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Semper Paratus ("Always Ready")

Words and Music by Captain Francis Saltus Van Boskerck, USCG (1927). © Sam Fox Publishing Co, Inc.

  coast guard

Current Version

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.


Original Versions and Changes

First Chorus (original version (1927))

So here's the Coast Guard marching song,
We sing on land or sea.
Through surf and storm and howling gale,
High shall our purpose be.
"Semper Paratus" is our guide,
Our fame, our glory too.
To fight to save or fight to die,
Aye! Coast Guard, we are for you!

Second Chorus (added 1943)

So here's the Coast Guard battle song,
We fight on land or sea.
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 are for you!


More about the original version and changes

The original words and music were written by Captain Francis S. Van Boskerck, USCG in 1927. The first line of each chorus was changed in 1969. The current verse, and a second chorus, were written by Homer Smith, 3rd Naval District Coast Guard quartet, Chief Cole, others and LT Walton Butterfield USCGR in 1943.