United States Coast Guard Memorial – At Arlington National Cemetery

(Courtesy of the Military District of Washington)

Two tragic episodes in U.S. Coast Guard history prompted the construction of this memorial, which sits atop a hill near the southern edge of the cemetery. On September 21, 1918, the cutter Seneca was lost while attempting to salvage the British steamer, Wellington, which had been torpedoed in the Bay of Biscay. All officers and crew of the Seneca were lost. Only five days later, on September 26, 1918, the cutter Tampa was sunk by an enemy submarine in the British Channel, and all on board that ship were lost as well.

The names of these vessels and their crewman, as well as of all Coast Guard personnel who lost their lives during the Great War, are inscribed on the sides of the monument. The U.S. Coast Guard Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery was dedicated May 23, 1928.

The Coast Guard was formed as the successor to the Revenue Cutter Service and the Life Saving Service June 28, 1915. By law, the Tampa and the Seneca had been ordered to operate as part of the Navy when the United States entered World War I April 6, 1918.

In the monument's rock foundation and pyramid design, architect George Howe and sculptor Gaston Lachaise have captured the spirit of the Coast Guard's legendary steadfastness. A bronze sea gull, poised with its wings uplifted, alights below the Coast Guard motto Semper Paratus (Always Ready). This bird further symbolizes the tireless vigil that the U.S. Coast Guard maintains over the nation's maritime territory.





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