The U.S. Coast Guard will observe its anniversary on Saturday, Aug. 4, celebrating 222 years of service to the nation.
The Wrightsville Beach Coast Guard crew will hold a low-key celebration at the station on Saturday filled with backyard sports, a barbeque and fellowship. The crew will cut back on its working hours that day as well.
"As a crew we look forward to it," said petty officer Jose Segura. "It is a day to relax and enjoy with the crew and our families all here together."
The stationís mascot, a yellow Labrador retriever, will also partake in the festivities.
The Wrightsville Beach Coast Guard station was erected in the 1940s, Segura said, and moved to its present location on Water Street in 1967. The station is outfitted with two 41-foot boats and one 25-foot boat. There are currently 26 active duty members at the station.
The USCG officially began in 1790 after U.S. Congress authorized the construction of a fleet to enforce federal trade laws and to prevent smuggling. The force was known by many names such as the Revenue Cutters and System of Cutters throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, finally settling on the Revenue Cutter Service.
In 1915, the USGC received its present name when Congress consolidated the Revenue Cutter Service with the Life Saving Service. It was an all-in-one maritime service dedicated to protecting life at sea and the nationís maritime laws. The Coast Guard was the nationís sole armed force on the water until the creation of the Navy in 1798.
In peacetime, the USCG operates as a part of the department of Homeland Security. It is the nationís foremost agency for enforcing the nationís laws at sea, protecting the marine environment and the nationís ports, and saving lives at sea.In times of war, the coast guard serves under the department of the Navy.
"We have protected the nation throughout our long history and served proudly in every one of the nationís conflicts," a press release from the USCG reads. "Our national defense responsibilities remain one of our most important functions today."
On a national level, there are more than 43,000 active duty members, more than 7,800 reservists, more than 8,300 civilian employees, and roughly 33,000 volunteer auxiliarists.
In 2011 alone, the USCG responded to more than 20,520 search and rescue cases, saved more than 3,800 lives, removed 166,000 pounds of cocaine bound toward the U.S., responded to 3,000 pollution incidents and the list goes on.