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The Merger: Physical Exams, Uniforms and a Top Heavy Service


In 1939, shortly after the U.S. Lighthouse Service was dissolved and merged into the United States Coast Guard, there appeared the following problems, as reported word for word from the 1939 Coast Guard Magazine . . .

Physical Examinations

As soon as the major difficulties have been worked out, personnel of the former Lighthouse Service will be required to take annual physical examinations in the same manner as Coast Guard personnel. These persons have heretofore not been required to take annual examinations. It was stated however, that all physical examinations given will be with an eye toward protecting the interest of the individual and the government. In this connection, it is also well to note that when the Lighthouse Service personnel are commissioned into the Coast Guard there will be several uniform changes. However, it is believed that this change will be made gradually in order that no waste in clothing will result.

Lighthouse Difficulties

In effecting the consolidation of the Lighthouse Service with the Coast Guard, a number of personnel problems have arisen. One is the question of an overabundance of highly paid personnel for whom no work is available under consolidation. Former Commissioner Harold D. King, of the Lighthouse Service, who now acts as an assistant to the Commandant, is obviously too active a person to retain a position in which his activities are limited and it is believed that he may ask for voluntary retirement.

In the districts, there are thirty-four division commanders and assistant division commanders who were formerly in the Lighthouse Service and who are now acting as assistants to the commandants of the 13 new Coast Guard Districts. In this instance, it is equally obvious that only about thirteen of these officials will be needed under the consolidation. It is believed that this situation will be met by letting time eliminate the excess personnel. At Coast Guard Headquarters, no information is available on any of these points, and it is believed that no personnel decisions of a major nature can be made until the Comptroller General rules on the status of funds of the former Lighthouse Service.

All this proves once again that by studying lighthouses you can learn more about American history than from any other source. Now, who would like the challenge of finishing the above story?

This story appeared in the June 2003 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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