Coast Guard Auxiliary: Celebrating 76 years of service to Nation

Coast Guard Auxiliary members conduct multi-agency law enforcement training. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Adam Stanton.

Coast Guard Auxiliary members conduct multi-agency law enforcement training. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Adam Stanton.

If you’re a boater, you’ve probably encountered the Coast Guard Auxiliary. Whether patrolling our Nation’s waterways to ensure safety and security or offering free vessel safety checks to recreational boaters, the Coast Guard Auxiliary serves a crucial role for the Coast Guard.

Though the Coast Guard is the smallest branch of the U.S. Armed Services, the wide variety of mission sets covers all seven continents. So how does the Coast Guard do it?

“In addition to the fact that it is comprised of the most dedicated, innovative and efficient group of patriots, it has a ‘Secret Weapon’,” said Alex Malewski, district commodore of the Coast Guard Auxiliary’s 1st district southern region. “The not so secret weapon is the USCG Auxiliary, the largest volunteer group in the world serving a branch of the military.”

Seventy-six years ago, Congress authorized the creation of a ‘Coast Guard Reserve.’ This Reserve force, which became known as the Coast Guard Auxiliary two years later, was to act as a force multiplier to promote safety on and over the high seas and the nation’s navigable waterways.

AuxiliarySince that time, the Coast Guard Auxiliary has continued to grow. Located in all 50 states, as well as in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and American Samoa, the Coast Guard Auxiliary acts as a force multiplier for nearly every Coast Guard mission.

In 1996, the Auxiliary’s role was expanded to allow for a critical mission support in the non-military, non-law enforcement operations of the U.S. Coast Guard. Today, they work side-by-side active-duty and reserve Coast Guard men and women to ensure the safety of our Nation’s waterways and citizens.

“The USCG Auxiliary is 32,000 patriots who volunteer their time and bring a diverse array of skills and experience to the aid of active duty and assist the Coast Guard in every one of its missions that doesn’t require a weapon,” added Malewski.  “The best present we can get is the opportunity to work side by side with and serve the United States Coast Guard.”

“Twenty-four centuries ago, Archimedes noted, ‘give me a place to stand, and a long enough lever, and I can move the world.’,” said Vincent Pica, commodore for the Coast Guard Auxiliary. “In 2014, the USCG Auxiliary provided over 4.2 million hours in service to Nation to contribute to the effectiveness of active-duty and U.S. Coast Guard forces broadly. Another 1.4 million hours have been logged in the first 5 months of 2015, as we pull out of a very long, very cold and very snowy winter in much of the US, as we enter the ‘high season’ on a national basis. This is, in a word, leverage…”

If you’re out on the water today, or this weekend, and see a member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary, take a moment to stop and thank them for their selfless  service to Nation, and wish them a happy birthday!

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