This Day in Coast Guard History – June 15
1904-Nearly 1,000 lives were lost when the steamboat General Slocum caught fire in the East River in New York. The disaster led to improved safety regulations and life-saving equipment.
1917-Congress passed and President Woodrow Wilson signed into law the Espionage Act, authorizing the Treasury Secretary to assume control of U.S. ports, control ship movements, establish anchorages and supervise the loading and storage of explosive cargoes. The authority was immediately delegated to the Coast Guard and formed the basis for the formation of the Coast Guard's Captain of the Ports and the Port Security Program.
1944-Coast Guardsmen participated in the invasion of Saipan, Marianas. Coast Guard-manned transports that took part in the invasion included the USS Cambria, Arthur Middleton, Callaway, Leonard Wood, LST-19, LST-23, LST-166 and LST-169.
1949-Two hundred and forty-eight unidentified victims of the explosion of the U.S. Coast Guard-manned Serpens in 1945 at Guadalcanal were buried in Arlington National Cemetery in what was described as the largest recommittal on record.
1986-Commandant ADM Paul Yost banned the wearing of beards by Coast Guard personnel.
2009-Law Enforcement officers from the 14th Coast Guard District reported aboard the USS Crommelin (FFG-37) to support U.S. Coast Guard fisheries enforcement in Oceania in an operation called the "Fight for Fish" mission. It marked the first time a Navy warship was utilized "to transit the Western Pacific enforcing fishing regulations in a joint effort with the Coast Guard to stop illegal fishing in this region."
(Source: USCG Historian’s Office)