HomeNewsOn This Day: President Woodrow Wilson Establishes the U.S. Coast Guard as a Military Service in 1915

On This Day: President Woodrow Wilson Establishes the U.S. Coast Guard as a Military Service in 1915

by Samantha Whidden
(Photo by Kelly Owen/Getty Images)

Happy birthday, U.S. Coast Guard! On this day, President Woodrow Wilson established the military service branch in 1915.

The military branch took to Twitter to announce its special day. “[On this day] 1915, President Wood Wilson signed the ‘Act to Create the Coast Guard.’ The act combined the Life-Saving Service and Revenue Cutter Service to form the Coast Guard.”

According to the museum’s website, the Coast Guard was created from the merged United States Life-Saving Service and the United States Revenue Cutter Service. The Service had been established in 1790 to prevent smuggling until the reestablishment of the Navy in 1798.

The Coast Guard was notably temporarily transferred to the Navy Department during World War I and then again during World War II. It was then integrated and incorporated with the United States Lighthouse Service in 1939 and with the Bureau of Marine Inspection in 1942.  In 1967, the branch was placed under the United States Department of Transportation. Following the attacks on September 11, 2001, it moved under the Department of Homeland Security. 

U.S. Coast Guard Suspends Search For 34 Missing People From Capsized Vessel

The U.S. Coast Guard announced that it is suspending the search for 34 missing people from a 25-foot capsized vessel. The boat was notably carrying 40 people from the Bahamas. The service branch stated that the people aboard went missing during a suspected human smuggling event. This happened on the coast of Florida last Saturday. 

According to People, the military branch’s sector Miami Capitan Jo-Ann Burdian declared on Thursday that she made the “complicated” decision to call off the search and bring rescue teams back to shore at sunset. The search lasted for nearly three days. Several crews had searched the area more than 10,500 square feet. They had found five bodies and no survivors. 

Burdian also shared in a statement, “If we do not receive additional information today that can refund our search or direct us toward additional survivors… we will cease actively searching. We don’t think it’s likely that anyone else has survived.

 The media outlet also reports that the Coast Guard was first alerted of the “dire” incident involving missing migrants on Tuesday morning. Someone discovered a survivor approximately 45 miles east of Fort Pierce, Florida. He was clinging to a capsized vessel. He explains that the damage to the ship occurred on Saturday night when he and several others departed from Bimini in the Bahamas. They had encountered severe weather. 

Meanwhile, the survivor reveals that 39 others were on the vessel with him when it capsized. He also shares that no one was wearing life jackets at the time of the incident. Homeland Security Investigations is now conducting an investigation on the incident. It is questionable as to why there were nearly 40 people on a 25-foot vessel to begin with.