Tag Archives: mounted beach patrol

High Flyer

Original caption: “An alert Coast Guardsman leaps into action as he covers his patrol. On the anti-saboteur patrolmen of the Coast Guard also protect vital cargoes on the piers awaiting shipment to the far-flung battle lines.”

Note the shore duty leggings, M1903 Springfield, and its attached 20-inch M1905 bayonet. USCG photo 26-G-89-049, via the National Archives.

Formed from scratch in 1942, the Coast Guard Beach Patrol employed about 24,000 men, aged 17 to 73, protecting 3,700 miles of coastline from potential enemy invasion during World War II. More on the subject in this excellent 124-page period chronicle.

Recalling when beach was littered in hoofprints

BM2 Keisha Kerr and her father Wayne, a civilian employee at Coast Guard Base Boston, are historical reenactors of the Coast Guard’s World War II Beach Patrol. They have spent the last five years educating the public about this unique part of Coast Guard history.

In September 1942, horses were authorized for use by the patrol. The mounted portion soon became the largest segment of the patrol. For example, one year after orders were given to use horses, there were 3,222 of the animals assigned to the Coast Guard. All came from the Army, with many being recently retired cavalry mounts. The Army Remount Service provided all the riding gear required, while the Coast Guard provided the uniforms for the riders.

Members of the Coast Guard’s mounted beach patrol cross an inlet during their patrol on the West Coast.

A call went out for personnel and a mixed bag of people responded. Polo players, cowboys, former sheriffs, horse trainers, National Guard cavalrymen, jockeys, farm boys, rodeo riders and stunt men applied. Much of the mounted training took place at Elkins Park Training Station and Hilton Head, the sites of the dog training schools.

A beach patrol exhibit at the WWII Museum in New Orleans

More on the Coast Guard mounted beach patrols here in a detailed 124-page report and a 10-minute newsreel here at the National Archives