The technical capabilities of the personnel of the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey (C&GS) have served in the defense of our Nation since the Civil War. In the Civil War, First World War, and Second World War C&GS topographers, artillery surveyors, and hydrographers accompanied United States forces in the field often in advance of the front lines. On the homefront millions of maps and other products were produced in support of the Armed Forces. In particular, during the Second World War C&GS personnel served as the technical backbone of counter-battery Field Artillery Observation Battalions operating with Allied forces in Europe and throughout the Pacific; they served as hydrographers in the Pacific often in advance of fleet units charting passageways, anchorages, and tactical operating areas; they served as amphibious engineers and beachmasters with Army units operating throughout the New Guinea and the Philippines; and they served in myriad technical capacities on the homefront. Fourteen men made the supreme sacrifice.
Following the Second World War, the Coast and Geodetic Survey continued serving the Nation's defense needs. The chart- and map-making capabilities of the Survey continued supporting defense purposes, but new jobs were added -- gravity surveys were made for missile guidance systems, seismological studies and advances were made including the installation of the Worldwide Seismological Network for detection of underground nuclear blasts, Defense Early Warning Line (DEW Line) surveys were made in the far reaches of the Alaskan Arctic, precise geodetic surveys were made at critical defense installations, harbor approach surveys were made on a regular basis, and numerous other jobs performed in cooperation with the Department of Defense. Even today the descendants of the Coast and Geodetic Survey help serve the defense needs of our Nation.