Happy 77th birthday to the Coast Guard Auxiliary

Coast Guard Auxiliarists Maureen Lucas and Dave Wesler tow a disabled boat on the Delaware River Monday, May 25, 2015, near Marcus Hook, Pa. The boat crew from the Marcus Hook Auxiliary Search and Rescue Detachment towed the 14-foot pleasure craft to Barry Bridge Park. (U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary photo by Nick Matchica)

Coast Guard Auxiliarists Maureen Lucas and Dave Wesler tow a disabled boat on the Delaware River Monday, May 25, 2015, near Marcus Hook, Pa. The boat crew from the Marcus Hook Auxiliary Search and Rescue Detachment towed the 14-foot pleasure craft to Barry Bridge Park. (U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary photo by Nick Matchica)

Written by Commodore Fred Gates, Deputy National Commodore for Information Technology and Planning 

The Coast Guard Auxiliary celebrates 77 years of continuous service to the U.S. Coast Guard today.

The Auxiliary serves as a force multiplier to the U. S. Coast Guard, working alongside active duty and reserve shipmates performing similar tasks and has units all throughout the nation – including all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and Guam. As uniformed civilian volunteers, its 28,000 members give freely of their time and talents.

When the Coast Guard “Reserve” was authorized by act of Congress on June 23, 1939, the Coast Guard was given a legislative mandate to use civilians to promote safety on and over the high seas and the nation’s navigable waters.

Two years later on February 19, Congress amended the 1939 act with passage of the Auxiliary and Reserve Act of 1941. Passage of this act designated the Reserve as a military branch of the active service while the civilian section, formerly referred to as the Coast Guard Reserve, became the Auxiliary under title 14, chapter 23 of the United States Code.

U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliarist Brenda Martinson answers vessel safety

U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliarist Brenda Martinson answers vessel safety questions during the Safe Boating Day Open House at Coast Guard Station Gloucester, Massachusetts, May 14, 2016. The annual event draws hundreds of visitors interested in recreational boating safety. (U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary photo by: John W. Keyes)

The Auxiliary’s missions support Coast Guard operational, administrative, and logistical requirements. They promote and improve recreational boating safety, as well as provide a diverse array of specialized skills, trained crews and facilities to augment the Coast Guard and enhance the safety and security of ports, waterways, and coastal regions.

Auxiliarists not only offer administrative support at Coast Guard stations, but they stand radio watches, cook food, are an extra set of hands for the engineers, observe ice flows by air, and participate in drills to keep Coast Guard men and women proficient.

They teach boating safety classes, conduct free vessel safety checks, and help marina owners receive the latest Coast Guard regulations and policies. During times of natural disasters, qualified Auxiliarists augment Incident Command Centers.

The Auxiliary conducts safety and security patrols, performs search and rescue missions, and responds to pollution incidents. The organization assists during mass casualty or other emergency situations, assists with homeland security and serves as platforms for boarding parties. Auxiliarists perform commercial fishing and vessel exams, and recruits for the Coast Guard.

As you can see, the Auxiliary not only supports, but exemplifies the Coast Guard core values of honor, respect and devotion to duty.

With the U.S. Coast Guard active duty, reserve and civilian work force, the Auxiliary stands Semper Paratus (Always Ready).

Click here to learn more about the Coast Guard Auxiliary, or here to find out about joining the Auxiliary.

Coast Guard Auxiliary pilots Steve Trupkin (left) and Pete Lombardo (right) pose for a picture before departing Marshfield Airport with 25 cold-stunned Kemp's ridley turtles Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016. The turtles are being flown to Florida after becoming stuck in the arm of Cape Cod during their journey south for the winter. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Ross Ruddell)

Coast Guard Auxiliary pilots Steve Trupkin (left) and Pete Lombardo (right) pose for a picture before departing Marshfield Airport with 25 cold-stunned Kemp’s ridley turtles Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016. The turtles are being flown to Florida after becoming stuck in the arm of Cape Cod during their journey south for the winter. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Ross Ruddell)

From all of us – Thank you and happy birthday, Coast Guard Auxiliary!

If you 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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