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
|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, though is most frequently found performing civilian watercraft safety checks, assisting in search and rescue missions, and providing boater safety instruction. As of 2015, there were approximately 32,000 members of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.
- 1 History
- 2 Missions
- 3 Organization
- 4 Uniforms, rank, and insignia
- 5 Gallery
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
The development of the single-operator motorboat, and later the outboard engine, during the early 20th century greatly increased the number of recreational boaters operating on federal waters. By 1939 there were more than 300,000 personal watercraft in operation. The previous year the Coast Guard had received 14,000 assistance calls and had responded to 8,600 "in peril" cases. On June 23, 1939, the U.S. Congress enacted 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 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 renamed the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.
Beginning in 1942, in response to the growing German U-Boat threat to the United States, the U.S. Navy ordered the acquisition of the "maximum practical number of civilian craft in any way capable of going to sea in good weather for a period of at least 48 hours." A large number of vessels, owned and piloted by Auxiliarists with crews made-up of Coast Guard Reservists, made-up the bulk of the American coastal anti-submarine warfare capability during the early months of World War II. As newly-constructed warships took over the load, the Coast Guard abandoned the concept. None of the two thousand civilian craft, armed with depth charges stowed awkwardly on their decks, ever sank a submarine, though they did rescue several hundred survivors of torpedoed merchant ships.
Early in 1973 budget cuts forced the closing of seven Coast Guard stations on the Great Lakes. At the request of the affected communities, Congress ordered the stations to be re-opened and operated by the Auxiliary. The local division captains took responsibility for manning them and ensuring that Auxiliarists' boats were always available to assist distressed vessels. The Auxiliary later took over seven more stations on the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers.
In 1976 the Coast Guard commissioned a study of the Auxiliary by a private research firm, University Sciences Forum of Washington. After interviewing key personnel in the Coast Guard and the Auxiliary and analyzing questionnaires filled out by about two thousand Auxiliarists, the researchers concluded that that Auxiliary was in good health. "In summary," they wrote, "we consider the Auxiliary the greatest economical resource readily available to the COGARD. It performs in an outstanding manner and its personnel are among the most professional group of volunteers in the nation."
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 of 2004, the Coast Guard Auxiliary had 35,000 members who collectively provided 2 million man hours of service annually.
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.
The Coast Guard Auxiliary Interpreter Corps provides auxiliarists who are fluent in languages other than English for assignments with both the regular Coast Guard, and other branches of the United States military, to support domestic and overseas deployments that require language and translation assistance. In recent years auxiliarists from the Interpreter Corps have deployed in support of the Africa Partnership Station, Tradewinds, and other missions. According to the Coast Guard, there are currently 440 auxiliarists in the Interpreter Corps, representing 48 languages.
The Coast Guard, which has just one regular military band, relies on Auxiliarist musicians for ship christenings, funerals, and change-of-command ceremonies. In addition, the U.S. Coast Guard Pipe Band is formed from both Coast Guard Reserve and Coast Guard Auxiliary members.
Boater safety education
Fleet Home Town News
The Coast Guard Auxiliary's Department of Public Affairs runs the Fleet Home Town News (FHTN) program for the Coast Guard. The FHTN program dates to World War II and is 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.
In some areas, Coast Guard Auxiliary personnel monitor Coast Guard radio channels for distress calls in lieu of regular Coast Guard personnel.
Search and Rescue
Auxiliary University Programs (AUP) is a USCG Aux-managed Coast Guard officer recruitment initiative established in 2009 to prepare university students for careers in the regular Coast Guard. AUP programs on university campuses are organized as detachments of nearby USCG Aux flotillas. Student volunteers complete a "basic auxiliary programs" training curriculum taught by local auxiliarists and older students, after which they volunteer 60 hours per semester with their local flotilla. As of 2015, AUP flotillas were present at Auburn University, the California Maritime Academy, The Citadel, Madonna University, Cal State Fullerton, the Maine Maritime Academy, Stevens Institute of Technology, Virginia Tech, and the College of William and Mary. At the College of William and Mary, approximately one-third of AUP auxiliarists have applied to the U.S. Coast Guard officer candidate school after graduating university, while a portion of the remainder have continued to volunteer with the Coast Guard Auxiliary.
Vessel Safety Checks
Membership and ranks
Auxiliarists are unpaid, part-time volunteers who are not subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice. As such, they do not hold military rank, but they do wear U.S. military style officer insignia that denote their office. The Coast Guard Auxiliary has two parallel rank structures, one for elected, and one for appointed officers. Each level of the organization elects officers; these, in turn, appoint technically qualified auxiliarists to oversee specific unit programs and missions.
|Appointed rank structure of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary|
|Deputy National Commodore||Assistant National Commodore||Deputy Assistant National Commodore||District Directorate Chief||District Staff Officer||Assistant District Staff Officer||Division Staff Officer||Flotilla Staff Officer|
|Elected rank structure of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary|
|National Commodore||Vice National Commodore||District Commodore||District Captain||Division Commander||Division Vice Commander||Flotilla Commander||Vice Flotilla Commander|
Operationally, the Coast Guard Auxiliary is divided into two divisions, Atlantic and Pacific. These are, in turn, divided into districts, and those into divisions. Each of those divisions comprises a minimum of four flotillas, each of which can have between 10 and more than 100 members.
Uniforms, rank, and insignia
Uniforms of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary generally mirror those of the U.S. Coast Guard with the exception of buttons and braid which are silver, instead of gold.
Medals, awards, and citations
Auxiliarists may be awarded medals and decorations of the Coast Guard or Coast Guard Auxiliary, and may wear certain medals and decorations awarded in prior military service. There are currently 36 medals and ribbons for which auxiliarists are eligible.
- Robinson, Larry (6 June 2015). "Coast Guard Auxiliary helping to keep St. Lawrence River boaters safe". Watertown Daily Times. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
- Bonner, Kit (2004). Always Ready: The U.S. Coast Guard. Zenith. p. 25.
- 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.
- Coast Guard Auxiliary Interpreter Corps (PDF). U.S. Coast Guard. 2011. pp. 1–4.
- U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary: Fleet Home Town News
- Mudarri, Chris (11 January 2011). "Auxiliary frees up Coast Guard people". Star News. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
- "Units and Schools". http://college.cgauxnet.us/. U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
- Auxiliary Manual.
- 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