Celebrating the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary’s 75th

Each year, Coast Guard auxiliarists volunteer more than two million hours benefiting boaters and their families.  U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Each year, Coast Guard auxiliarists volunteer more than two million hours benefiting boaters and their families. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Written by Auxiliarist Tom Ceniglio.

Since June 23, 1939, when congress established the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve in an effort to build upon the boating experiences of civilians, Auxiliarists have reached out to their communities and supported the men and women of the Coast Guard.

This year the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary celebrates its 75th anniversary and this is the first of several articles that will describe how each decade contributed to the evolving relationship between the active duty Coast Guard and the Auxiliary. These are stories of bravery, honor and devotion to duty sprinkled with humor, common sense, American ingenuity and hard work.

Auxiliary members build upon their skills developed in their military and civilian careers to serve as a force multiplier. Auxiliarists, if qualified, may work alongside their shipmates performing similar tasks as their active duty counterparts except for military and law enforcement functions. As volunteers, they give freely of their time and talents, and support the Coast Guard core values of honor, respect and devotion to duty.

Auxiliarists stand radio watches and provide administrative support at Coast Guard stations, man boats, walk docks, observe ice flows by air, document ceremonies and historic events and help recruit Coast Guardsmen and cadets. They also teach boating safety classes, conduct free vessel safety checks, help marina owners get the latest Coast Guard flyers and manufacturer recalls and participate in search and rescue missions. During times of natural disasters, qualified auxiliarists augment incident command centers.

Although the minimum age is 17, there is no maximum age. Consequently, several Auxiliarists have served our nation for more than 60 years. Their experiences provide a unique, firsthand perspective of the Auxiliary’s history.75th

To help tell this story, we are looking for photos, interviews, stories, artifacts and historical items to add to official archives and possible display. Whether you are a member of the public who has been impacted by the volunteer efforts or an auxilirast yourself, please send your stories! You can contribute by connecting with Tom Ceniglio at DVC-AR@auxpa.org for possible inclusion in this year’s celebration events.

Stay tuned to Compass as we celebrate the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary’s 75th!

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