Coast Guard celebrates 218 years

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The U.S. Coast Guard celebrates 218 years of service this month as America's maritime guardians.

The Coast Guard is one of America's five armed forces and traces its founding to Aug. 4, 1790, when the first Congress authorized the construction of 10 vessels to enforce tariff and trade laws, prevent smuggling, and protect the collection of the federal revenue.

The service received its present name in 1915 when the Revenue Cutter Service merged with the U.S. Life-Saving Service to form a single maritime service dedicated to safety of life at sea and enforcing the nation's maritime laws.

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