HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Commissaries honor Coast Guard’s 231 years of service
NOTE: To see a video related to the Coast Guard birthday, click here.
FORT LEE, Va. – The Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) is proud to join the U.S. Coast Guard in observing its 231st birthday on Aug. 4.
The history of the Coast Guard goes back to the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service, which was founded on Aug. 4, 1790, as part of the Department of the Treasury. The Revenue Cutter Service and the Life-Saving Service were merged to form the Coast Guard on Jan. 28, 1915. In 1939 the Lighthouse Service was merged into the Coast Guard.
Commissaries began serving the Coast Guard in 1909, 110 years after Congress approved Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton’s proposal to build 10 cutters to protect the nation’s revenue.
“At DeCA we salute the Coast Guard’s 231 years of service by delivering a commissary benefit that provides valuable savings to Coast Guardsmen, retirees and family members,” said Marine Sgt. Maj. Michael R. Saucedo, senior enlisted advisor to the DeCA director. “The commissary consistently ranks as one of the military’s top non-pay benefits, and many of our young service families simply could not make ends meet each month without the savings provided by the commissaries.”
In 1967, the Coast Guard was moved into the Department of Transportation, and on March 1, 2003, it became a part of the Department of Homeland Security. When the President of the United States directs, the Coast Guard operates as a service in the U.S. Navy.
Under Homeland Security, the Coast Guard performs maritime law enforcement duties as well as federal regulatory duties.
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. Commissaries continue to save Coast Guardsmen and their families thousands of dollars annually on their purchases in comparison to similar products at commercial stores.
“As the Coast Guard continues to build on its legacy, we are committed to being THE grocery provider of choice for them and all our eligible patrons – sailors, airmen, Marines and soldiers – delivering a vital benefit exclusively for our military community,” Saucedo said. “We will provide value and convenience, while delivering superior customer service and the items patrons want at the best possible savings.”
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.