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
World War I Resources
A pdf photo gallery of USCGC CHASE
USCGC CHASE photo gallery
A PDF copy of the USCGC CHASE's history written by Dr. Dave Rosen, PACAREA Historian
A pdf scan of a photo of USCG CHASE underway at sea
Historic Photos of USCGC Glacier
Historic Photos of USCGC ...
An illustrated history of the Navy & Coast Guard Icebreaker USCGC Glacier, WAGB 4
USCGC Glacier Cutter History
Disaster Files held by USCG Historian's Office
Disaster Files held by US...
Sources on U.S. Coast Guard History in the United States

By Christopher Havern, Assistant Historian, U.S. Coast Guard
Sources for Coast Guard H...
Coast Guard annual approved budgets from 1922 to 2012
USCG Budget History, 1922...
Background history of the Coast Guard's role in protecting seals
1933 USCG Seal Patrol Report
1962 Coast Guard Recruiting Manual (CG-213)
Coast Guard Recruiting Ma...
A detailed history of the Coast Guard's organizational history
USCG History of Organization
Coast Guard General Order 43 establishing the CPOs, ranks, ratings and grades for the warrant and enlisted forces of the Coast Guard in line with the U.S. Navy.
USCG General Order 43
A letter from President Abraham Lincoln to Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles asking about moving Navy vessels under Revenue Cutter Service control, 1861
Abraham Lincoln's 186...
Economy and Efficiency in the Government Service, Report by President Howard Taft to eliminate the Revenue Cutter Service and the Life-Saving Service for government efficiency. 62nd Congress, Second Session, House of Representatives Document No. 670.
President Howard Taft'...
Act of Congress authorizing the construction of 10 revenue cutters as signed by George Washington on August 4, 1790.
Act of Congress, 1790 (Ta...
A circular letter to the officers of the Revenue Cutters outlining his thoughts on the duties, actions and responsibilities of those officers to their fellow countryman.  An important document in our history.
Alexander Hamilton's ...
The Act that created the U.S. Coast Guard by merging the Revenue Cutter Service with the Life-Saving Service, 1915.
1915 Act of Congress Crea...
The first manual of Coast Guard Regulations published after the formation of the Coast Guard in 1915.
Regulations of the U.S. C...
An illustrated history of the Coast Guard at Normandy, D-Day
Coast Guard at Normandy
A history of the Coast Guard Auxiliary
Coast Guard Auxiliary