United States Coast Guard Auxiliary
|United States Coast Guard Auxiliary|
|Active||June 23, 1939 - present|
|Country||United States of America|
|Branch||United States Coast Guard|
|Part of||Department of Homeland Security|
|Colors||White, Red, Blue
|Engagements||World War II
Global War on Terrorism
|Decorations|| Presidential Unit Citation
Coast Guard Unit Commendation
|Commandant of the Coast Guard||Admiral Paul F. Zukunft|
|Chief Director of Auxiliary||Captain F. Thomas Boross|
|National Commodore||Commodore Mark Simoni|
The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary (USCG Aux) is the uniformed volunteer component of the United States Coast Guard ("USCG"). Congress established the USCG Aux on June 23, 1939, as the United States Coast Guard Reserve. Not quite two years later, on February 19, 1941, it was re-designated the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary. The Auxiliary exists to support all USCG missions except roles that require "direct" law enforcement or military engagement. Atypical roles include those in which an active USCG member is replaced by an Auxiliarist. This frees the active member to serve in one of the two roles that can't be filled by an Auxiliarist. As of May 2010, there were approximately 30,000 active Auxiliarists.
Auxiliarists are not paid a salary and participate in activities at their discretion. Auxiliarists may be reimbursed for expenses incurred when they are under Coast Guard orders on an operational mission. Expenses incurred that are not reimbursable are usually tax deductible. They are not subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
A member who owns a boat, aircraft or radio (amateur or marine band VHF sets) can offer their facility for use by the Coast Guard. Most costs associated with facility operation, when under Coast Guard orders, are reimbursed. Likewise, the facility becomes the property of the U.S. federal government and the member is considered a civilian employee.
With proper training, Auxiliarists can serve on any Coast Guard asset utilizing an Auxiliarist's previously acquired skills. Nearly any skill that does not involve a firearm can be useful. Examples include carpentry, construction foreman, cooking, clinical medicine, jurisprudence, musician, radio and engine repair, and teaching. Since the organizational structure of the Auxiliary does not have a functional counterpart to computer security, server installation and maintenance, backend development, computer networking, or cyber threat mitigation, computer opportunities are generally limited to data entry, website maintenance, and supporting administrative or public affairs tasks using web conferencing and social media.
- 1 History
- 2 Membership requirements
- 3 Missions and core values
- 4 Relationship to the military
- 5 Organization
- 6 Leadership and staffing
- 7 Recognition
- 8 Public affairs
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
At the beginning of the 20th-Century with the development of the single-operator motorboat and later the outboard engine, the number of recreational boaters increased on federal waters. In 1939, there were more than 300,000 boats in operation according to the Coast Guard. In the previous year the Coast Guard had received 14,000 assistance calls and had responded to 8,600 "in peril" cases. With these issues most likely as a result of boaters needing training in seamanship and boating safety federal law and civilian boaters calling for the Coast Guard to establish a volunteer arm of the service, on June 23, 1939, Congress passed legislation that established the Coast Guard Reserve, the volunteer civilian component of the Coast Guard, to promote boating safety and to facilitate the operations of the Coast Guard. Boat owners were organized into flotillas and then formed divisions within Coast Guard districts around the United States. These volunteers conducted safety and security patrols and helped enforce the 1940 Federal Boating and Espionage Acts. In February 1941, a military reserve was created and the volunteer reserve was renamed the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.
During World War II, more citizens joined the Auxiliary and in June 1942, congressional legislation allowed Auxiliarists to join in the Coast Guard Reserve on a part-time temporary basis. During this time, approximately 50,000 Auxiliarists constituted the core of the temporary Reserve membership. These reservists, along with newly enrolled civilians, performed coastal defense, search and rescue duties, patrols of bridges, factories, docks, and beaches. In addition it was unheard of for these volunteers to fight fires, make arrests, guide naval vessels, and conduct anti-submarine warfare. The use of these volunteers allowed for thousands of active duty Coast Guard personnel to serve overseas. Following the war and by 1950, the four traditional Auxiliary cornerstone missions of public education, operations, vessel examination, and fellowship had been established.
