CONFERENCE REPORT ON H.R. 2443, COAST GUARD AND MARITIME TRANSPORTATION ACT OF 2004 -- (House of Representatives - July 21, 2004)
Mr. YOUNG of Alaska. Mr. Speaker, pursuant to House Resolution 730, I call up the conference report on the bill (H.R. 2443) to authorize appropriations for the Coast Guard for fiscal year 2004, to amend various laws administered by the Coast Guard, and for other purposes.
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Mr. SIMMONS. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to strongly support the conference report on H.R. 2443, the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act, a bill to reauthorize Coast Guard operations for fiscal year 2005.
I thank Chairman DON YOUNG and FRANK LOBIONDO, and Ranking Member JIM OBERSTAR for their hard work and leadership on behalf of our Coast Guard men and women. And I thank my colleagues and fellow conferees for working with me to authorize the establishment of a National Coast Guard Museum in New London, Connecticut-where the Service first came ashore and established the Coast Guard Academy.
In 2001, I became one of the founding members of the National Coast Guard Museum Association. Our goal was to fund and construct the museum in New London. The seven-member board included our chairman, James Coleman, Jr., Connecticut State Senator Cathy Cook, Rear Adm. Richard Larrabee, USCG (ret.), Cmdr. Don Chapman, USCG (ret.), Richard Grahn and John Johnson. These civic-minded individuals dedicated their time and talent to make this project work.
Connecticut's two Senators CHRISTOPHER DODD and JOSEPH LIEBERMAN, also supported this project and I thank them for their input and support. I am proud to have been part of the effort, which we anticipate will be completed with full support of the community.
The bill appropriately directs the Coast Guard Commandant to establish the museum in New London at, or in close proximity to, the Academy. This will ensure that future cadets, commissioned officers, warrants and petty officers attending the leadership school at the Coast Guard Academy will benefit from the collection and programs of the new museum.
The people of Connecticut and the New London area are proud of their Coast Guard and maritime heritage, and eager to support the new museum. I am confident that local leaders will support this effort and be diligent in securing a suitable location for the museum.
The Coast Guard is our major force in maritime safety and law enforcement, an integral part of our national defense, and an important member of our New London community. It is right to honor the service and sacrifice of the men and women in the Coast Guard by establishing this museum, and it is fitting to locate the facility in New London.
A National Coast Guard Museum will be a place to honor, preserve and share the story of our beloved "Coasties." It is the proud story of brave men and women who live and serve by their motto-Semper Paratus. Always Ready.
Mr. Speaker, today this body is ready to say thank you. More than 70 museums across the country celebrate our military services, and H.R. 2443 pays a long overdue tribute to the Coast Guard in establishing the first museum dedicated to this Service. I am gratified to have the support of my colleagues in passing this bill.