Happy birthday! Commissaries honor Coast Guard’s 230 years of service
FORT LEE, Va. – The Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) is proud to join the U.S. Coast Guard in observing its 230th birthday on Aug. 4.
The Coast Guard was once a branch of the U.S. Treasury Department until after the terrorist attacks on
September 11, 2001, when it transitioned to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Under DHS, the Coast Guard performs maritime law enforcement duties as well as federal regulatory duties.
Commissaries have served the Coast Guard since 1909, 110 years after Congress approved Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton’s proposal to build 10 cutters to protect the nation’s revenue on Aug. 4, 1790. Initially it was called the Revenue Cutter Service and the name was changed to Coast Guard in 1915.
The Coast Guard has never operated a large number of stores, in fact most of them have been located inside their base exchange stores. In the early 1980s the Coast Guard operated 15 commissaries, 11 of which served Atlantic Coast personnel, two served Pacific personnel and the remaining two operated near the Great Lakes area.
In 1990 Congress and the Department of Defense (DOD) decided to consolidate the individual service commissary systems into one agency, which became the Defense Commissary Agency on Oct. 1, 1991. This action brought all 411 service-connected stores under DOD control.
DeCA assumed control of the Governor’s Island Commissary which is located south of Manhattan on the approach to New York Harbor, as well as the Kodiak, Alaska, store in the Aleutian Islands. Governor’s Island closed down as a result of the Base Alignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) in 1996, leaving Kodiak Island as the sole commissary serving a Coast Guard installation. Coast Guardsmen and their families can use their benefit at any commissary.
Commissaries have existed on every continent except Antarctica in more than 1,000 locations since 1867 and today DeCA continues to serve the military and its families at nearly 240 stores in 13 countries.
To learn more about the United States Coast Guard, visit GoCoastGuard.com.
About DeCA: The Defense Commissary Agency operates a worldwide chain of commissaries providing groceries to military personnel, retirees and their families in a safe and secure shopping environment. Commissaries provide a military benefit, saving authorized patrons thousands of dollars annually on their purchases compared to similar products at commercial retailers. The discounted prices include a 5-percent surcharge, which covers the costs of building new commissaries and modernizing existing ones. A core military family support element, and a valued part of military pay and benefits, commissaries contribute to family readiness, enhance the quality of life for America’s military and their families, and help recruit and retain the best and brightest men and women to serve their country.