|United States Coast Guard Auxiliary|
Seal of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary
|Founded||June 23, 1939|
|Branch||U.S. Coast Guard|
|Type||Volunteer uniformed auxiliary service|
|Size||Approximately 24,000 auxiliarists.|
|Colors||White, Red, Blue |
|Engagements||World War II|
September 11 attacks
|Decorations|| Presidential Unit Citation|
Coast Guard Unit Commendation
|Commandant of the Coast Guard||Admiral Karl L. Schultz|
|Chief Director of Auxiliary||Captain Scott L. Johnson , USCG|
|National Commodore||Commodore Larry L. King|
The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary (USCGA, USCGAUX, CGAux, or USCG Aux) is the volunteer uniformed auxiliary service of the United States Coast Guard (USCG). Congress established the unit on June 23, 1939, as the United States Coast Guard Reserve. On February 19, 1941, the organization was re-designated as the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary. The Auxiliary exists to support all USCG missions on the water or in the air, except for roles that require "direct" law enforcement or military engagement. As of 2018, there were approximately 24,000 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.
The development of the single-operator motorboat, and later the outboard engine, during the early 20th century increased the number of recreational boaters operating on United States federal waters. By 1939 there were more than 300,000 personal watercraft in operation. The previous year the Coast Guard had received 14,000 calls for assistance and had responded to 8,600 "in-peril" cases.
The Coast Guard Reserve Act of 1939 was passed by the United States Congress creating a civilian reserve force for the United States Coast Guard that would have four specified responsibilities. They were charged with promoting safety at sea, increasing boater efficiency for American citizens, assisting them with laws and compliance, and supporting Active Duty members of the Coast Guard. This encompassed boat owners being organized into flotillas within Coast Guard districts around the United States. They conducted safety and security patrols and helped enforce the 1940 Federal Boating and Espionage Acts.Commandant Russell Waesche and Commodore Malcolm Stuart Boylan are credited as the founders.
In 1941 Congress passed a law to restructure the Coast Guard Reserve which was created just two years earlier. The Coast Guard would hence forth have two reserve forces. The existing civilian organization would be renamed the Coast Guard Auxiliary. In addition, the Coast Guard Reserve was created that year and would have military and law enforcement responsibilities.
During World War II many Auxiliarists became temporary members of the Coast Guard Reserve. Coast Guard Headquarters issued policies allowing some of those boats to be equipped with machine guns and they could carry pistols and rifles on patrols. In 1941 the Coast Guard, Coast Guard Reserve, and Coast Guard Auxiliary were transferred from the United States Treasury Department to the United States Department of the Navy  and in 1942 the Coast Guard Auxiliary was authorized to wear military uniforms.
During the war Auxiliarists would help the Coast Guard with recruiting and training active duty personnel. Beginning in 1942, in response to the growing German U-Boat threat to the United States, the U.S. Navy ordered the acquisition of the "maximum practical number of civilian craft in any way capable of going to sea in good weather for a period of at least 48 hours." A large number of vessels, owned and piloted by Auxiliarists with crews made-up of Coast Guard reservists, made-up the bulk of the American coastal anti-submarine warfare capability during the early months of World War II (the so-called "Corsair Fleet"). As newly constructed warships took over the load, the Coast Guard abandoned the concept. None of the two thousand civilian craft, armed with depth charges stowed on their decks, ever sank a submarine, though they did rescue several hundred survivors of torpedoed merchant ships. From 1942 through the rest of the war Auxiliarists and Coast Guard reservists served on local Port Security Forces to protect the shipping industry.
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 Amesbury, 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 the 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."
Under Congressional legislation passed in 1996, the Auxiliary's role was expanded to allow members to assist in any Coast Guard mission authorized by the Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard. Current policy excludes Auxiliary personnel from exercising deputized law enforcement authority or involvement in military combat operations. As of 2004, the Coast Guard Auxiliary had 35,000 members who collectively provided 2 million man hours of service annually.
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 Auxiliarists.
A complete timeline of historical events for the Coast Guard Auxiliary can be found at this link 
Above all, the Auxiliary serves as a force multiplier for the Coast Guard. Auxiliarists promote safety, security, and assistance for the citizens of the United States in the harbors, seaports, coasts, canals, rivers across the country and in the air. The USCG wholly delegated to the Auxiliary its mission of promoting and improving recreational boater safety. The Auxiliary also directly supports active duty and reservists in carrying out search and rescue, marine safety, waterways management, environmental protection, and various homeland security missions.
The Auxiliary's most prominent role is promoting recreational boating safety ("RBS") among the general public. The Auxiliary has several distinct programs that support this mission. Providing free Vessel Safety Checks (formerly "Courtesy Marine Examinations") to recreational boaters is one of the Auxiliary's longest running and most visible activities. Through the Public Education program, Auxiliary instructors deliver a range of courses on boating-related topics such as seamanship, knots, laws and regulations related to boating, weather, and navigation. RBS Partnership Program Visitors (formerly "Marine Dealer Visitors) serve as liaisons between the Auxiliary and interested local businesses/organizations (such as marinas, boating clubs, etc.).
