Originally Posted by LinusMundane
We are the only branch who do not carry guns(aside from doing boardings or being in a war zone.) The only time I ever carried a side arm was when the President visited our base in Philadelphia. When the guys on boats are out they train on that armament, but the stuff the other branches are trained in, we are not.
I too am a USCG veteran, but from another era when Vietnam was the hot zone. The USCG was then part of the Treasury Department, the Department of Transportation and the Department of Homeland Security (both of which subsequently owned the USCG) were created later. In wartime the USCG came under a joint command structure with the other US Armed Forces.
But make no mistake, the USCG was then and is now an armed force in the defense of this nation. Today's USCG is 3X the size of the one I served in, but when smallboat experience was needed on the landing craft and river patrols of Vietnam, the USCG was deployed there - in fact, because the USCG was so much smaller, a much higher percentage of the USCG saw combat than did those in the Navy/Marines/USAF/Army, who mostly trained and practiced for war rather than fought it. But none of the other services ever had 9% of their total strength in Vietnam as did the USCG.
When I was in the USCG, the Rescue Swimmers did not exist. The older and much larger and less economical helicopters we had then were amphibious, and landed in the ocean and deployed rubber boats - as did USCG amphibious seaplanes such as the famous PBY "Catalina" flying boat.
I'll have to say that although it may be cheaper to fly a non-amphibious aircraft for search-and-rescue operations over the oceans, I don't think it's a real good idea. The former USCG seaplanes had faster speed and much longer range than do today's small helicopters. The relatively large amphibious helicopters used a lot of fuel, but were capable of towing surface vessels back to port, or rescuing 10X the number of people.
But anyways, to address your point - Marines or Army personnel do not walk around under arms in the USA either. Israeli soldiers do go around armed, for good reasons and in different circumstances. I was trained on both the M1 infantry rifle and the original M-16, and the standard .45 auto pistol. I re-qualified every year after bootcamp by shooting at the range, and they kept score. I was an ET in the LORAN-C area, and narrowly escaped "Snake Eater" (jungle warfare) school for deployment in Vietnam, they sent me to Alaska instead. We got to play games with the Navy SEALS who simulated Russians invading and sabatoging our LORAN transmitter (we lost). Incidentally, due to polar bears and wolves we were required to be under arms at all times when outdoors.
Don't doubt for a minute that your profession is the defense of the USA. You may have other missions such as search-and-rescue, port security, or drug interdiction, but defense is still primary. Remember the words to the oath you swore. Semper Paratus.