The origins of the Coast Guard standard are very obscure. It may have evolved from an early flag also known as a Jack. At least one contemporary painting supports this theory. In an 1840 painting, the Revenue cutter Alexander Hamilton flies a flag very similar to today’s Coast Guard standard.
An illustration in 1917 shows the Coast Guard standard as a white flag with a blue eagle and 13 stars in a semi-circle surrounding it. At a later date, the words, "United States Coast Guard Semper Paratus" were added to the flag.
After 1950, the semi-circle of stars was changed to the circle containing 13 stars. The Coast Guard Flag is used during parades and ceremonies and is adorned by 34 battle streamers.