Coast Guard names Portsmouth “Coast Guard City”

PORTSMOUTH, Va. – The Coast Guard’s 5th District commander, Rear Adm. Wayne E. Justice, and Portsmouth Mayor Dr. James W. Holley III are scheduled to hold a press briefing announcing Portsmouth as a Coast Guard City at 10:00 a.m. Wednesday at the Lightship Portsmouth Museum.

The Coast Guard chose Portsmouth due to the city’s nearly 200 years of support for the Coast Guard and the organizations that merged to form the Coast Guard in 1915.

The honorary distinction is indicative of the productive, ongoing relationship between the Portsmouth community and local Coast Guard units, including the 5th District, Atlantic Area, Base Portsmouth and Sector Hampton Roads.

“For almost 200 years Coast Guard members and citizens of Portsmouth have forged a relationship that has stood the test of time,” said Rear Adm. Wayne E. Justice, Coast Guard’s 5th District commander. “We take great pride living in Portsmouth and look forward to many more years of prosperity with the new honorable status of Coast Guard City.”

The shared history of Portsmouth and the Coast Guard began in 1820 when the U.S. Lighthouse Service anchored its first lightship off Craney Island. In 1870 the Lighthouse Service boat depot and buoy yard was established where N’Telos Pavilion is now located, and in 1874 the Sixth Life Saving District was established in Portsmouth.

The “Coast Guard City, USA” program was established Nov. 13, 1998, after Section 409 of Public Law 105-383 was enacted to formally allow the city of Grand Haven, Mich., to become the first Coast Guard City. Since then, only seven other select cities have been awarded the designation before Portsmouth’s selection.

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