Before I get into the details of the USCG presence on our fair island, I would like to ask all of you a direct question: Where, when and how have you interacted with the Coast Guard – either personally or professionally? There is a specific reason I want to hear about it, and that is because we are in the process of applying to Admiral Paul Zukunft, the Commandant of the USCG, to attain the formal title of Coast Guard Community. I’ll explain further as we go along, but want you to understand that part of the application process is how the community has interacted with the local Coast Guard station in a positive and supportive way.
So, if you have in some way interacted or supported the Coast Guard and their efforts, please write to me at Borough Hall, 10 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island, NY 10301. Your letters will be included in the application package, and you’ll know you were part of effort to formally recognize and memorialize our borough’s relationship with a branch of service that is incredibly important to our nation’s defense.
Every year on August 4th Americans celebrate Coast Guard Day, and Staten Island stands tall and proud to be home to both the USCG Sector New York and USCG Station New York. What would eventually become the United States Coast Guard actually began on August 4th, 1790 under the Alexander Hamilton’s Treasury Department: they were a Revenue Cutter Service. In 1915, Revenue-Marine was merged with the U.S. Lifesaving Service and the Coast Guard was born.
This fifth branch of military service is unique in many ways – but one particular distinction stands out. Although it is always a military branch, when it is not operating in service to the U.S. Navy it operates under the Department of Homeland Security, as it is today. Indeed, it is the single largest component of the DHS, composed of 88,000 personnel including active duty, reserve, civilian and volunteer Auxiliarists. There are 37 USCG Sectors in the United States and various territories, and their largest sector, Sector New York, is located right here at Ft. Wadsworth.
Consisting of Station New York, located on Bay Street, Station Kings Point (at the Merchant Marine Academy) and Station Sandy Hook, Sector New York is fully in charge of security for the Ports of New York and New Jersey. Though they actively work with the NYPD and FDNY, the Coast Guard is top dog when it comes to port security. On their website, they refer to duty at Station New York as “one of the most demanding environments in the country.”
We are applying for Staten Island to be an official Coast Guard Community, a title obtained through a rigorous application process and granted by the United States Congress and United States Coast Guard. This designation would recognize that a special relationship exists between the Coast Guard and the people of Staten Island. We should all be extremely proud to be the home of Coast Guard Sector New York, and I look forward to the day when Staten Island finally gets Coast Guard Community designation.