In the days that followed September 11, 2001, those words kept running through many citizens’ heads… What could someone do that would be something more concrete that writing a check to the Red Cross? While many Americans turned to all forms of volunteerism in order to put their hearts, hands and minds at work, many of us were faced with two realities – unless we were “20 somethings”, we weren’t exactly what the Army Recruiter had as #1 on their list of potential (or wanted) candidates and, secondly, it was apparent that the terrorists were seriously dedicated to murdering as many Americans as possible. The unthinkable – suddenly - became thinkable.
If a person could ask God in heaven, “what should I do?”, a likely answer might be, “Do something you love…” For many, the sea would spread out before their mind’s eye…
So, unless you are a “20 something”, the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, an integral part of the United States Coast Guard Forces, is among the most effective ways to “get in this thing…”
Over two hundred years ago, Richard “Light Horse” Harry Lee, one of George Washington’s commanders and ironically the father of Robert E. Lee, coined the immortal saying about George Washington himself – “first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.” The key about an Auxiliarist is that they are neither for war nor for peace but are all about being for America. The US Coast Guard Auxiliary is a creature of the Congress itself.
Congress established the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary in 1939 to assist the US Coast Guard active-duty corps in promoting boating safety. It boasts more than 24,000 members from all walks of life who receive special training so that they may be a functional – and functioning - part of US Coast Guard Forces.
Today the USCG Auxiliary plays a larger role with greater responsibilities than at any other time in history. Auxiliarists are at the helm of marine safety and security patrols, serving as Foreign Language Interpreters, educating the public on recreational boating safety, and supporting many other vital operational and administrative missions. In 2018, USCG Auxiliarists "from sea to shining sea" donated nearly 3.5 million hours in service to our Country – from cooks in galleys to search and rescue.
The US Coast Guard Auxiliary, like any large organization, has an organization – there is a national level, a district level, a divisional level and, ultimately, the flotilla level. The flotilla is where the rubber meets the road or, better put, where the hull meets the waves. And where you'll serve side by side with members of your community, including active-duty Coast Guard.
And, there couldn’t be a better time to join as USCG Auxiliary is in the midst of a concerted recruitment campaign..!
Do you need a boat to join? Absolutely not! We’ll train you to become a certified crewmember. However, if you have one and want to get it certified as an “Operational Facility”, you one day could find yourself leading a patrol as coxswain on the deck of your own vessel with a crew under your responsibility.
Do you need to know how to swim to join? Again, no! There are many jobs within the USCG Auxiliary that are wholly land-based – public education, public affairs, radio watch standing a radio watch at a USCG Coast Guard station or helping out as a mechanic at the motor pool. Interested but have no skills listed? We’ll train you to the “gold standard” – standards set by the US Coast Guard. You don’t even have to like the water… you just have to want to do something – and make it count.
It has been said that this will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.
Be brave. Get in this thing. Make it count.