouse history expert Ms. Candace Clifford who provided this copy to Scott Price of the U.S. Coast Guard Historian's Office.  We thank her for her work, kindness and generosity.
1815 Lighthouse Keepers S...
Scan of a 1799 report on the lighthouses of the U.S.
1799 Lighthouse Report
By-Laws of the Alumni Association of the Revenue Cutter Service, 1897

(Alumni Association first organized on 15 December 1887.)
The Alumni Association of the Revenue Cutter Service, organized December 15, 1887 at Washington, D.C.  Information printed in the 1905 Tide Rips, p. 14.
USRCS Alumni Association
Headquarters' Circular No. 126 of 16 October 1936 -- Coast Guard Doctrine
Coast Guard Doctrine, 1936
United States Coast Guard Regulations, 1985.
USCG Regulations, 1985 (C...
United States Coast Guard Regulations, CG-300, 1955
1955 USCG Regulations (CG...
Regulations for The United States Coast Guard, 1940

1940 Regulations For The ...



Digital copy provided by Elisa Graydon, Reference Librarian & Special Collections Manager, USCG Academy Library.
Fire, Watch & Station...
Forerunners of The Cutter Fleet
Forerunners of The Cutter...
SPAR - Three Years Behind the Mast -- The Story of the United States Coast Guard SPARS by Mary C. Lyne and Kay Arthur, Lieutenants, USCGR (W)
SPARS - 3 Years Behind th...
"SPAR Song Book" -- the official songbook of the U.S. Coast Guard Women's Reserve of World War II.
SPAR Song Book
Official history of the Coast Guard's role in the Vietnam War, by Eugene Tulich, USCG.
U.S. Coast Guard in Vietnam
A first-person account of the history of the CGC POINT BANKS while in service with Coast Guard Squadron One by LCDR Larry Fuchs, USCG (Ret.).
Squadron One & CGC PO...
FF21 document outline of plans for "maintaining and adjusting legacy systems while simultaneously creating the foundation for tomorrow's systems."
2008 Future Force 21 Init...
CCG Admiral James Gracey's 1985 "State of the Coast Guard" address delivered on 19 March 1985.
1985 SOCG Address (ADM Ja...
"State of the Coast Guard Address Delivered by Commandant" (CCG Admiral John B. Hayes) circa 1980
1980 SOCG (ADM J.B. Hayes)
The Coast Guard's Response to the Spanish Influenza Pandemic of 1919 in Unalaska & Dillingham, Alaska.
Spanish Influenza Pandemi...