Mary-Elizabeth Pratt is a writer and historian from Cincinnati. She is a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Reserves, serving as a Maritime Enforcement Specialist with a Port Security Unit. She attended Wittenberg University and the University of Cincinnati, and has worked for the National Museum of the US Air Force, the US Coast Guard Museum, Disney Productions, and private museums across the eastern seaboard.
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Thomas Johnson
Created in 1790, the Coast Guard is the smallest of the five armed services, the least funded, and the only one not a part of the Department of Defense. As it stands today, the Coast Guard is the child of five former agencies of the U.S. government, which included the Revenue Cutter Service, the Bureau of Navigation, the Lifesaving Service, the Steamboat Inspection Service, and the Lighthouse Service, which is how the Coast Guard derives its 11 unique missions including search and rescue; icebreaking operations; and law enforcement. All of these factors help set Coast Guardsmen apart from the members of any other branch.