Monday, November 7, 2022

Episode 641 (11-7-22): The U.S. Coast Guard, from Revenue Cutters to Ocean Rescues (for Veterans Day 2022)

CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (4:15).

Sections below are the following:
Transcript of Audio
Audio Notes and Acknowledgments
Extra Information
Related Water Radio Episodes
For Virginia Teachers (Relevant SOLs, etc.).

Unless otherwise noted, all Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 11-4-22.


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the weeks of November 7 and November 14, 2022.  This is a revised version of an episode from November 2014.

SOUND – 3 seconds – “Mayday!  Mayday!  Anybody got a copy?” 

In this episode, in honor of Veterans Day on November 11, we focus on the “anybody” that did copy and respond to the distress call you just heard: that is, the U.S. Coast Guard.  Have a listen for about 45 seconds more of the Coast Guard’s first response to that vessel sinking off Virginia’s coast in April 2010. 

SOUND – 46 seconds –

Boater: “I’ve struck an object and my boat is going down.  It’s going down fast.” 

Coast Guard: “Vessel in district, this is Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads.  Request to know your GPS position.  Over.”

Boater: “I’m unable to get a GPS position.  I’m off South, South Cape, about three miles off South Cape.  I’ve gotta deploy my raft.  She’s goin’ under.”

Coast Guard: “Captain, request to know if you have a life jacket on.  Over.”

Boater: “I do have a life jacket on.”

Coast Guard:  “Hello all stations.  This is United States Coast Guard, Hampton Roads, Virginia, Sector.  Time 0737 local, the Coast Guard has received a report of a vessel taking on water and going down, with one person on board. … All vessels in the vicinity are requested to keep a sharp lookout, assist if possible, and advise the Coast Guard of all sightings.”

The Coast Guard began in 1790 as a 10-ship fleet established to enforce trade laws and reduce smuggling.  In 1915, Congress merged this fleet—by then called the Revenue Cutter Service—with the U.S. Life Saving Service to form the Coast Guard as a branch of the nation’s military forces.  Later, the Lighthouse Service and the functions of the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation, also became part of the Coast Guard.  Today’s missions include law enforcement; national defense and homeland security; marine safety; environmental protection; navigation; and search and rescue activities, including the rescue of 13 people from a fishing vessel in the Atlantic off Virginia’s coast just this past October 28.  Virginia’s connections to the Coast Guard range from George Washington presiding over the establishment of the revenue cutter fleet; to life-saving stations put in service in the 1800s; to the first ice-breaking by a revenue cutter in the Chesapeake Bay in 1906; to today’s several active units, including the large Portsmouth base, which started as a depot for lighthouse equipment and is now headquarters for the Coast Guard’s Fifth District.

Thanks to the Coast Guard for this long history of service “through surf and storm and howling gale,” as the lyrics say in the Coast Guard anthem, “Semper Paratus,” the Latin for “always ready.”  And we close with a short sample of that anthem, played by the U.S. Coast Guard Band. 

MUSIC -  22 seconds – instrumental.


Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment.  For more Virginia water sounds, music, or information, visit us online at, or call the Water Center at (540) 231-5624.  Thanks to Ben Cosgrove for his version of “Shenandoah” to open and close this episode.  In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.


This Virginia Water Radio episode revises and replaces Episode 239, 11-10-14.

This episode’s sound was excerpted from “Rudee Inlet Rescue Distress Call,” April 2, 2010, a public-domain recording of a U.S. Coast Guard radio communication from Portsmouth, Va., accessed at the audio link of the Defense Video and Imagery Distribution System (DVIDS), online at

The U.S. Coast Guard Band’s performance of the Coast Guard anthem, “Semper Paratus” (arrangement by Matthew Lake) was accessed November 10, 2014, at the Band’s Web site,, which stated at the time that “The Coast Guard Band produces CD recordings for public relations, educational purposes, public libraries, and morale purposes. ...MP3 recordings are made available here by permission.”  That Web site was not longer available as of November 7, 2022.

Click here if you’d like to hear the full version (2 min./22 sec.) of the “Shenandoah” arrangement/performance by Ben Cosgrove that opens and closes this episode.  More information about Mr. Cosgrove is available online at


Old Coast Guard Station in Virginia Beach, Va., October 17, 2014.  The station was built in 1903 by the U.S. Life-saving Service, one of the predecessors of the U.S. Coast Guard.  Photo by Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class David Weydert, accessed online at

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Shearwater (right), escorting vessels during Operation Sail 2012 in Norfolk, part of the commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812.  Photo by Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class David Marin, accessed online at


The information below is quoted from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, “History of Veterans Day,” last updated July 20, 2015, accessed online at, 11/3/22.

