Rescue swimmers and aircrewmen conduct hoist training evolutions off the coast of Cape Cod.
Credit: Petty Officer 3rd Class Ross Ruddell
A survey team from Cutter Bristol Bay pause for a photo during inspection of ice thickness on Lake Erie.
Credit: Chief Petty Officer Jason Gould
Two MH-65 Dolphins practice formation flight around Oahu.
Credit: Petty Officer 2nd Class Tara Molle
Night flight of a HC-144 Ocean Sentry.
Credit: Petty Officer 2nd Class Seth Johnson
The US Coast Guard's 295-foot barque, the Eagle photographed in the Atlantic.
Credit: Auxiliarist david Lau
Cadets at the US Coast Guard Academy conduct morning colors as snow falls on campus.
credit: Petty Officer 2nd Class Cory J. Mendenhall
M5-65 Dolphin conducting vertical replenishment training aboard the USCG Cutter Active.
Credit: Petty Officer 3rd Class Ryan Tippets
Coast Guard sailors practice shooting the M240 machine aboard Coast Guard Cutter Stratton.
Credit: Petty Officer 1st Class Bryan Goff
A boatcrew mans a safety and security zone off the coast of Cape Canaveral during a rocket launch.
Credit: Petty Officer 2nd Class Anthony L. Soto
Ice rescue training at Coast Guard Station Cleveland Harbor.
Credit: Petty Officer 3rd Class William Miychell
A C-130J out of Air Station Elizabeth City, NC passes through a bank of clouds.
Credit: Dave Silva
This year marks the 226th birthday of the United States Coast Guard. The branch traces its roots back to the Revenue Cutter Service, founded on August 4, 1790 as part of the Department of Treasury. As history progressed, the Coast Guard took on several roles as law enforcers, search and rescuers, and coastal defender, safeguarding America's maritime interests around the world. As the smallest branch of the US military, with only 42,000 active duty personnel, the Coasties have nonetheless contributed to the mission of most American military engagements, including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Here's a collection of incredible images of the men and women who defend our shores and rescue our countrymen. Semper Paratus!