Over the past 75 years, the Auxiliary has continued to grow in membership with over 30,000 members in the United States and its territories. Currently, training is a critical area of membership development which can include local flotilla training to off-site training at USCG training centers around the country. Leadership and management training, award programs, and data management systems designed to ensure a high level of professionalism are available to all members. The public education program trains tens of thousands of boaters in seamanship, piloting, rules of the road, and weather, among other topics. Specially qualified coxswain and crew members conduct search and rescue missions in their own boats and support Coast Guard missions. Auxiliary pilots and air observers search for boaters in distress, floating hazards, pollution spills, and ice-locked vessels. Communications watchstanders handle distress calls at Coast Guard and Auxiliary radio stations. Vessel examiners conduct Vessel Safety Checks under which recreational vessels are examined for properly installed federally required equipment and systems.
In addition under legislation passed in 1996, the Auxiliary's role was expanded to allow members to assist in any Coast Guard mission, except direct law enforcement and military operations, as authorized by the Commandant. Thus, Auxiliarists can be found examining commercial fishing vessels, flying in C-130 aircraft, working in Coast Guard offices, and crewing with active duty Coast Guard personnel. The three components of the service–the active duty Coastguardsmen, the Reservists, and Auxiliarists–truly constitute TEAM COAST GUARD.
The basic requirements to become a member of the Auxiliary are:
- United States citizenship
- Minimum 17 years of age
- No criminal background (minor misdemeanors, such as certain traffic violations, do not disqualify)
- Willingness to participate in operations (boating, aviation, radio communications), prevention (marine environmental safety and port operations), public education (recreational boating safety, vessel examinations and water safety) or other non-military roles suitable for unarmed, non-law enforcement volunteers.
- Willingness to support the U.S. Coast Guard and the Auxiliary
A member identification number is assigned and a personnel security investigation (PSI) is conducted by the Coast Guard, after submitting an application, fingerprints, a dues payment and other paperwork. If a suitable PSI results, the new member is photographed and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issues a non-military identification card.
Missions and core values
Historically, the primary missions of the Auxiliary have been providing free vessel "safety checks," boater education and supplementing other USCG operations. The Auxiliary's four cornerstones are Member Services, Operations and Marine Safety, Recreational Boating Safety and Fellowship (the "glue" which holds the Auxiliary's missions and its members together).
Auxiliarists can be found on the nation's waterways, in the air, in classrooms and on the dock, performing maritime domain awareness patrols, safety patrols, vessel safety checks and public education. Additionally, the Auxiliary performs behind the scenes missions in support of USCG operations. Annually, members donate millions of hours in support of USCG missions. This saves the U.S. Coast Guard and taxpayers over $200 million per year.
Current programs in which Auxiliary members are authorized to participate include, but are not limited to:
- Administrative support to the Coast Guard
- Aids-to-navigation verification (ATON)
- Assistance to local government
- Augmentation of Coast Guard billets
- Bridge administration
- Surface, air and radio operations
- Contingency preparedness
- Licensing of merchant mariners
- Marine safety and environmental protection (MSEP)
- Port safety and security (PS&S)
- Public affairs support (PA)
- Program visitor (PV)
- USCG Academy recruiting
- Search and rescue (SAR)
- Vessel examinations
- Waterways management
Relationship to the military
Historically, the USCG has supported and encouraged the involvement of the Auxiliary in the Coast Guard's missions. Both the immediate past Commandant (ADM Robert J. Papp, Jr.) and immediate past Vice Commandant (VADM John Currier), as well as the former Vice Commandant (VADM Vivien Crea) have publicly stated their support of the Auxiliary, and in fact, the Coast Guard relied heavily on Auxiliary direct operations and indirect operations support during hurricanes Katrina and Rita. On September 13, 2006, Thad Allen issued a new Auxiliary Policy Statement, which states that "Fittingly, the core strategic purpose of the Auxiliary is to continuously hone its expertise to perform three prioritized functions:
- Promote and improve recreational boating safety;
- Support Coast Guard maritime homeland security efforts; and
- Support the Coast Guard’s operational, administrative, and logistical requirements."
