The Latin phrase Semper Paratus – Always Ready motto has been used since ancient times and by many groups and organizations around the world. Semper Paratus is the official motto of the United States Coast Guard. It isn’t certain when the USCG began using it but we know who wrote the music and words to the song. In 1922 Capt. Francis Saltus Van Boskerck wrote the lyrics to the song on his cabin wall of the cutter Yamacraw in Savannah, Ga.
5 years later while in the Aleutian Islands using probably one of the only pianos out that far. It was an “beat-up old piano’ Unalaska, Alaska that he put music to those lyrics back in 1927. Capt. Van Boskerck served in 1917 beginning at the Port of Philadelphia and aide to the 4th naval district at the American routing office in Philadelphia. He was the first Coast Guard officer to spot a German submarine off the Atlantic coast. After WW I, he transferred to the Puget Sound Navy Yard supervising repairs on the famous cutter Bear. He commanded the Bear during the summer cruise of 1920 to the Bering Sea and Arctic Ocean.
Then he was given the command of the Yamacraw stationed in Savanah, Ga in 1922 chasing rum-runners off the coast of the Carolinas and Florida. This rum-running was featured in the series Board Walk Empire with Steve Buscemi giving a fictitious portrayal of what this era was about. Later in 1923 attended the Navan War College in Newport, R.I. and a year after became the District Commander of the Great Lakes District.
“Captain Van” AS was commonly known as received orders to go to Seattle to be the Asst Inspector of the Northwest District. Between 1925 and 1926 he was Commander of the Bering Sea Forces headquarter back in Unalaska. Here was where he found time to fit words to music with help from his friends. Semper Paratus – Always Ready! Since it has been a part of the United States Coast Guard and its official motto!