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Coast Guard

Semper Paratus - "Always Ready"

This is the Coast Guard's motto and the title of its service song. No one seems to know exactly how it was chosen as the Coast Guard's motto. But there is no doubt as to who put the famous motto to words and music. Captain Francis Saltus Van Boskerck wrote the words in the cabin of the cutter Yamacraw in Savannah, Ga., in 1922. He wrote the music five years later on a beat-up old piano in Unalaska, Alaska. As long as Captain Van Boskerck could remember, Semper Paratus had been a Revenue Cutter and Coast Guard watchword. The words themselves, always ready or ever ready, date back to ancient times. No official recognition was given to the Coast Guard motto until it appeared in 1910 on the ensign. Captain Van Boskerck hoped to give it as much recognition as "Semper Fideles" of the Marines and "Anchors Away" of the Navy.

Here are the words to the chorus:
"We're always ready for the call,
We place our trust in Thee.
Through howling gale and shot and shell,
To win our victory.
"Semper Paratus" is our guide,
Our pledge, our motto, too.
We're "Always Ready," do or die!
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Coast Guard Aviator Pennant
Coast Guard Aviator Pennant
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