This Day in U.S. Coast Guard History – January 28
1885-Keeper Marcus Hanna of the Cape Elizabeth Light Station saved two men from the wrecked schooner Australia. For this rescue Hanna was awarded the Gold Lifesaving Medal. He was also awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions at Port Hudson in 1863. He is the only person to have ever received both awards.
1915- President Woodrow Wilson signed into law the "Act to Create the Coast Guard," an act passed by Congress on 20 January 1915 that combined the Life-Saving Service and Revenue Cutter Service to form the Coast Guard (38 Stat. L., 800). The Coast Guard, however, still considers the date of the founding of the Revenue Cutter Service, 4 August 1790, as its "official" birthday, even though the Lighthouse Service, absorbed in 1939, is even older than that, dating to 7 August 1789.
1980- The CGC Blackthorn sank in Tampa Bay after colliding with the tanker Capricorn. Twenty-three Coast Guard personnel were killed in the tragedy.
1986- NASA's space shuttle Challenger exploded after lift-off, killing the entire crew. Coast Guard units, including the cutters Dallas, Dauntless, Harriet Lane, Bear, Tampa, Cherokee, Sweetgum, and Point Roberts conducted the initial search and rescue operations and later assisted in the recovery of much of the shuttle's wreckage. Other units included personnel from Station Port Canaveral, air stations Miami, Clearwater, and Savannah as well as Coast Guard reservists and Auxiliarists. The Dallas served as the on-scene commander for what was a joint Coast Guard, NASA, Navy and Air Force search and recovery operation.
2003- DoD submitted a request for Coast Guard forces in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The Commandant, ADM Thomas Collins, approved that request and ordered the deployment of eight 110-foot patrol boats, crews, and support units. The cutters were CGCs: Wrangell, Adak, Aquidneck, Baranof, Grand Isle, Bainbridge Island, Pea Island, and Knight Island.
(Source: USCG Historian’s Office)