February 19 is the official birthday of the United States Coast Guard Reserve. Officially set-up in the late 1930s as a “civilian reserve” operation, it was non-military in nature. The Coast Guard Reserve Act of 1941 set up the Coast Guard Reserve.

Although the agency is small, by comparison with its Air Force and Army Reserve counterparts it is an especially important day to those who serve, their families, and loved ones. Coast Guard Reservists contribute to the national response to terrorism, disasters, and more, and provide valuable expeditionary support to the Department of Defense through eight Port Security Units. Reserve personnel have been activated to support 12 hurricane and six major flood operations, and 1,650 Reservists participated in Operations Desert Shield/Storm.

The Coast Guard was formed in 1790 as one of America’s five armed forces. It is a multi-mission, maritime, military service with responsibility for protecting the public, the environment, and U.S. economic interests in the nation’s waterways, along the coast, on international waters, or in any maritime region as required to support national security.