Introduction Training Florida Home Front Floridian Service Impact on Florida
Florida on the Eve of War
Pearl Harbor and its Impact
Military Training in Florida
Aviation
Land Warfare
Amphibious
WAAC Training at Daytona Beach
The German Submarine Threat
Civil Defense & Patrols
Rationing & Government Effort
Scrap, Gardens & Kids' Activities
War Bonds & Women's Roles
Homegrown Armor: The Alligator
National Guard & State Guard
United States Army
Navy & Marines
Coast Guard
Army Air Force
Women on Duty
African Americans
War Heroes
War's Impact on Florida
Citrus Goes to War
Industry and War Products
Tourism During the War Years
The War Ends
How WWII Changed the State

Floridians in Military Service: Coast Guard
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The United States Coast Guard, which had been transferred to the command of the U.S. Navy in 1941, was called upon to provide security for Florida's 1,197 mile long coastline. In 1942, the Coast Guard Auxiliary established a Coastal Picket Patrol consisting of private vessels either loaned, purchased, or requisitioned by the government. These vessels, which in Florida were part of Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla No. 2, were popularly called the "Corsair Navy," "Mosquito Fleet," or the "Hooligan Navy." The ships carried machine guns, radios, and occasionally depth charges. They patrolled along the coast, performing the vital functions of rescuing survivors and reporting sightings of U-boats. As the war progressed, the regular Coast Guard took control of the patrols.

In addition to maintaining the "Corsair Navy," the Coast Guard implemented beach patrols to defend the coastline. Initially one or two-man foot patrols were implemented, but Coastguardsmen mounted on horses and in motorized vehicles also were used. Dogs accompanied the men on some coastal patrols. For a time personnel also staffed watch-towers on the Florida coast.

U.S. Maritime Service and Merchant Marine:

Floridians also served in the U.S. Maritime Service and in the civilian Merchant Marine, which transported the critical supplies needed by Allied military forces. During the war, the U.S. Maritime Commission, which had been established in the late 1930s to increase the size of the dwindling U.S. merchant fleet, oversaw the construction of more than 5,700 merchant ships in 70 major shipyards. By 1945, the U.S. Merchant Marine fleet was the largest in the world. Although they served as civilians, many Merchant Marines lost their lives when their ships were torpedoed by German submarines while crossing the Atlantic Ocean with much-needed fuel and supplies.

Florida Remembers WWII
Coast Guardsmen patrolling the beaches of St. Augustine -- (Courtesy of Mrs. Charles E. Richey)
 Coast Guardsmen patrolling the beaches of St. Augustine
(Courtesy of Mrs. Charles E. Richey)
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