Not long after Congress established the Coast Guard Reserve and Auxiliary in February 1941, Coast Guard reservists were called into service for World War II. They were again summoned for the Vietnam conflict. And today, their duties have grown even larger and more complex to include addressing maritime cybersecurity threats and Department of Homeland Security missions.
The Coast Guard Reserve is a component of the Coast Guard, which responds to acts of terrorism, disasters or other emergencies in maritime regions — ports, waterways and oceans, including those in the Arctic.
Reliance on these reservists expanded after the Department of Homeland Security widened the responsibility of the Coast Guard following 9/11.
Unlike other military branches, whose members serve in conflicts for a period of time, Coast Guard reservists are challenged to perform continually on permanent Department of Homeland missions.
The reservists help the Coast Guard patrol and secure 95,000 miles of shoreline and 4.5 million square miles of the U.S. exclusive economic zone.