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How Did the Coast Guard Help on September 11, 2001?

Although most of us are familiar with the on-land emergency evacuation efforts during 9/11, few of us are aware of the extent of Coast Guard's assistance. The US Coast Guard actually played a huge role by evacuating more than 500,000 people from Lower Manhattan after the September 11th terror attacks.

When the World Trade Center Towers in New York were attacked, hundreds of thousands of people became trapped as they were unable to get way by land. Only east of Manhattan provided an exit via the Brooklyn Bridge, and air support was not permitted as additional aircraft attacks were possible. In this hour of desperation, the Coast Guard stepped in and undertook an evacuation operation by improvising with their resources. They used boats, ferries and other vessels to evacuate civilians by water from southern Manhattan. Those evacuated were quickly taken to New Jersey and Staten Island.

Similarly, the US Coast Guard has played a pivotal role in emergency response and evacuation during many unfortunate disasters and events in US history, including Hurricane Katrina.

More about the US Coast Guard:

  • The US Coast Guard was established in 1790 as a maritime service to enforce federal trade and tariff laws.

  • In 1790, the Coast Guard started with 10 vessels. As of 2016, it operates about 90 vessels.

  • Since 2003, the US Coast Guard operates under the US Department of Homeland Security. Only in times of war, does it operate under the Navy.

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