Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty: Coast Guard Auxiliary

Written by Kevin Conquest
Division Chief of Auxiliary Cyber

A Coast Guard 45-foot Response Boat Medium circles a Coast Guard Auxiliary vessel in preparation for a side-tow demonstration during the Regatta Point Marina Nautical Association Spring Expo. Coast Guard Auxiliarists from the 7th District near Coast Guard Station Cortez routinely work with the active duty Coast Guard for training, demonstrations, and patrols. Coast Guard Auxiliary photo by Patti Kuhn.

A Coast Guard 45-foot Response Boat Medium circles a Coast Guard Auxiliary vessel in preparation for a side-tow demonstration during the Regatta Point Marina Nautical Association Spring Expo. Coast Guard Auxiliarists from the 7th District near Coast Guard Station Cortez routinely work with the active duty Coast Guard for training, demonstrations, and patrols. Coast Guard Auxiliary photo by Patti Kuhn.

Today the Coast Guard Auxiliary celebrates its proud history of outstanding volunteer service on America’s waterways, turning 79 years young…and its members show no signs of slowing down.

Auxiliarists have supported Coast Guard missions along our nation’s coasts and inland waters, with emphasis on the promotion of recreational boating safety, since June 23, 1939, when Congress authorized the formation of the Coast Guard’s “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.

Auxiliarist Michael Kappas, foreground, and Auxiliarist Rusty Pumphrey, who are among about 60 Coast Guard Auxiliarists activated for service during Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath, work in the Houston incident command post, Sept. 17, 2017. Both are contributing to an EPA-led oil and hazardous material recovery effort drawing on expertise from federal, state, local, and tribal partners. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer John Masson.

Auxiliarist Michael Kappas, foreground, and Auxiliarist Rusty Pumphrey, who are among about 60 Coast Guard Auxiliarists activated for service during Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath, work in the Houston incident command post, Sept. 17, 2017. Both are contributing to an EPA-led oil and hazardous material recovery effort drawing on expertise from federal, state, local, and tribal partners. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer John Masson.

The Auxiliary is composed of uniformed volunteers who donate their time, skills, and expertise from a wealth of career fields. They also offer their personally owned boats, planes, and radios to support Coast Guard missions. Last year, this support propelled Auxiliarists to save over 155 lives, assist over 4,500 people and $19 million in property, and log more than 3.7 million hours of activity.

Sunrise image of the morning sun’s rays painting the national ensign and Auxiliary patrol ensign flown from the stern staff aboard an Auxiliary surface facility preparing to make way under orders. Coast Guard Auxiliary photo by Joseph Giannattasio

Sunrise image of the morning sun’s rays painting the national ensign and Auxiliary patrol ensign flown from the stern staff aboard an Auxiliary surface facility preparing to make way under orders. Coast Guard Auxiliary photo by Joseph Giannattasio

Last year also marked the 70th anniversary of the Auxiliary’s provision of free vessel safety checks to the recreational boating public. This Auxiliary cornerstone mission significantly helps prevent boating accidents through direct on-the-boat education and checks for compliance with applicable federal and state boating safety requirements. The Auxiliary augments that effort through its public education and outreach activities. In 2017, the Auxiliary conducted over 126,000 vessel safety checks, over 94,000 informative visits to recreational boating dealers, stores, and partners, and over 10,900 boating safety class sessions.

The Auxiliary has consistently demonstrated it is truly Semper Paratus by evolving with the challenging needs of the 21st century Coast Guard. In 2017, Auxiliarists delivered over 20,000 hours of frontline support to the Coast Guard’s hurricane response efforts. The year was also typified by steady and innovative expansion of Auxiliary augmentation in Coast Guard clergy, financial educator, shore-side construction, musician, and cyber security programs.

The Auxiliary eagerly and dependably helps the Coast Guard to remain Ready, Relevant, and Responsive, and we look forward to a long future of invaluable service. Semper Paratus, Bravo Zulu, and Happy Birthday to the Coast Guard Auxiliary!

Do you know someone who embodies the Coast Guard Core Values of Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty? Please submit your nominations using the by emailing the Social Media team.

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