This Day in Coast Guard History – May 12
1906-In part due to the lobbying efforts of the Maritime Association of the Port of New York, Congress authorized the construction of a cutter "equipped to cruise for and destroy derelicts and obstructions to navigation" for the Revenue Cutter Service. The Service contracted with the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company to build this "derelict destroyer," which was christened USRC Seneca. She was commissioned in 1908.
1938- Lieutenant C. B. Olsen became the first Coast Guardsman to be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. He earned the award for "heroism in removing Lieutenant Colonel Gullion, U.S. Army, who was stricken with acute appendicitis, from the Army transport 'Republic'" after making an open-water landing near the freighter.
1939- On 12 May 1939, Boatswain's Mate First Class Clarence Samuels was appointed as a Chief Photographer's Mate (Acting), becoming the first African-American photographer in the Coast Guard and only the second Coast Guard photographer in the entire history of the Service.
1957- The CGC Wachusett, on Ocean Station NOVEMBER, halfway between Honolulu and San Francisco, rescued the two-man crew who had bailed out of a U.S. Air Force B-57 because of a fuel shortage.
1984-The Coast Guard was a primary participant in the 1984 Louisiana World Exposition in New Orleans. The Coast Guard Barque Eagle was opened to the public and the fair's organizers also chose the Coast Guard as the official honor guard for the exposition. The service was also responsible for the exposition's waterfront security.
(Source: USCG Historian’s Office)