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How 9/11 reshaped the U.S. Coast Guard

• Sep 19, 2017 at 5:00 PM

The Coast Guard’s official blog has an ongoing series of posts (stories, really) that pay homage to “the long blue line” of Coast Guard men and women who have served over the years.

A recent one in the series written by William Thiesen, Coast Guard Atlantic Area historian, explains how the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, reshaped the functions and operations of the Coast Guard over the past 16 years.

“With the 9/11 attacks, the War on Terror had set in motion dramatic changes to the Coast Guard,” Thiesen wrote. “Our units and personnel were some of the first military responders, providing communications and security, evacuating civilians by water and assisting those in need.

“On Sept. 14, Operation Noble Eagle deployed even more Coast Guard men and women on port security missions, search and rescue efforts, and clean-up operations. Thousands of Coast Guard auxiliarists and reservists were mobilized in the largest homeland defense and port security operation since World War II.”

President George W. Bush set up the Office of Homeland Security less than two weeks after 9/11. And in November, he signed the Homeland Security Act that created the Department of Homeland Security. By March 2003, the Coast Guard was transferred from the Department of Transportation to Homeland Security, becoming the largest agency within DHS. It was a record-setting sixth agency change for the service, Thiesen noted.

There’s much, much more. Read the complete blog post: “The Long Blue Line: 9/11 and the U.S. Coast Guard.”

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