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Between the Wars

1915 – 1940

Hostilities ceased at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. Coast Guard units began sailing home. Seneca arrived in New York on 1 July 1919, the last Coast Guard unit deployed. Back to the Treasury Department.

But Navy Secretary Josephus Daniels believed the transfer to the Navy should be permanent. Several old RCS officers agreed. They had never been comfortable married to the “civilians” of the LSS and felt more at home with naval military officers. Several officers favored an arrangement similar to that of the Marine Corps. Others wanted outright amalgamation into the Navy. Treasury Secretary Carter Glass waged political warfare for the return of his assets. President Wilson’s Executive Order on 28 August 1919 assured it.

But cutters were getting old and Congress did not favor any form of military spending. The Navy offered a few Eagle-class patrol boats and several 110’ sub chasers, but personnel shortages left many hulls idle. In 1919, using 1916 funds, the service was authorized four new 240’ cutters of the Modoc-class. These vessels were designed with reinforced bows to work in the ice. A 158’ tug, Shawnee, was also built. All were commissioned in 1921. Further requests were denied. The service continued to perform. This was the beginning of “do more with less”.