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The United States Coast Guard on the Great Lakes

Russ Gunvalson, a World War II veteran and POW, inspired me with his military service, and proudly shared
information from the career of his son, Cmdr. Todd Gunvalson, USCG (Ret.).
I am especially grateful to my wife, Mary Lamal Ostrom, a former elementary school teacher who shares my
Wisconsin origins. Without her encouragement and flexibility this book would not have been possible.
Thomas P. Ostrom
Rochester, MN
CONTENTS
1.A Brief Coast Guard History (1790 to 2006)
2.Predecessors on the Great Lakes (1790-1915)
3.The Coast Guard Emerges (1915-1939)
4.World War II to the Present (1945 to 2006)
5.Station Duluth (1866 to 2006) 6.The USCG Reserve and Auxiliary
7.Aids to Navigation
8.Great Lakes Light Stations
9.Great Lakes Ice Breakers
10.Buoy Tenders on the Lakes
11.Life Saving
12.Environmental Protection
13.Law Enforcement
14.Port Security, National Defense, and Commerce
15.An Overview of the Ninth Coast Guard District
16.Coast Guard Command Leadership
INTRODUCTION
IN 1961 I ACCOMPANIED two Wisconsin friends from Superior to the office of the Coast Guard recruiter in
Duluth, Minnesota. From there we commenced an eight-year involvement with the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve.
That experience stimulated my desire to study and then chronicle the domestic and global missions of the multi-
mission service in my first book, A History of the United States Coast Guard, 1790 to the Present. This book, A
History of the Coast Guard on the Great Lakes, is a regional history of the Coast Guard on the Inland Seas.
The seasonal extremes of the humid continental climate on the Lakes are associated with pleasant summers,
severe storms, high seas and winter ice. Dedicated Coast Guard Regular, Reserve, Auxiliary and civilian
support personnel are stationed on Lakes Ontario, Erie, Huron, Michigan and Superior.
The USCG is responsible for port security, ship and boat safety inspections, law enforcement, aids to
navigation, search and rescue, the enforcement of fisheries and pollution laws, ice breaking, immigration and
narcotics interdiction, and national defense.
The Revenue Service and the U.S. Life Saving Service were combined into the U.S. Coast Guard in 1915. The
USCG was transferred from the Treasury Department to the Department of Transportation in 1967. After the
9.11.01 terrorist attacks upon the United States, the Coast Guard increased its national defense role and
historical articulation with the U.S. Navy. In 2003 the Coast Guard was merged into the Department of
Homeland Security.
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