It also states that:
- "Every commander, commanding officer, officer-in-charge, and program manager shall work closely with their Auxiliary counterparts to fully leverage the resources, skills, qualifications, and profound dedication that reside within the Coast Guard Auxiliary. Such focused collaboration is essential to our unwavering commitment to mission excellence in serving and protecting the public trust."
The legal basis for the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary comes from Coast Guard Auxiliary and Reserve Act of 1941, as amended and recodified by Act of August 4, 1949, as 14 U.S.C. 821 through 832 and 891 through 894 and the Code of Federal Regulations Title 33, Part 5 (33 CFR 5).
Auxiliary insignia, titles, and military etiquette
Auxiliarists are civilian volunteers who do not have military rank, but they do wear U.S. military style officer insignia that signify their office (e.g., a Flotilla Commander wears insignia similar to a USCG lieutenant, but is not referred to as "Lieutenant"). By using distinctive insignia, the Auxiliary identifies and recognizes the increasing responsibility and management capability of elected and appointed leaders and staff officers from lower to higher level. The title most commonly used in official correspondence and reports is "Auxiliarist", and its abbreviation (e.g., Auxiliarist John Smith or AUX J. Smith). Exceptions to this rule are elected or appointed Commodores, who have reached flag positions similar to active and reserve rear admirals and vice admirals and who wear one to three stars depending on their office (e.g., District Commodore, Assistant National Commodore, Deputy National Commodore, or National Commodore); specifically, they may use the term Commodore, and are the only Auxiliarists who use a military style title ("Commodore") before their name, sometimes abbreviated COMO accordingly (e.g., Commodore James A. Smith, National Commodore; or COMO Jim Smith, (NACO)).
Auxiliarists do not normally render military courtesies (such as saluting) to another Auxiliarist, but an Auxiliarist in uniform is expected to initiate salutes to the U.S. national ensign and friendly foreign flags as well as military officers who are senior to the Auxiliarist's office. Auxiliarists are expected to return all salutes given.
Auxiliarists are expected to wear a uniform intended for the situation and mission. Each auxiliary uniform is identical to a Coast Guard officer's military uniform, with the exception that the buttons and stripes on dress jackets and shoulder boards are silver in color, rather than gold. On dress uniforms, appointed staff officers wear insignia with a red "A" and elected officers wear insignia with a blue "A", while black "A"s are worn on insignia by both elected and appointed officers on the ODU uniform. Auxiliarists are expected to adhere to the same rules of correct uniform wear as regular and reserve Coast Guard officers.
When augmenting Coast Guard personnel, the military-style insignia of Auxiliary position is generally removed and the organizational insignia is worn.
The Coast Guard Auxiliary is situated in the Coast Guard's Office of Auxiliary and Boating Safety (CG-542), Auxiliary Division (CG-5421), with the office of the Deputy Commandant for Operations (CG-DCO) in Coast Guard Headquarters. CG-DCO oversees the Assistant Commandant for Marine Safety, Security, and Stewardship (CG-5) who in turn oversees the Director of Prevention Policy (CG-54), who in turn oversees CG-542.
The basic organization of the Auxiliary is:
- Flotillas: A Flotilla is the basic building block of the Auxiliary. While a flotilla should have at least 10 members, several flotillas have more than 100 members. Most of the day-to-day work of the Auxiliary is performed at the flotilla level. All members join the Auxiliary at the flotilla level and pay their annual membership dues to their flotilla, which normally meet on a monthly basis. Visitors and prospective members are usually welcome to attend.
- Divisions: At least four (4) flotillas form a Division, which provides leadership and staff assistance to the flotillas.
- Districts/Regions: There are several divisions in a District. The District provides leadership and staff assistance to the Divisions. Each Auxiliary district is supervised by a Director of the Auxiliary who is a Coast Guard officer usually holding the rank of Commander. Auxiliary Districts generally coincide with Coast Guard Districts.
