GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba (NNS) -- Naval Station Guantanamo Bay (NSGB), Joint Task Force Guantanamo Maritime Security Detachment (MARSECDET) and United States Coast Guard Air Operations Detachment (USCGAVDET) celebrated the Coast Guard's 227th birthday at the very first Coast Guard Ball held at NSGB's Windjammer ballroom, Aug. 5.
The USCG has had many missions over the years, including acting as Revenue Cutter Service, Bureau of Steam Ships, Bureau of Lighthouses, search and rescue stations and missions, counterterrorism and counter-narcotics operations, as well as numerous other missions that have all morphed the Coast Guard into what it is today. The USCG began under the direction of the Department of the Treasury because their primary mission was to build revenue, transitioned to the newly-formed Department of Transportation in 1967, and then in 2003, transitioned to the Department of Homeland Security.
"We were excited to show off what the Coast Guard does, and let people know how we protect U.S. waterways," said Chief Storekeeper David Knapp, USCGAVDET, Guantanamo Bay. "I was excited to be part of this opportunity here at Guantanamo Bay."
Knapp explained between the wide array of missions NSGB's Coast Guard contingents provide and their frequent personnel rotations, they haven't had the chance to have a ball here before.
"This past weekend was the first-ever Coast Guard ball at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba," said Knapp. "You will see a lot of the same traditions as any other ball here, but with a Coast Guard spin."
The permanent party AVDET and the MARSECDET joined forces to highlight the mission of the Coast Guard.
"The Coast Guard was created by Alexander Hamilton by an act of Congress so that we could collect revenue from ships that were pulling into port, originally called the Revenue Cutter Service because our job was to collect revenue," said Knapp. "More recently we have done more law enforcement and joint operations, but we still stick with the old traditional mission."
In 2017, the Coast Guard at NSGB has seized more than 20,000 pounds of interdicted drugs - mainly cocaine and marijuana - and has transported more than 150 Coast Guard detainees to the United States for prosecution.
"I feel that Naval Station Guantanamo Bay supports us," said Knapp. "Our ships are out sailing the Caribbean, and NSGB assists us with providing fuel and maintenance capabilities. It's always nice to pull into a friendly port, and it's definitely friendly thanks to port operations and the other base entities."