“World War I—known at the time as ‘The Great War’—officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France.  However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.  For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of ‘the war to end all wars.’

“…In November 1919, [U.S.] President [Woodrow] Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: ‘To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…’  The original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11:00 a.m.

“The United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I when it passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926, with these words:
Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and

Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; and

Whereas the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday,

Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.

“An Act [of Congress] (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday—a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as ‘Armistice Day.’ Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen in the Nation’s history, [and] after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word ‘Armistice’ and inserting in its place the word ‘Veterans.’ With the approval of this legislation (Public Law 380) on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.”


Used for Audio

City of Portsmouth, Va., “Official Coast Guard City,” online at

Steve Jones, “Old Coast Guard Station Museum” [Virginia Beach, Va.], online at, “Coast Guard Birthday,” online at, “Virginia Military Bases,” online at

Mark Pratt and Ben Finley, “Coast Guard: 13 Rescued from Sinking Vessel off Virginia,” October 31, 2022, Associated Press, as published by, online at, as of 11-3-22.

William H. Thiesen [U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area Historian], “The Long Blue Line: Coast Guard's Fifth District—Home of Founders, Firsts and Flight for over 230 years!”  February 26, 2021, online at

U.S. Coast Guard, main Web site, online at  Specific pages used were the following:
“Frequently Asked Questions,” online at;
“History,” online at;
“History/Timeline 1700-1800,” online at;
“Missions,” online at;
“Moments in History: 200th Anniversary of the U.S. Coast Guard, 1990, online (as a PDF) at;
“Semper Paratus (Always Ready)—The Official Coast Guard Marching Song,” online at;
“Traveling Inspection Staff,” online at

U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area, “Sector Virginia,” online at

For More Information about Veterans Day

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, “History of Veterans Day,” last updated July 20, 2015, online at; and “Veterans Day,” online at


All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (  See especially the “Community/Organizations” and “History” subject categories.

Following are links to other episodes for Veterans Day. 

Episode 289, 11-9-15 – Navy.
Episode 341, 11-7-16
– Air Force.
Episode 394, 11-13-17
Episode 446, 11-12-18
– Marine Corps.
Episode 498, 11-11-19
– All U.S. military services except the Space Force.


Following are some Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs) that may be supported by this episode’s audio/transcript, sources, or other information included in this post.

2020 Music SOLs 

SOLs at various grade levels that call for “examining the relationship of music to the other fine arts and other fields of knowledge.”

2018 Science SOLs 

Grade 6
6.9 – Humans impact the environment and individuals can influence public policy decisions related to energy and the environment.

Earth Science
ES.6 – Resource use is complex. 

2015 Social Studies SOLs

Grades K-3 Civics Theme
3.12 – Importance of government in community, Virginia, and the United States, including government protecting rights and property of individuals.

Virginia Studies Course
VS.10 – Knowledge of government, geography, and economics in present-day Virginia.

United States History to 1865 Course
USI.5 – Factors that shaped colonial America and conditions in the colonies, including how people interacted with the environment to produce goods and service.

United States History: 1865-to-Present Course
USII.6 – Social, economic, and technological changes from the 1890s to 1945.
USII.9 – Domestic and international issues during the second half of the 20th Century and the early 21st Century.

Civics and Economics Course
CE.6 – Government at the national level.

Virginia and United States History Course
VUS.14 – Political and social conditions in the 21st Century.

Government Course
GOVT.7 – National government organization and powers.
GOVT. 12 – Role of the United States in a changing world, including responsibilities of the national government for foreign policy and national security.

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at

Following are links to Water Radio episodes (various topics) designed especially for certain K-12 grade levels.

Episode 250, 1-26-15 – on boiling, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Episode 255, 3-2-15
– on density, for 5th and 6th grade.
Episode 282, 9-21-15 – on living vs. non-living, for kindergarten.
Episode 309, 3-28-16 – on temperature regulation in animals, for kindergarten through 12th grade.
Episode 333, 9-12-16 – on dissolved gases, especially dissolved oxygen in aquatic habitats, for 5th grade.
Episode 404, 1-22-18 – on ice on ponds and lakes, for 4th through 8th grade.
Episode 407, 2-12-18 – on snow chemistry and physics, for high school.
Episode 483, 7-29-19 – on buoyancy and drag, for middle school and high school.
Episode 524, 5-11-20 – on sounds by water-related animals, for elementary school through high school.
Episode 531, 6-29-20 – on various ways that animals get water, for 3rd and 4th grade.
Episode 539, 8-24-20 – on basic numbers and facts about Virginia’s water resources, for 4th and 6th grade.
Episode 606, 12-6-21 – on freezing and ice, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.