Sterling Silver Cap Badge: US Coast Guard


Hand Cast 925 Sterling Silver Commemorative US COAST GUARD Bag Pipers Crest Cap Badge

Badge is Hand Cast 92.5 Sterling Silver.

Measures: 1-3/4″ W X 2-1/4″H
Weight: 28.34 grams

Scottish Style Belted Crest Badge worn by Scottish American US Coast Guard Veterans, Bag Pipers and Active Duty Service Men and Women.

Belt Reads US Coast Guard and within the belt is a depiction of the The U.S.Coast Guard Insignia, With Motto: Semper Paratus (Always Ready) with 1790 Beneath it.

The history of the United States Coast Guard goes back to the United States Revenue Cutter Service, which was founded on 4 August 1790 as part of the Department of the Treasury. The Revenue Cutter Service and the United States Life-Saving Service were merged to become the Coast Guard per 14 U.S.C. § 1 which states: “The Coast Guard as established January 28, 1915, shall be a military service and a branch of the armed forces of the United States at all times.” In 1939, the United States Lighthouse Service was merged into the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard itself was moved to the Department of Transportation in 1967, and on 25 February 2003 it became part of the Department of Homeland Security. However, under 14 U.S.C. § 3 as amended by section 211 of the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2006, upon the declaration of war and when Congress so directs in the declaration, or when the President directs, the Coast Guard operates as a service in the Department of the Navy.

While modern Coast Guard was created by the merger of the United States Revenue Cutter Service and the United States Lifesaving Service in 1915, its roots go back to the early days of the Republic. Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton lobbied Congress to authorize a small fleet of vessels to enforce tariffs (an important source of revenue for the new nation). On 4 August 1790 (now recognized as the Coast Guard’s official birthday), Congress passed the Tariff Act, permitting the construction of ten cutters and the recruitment of 100 revenue officers. From 1790, when the Continental Navy was disbanded, to 1798, when the United States Navy was created, these “revenue cutters” were the country’s only naval force.

Initially, the “system of cutters” was not an organized service. Each revenue cutter operated independently, with each assigned to patrol a section of the east coast and reporting directly to the Customs House in a major port. The cutters were collectively referred to as the “Revenue-Marine,” and later officially organized as the “Revenue Cutter Service.”

As stated above, until the re-establishment of the Navy in 1798, the Revenue-Marine cutters were the federal government’s only armed vessels. As such, the cutters and their crews took on a wide variety of duties beyond the enforcement of tariffs, including combating piracy, rescuing mariners in distress, ferrying government officials, and even carrying mail. In 1794, the Revenue-Marine was given the mission of preventing trading in slaves from Africa to the United States. Between 1794 and 1865, the Service captured approximately 500 slave ships. In 1808, the Service was responsible for enforcing President Thomas Jefferson’s embargo closing U.S. ports to European trade. The 1822 Timber Act tasked the Revenue Cutter Service with protecting government timber from poachers (this is viewed as the beginning of the Coast Guard’s environmental protection mission).

During times of war or crisis, the revenue cutters and their crews were put at the disposal of the Navy. The Revenue-Marine involved in the Quasi-War with France from 1798 to 1799, the War of 1812, and the Mexican–American War. During the American Civil War, the USRCHarriet Lane fired the first naval shots of the war, engaging the steamer Nashville during the siege of Fort Sumter. Upon the order of President Lincoln to the Secretary of the Treasury on 14 June 1863, cutters were assigned to the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron. A Confederate Revenue Marine was also formed by crewmen who left the Revenue Cutter Service.

In the 1880s through the 1890s, the Revenue Cutter Service was instrumental in the development of Alaska. Captain “Hell Roaring” Michael A. Healy, captain of the USRC Bear, greatly assisted a program that brought reindeer to Alaska to provide a steady food source. Healy had the reputation as a rough sailing master and was court-martialed several times, but was restored to rank again and again. In the winter of 1897–1898, the reindeer and lieutenants in the Revenue Cutter Service participated in the Overland Relief Expedition to help starving trapped whalers. During the Snake River gold rush of 1900, the Revenue Cutter Service returned destitute miners to Seattle from Alaska.

Prior to 1848 year, a number of voluntary organizations had formed to assist shipwrecked mariners by means of small boats at shore-based stations, notably the Massachusetts Humane Society (est. 1758). These stations were unmanned – essentially storehouses for boats and equipment to be used by volunteers. With the signing of the Newell Act on August 14, 1848, Congress appropriated $10,000 to fund lifesaving stations along the east coast. These were loosely administered by the Revenue-Marine, but still dependent on volunteers (like many fire departments of the time).

This system continued until 1871 when Sumner Kimball was appointed Chief of the Revenue Marine Division of the Treasury Department. Kimball convinced Congress to appropriate $200,000 to construct new stations, repair old ones, and provide full-time crews. Shortly thereafter, in 1878, the U.S. Lifesaving Service was officially born and so-named.