Recently, I crossed paths with CWO3 William H. RaVell III, a retired Chief Warrant Officer from the United States Coast.
Besides being a great guy to get to know, RaVell has been pointing out to me several instances of where the Coast Guard has been overlooked in tributes to military service. (And since he’s pointed this out to me, I now see instances quite regularly, as well.)
RaVell said it best when he told me: “Those publicly honoring the military should be made aware that the Coast Guard, while under the Department of Homeland Security and not the Department of Defense, is indeed an armed military service. The Coast Guard is not only tasked with highly demanding and dangerous peace time responsibility, they have fought in every war since its founding in 1790 through today. Our sister services acknowledge what the Coast Guard has accomplished and contributed to the defense of our nation at home and abroad. Perhaps if enough people point out the failure to include the U. S. Coast Guard in tributes such as this, the general public will learn the Coast Guard is also a fighting armed force and should be acknowledged as such.”
In the post, Marine Corps ranked worst service branch to join, and I love it, Harry T. Imoto Sr. CWO3, USCG, Ret. weighed in with the story of a Medal of Honor winner from the Battle of Guadalcanal, as well as his service along some dangerous rivers in Vietnam.
“Do the USMC Old Timers remember the name Douglas Albert Munro, Signalman First Class, USCG? He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions at the battle of Guadalcanal on 27 September 1942. Yes, the USCG is one of the Armed Forces. I am proud to have served in the USCG from 1952 to 1976. Oh! I did time in Vietnam also and was in enough action to be awarded the Navy/Marine Corps Combat Action Ribbon along with 8 other medals and ribbons for service I Vietnam. I’m not showing off my awards, but just trying to emphasize that we Coasties are also a fighting service.”
As one 8404 Navy Corpsman commented in the link above, he worked with the Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Army, and he had the highest respect for the Coast Guard.
“The only thing I can really say about the Coasties is what I saw of them on their 100-foot patrol boats in the Gulf, they were pretty damn squared away. If I were to have been planning a fast boat attack I’d have steered clear of the Coast Guard boats, they were really jumpy and didn’t hesitate a millisecond when it came to putting warning shots across another boats bow.”
So, when you think of those serving our country in harm’s way, let’s not forget the Coast Guard. They’re interdicting drugs, preventing infiltration by terrorists, and rescuing lots of people trapped in storms and the worst conditions imaginable. And this is just some of their more high-profile missions.
Enjoy the video below and remember to respect our fellow service members in the Coast Guard.
Keep the faith,
Stan R. Mitchell
Oak Ridge, Tenn.
P.S. If you enjoy fast-paced books, you just might like my works. “Sold Out” tracks the life of a legendary Marine Sniper after a CIA unit decides to kill him for reasons of national security. “Little Man, and the Dixon County War” tells the uphill fight a young deputy faces after surviving three years of war only to find himself in the sights of a mighty cattle baron. And “Soldier On,” a short novel, follows the lives of several German soldiers in a depleted infantry company trying to make it through the final, miserable months of World War II.