Excerpts taken from, "Great Lakes: A Brief History of U.S. Coast Guard Operations" by: Dennis L. Noble (Click here to download)
"The U.S. Lighthouse Service was the first of the four agencies that would eventually make up the U. S. Coast Guard on the Great lakes. The service traces its roots to 1716 with the establishment of a lighthouse on Little Brrewster Island, at the entrance to Boston Harbor. By 1789 there were 12 lights located within the new United States.
"At the outbreak of World War II, some cutters were transferred from the Great Lakes to help in the Battle of the Atlantic. One of the cutters making the move to the Atlantic was the Escanaba. In June 1943, while operating with a convoy out of Narsarssuak, Greenland, Seaman First Class Raymond O'Malley, at 5:10 in the morning, heard "a noise which sounded like three or four bursts of 20 mm machine gun fire." Within minutes after this noise, there'was a tremendous explosion that ripped the cutter in two. Only two men survived, O'Malley and Boatswain's Mate Second Class Melvin Baldwin. The citizens of Grand Haven, to pay tribute to the men who died, established a memorial park and raised more than a million dollars in U.S. war bonds to build another ship to bear the name Escanaba. Since World War II, Grand Haven has held the U.S. Coast Guard Festival in August of each year."
"In the early 19th century, units of the modern day U.S. Coast Guard began their long service to the maritime community of the Great Lakes region. nearing the 200th birthday of the U.S. Coast Guard, the dangers to modern day sailors on the lakes are still as strong as ever, witness the sinking of the Carl. D. Bradley and the Edmund Fitzgerald. Indeed, the men and women of today's U.S. Coast Guard, who respond to the emergencies upon the waters of the Great Lakes, are carrying on, and surpassing, the strong foundations of service to others established by the deeds of their illustrious predecessors."