Coast Guard EnsignO-2 Junior Officer, U.S. Coast Guard
History of the Coast Guard Ensign Rank
The term "Ensign" is derived from the Old French 'enseigne' ad Latin 'insignia' meaning 'mark, symbol, flag'. The rank was originally assigned to a junior officer in an infantry regiment who was given the duty of carrying the ensign (flag). Over time, the rank came to be known as 'ensign'. In 1815, the US Army abolished the rank, but in the mid-nineteenth century it was adopted in the US Navy. In the Coast Guard, officers of equivalent rank were called 'Third Lieutenant', following army usage, but after 1920, when naval ranks were introduced for the Coast Guard, all Third Lieutenants became Ensigns.
Want to learn more? Read about the Coast Guard's Ensign rank on Military-Ranks.org.
History of the Coast Guard
The Coast Guard has changed names several times over its 200+ year history, but it is largely the same organization as it was in 1790 as the Revenue Marine. Uniforms, culture, and professions are very similar to the Navy, but the mission is different. While the Navy ensures freedom of navigation internationally, the Coast Guard does so for our nation's coasts through vessel inspections, law enforcement, drug and migrant interdiction, maintenance of navigation aids, environmental protection and research, ice operations, and search-and-rescue. Sailors of the Navy and Coast Guard have a high respect for each other, knowing that one can do what the other cannot.