- Areas: Three Deputy National Commodores are responsible for the Atlantic Area, which has Eastern and Western halves, and the Pacific Area, respectively.
- National - The Auxiliary has national officers who are responsible, along with the Commandant, for the administration and policy-making for the entire Auxiliary. These officers comprise the National Executive Committee (NEXCOM) that is composed of the Chief Director of Auxiliary (CHDIRAUX - an active duty officer), the National Commodore (NACO), and the National Vice Commodores (NAVCO). NEXCOM and the National Staff make up the Auxiliary Headquarters organization. The Chief Director is a senior Coast Guard officer and directs the administration of the Auxiliary on policies established by the Commandant. The overall supervision of the Auxiliary is under the Deputy Commandant for Operations (CG-DCO), who reports directly to the Commandant (CCG).
Leadership and staffing
As a civilian organization, the Auxiliary does not have a military-style chain of command. There are, however, three chains of leadership and management. Auxiliarists are expected to adhere to the relevant chain when communicating. There is an elected leader chain and an appointed leader chain (known as "parallel staffing"). Members appointed to the National Staff (see DIR, DVC, BC and BA below) have another chain to which they report. The leaders and vice (deputies) of each flotilla, division and district are elected annually. The national leadership is elected once every two years. Other staff officers are appointed based on skills and level of interest. However, the Auxiliary, because of its close work with the other components of the Coast Guard, inherited the meme of staff officer abbreviations, and these are used extensively in internal documents and reports. All leadership positions in the Auxiliary require membership in a Flotilla of the Auxiliary.
National officer positions include the following:
- National Commodore (NACO) – The NACO is the senior and principal officer of the Auxiliary. The NACO represents the Auxiliary and reports to the Commandant through the Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard. Additionally, the NACO represents the Auxiliary with all Coast Guard Flag officers and Flag officer equivalent civilians at Coast Guard Headquarters on Auxiliary matters.
- Vice National Commodore (VNACO) - The VNACO is the Chief Operating Officer of the Coast Guard Auxiliary and reports to the National Commodore (NACO). Additionally, the VNACO represents the Auxiliary at the direction of the NACO with all Coast Guard Flag officers and Flag officer equivalent civilians at Coast Guard Headquarters on Auxiliary matters.
- Deputy National Commodore (DNACO) - The Auxiliary has four Deputy National Commodores (DNACO) who report to the Vice National Commodore. Three are elected (Mission Support, Operations, and Recreational Boating Safety), and one is appointed (Information Technology and Planning). Each DNACO has a specific set of operational areas of responsibility to include one or more of the appointed Assistant National Commodores (staff officers). Additionally, each of the three elected DNACOs are the reporting point for approximately one third of the 16 District Commodores, grouped by geographical area, who are elected every two years to lead their local membership.
- Assistant National Commodore (ANACO) - Assistant National Commodores are appointed to either lead multiple national directorates or perform specialized roles (such as Chief Counsel or Diversity) and are expected to consult and coordinate with appropriate Coast Guard Flag officers and program managers, in coordination with the Chief Director, to determine requirements for Auxiliary resources used within their areas of responsibilities as well as develop and manage Auxiliary programs consistent with Coast Guard needs and objectives.
- Chief Counsel (ANACO-CC)
- Diversity (ANACO-DV)
- FORCECOM (ANACO-FC): Government and Public Affairs (A), Human Resources (H), and Training (T)
- Information Technology (ANACO-IT): Computer Software and Systems (C) and User Support and Services (U)
- Planning and Performance (ANACO-PP): Strategic Planning (S) and Performance Measurement (M)
- Recreational Boating (ANACO-RB): Public Education (E), RBS Outreach (B), and Vessel Examination (V)
- Response and Prevention (ANACO-RP): Incident Management and Preparedness (Q), International Affairs (I), Prevention (P), and Response (R)
- Director (DIR) - Directors are responsible for the Auxiliary's national directorates. Within each directorate are a Deputy Director (DIRd) and Division Chiefs (DVC), who in turn supervise Branch Chiefs (BC). Within each branch a Branch Chief may have Branch Assistants (BA) to support branch activities as well.
