This day in history, November 1, 1941, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Executive Order 8929 transfers the Coast Guard to Navy Department control, which is a transition of authority usually only reserved for wartime.
The Coast Guard was established as the Revenue Marine Service by Alexander Hamilton, secretary of the treasury, in 1790, but in 1915, the U.S. Lifesaving Service combined with the RMS to become the the Coast Guard.
During peacetime, the Coast Guard was under the direction of the Department of Treasury until 1967, but during times of war, the Coast Guard was under the control of the U.S. Navy.
What made President Roosevelt’s announcement so unique was that the U.S. was not at war at the time, but American ships were still becoming casualties of the war.
The Coast Guard’s mission is to enforce all laws applicable to the waters within U.S. territory, including laws and regulations promoting personal safety and protection of property.
During times of war, the Coast Guards duties include escorting ships, providing port security, and inspecting ships for everything from illegal drugs to munitions. They also have powers of interdiction—the right to stop, board, and inspect any vessel suspected of threatening U.S. security.
Coast Guard ranks are analogous to those of the U.S. Navy and even their uniforms are similar to one another.