Written by Commodore Harry Jacobs, Coast Guard Auxiliary Public Affairs
More than 300 Coast Guard auxiliary, active duty, reserve and civilian members attended the National Coast Guard Auxiliary Convention in Phoenix from Aug. 22 to 28, 2016.
During the conference, Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft praised the auxiliary for their role in not only impacting the mission, but also shaping the service’s future leaders.
“Auxiliarists are not only skilled sailors, pilots, master level professionals and instructors,” said the Commandant. “Possibly above all, they are mentors for all the young Coast Guard men and women, with whom they serve side-by-side. You’d be hard pressed to find any Coast Guard member with a few years under their belt who hasn’t been the recipient of the wisdom and mentorship of an Auxiliarist.”
The Commandant was joined by members of the senior leadership team, including Vice Adm. Sandra L. Stosz, deputy commandant for mission support; Rear Adm. Paul F. Thomas, assistant commandant for prevention policy; Rear Adm. Todd A. Sokalzuk, commander, 11th Coast Guard District; Rear Adm. Mathew T. Bell, Jr., commander, Personnel Services Center; and Rear Adm. Andrew S. McKinley, Human Capital Strategy Implementation lead.
The leadership team asked the Auxiliary to better align itself with the active duty by addressing mission designators, personnel development and training. The request retained the auxiliary’s current primary focus to promote and improve recreational boating safety; provide a diverse array of specialized skills, trained crews and capable facilities to augment the Coast Guard; enhance safety and security of our ports, waterways and coastal regions; and support Coast Guard operational, administrative and logistical requirements.
However, the Commandant asked that an additional effort be made to focus on reaching out to and educating paddle craft owners about vessel safety. Further, his staff asked the auxiliary to develop expertise and auxiliary personnel who can assist active duty personnel with career planning, financial planning, legal services, clergy assistance, and training as educational service officers, ombudsmen, and security screeners, as well as recruiting 4,000 enlisted personnel. The auxiliary was asked to increase the number of qualified Auxiliary Food Service members from the current 600 to 1,000. Finally, auxiliary members were asked to remember that the number one Coast Guard strategic priority of the Western Hemisphere is improving awareness, in addressing the rise of Transnational Organized Criminal (TOC) networks engaged in drug smuggling and human trafficking.
Commodore Mark Simoni received the Auxiliary Distinguished Service Medal for his service as the 32nd National Commodore of the Coast Guard Auxiliary. We thank him for his guidance and leadership over the last two years.
Also during the conference, the new command was announced. Each member of the national leadership was elected for two-year terms:
- 33rd National Commodore – Commodore Richard A. Washburn
- Vice National Commodore – Commodore Larry L. King
- Deputy National Commodore, Atlantic Area East – Commodore Alexander J. Malewski
- Deputy National Commodore, Atlantic Area West – Commodore Edward M. Monaco
- Deputy National Commodore, Pacific Area – Commodore Bert Blanchette
NACON is a time when Auxiliarist, along with other Coast Guard members and civilians can come together to discuss not only the mission, but fellowship together as well. Great memories were made. We hope to see you there next time!