Today is the 221st anniversary of the founding of the United States Coast Guard. My husband and I both spent time in the Coast Guard. He entered Officer Candidate School at Yorktown, Virginia, after graduating from Florida State University. We married while he was in the Coast Guard on active duty. He was assigned to the Coast Guard Cutter Ingham out of Norfolk, Virginia. I was on contract to the Jacksonville Public Library, which had sponsored me for graduate school in library science under the Library Services and Construction Act.
Once we were a family unit again -- to which had been added our older daughter Marti -- we went to St. Petersburg, Florida, where he was assigned to the Group office. He had so much fun overseeing safety at regattas; being liaison with the Coast Guard Auxiliary, a civilian body which voluntarily provides a great deal of help to the Coast Guard; and taking other assignments as they came along. I saw how much he was enjoying it, I decided to join, too, an idea he enthusiastically supported.
That did not happen until we returned to Jacksonville after he had been released from active duty and transferred to the Coast Guard Reserve. I enlisted in the Reserve in February of 1976 as a yeoman third class. By the time I had to stand down because of the onset and progress of osteoarthritis, I was a lieutenant (junior grade). During my time in, I had had some fascinating and fun stints of active duty, as well.
It was not until fairly recently that I discovered my husband's genealogical link to the Coast Guard. During World War II, local people along the coasts of the United States could serve as temporary members of the Coast Guard, with such duties as patrolling the waterfront or the beaches. Among my husband's grandfather's papers and his father's papers, we found documents showing us that both his father and grandfather had been temporary Coast Guard personnel during the war. When he went into OCS, we thought he was the first in his family to serve in the Coast Guard. Turns out he is a third generation Coastie.
I do have a first on my side of our family -- I am the first woman in my family to serve in the U.S. armed forces, as well as the first in the Coast Guard.