The Coast Guard turned the big 2-2-4 on Monday, celebrating with some guest appearances and other festivities all around the country.
Pop quiz: Did you know that the Coast Guard is actually older than the Navy?
The CG came together in 1790 as the Revenue Cutter Service, a customs enforcement agency. That same year, the United States disbanded the Continental navy, the Revolutionary War fleet, and didn’t officially form the U.S. Navy until 1798. (Although the U.S. Navy cites theirs to the founding of the Continental navy in 1775.)
In 1915 the RCS merged with the United States Lifesaving Service to create the U.S. Coast Guard as we all know it.
Today, the service’s missions include everything from drug and migrant interdiction to port security, buoy tending, vessel and fisheries inspections and even deployments to war zones, as they did during the Iraq invasion in 2003.
Here’s a look at how the Coast Guard spent its big day this year.
In Baltimore, Maryland; Wilmington, North Carolina; and Virginia Beach, Virginia (with a little help from Sammy the Sea Otter), Coasties took to the marinas to hand out balloons and birthday gifts to local boaters. Birthday gifts included life jackets and other safety gear.
Capt. Jeffrey Dixon, Coast Guard Sector New York commanding officer, and his shipmates rang the opening bell at the NASDAQ stock exchange in New York City.
And commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft spent the day on patrol at Station Washington near headquarters in Washington, D.C. Check out his Coast Guard Day message, from the service’s All Hands Blog.