Public spirit & patriotism: The Coast Guard Auxiliary

The following blog was posted by Cmdr. Glynn Smith on behalf of Vice Adm. Sally Brice-O’Hara.

Coast Guard Auxiliary National Commodore Jim Vass, Coast Guard Vice Commandant Vice Adm. Sally Brice-O'Hara and Coast Guard Auxiliary Vice National Commodore Thomas Mallison at the National Auxiliary Conference. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Coast Guard Auxiliary National Commodore Jim Vass, Coast Guard Vice Commandant Vice Adm. Sally Brice-O'Hara and Coast Guard Auxiliary Vice National Commodore Thomas Mallison at the National Auxiliary Conference. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Over the weekend, I was honored to speak at the Coast Guard National Auxiliary Conference in Charlotte, N.C. The Coast Guard Auxiliary are the uniformed volunteers who devote significant time and energy each year supporting Coast Guard missions. They primarily work to create and sustain a safe and educated boating public by providing boating safety courses and conducting vessel safety examinations.

Auxiliarist Julie Vincenzini introduces Ryan Yep, of Burlingame, Calif., to Coastie during the Family Safety Festival outside of AT&T Park on Friday, July 22, 2011. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Sherri Eng.

Auxiliarist Julie Vincenzini introduces Ryan Yep, of Burlingame, Calif., to Coastie during the Family Safety Festival outside of AT&T Park on Friday, July 22, 2011. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Sherri Eng.

However, auxiliarists also perform operations such as safety patrols, search and rescue, environmental response, interpreter duties and communications watchstanding. Some chose to serve as unit ombudsmen, chefs and Coast Guard Academy admissions partners, more examples of the talents and skills they generously provide throughout the year. These are just a few of the ways that auxiliarists enhance the safety and security of our citizens, ports, waterways and coastal regions and the well-being of Coast Guard members.

During this Year of the Coast Guard Family, we have made a special effort to honor our loved ones at home who support us. Accordingly, we also recognize our Coast Guard Auxiliary families, because we know our volunteers sacrifice time with them in order to serve our Nation. The encouragement from husbands, wives, parents, siblings, children and other family members is essential to the readiness and availability of more than 31,000 auxiliarists.

Coast Guard Auxiliarist Ed Wright inspects a boat at Crescent City Harbor, Calif. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Auxiliarist Rick Postal.

Coast Guard Auxiliarist Ed Wright inspects a boat at Crescent City Harbor, Calif. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Auxiliarist Rick Postal.

So far this year, the Coast Guard Auxiliary has saved 106 lives and nearly $9 million in property. They have also conducted more than 75,000 vessel safety examinations. Auxiliarists have logged more than 316,000 operational hours in 2011; that’s an impressive accomplishment and doesn’t even include the countless additional hours they devoted to support, education and training.

As Admiral Papp emphasized in his vision statement for the Coast Guard Auxiliary, “We must always remember that it is through public spirit, patriotism and an uncommon sense of civic duty that the members of the Auxiliary give their time, facilities and services.”

The members of the Auxiliary are a truly exceptional group of Americans, and I thank them wholeheartedly for their service.

Semper Paratus
Vice Adm. Sally Brice-O’Hara
Coast Guard Vice Commandant

James Campbell, a Coast Guard auxiliarist and instructor at the National Search and Rescue School in Yorktown, Va., holds a subject-matter exchange regarding search pattern execution to Coast Guardsmen from the Dominican Republic aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Diligence during Exercise Tradewinds 2011, March 4, 2011. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class George Degener.

James Campbell, a Coast Guard auxiliarist and instructor at the National Search and Rescue School in Yorktown, Va., holds a subject-matter exchange regarding search pattern execution to Coast Guardsmen from the Dominican Republic aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Diligence during Exercise Tradewinds 2011, March 4, 2011. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class George Degener.

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One Response

  1. Ronald Kruml says:

    It was great that Admiral O’Hara mentioned those Auxiliarists who serve at Admission Partners for the Academy.

    It would be nice if the Auxiliary recognized us with a qualification, as the other positions mentioned are.