The history of the U.S. Coast Guard and its predecessor agencies dates from 1790, with missions in both domestic and international waters. The service has provided aids to navigation, enforcement of maritime laws, environmental protection, search and rescue, immigration and narcotics interdiction, maritime safety assistance, port security, natural disaster response and national defense missions, including overseas with other U.S. armed forces and federal and state public safety agencies.
The Service has operated under the Department of the Treasury, the Department of Transportation and, since 2003, the Department of Homeland Security. Its maritime mission regions have included Arctic and Antarctic waters, inland and coastal U.S. waterways and the seas and oceans of the world. This history describes how the Coast Guard has manifested its legacy and motto, Semper Paratus (Always Ready), in changing conditions under each of its leaders.
Alaska represents twenty percent of the land area, twenty percent of the oil production, forty percent of the fresh water of the United States, but after Wyoming, it's the least populated state.
Despite that contradiction, the state has an abundance of natural resources, history, and adventure-especially for the members of the Coast Guard that oversee its massive coastline.
Captain Jeffrey Hartman served four tours of duty in Alaska with the Coast Guard. He outlines the history of Alaska and its culture and describes his experiences overseeing a number of rescue missions there. Hartman illustrates with personal experience the challenges and dangers the Service faces in carrying out its missions protecting the Alaska people, environment and maritime infrastructure. He flew helicopters from Coast Guard icebreakers, on rescue and law enforcement missions and managed the search and rescue program on Alaska's waters.
"Guarding Alaska" explains the many important functions that the Coast Guard serves and also examines how it's changed in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks. You'll feel like you're in the middle of the action as you gain a deeper appreciation for the state and the people who protect it.