Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty: AUX Jacob Thayer

Written by Lt. j.g. Katie Braynard

Coast Guard Auxiliarist Jacob Thayer helps mariners prepare for Hurricane Sandy

Coast Guard Auxiliarist Jacob Thayer helps mariners prepare for Hurricane Sandy

“What greater mission is there than saving lives?”

This is exactly the thought Auxiliarist Jacob Thayer has when he thinks about the Coast Guard and why he decided to become a member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary.

Thayer, who always had an interest in military service, joined the Coast Guard Auxiliary in 2010 after researching various options in the Coast Guard. At the time, he was a student at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and immediately merged his two worlds. He began working closely with the Auxiliary’s National Staff to implement a college unit at his university, which soon became the largest in the nation.

Thayer’s efforts to organize and implement this college program led to a better understanding of the Coast Guard Auxiliary missions throughout the National Capitol Region colleges and universities.

Coast Guard Auxiliarist Jacob Thayer gives a presentation at a conference

Coast Guard Auxiliarist Jacob Thayer

Just as he was finishing up his undergraduate degree in Washington, D.C., Thayer was asked to join the Auxiliary National Staff, serving as the project manager for the Auxiliary’s university program.After moving to Austin, Texas, to pursue his graduate degree, Thayer remained actively involved in the Coast Guard Auxiliary. He was able to become much more active in Auxiliary missions, helping with vessel examinations and various public affairs initiatives.

His hard work and dedication soon paid off: he was offered the position of Flotilla Commander of Flotilla 75, 8th District. As a relatively new member of the Auxiliary, he disregarded the idea, but his leadership convinced him to run for the position.

“I ended up getting elected and we put a good team together,” Thayer said. “We implemented a lot of member training throughout the year, held a boat crew training program as a major piece of this, taught a lot of classes and got people qualified for a variety of different qualifications – all this while I was still working on the National Staff for Auxiliary university programs.”

And he’s enjoyed every moment of it since being elected.

“It’s been great,” he said. “We have 11 lakes that we get out on throughout the area. It’s a great team to work with and we have folks all over the coast.”

Thayer credits the success of the flotilla to the people that serve within it, and those in the local community.

“We have a lot of local media support, which is really helpful, and a lot of recreational boaters in this area who are younger and interested in learning what they can,” he said. “We have a very open audience which makes our job a lot easier and very supportive law enforcement.”

His favorite experience thus far has been his participation in 2015 National Safe Boating Week.

Auxiliarist Jacob Thayer and his crew take a break from giving boaters free vessel exams to take a photo during a National Safe Boating Week

Auxiliarist Jacob Thayer and his crew take a break from giving boaters free vessel exams to take a photo during a National Safe Boating Week

“That was a pretty cool experience to see a lot of planning come together for that and to have such great exposure for the message,” Thayer said. “We ended up checking out 30 to 50 boats. We’ve had really great response with people wanting to make sure they’re safe on the water.” Thayer’s leadership and initiative as flotilla commander led to his selection as the Auxiliarist of the year for the 8th District, which led to his eventual selection as the national Auxiliarist of the year.

How did Thayer learn about his selection? A personal phone call from Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft.

“It was really cool to get the call from Admiral Zukunft,” Thayer said. “I’m wrapping up things here in order to move back to Virginia, so it really did put a nice close to my chapter of being here.”

Looking forward, Thayer will be attending law school in Virginia, and soon after, he hopes to apply for the Coast Guard’s Direct Commission Program to serve on active duty, because, as he says, “What greater mission is there than saving lives?”

Tags: , , , , ,