- Computer Software and Systems (DIR-C)
- Government and Public Affairs (DIR-A)
- Incident Management and Preparedness (DIR-Q)
- International Affairs (DIR-I)
- Human Resources (DIR-H)
- Performance Measurement (DIR-M)
- Prevention (DIR-P)
- Public Education (DIR-E)
- RBS Outreach (DIR-B)
- Response (DIR-R)
- Strategic Planning (DIR-S)
- Training (DIR-T)
- User Support and Services (DIR-U)
- Vessel Examination (DIR-V)
- District Director of the Auxiliary (DIRAUX) - An active duty Coast Guard officer who is dedicated full-time to Auxiliary functions in his or her district. The DIRAUX has sole responsibility for enrolling a new member or for disenrolling an existing member. The DIRAUX is also the final authority in all matters related to his or her Auxiliary district.
- District Commodore (DCO) - The highest elected level within the district, this office supervises all Auxiliary activities within his or her district, and is elected by the Division Commanders within the district.
- District Chief of Staff (DCOS) (Formerly District Vice Commodore [VCO]) - The district's Chief of Staff and Assistant to the District Commodore. Elected by the Division Commanders in the district.
- District Captains (DCAPT) (Formerly District Rear Commodore [RCO]) (two or more per district) - Elected by all Division Commanders and usually supervise a group of divisions in a district. They may also have programmatic responsibilities.
- District Directorate Officers (DDO) - Some districts appoint DDOs based on the three major areas of Auxiliary activity (i.e., Prevention, Response, and Logistics). They are appointed by the DCO and approved by DIRAUX.
- District Staff Officers (DSO) - Manage the district's departments and programs; appointed by the DCO and approved by DIRAUX.
- Division Commander (DCDR)- The highest elected Auxiliary leader within a division. Elected by the Flotilla Commanders in a Division.
- Division Vice Commander (VCDR) - Division Chief of Staff and assistant to the Division Commander. Elected by the Flotilla Commanders in a division.
- Division Staff Officers (SO) - Manage the division's departments and programs; appointed by the DCDR.
Titles and duties of flotilla officers are dictated by the Auxiliary Manual.
- Flotilla Commander (FC) - The highest elected Auxiliary leader within a flotilla. He/she is elected by the members of a flotilla. Recommends new members for enrollment to the DIRAUX.
- Flotilla Vice Commander (VFC) - The flotilla's Chief of Staff and assistant to the Flotilla Commander. Elected by the members of a Flotilla.
- Flotilla Staff Officers (FSO) - Manage the flotilla's departments and programs; appointed by the FC.
To carry out the Auxiliary program, DCDRs and FCs may appoint flotilla and division staff officers. The DCO may appoint district staff officers. A staff officer at the flotilla level is abbreviated FSO; at the division level, SO; and at the District level, DSO. Thus, the SO-CS is the Division Communications Services officer.
The list of staff officers, with their official abbreviations, is:
- Aviation (AV) (district level only)
- Communications (CM)
- Communication Services (CS)
- Diversity (DV)
- Finance (FN)
- Flight Safety Officer (DFSO) (district level only)
- Human Resources (HR)
- Information and Communication Services (IS)
- Legal/Parliamentarian (LP) (district level only)
- Recreational Boating Safety Visitation Program (PV)
- Marine Safety and Environmental Protection (MS)
- Marketing and Public Affairs (PA)
- Materials (MA)
- Member Training (MT)
- Navigation Systems (NS)
- Operations (OP)
- Public Education (PE)
- Publications (PB)
- Secretary/Records (SR)
- Vessel Examination (VE)
Auxiliarists are able to achieve a wide array of qualifications in both the Auxiliary and the Coast Guard. Many qualifications come with certificates of completion as well as ribbons and devices. In addition, Auxiliarists can earn or be awarded a multitude of ribbons and medals, both Auxiliary-specific and Coast Guard, for service. Since Auxiliarists are not paid for their service, this type of recognition serves an important purpose in acknowledging the volunteer work of Auxiliarists.
