Posted by: Drew | August 8, 2009

Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay celebrates Coast Guard Day

Story and photos by Petty Officer 3rd Class Crystalynn A. Kneen
Lily Antonellis is helped by her father, Cmdr. Michael Antonellis, to hit the bull’s eye to drop a volunteer in the dunk tank during Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay’s Coast Guard Day celebration Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2009. Antonellis is one of the many children who celebrated Coast Guard Day with crew members. (U.S. Coast Guard photo/Petty Officer 3rd Class Crystalynn A. Kneen)
Lily Antonellis is helped by her father, Cmdr. Michael Antonellis, to hit the bull’s eye to drop a volunteer in the dunk tank during Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay’s Coast Guard Day celebration Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2009.

August 4, 1790, the United States secretary of treasury, Alexander Hamilton prevailed upon congress to create a maritime service to enforce custom laws. He was empowered ten cutters for each of the ten ports along the east coast. These cutters were to cruise the coastline and ensure inbound cargo was not off-loaded in locations other than approved ports of entry.

One of those ports of entry was Philadelphia. Two-hundred and nineteen years later, members of Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay in Philadelphia are still protecting our ports as they celebrated the birth of their traditions, selfless duty and the longest sea-going service, the United States Coast Guard.

“Coast Guard Day is recognition of our long time traditions,” said Capt. Meredith Austin, the commanding officer at Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay in Philadelphia. “The tens of thousands of Coast Guard members who came before us shaped the Coast Guard into what it is today, and this is a celebration for them and us.”

Capt. Todd Gatlin, deputy of Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay in Philadelphia, falls into the dunk tank during Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay’s Coast Guard Day celebration Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2009.  Family members and friends were welcome to join in the festivities and eat with the crew. (U.S. Coast Guard photo/Petty Officer 3rd Class Crystalynn A. Kneen)
Capt. Todd Gatlin, deputy of Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay in Philadelphia, falls into the dunk tank during Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay’s Coast Guard Day celebration Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2009.

The celebration that took place at Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay included volleyball tournaments, horseshoes, food, music, a dunk tank and a bounce ride for the children.

“This celebration is a chance to give credit to our service and the missions we carry out on a day-to-day basis,” said Lt. j.g. Justin Gear, the morale officer at Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay in Philadelphia. “It gives our crews a chance to relax and celebrate with friends and family.”

In addition, family members were welcome to join in the festivities and celebrate with the crew while children dunked volunteers in the dunk tank, and family members enjoyed food from a local restaurant, which catered the event.

“I think taking the time to celebrate Coast Guard Day is wonderful,” said Rafael Elizalde, Petty Officer 3rd Class Joann Elizalde’s husband. “If it wasn’t for events like this, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to meet Coast Guard members and learn the great history of the Coast Guard, but also be apart of its great future.”

Crew members and their families play volleyball during Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay’s Coast Guard Day celebration in Philadelphia Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2009. The unit also had a horseshoe tournament, music, food and a dunk tank. (U.S. Coast Guard photo/Petty Officer 3rd Class Crystalynn A. Kneen)
Crew members and their families play volleyball during Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay’s Coast Guard Day celebration in Philadelphia Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2009.

As the event came to a close, 219 years of Coast Guard history, missions and lives saved were commemorated in the city where America’s founding fathers came together for the birth of a time honored service. In such, gives just cause to celebrate the birth of one of the five branches of the armed forces.

“Regardless of the changing times, the Coast Guard faces and carries out the same mission when we were known as the Life Saving or Revenue Cutter Service,” said Gear. ” We are apart of a multitude of missions to include as always, safety of life at sea, just as it has been for more than two centuries. To celebrate such an occasion is like celebrating a family member’s birthday. We are all family.”

Note* Coast Guard history information taken from:

What is the Revenue Marine/ Revenue Cutter Service, and What Role Did It Play in the Civil War

Allen T. Mordica

CWO4, USCG

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