Great Lakes Coast Guard to participate in War of 1812 Bicentennial Commemoration

CLEVELAND — The Coast Guard is scheduled to participate in the events to celebrate the bicentennial commemoration of the War of 1812 at various ports throughout the Great Lakes, Aug. 8 through Sept. 17.

Coast Guard units will participate in events in the following cities: Milwaukee; Chicago; Cleveland; Detroit; Toledo, Ohio; and Buffalo, N.Y.

Coast Guard events will vary at each port, but will include: concerts by the Coast Guard Dixieland Band; performances by the Coast Guard Color Guard and Silent Drill Team; and public tours of Coast Guard cutters.

In addition, some events will feature the Coast Guard’s 1812 Historic Ship’s Company, reenactors delivering performances in uniforms exactly like those worn in the early 19th century.  Click here to read a blog post and see photos of the Historic Ship’s Company.

The Coast Guard will also host public MH-65C Dolphin rescue helicopter search and rescue demonstrations in some cities.

The scheduled list of dates of War of 1812 Bicentennial Commemoration celebrations in the Great Lakes are:

Milwaukee Aug. 8-13
Chicago Aug. 14-20
Toledo, Ohio Aug. 23-27
Cleveland Aug. 27 – Sep. 4
Detroit Sept. 4-10
Buffalo, N.Y. Sept. 11-17

Specific information about public events and media opportunities will be released when it becomes available.

U.S. Navy crews aboard the USS De Wert and USS Hurricane are scheduled to transit the Great Lakes to take part in bicentennial commemoration events as well.  Click here for important safety information regarding naval vessel protection zones enforced around transiting and moored U.S. naval vessels.

The predecessor of today’s Coast Guard, the Revenue-Marine, was created within the Treasury Department in 1790.  The crews assigned to the armed vessels — 10 were authorized by Congress in the Revenue Cutter Bill — were charged with enforcing tariffs and other maritime laws and operated as the only armed federal vessels in the nation’s service for nearly 10 years.  The Navy Department was not established until 1798.

Officially known as the Revenue Cutter Service since 1862, the service was merged with the Life-Saving Service in 1915 to form the Coast Guard.

Just as the current Coast Guard’s role in homeland security drastically increased as a result of Sept. 11, 2001, so did its role in national defense operations as a result of the War of 1812.

During the War of 1812, Revenue-Marine cutters proved they could lay alongside an enemy, fight on the decks in hand-to-hand combat and spill blood with the greatest naval force of the time. The war was a difficult and dangerous war for the cutters, but one that firmly established the protection of the nation’s coast and its waters as one of the agency’s most important and long-lasting missions. Even to this day, cutters specialize in and continue to serve in littoral combat operations.

Since that time, the Coast Guard has played a role in every major war, at the cost of more than 600 lives.  The bicentennial commemoration provides an opportunity to recognize that history and how the Coast Guard’s 11 statutory missions have expanded.


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