Old Glory The United States Coast Guard Is Always Ready

"America will always be ready with the US Coast Guard"

Coast Guard Song: Semper Paratus (Always Ready)

Semper Paratus

The United States Coast Guard is the world's oldest life-saving service and "Semper Paratus" ("Always Ready") is its theme song. The song's original words and music were composed by Captain Francis Saltus Van Boskerck, USCG.

Captain Van Boskerck was Commander of the Coast Guard's Bering Sea Forces when he composed "Semper Paratus" in 1927. Coast Guard lore developed that he composed the tune on a beat-up old piano belonging to a Mrs. Albert C. Gross, the wife of an Alaskan fur trader, who owned what was at that time the only piano in the Aleutian Islands. Two public health dentists, Alfred E. Nannestad and Joseph O. Fournier of Unalaska Island, also contributed to developing the song's early lyrics.

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

Lyrics

Words and Music by Captain Francis Saltus Van Boskerck, USCG
Words and Music Copyright by Sam Fox Publishing Co, Inc.

From North and South and East and West,
The Coast Guard's in the fight.
Destroying subs and landing troops,
The Axis feels our might.
For we're the first invaders,
On every fighting field.
Afloat, ashore, on men and Spars,
You'll find the Coast Guard shield.

We're always ready for the call,
We place our trust in Thee.
Through howling gale and shot and shell,
To win our victory.
"Semper Paratus" is our guide,
Our pledge, our motto, too.
We're "Always Ready," do or die!
Aye! Coast Guard, we fight for you.

From Aztec shore to Arctic zone,
To Europe and Far East.
The Flag is carried by our ships,
In times of war and peace.
And never have we struck it yet,
In spite of foe-men's might,
Who cheered our crews and cheered again,
For showing how to fight.

We're always ready for the call,
We place our trust in Thee.
Through howling gale and shot and shell,
To win our victory.
"Semper Paratus" is our guide,
Our pledge, our motto, too.
We're "Always Ready," do or die!
Aye! Coast Guard, we fight for you.

SURVEYOR and NARCISSUS,
The EAGLE and DISPATCH,
The HUDSON and the TAMPA
The names are hard to match;
From Barrow's shores to Paraguay,
Great Lakes or ocean's wave,
The Coast Guard fought through storms and winds
To punish or to save.

We're always ready for the call,
We place our trust in Thee.
Through howling gale and shot and shell,
To win our victory.
"Semper Paratus" is our guide,
Our pledge, our motto, too.
We're "Always Ready," do or die!
Aye! Coast Guard, we fight for you.

Aye, we've been "Always Ready"
To do, to fight, or die
Write glory to the shield we wear
In letters to the sky.
To sink the foe or save the maimed
Our mission and our pride
We'll carry on 'til Kingdom Come
Ideals for which we've died.

We're always ready for the call,
We place our trust in Thee.
Through howling gale and shot and shell,
To win our victory.
"Semper Paratus" is our guide,
Our pledge, our motto, too.
We're "Always Ready," do or die!
Aye! Coast Guard, we fight for you.