On May 25, 2006, President George W. Bush presented the Presidential Unit Citation to the U.S. Coast Guard for meritorious achievement and outstanding performance in action from August 29, 2005 to September 13, 2005, in preparation for, and response and recovery to devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina. This award applies to all components of the Coast Guard (i.e., active, reserve, auxiliary, and civilians) since the response to Katrina was an all hands effort.
On June 19, 2009, the Commandant of the Coast Guard awarded the Coast Guard Unit Commendation to Auxiliary members for "performance...nothing short of stellar" from the period of June 24, 1999, to June 23, 2009. On the 75th anniversary of the USCG Auxiliary, June 23, 2014, the Commandant awarded another Coast Guard Unit Commendation ribbon to all Auxiliarists.
Auxiliarists are involved in many missions, all over the globe. The Auxiliary's Department of Public Affairs issues News Releases on many of the accomplishments of the Auxiliary, as well as manages the Internal Communications to the Auxiliary through SITREP, its online E-zine, and Navigator, its quarterly magazine. They also produce magazine articles for reprint in any venue on the AuxGuidanceSkills.info web site.
On the community level, the Department of Public Affairs runs the Fleet Home Town News (FHTN) program for the Coast Guard. The FHTN program dates back to World War II. It is a program designed to increase national awareness of the activities of sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen through written stories and documented images about them and their personal achievements in their hometown news media.
The History Division is charged with maintaining historical documents and a chronological history of the Auxiliary since its inception in 1939.
- USCG snapshot
- U.S. Coast Guard: “United States Coast Guard Core Values & Creed”
- U.S. Coast Guard: Semper Paratus
- U.S. Coast Guard, Commandant’s Corner: “A special message to our Coast Guard Auxiliary Members”
- U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, letter to the Coast Guard Auxiliary (PDF)
- U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary: Auxiliary Policy Statement (PDF)
- Auxiliary Manual.
- "USCGAux Insignia of Office: Flotilla, Division, District and National Offices". United States Coast Guard Auxiliary Division. 7 May 2013. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
- "United States Coast Guard Headquarters Organization". United States Coast Guard. Retrieved 2 March 2012.
- U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary: Auxiliary Unit Directory and Finder
- U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Manual
- "United States Coast Guard Auxiliary Deputy National Commodores". United States Coast Guard Auxiliary. Retrieved 2 March 2012.
- "United States Coast Guard Auxiliary National Staffing". United States Coast Guard Auxiliary. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
- U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary: National Directorates (National Site Map page)
- U.S. Coast Guard: Auxiliary Districts, Areas, and Regions
- U.S. Coast Guard: Flotilla Officers Structure
- U.S. Coast Guard: U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Breast Insignia and Badges
- U.S. Coast Guard: Current Ribbons of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary
- Piersystem.com: Presidential Unit Citation (MS Word document)
- U.S. Coast Guard's ALCOAST 365/09, COMDTNOTE 16790, 19 Jun 2009
- Zukunft, Paul F. (24 June 2014). "COAST GUARD UNIT COMMENDATION". USCG Office of Auxiliary and Boating Safety (CG-BSX) Auxiliary Division (CG-BSX1)--Items of Interest (USCG--Department of Homeland Security). Department of Homeland Security. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
- U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Office of Public Affairs
- U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Press Releases
- U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary: SitRep
- U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary: AuxGuidanceSkills.info
- U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary: Fleet Home Town News
- U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary: The Coast Guard Auxiliary: Past and Present
- United States Coast Guard
- U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary
- U.S. Coast Guard Boating Safety Office
- Coast Guard Auxiliary Association, Inc.
- Jobs with the United States Coast Guard
- Public service articles in pursuit of recreational boating safety