The Coast Guard is probably the most misunderstood branch of the US Military. When asked, many people don’t even know that it is in fact part of the military. There are some who don’t believe that the Coast Guard is military, there are even more that truly just don’t understand what the Coast Guard does.
In recent years the Coast Guard has received more attention from the public and press. This leap into the public eye came largely from their involvement with Hurricane Katrina. Since then there have been movies made, TV shows have premiered, and often times you can’t turn on the news without hearing something they have done. However, despite this fact most people still don’t fully understand what the Coast Guard is about, and the role they play in the protection of our country.
However, the reality is the Coast Guard is not that different from the other branches of the military. It does have its unique features, but really each branch has its own individual features. Differences include, the Coast Guardsmen are sent overseas on a volunteer basis, their training is not based on combat, and one of their largest missions is Search and Rescue. These differences and the fact that they are the smallest branch, makes it easy to forget that they are also the same as any other branch.
The Coast Guard’s orders come from the same place, their paychecks are paid by the same government, and even though our spouses, children, and siblings aren’t gone overseas, they are still gone…a lot. Yes, many of the units of the Coast Guard are largely based on Search and Rescue. However, they do so much more. The Coast Guard cutters intercept countless drug shipments before they can reach our ports; they also help in the fight against illegal immigration, as well as enforce fishing laws.
Don’t misunderstand; each branch does its own part in protecting our country and our freedoms. Each one plays an important role in keeping all of us in the lifestyle in which we have become accustomed. While the other branches are overseas fighting to protect our freedoms, the Coast Guard remains at home to protect our coastlines. They remain here to preserve our way of life. Those men and women who are fighting and are in the line of fire shouldn’t have to worry about something affecting their families’ securities here at home. That is why the Coast Guardsmen remain at home. They stay back, so that the members of other branches can have that one worry off their minds.
The ongoing joke among Coast Guard members is that they are the “forgotten branch”. But, most of those who serve are just as happy to serve in silence, even in the back ground. They serve for the same reasons that others serve; to do their part in serving their country, and often times because they love what they do. They may be small, but they are mighty. They may be different, but those differences make them sore. Welcome to the Coast Guard, it’s quite a ride!