U.S. Coast Guard Historian's Office
Digital Library

General Overviews (U.S. Coast Guard History)

Auxiliary History

Regional Histories

Organizational History

U.S. Revenue Cutter Service & Revenue Marine

Bering Sea Patrol

U.S. Life-Saving Service

U.S. Lighthouse Service


Lighthouse Tenders, Buoy Tenders & ATON History


U.S. Steamboat Inspection Service




Memoirs & Other First-Person Narrative Accounts


Autobiography of VADM Thomas Sargent III's Coast Guard career that included distinguished service during World War II and Vietnam.

CAPT Richard Wight describes his colorful Coast Guard career in his memoir entitled: "Coasties: My Service in the United States Coast Guard, 1952-1986."  His service included sea-duty aboard CGCs WinonaNorthwindWachusettActiveMinnetonkaConfidence, & Campbell.  He also saw service at LORANSTAs Spruce Cape & Estartit, Spain and staff duty with the First, Eleventh & 17th Districts.

Revenue Cutter Service

​CDR Thomas C. Odderstol served in both the Revenue Cutter Service and Coast Guard during his distinguished career.  He enlisted in the RCS aboard the cutter Dexter at Arundel Cove, Maryland, in 1904 as a Coal Heaver.  In this rare account he describes the life of the enlisted corps of the RCS at this time, including recruitment, training (if any), examinations, uniforms, makeup of the enlisted corps, and other fascinating information recorded in 1955.


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. A unique and important account by crewmen who served aboard LV 116 in the 1930s.


Pioneering Coast Guard Aviator Captain William Wishar wrote this letter describing his experiences with the "birth" of Coast Guard aviation activities, including commanding the service's first air station at Morehead City, NC.

CDR William "Bill" Thrall, USCG (Ret.) recounts an early precursor to the Rescue Swimmer Program he helped pioneer.


A first-person account by USCG veteran Jim Mooney about his shipmate, F1/c Harrison, USCG, an African American, aboard CGC Lilac in 1950 and a general discussion of the state of desegregation in the USCG at the time soon after President Harry Truman's Executive Order 9961.

World War I

AS Hamilton Cochrane's memoir of his service in the U.S. Coast Guard during World War I, including his basic training at Fort Trumball, and service overseas with the Coast Guard Squadron based at Gibraltar aboard the cutter Algonquin.

World War II

VADM Thomas Sargent's first-person experiences during World War II while serving as the executive officer and commanding officer of the USS PC-469.

S1c Jack Drew's memoirs of his service in the Coast Guard during World War II.  Entitled "The Coast Guard Experiences & Adventures of Seaman 1st Class Jack Drew During World War II", his account covers his time in service, from boot camp at Curtis Bay, witnessing a "Drumming Out Ceremony" at Fort McHenry, to his assignments at CG station San Juan, PR, NAS St. Lucia, BWI, 3rd Naval District & New York City, & duty at sea aboard CGC's Crawford & WSC 711. Memoir was edited by W. J. Hayden, USCG (Ret.).

Coast Guard World War II veteran Edward Flynn's memoir of his service aboard the Army Repair Ship Duluth with the assistance of shipmates Ken Archer, Arthur Marx (related to "Groucho") and Ernest Simpson.


Desert Shield/Desert Storm


General Overviews

Law Enforcement - Prohibition

Law Enforcement - Migrant Interdiction/SAR

Law Enforcement - Fisheries

Environmental Protection

Marine Safety


Port Security

Search & Rescue

National Defense - General Overviews

Quasi-War with France

  • "The Revenue Cutters in the Quasi-War with France"; by LTJG R. W. Daly, USCGR.  USCG Academy reprint of an original article published in Naval Institute Proceedings Vol. 68, No. 12 (December 1942), pp. 1713-1723. 
  • "Benjamin Hiller & the Cutter Pickering in the Quasi-War with France"; by Dr. William H. Thiesen, Ph.D.; Sea History 122 (Spring 2008), pp. 24-27.

War of 1812

Mexican-American War

Civil War

Spanish-American War

World War I

Inter-War Period

World War II

Coast Guard-Manned Navy & Army Vessels

Greenland Patrol

North Atlantic Campaign

​European Theater

​Pacific Theater


American Theater-Homefront

Korean War


Desert Shield & Desert Storm

9/11; September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks on the U.S.

Operation Iraqi Freedom


General Information



Chief Warrant & Warrant Officers

Chief Petty Officers


Enlistment & Recruiting



Arctic, Alaska, Antarctica & Ice Operations

Expeditions, Operations & Cruises (Non-Arctic/Antarctica)

Cutter Naming, Christening, Launching, Commissioning & Other Traditions

Flags, Ensigns, Logos, Pennants, Seals, Standards & Streamers

Intelligence Program

Public Affairs



Monuments & Memorials

Port Security Units (PSUs)

Diving Program

Communications (incl. Radio, Telephone, Telegraph & Teletype)

Creed of the United States Coast Guardsman