Coast Guard football to honor U.S. Life-Saving Service 'Station 17'
New London — The Coast Guard Academy football team will honor the U.S. Life-Saving Service Station 17 with special uniforms that will be worn during four games this fall.
Pea Island Life-Saving Station, located on the Outer Banks in North Carolina, was the first life-saving station in the country to have an all-Black crew and it was the first in the nation to have a black man, Richard Etheridge, as commanding officer.
The U.S. Life-Saving Service was formed in 1871, a precursor to the U.S. Coast Guard, created by Congress to assure the safe passage of American and international shipping and to save lives and salvage cargo. Station 17, located on the beaches of Pea Island, North Carolina, and manned by a crew of seven, bore the brunt of this dangerous but vital duty.
A former slave and Civil War veteran, Etheridge, the only black man to lead a lifesaving crew, was appointed Keeper of the Pea Island Station. He recruited and trained a crew of African Americans to man Station 17 and Etheridge served as the keeper at Pea Island for 20 years.
On Aug. 3, 2012, the second of the Coast Guard's 154-foot Sentinel-Class Cutters, USCGC Richard Etheridge, was named in his honor.
Coast Guard will wear a special Station 17 uniform for both Homecoming Games (Sept. 18 and Oct. 2), on the road at Catholic on Oct. 16th, as well as for the Secretaries' Cup matchup against Merchant Marine on Nov. 13.