Coastguard celebrates more than two centuries of service

Local News

Another year in the books for the US Coast Guard, celebrating their 227th Birthday today.

The military branch began work on August 4th, 1790.  Decades later, Coast Men and Women look back on the organization’s progress through history, across the country, and right here in Erie.

Hidden within Presque Isle State Park sits a piece of the nation’s military history.  Members of the Coast Guard celebrate over two centuries of service.  The anniversary makes them “take a step back from doing the routine,” says Coast Guard Chief, Daniel Heitzer, from the “day-to-day mission and kind of reflect on where we came from and where we’re headed to in the future.”

Chief Heitzer says the Erie station has been in its same location since 1878.  Back then, it was known as the ‘Life Saving Service, Station 236’ before transitioning into the Coast Guard. Today, Erie’s Coast Guard Station serves the entire area between Dunkirk, NY and Conneaut, OH.  21 Coast Men and Women work out of Erie.

But it wasn’t just Coast Men and Women who celebrated the organization’s birthday; the West Lake Fire Department was there and says it’s all about supporting one another. West Lake Firefighter, Rick Trohoske, says, “We like to work with them hand-in-hand because a lot of times, you know, on any water rescue calls, ice rescue we work with them hand-in-hand and get to know the guys that way we know each other and we can help each other.”  

As the Coast Guard has invested in advanced technology over the years, personnel have been able to better protect their territory and serve more people.  Heitzer says, “Fortunately, we’ve had a lot of good cases that have had real positive outcomes where we’re pulling people that their lives are impaired out of the water and saving them. It’s a really good feeling for my crew and myself.” 

And while the Coast Guard has changed, its mission to protect and serve the country stays in place throughout each passing birthday.

–Jackie Roberts


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