Written by Thea Narkiewicz
Coast Guard Auxiliary Director of Public Affairs
A lot can happen in 80 years. The Coast Guard Auxiliary has written many stories over its lifetime, but we are not finished yet. As we move on through the 80th year of service of the Coast Guard Auxiliary, we start preparing for the next chapter in the organization’s life and relationship with the boating public and the U.S. Coast Guard.
Since its inception on June 23, 1939, the members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary have been an integral part of the Coast Guard’s missions of keeping the recreational boating population educated and safe. With the authorization of Congress, the auxiliary became a “Volunteer Reserve.” The subsequent passage of the Auxiliary and Reserve Act of 1941 created the Coast Guard Reserve as a military branch while its civilian Auxiliary was ratified under Title 14, Chapter 23 of the United States Code.
The Auxiliary is composed of a diverse group of uniformed volunteers who donate their time, skills, and expertise from a wealth of career fields to serve the boating public and the Coast Guard. They also offer their personally-owned boats, planes, and radios to support Coast Guard missions. Last year, this support propelled Auxiliarists to log more than 3.4 million hours of activity including assisting active duty Coast Guardsmen and potentially saving the lives of hundreds of boaters.
Even though our number one mission is for boating safety, our missions do not stop there!
The Coast Guard Auxiliary is charged with assisting the Coast Guard in integrating and augmenting all missions except for drug interdiction and direct law enforcement. Operationally, we help create a force multiplier to the Coast Guard by augmenting in galleys, cutters, stations, in the air and on the water. Some of the programs that we have developed are utilized daily around the country include: Auxiliary Food Services (AUXFS) specialists; members of the Interpreter Corps; Auxiliary Public Affairs Specialists; clergy support; and marine safety specialists.
By mentoring within the Auxiliary, there are endless opportunities for volunteers to exercise their expertise, serve their country, and have fun while doing it. Even if there is no experience in a specific area, on-the-job training is offered with most of our programs and members of each program are ready and willing to participate in training others to help the Coast Guard Auxiliary become Semper Paratus!
Our missions, skillsets, and opportunities have changed alongside the missions and responsibilities of other members in the Coast Guard. Examining the principles of which the Auxiliary was founded on, we have made ourselves into a truly formidable force multiplier that makes the U.S. Coast Guard (and its Auxiliary) into one of the best coast guards in the world.
We’ve retained the spirit and enthusiasm that created the Coast Guard Auxiliary and adapted to challenges in technology, generational issues, and other barriers. The Coast Guard Auxiliary takes pride in our diversity and encourage any and all members of the public, including military and retired military members and their families to join. These volunteer members of our team exemplify the Coast Guard Core Values of Honor, Respect, and Devotion to Duty.
To learn more about how to become a Coast Guard Auxiliarist, please visit us at http://www.cgaux.org. We can’t wait to hear from you!