The Origins of Our Coast Guard
In 1790, Alexander Hamilton requested that Congress create the Revenue Marine, a seafaring service that would protect U.S. interests in coastal ports. The Revenue Marine evolved into the United States Coast Guard (1915), and is the oldest contiguous seagoing force in service to the United States.
The United States Coast Guard defends our coasts, enforces our maritime laws, and conducts search and rescue missions — all as either a branch of our Armed Forces or as one of our country's uniformed services. Coast Guard missions include a wide range of responsibilities domestically and internationally. In peacetime, the Coast Guard functions as an arm of the Department of Homeland Security. In wartime, command of the Coast Guard is transferred to the U.S. Department of the Navy.
More than 90,000 Americans serve in the U.S. Coast Guard, maintaining a fleet of about 2,000 ships, boats, and aircraft. Impressively, the U.S. Coast Guard is the world's 12th largest naval force.
On August 4 each year, we celebrate the founding of the United States Coast Guard.
Flying the Coast Guard Flag Outdoors
The Department of Defense Directive 1005.8 asserts the order of precedence of military personnel, which we can safely assume mirrors that of military flags on an Outdoor Flagpole. That order is as follows: Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. However, the Coast Guard Flag moves up right behind Navy when the Coast Guard operates as a service of the Department of the Navy during a time of war. As of this writing, the D.O.D. Directive has not been updated to include the Space Force flag (current as of 2003).
The recent addition of the Space Force flag has, therefore, generated some confusion. Most visible examples show the Space Force flag placed between the Air Force and Coast Guard flags. However, though it meets with historic precedent and follows the same guiding reasoning, this precedence has not been documented in writing that we have found.
In a mandatory directive from the Secretary of The Air Force (downloadable here) in August of 2020, the Space Force flag is ordered to be flown in the sixth position, after the Coast Guard flag (as pictured throughout our website).
When the flags are being flown on multiple Outdoor Flagpoles, the American Flag should always be flown first in line. If you are flying the Coast Guard Flag on the same pole as your American Flag, it should be of equal size or smaller and flown below the American Flag.
Displaying the Coast Guard Flag Indoors
When displaying Military Ceremonial Flags, the order of precedence remains the same as when they are displayed outdoors. The American Ceremonial Flag is always displayed first in the order. It’s also important to remember that when a Military Ceremonial flag is presented by a color guard, either indoors, during a parade, or on the playing field, a Parade Carry Belt must be worn.
Military Desk Flags and sets are another way to show your support for U.S. Armed Forces. Desk flags are small and versatile; they can be displayed on a podium, a desk, or even a window sill. These small flags can also be waved during a parade or celebration for the U.S. Coast Guard Birthday.
Celebrate America's Coast Guard!
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Have a great day, from your friends at LIBERTY FLAGS, The American Wave®.