“Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives o the United States of America in Congress assembled, That there shall be established in lieu of the existing Revenue-Cutter Service and the Life-Saving Service, to be composed of those two existing organizations, with the existing offices and positions and the incumbent officers and men of those two services, the Coast Guard, which shall constitute a part of the military forces of the United States and which shall operate under the Treasury Department in time of peace and operate as a part of the Navy, subject to the orders of the Secretary of the Navy, in time of war or when the President shall so direct . When subject to the Secretary of the Navy in time of war the expense of the Coast Guard shall be paid by the Navy Department; Provided, That no provision of this Act shall be construed as giving any officer of either the Coast Guard or the Navy, military or other control at any time over any vessel, officer, or man of the other service except by direction of the President.”

Following the passing of “An Act To create the Coast Guard by combining therein the existing Life-Saving Service and Revenue-Cutter Service” by the 63rd Congress on 20 January 1915, President Woodrow Wilson signed the bill into law on 28 January 1915, officially creating a new entity called the “United States Coast Guard.” While the service considers its birthday to be August 4th, acknowledging the founding of the Revenue-Cutter Service on that date in 1790, this date saw the creation of a new military service, a new name and a merger of two very distinct organization cultures.

This new law included sections about executing the merger (two “chiefs of division” were allocated an annual salary of $3000 to execute the merger), notes that existing laws for the two services would be enforceable by the new organization, how retirement of officers would be handled, how advancements would be handled in the former Life-Saving Service ranks and many other items. And all of this was outlined in a short two and a quarter pages.

Here's the act in its entire.038_statutes_at_large

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