The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary (USCG Aux) is the uniformed auxiliary service of the United States Coast Guard (USCG). Congress established the USCG Aux on June 23, 1939, as the United States Coast Guard Reserve. On February 19, 1941, it was re-designated the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary. The Auxiliary exists to support all USCG missions except roles that require “direct” law enforcement or military engagement. As of 2015, there were approximately 32,000 members of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.
Collectively the Auxiliary contributes over 4.5 million hours of service each year and completed nearly 500,000 missions in service to support the Coast Guard. Every year Auxiliarists help to save approximately 500 lives, assist 15,000 distressed boaters, conduct over 150,000 safety examinations of recreational vessels, and provide boater safety instruction to over 500,000 students. In total the Coast Guard Auxiliary saves taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars each year.
Post World War II Activities
In 1950 National Commodore Bert Pouncey was elected and the National Board for the Coast Guard Auxiliary was established. In 1955 Auxiliarists started to participate in programs to support the recruitment of potential candidates for the United States Coast Guard Academy.
The North American Boating Campaign was originally known as “Safe Boating Week,” observed by the Coast Guard Auxiliary as a Courtesy Examination weekend in Amesburg, Massachusetts in June 1952. This tradition continued until 1957 when an official National Safe Boating Week observation took place sponsored by the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary in various parts of the country. As a result, the U.S. Coast Guard prepared a Resolution, and on June 4, 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed PL 85-445, to establish National Safe Boating Week as the first week starting on the first Sunday in June.
Early in 1973, budget cuts forced the closing of seven Coast Guard stations on the Great Lakes. At the request of the affected communities, Congress ordered the stations to be re-opened and operated by the Auxiliary. The local division captains took responsibility for manning them and ensuring that Auxiliarists’ boats were always available to assist distressed vessels. The Auxiliary later took over seven more stations on the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers.
In 1976 the Coast Guard commissioned a study of the Auxiliary by a private research firm, University Sciences Forum of Washington. After interviewing key personnel in the Coast Guard and the Auxiliary and analyzing questionnaires filled out by about two thousand Auxiliarists, the researchers concluded that that Auxiliary was in good health. “In summary,” they wrote, “we consider the Auxiliary the greatest economical resource readily available to the COGARD. It performs in an outstanding manner and its personnel are among the most professional group of volunteers in the nation.”
USCGA IN THE NEWS
Communication Staff Officer (GSO-CM)
United States Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 10-11
Enhanced Role for the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary
Under Congressional legislation passed in 1996, the Auxiliary’s role was expanded to allow members to assist in any Coast Guard mission, except direct law enforcement and military operations. As of 2004, the Coast Guard Auxiliary had 35,000 members who collectively provided 2 million man hours of service annually.
Under the Department of Homeland Security
In 2003 the Coast Guard, Coast Guard Reserve and Coast Guard Auxiliary were realigned to be under the United States Department of Homeland Security. As of 2004, the Coast Guard Auxiliary had 35,000 members who collectively provided 2 million man hours of service annually.
On June 19, 2009, the Commandant of the Coast Guard awarded the Coast Guard Unit Commendation to Auxiliary members for “performance…nothing short of stellar” from the period of June 24, 1999, to June 23, 2009. On the 75th anniversary of the USCG Auxiliary, June 23, 2014, the Commandant awarded another Coast Guard Unit Commendation ribbon to all Auxiliary members.
Programs and Missions United States Coast Guard Auxiliary
Above all the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary serves as a force multiplier to the United States Coast Guard. The Auxiliary promotes safety, security, and assistance for the citizens of the United States in the harbors, seaports, coasts, canals, and rivers across the country. The Auxiliary is responsible for promoting and improving recreational boater safety. The Auxiliary supports active duty and reservists with search and rescue, Maritime Homeland Security, and mission support.
Missions of The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary
Academy Introduction Mission
Active Duty Administrative Support
Administration of Bridges
Aids to Navigation
America’s Waterway Watch Program
Inspections of commercial vessels
Licensing for Merchant Mariners
Management of Waterways
Marine Environmental Safety and Protection
Port Security & Safety
Recreational Boating Safety
Search and Rescue
Support for Public Affairs
Support for Recruiting
The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Organization
The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary is divided into three geographic areas: Pacific, Atlantic West, and Atlantic East. The three areas are subdivided into district and divisions, with the smallest unit of organization being the flotilla (not represented on this map).
The Auxiliary has units in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and Guam. Under the direct authority of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security via the Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, the Auxiliary’s internally operating levels are broken down into four organizational levels: Flotilla, Division, District and National.
Flotillas: A Flotilla is the basic building block of the Auxiliary. While a flotilla should have at least 10 members, several flotillas have more than 100 members. Most of the day-to-day work of the Auxiliary is performed at the flotilla level. All members join the Auxiliary at the flotilla level and pay their annual membership dues to their flotilla, which normally meet on a monthly basis. Visitors and prospective members are usually welcome to attend.
Divisions: At least four (4) flotillas form a Division, which provides leadership and staff assistance to the flotillas.
Districts/Regions: There are several divisions in a District. The District provides leadership and staff assistance to the Divisions. Each Auxiliary district is supervised by a Director of the Auxiliary who is a Coast Guard officer usually holding the rank of Commander. Auxiliary Districts generally coincide with Coast Guard Districts.
Areas: Three Deputy National Commodores are responsible for three geographic areas: Atlantic East, Atlantic West, and Pacific Area, respectively.
National: The Auxiliary has national officers who are responsible, along with the Commandant, for the administration and policy-making for the entire Auxiliary. These include the National Executive Committee (NEXCOM) that is composed of the Chief Director of Auxiliary (CHDIRAUX – an active duty officer), the National Commodore (NACO), the Immediate Past National Commodore (IPNACO), Vice National Commodore (VNACO), and the 4 Deputy National Commodores (DNACOs) which in turn is part of the National Staff Operating Committee (OPCOM). OPCOM consists of 29 members: 8 NEXCOM members listed above, National Executive Staff consisting of 7 Assistant National Commodores (ANACO), and 14 Directorate Directors (DIR).
These individuals along with their respective staff in the various national directorates make up the Auxiliary Headquarters organization. The Chief Director is a senior Coast Guard officer and directs the administration of the Auxiliary on policies established by the Commandant. The overall supervision of the Auxiliary is under the Deputy Commandant for Operations (CG-DCO), who reports directly to the Commandant (CCG).