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Coast Guard Academy History

1790The roots of today’s Coast Guard were established in 1790 by Alexander Hamilton, one of America’s founding fathers and the first U.S. Secretary of the Treasury. Hamilton proposed the formation of the Revenue Marine, a seagoing military service that would enforce customs and navigation laws, collect tariffs, hail in-bound ships, make inspections and certify manifests.

1876The first Coast Guard Academy, then called the Revenue Cutter School of Instruction, was held aboard the two-masted topsail schooner Dobbin. The first class of nine cadets boarded the Dobbin in New Bedford, Massachusetts, in 1876 for a two-year training mission.

1890The Coast Guard Academy was a shipboard operation until 1890 when the first land-based campus was established in Curtis Bay, Maryland.

1910After completing a summer cruise, the Corps of Cadets sailed the Itasca to Fort Trumbull, a Revolutionary War fort in New London, Connecticut. Fort Trumbull was the new location of the Academy until 1932.

1915The modern Academy was born in 1915 with the merger of the Life Saving Service and Revenue Cutter Service.

1932The citizens of New London donated land to the Treasury Department for the present site of the Academy.

1941The Academy received authority to grant a Bachelor of Science degree in addition to a commission as an ensign in the Coast Guard

1946The Barque Eagle arrived in New London. The ship was originally named the Horst Wessell, and was constructed by Adolf Hitler to train German naval engineers. The United States seized Eagle as a war reparation following WWII. Eagle has served ever since as a sail training platform for cadets of the U.S. Coast Guard.

1966The Academy marks the date of full racial integration with the graduation of Merle Smith, the first African American cadet to graduate as an ensign. CDR Smith commanded two patrol boats in the South China Sea during the Vietnam War, earning the Bronze Star with Valor.

1976Thirty six women joined the Corps of Cadets for the first time, the result of congressional legislation passed in October 1975 at the Coast Guard’s request. Fourteen graduated, all heading to sea for their first assignment.

1980The first international cadet, Miguel Sanchez, graduated from the Coast Guard Academy and returned home to the Philippines to serve his country.

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May, 2023




August 26,2019

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