The Auxiliary University Programs (AUP) is a Coast Guard Auxiliary-managed initiative established in 2007. Today AUP now has nearly 200 members in 11 units representing over 30 colleges and universities across the United States. AUP prepares undergraduate and graduate students for future public service inside and outside of the Coast Guard Auxiliary. Intended to function in a manner similar to ROTC programs, AUP provides students exposure to Coast Guard careers without requiring a service commitment, and more generally teaches students seamanship and leadership, and encourages public service. AUP has a positive track record of getting a large number of its graduates into Coast Guard Officer Candidate School and also offers an Internship Program.
The Coast Guard Auxiliary Interpreter Corps provides auxiliarists who are fluent in languages other than English for assignments with both the regular Coast Guard, and other branches of the United States military, to support domestic and overseas deployments that require language and translation assistance. The Interpreter Corp certifies on two levels of competencies and directly supports the Coast Guard International Affairs Department. In recent years auxiliarists from the Interpreter Corps have deployed in support of the Africa Partnership Station, Tradewinds, and other missions. According to the Coast Guard, there are currently 440 auxiliarists in the Interpreter Corps, representing 48 languages.
The Coast Guard, which has just one regular military band, relies on Auxiliarist musicians for ship christenings, and change-of-command ceremonies. In addition, the United States Coast Guard Pipe Band is formed from both Coast Guard Reserve and Coast Guard Auxiliary members.
The Coast Guard Auxiliary is situated in the Coast Guard's Office of Auxiliary and Boating Safety (CG-BSX), Auxiliary Division (CG-BSX-1), with the office of the Deputy Commandant for Operations (CG-DCO) in Coast Guard Headquarters. CG-DCO oversees the Assistant Commandant for Marine Safety, Security, and Stewardship (CG-5) who in turn oversees the Director of Prevention Policy (CG-54), who in turn oversees CG-542.
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.
The Coast Guard Auxiliary does not have a military chain of command. There are, however, two chains of leadership and management. Auxiliarists are expected to adhere to the relevant chain when communicating. There is an elected leader chain and an appointed leader chain (known as "parallel staffing"). Commanders and vice commanders (deputies) of each flotilla, division and district are elected annually. The national leadership is elected once every two years. Other staff officers are appointed based on skills and level of interest. All leadership positions in the Auxiliary require membership in a Flotilla of the Auxiliary.
National officer positions include the following:
Titles and duties of flotilla officers are dictated by the Auxiliary Manual.
To carry out the Auxiliary program, DCDRs and FCs may appoint flotilla and division staff officers. The DCO may appoint district staff officers. A staff officer at the flotilla level is abbreviated FSO; at the division level, SO; and at the District level, DSO. Thus, the SO-CS is the Division Communications Services officer.
The list of staff officers, with their official abbreviations, is:
Auxiliarists not required to purchase uniforms as a condition of joining, but uniforms are required for certain activities and missions. Each auxiliary uniform is identical to a Coast Guard officer's military uniform, with the exception that the buttons and stripes on dress jackets and shoulder boards are silver in color, rather than gold. On dress uniforms, appointed staff officers wear insignia with a red "A" and elected officers wear insignia with either a silver or a blue "A", while black "A"s are worn on insignia by both elected and appointed officers on the ODU uniform. Auxiliarists are generally expected to adhere to the same rules of correct uniform wear as regular and reserve Coast Guard officers, although some standards are slightly relaxed (e.g. Auxiliarists are allowed to have beards).
When augmenting Coast Guard personnel in an operational environment (e.g. serving as a cook on a cutter at sea), the military-style officer insignia of Auxiliary position is generally removed and the generic "member" insignia is worn. This is done to avoid giving the false impression that the Auxiliarist has any command authority.
Auxiliarists wear military rank-style insignia that signify their leadership position (e.g., a Flotilla Commander wears insignia similar to a USCG lieutenant) but do not hold substantive military ranks and are not typically addressed by their position title. All members are generally referred to as "Auxiliarist" (abbreviated "AUX") except for those members who hold (or formerly held) certain very senior leadership positions, who are addressed as "Commodore" (abbreviated "COMO").
Auxiliarists also do not customarily render military courtesies (such as saluting) to each other but are expected to initiate salutes and render other appropriate courtesies to military officers, observe proper flag etiquette, etc. Enlisted personnel are not required to salute Auxiliarists but occasionally do (out of either misunderstanding or genuine respect), in which case Auxiliarists are expected to return all salutes given.
The purpose of the Auxiliary's rank-style insignia is not to signify authority but to identify the Auxiliarist's position within the organization and recognize the responsibilities of elected and appointed leaders and staff officers. Past elected and appointed leaders are authorized to permanently wear the insignia of the highest office held if they held such office for at least half of its term. However, when an Auxiliarist no longer holds the office represented by the insignia worn, a "Past Officer Device" must be worn on the right pocket flap of the shirt or coat.
|National Commodore (NACO)|
|Vice National Commodore (VNACO), Deputy National Commodore (DNACO)
Deputy National Commodore (DNACO)
|District Commodore (DCO)
Assistant National Commodore (ANACO)
|District Chief of Staff (DCOS), District Captain (DCAPT)
Deputy Assistant National Commodore (ANACOd), Director (DIR), Senior Fellow, NACO Admin Assistant (N-A)
|Division Commander (DCDR)
District Directorate Chief (DDC), Auxiliary Sector Coordinator (ASC), Deputy Director (DIRd), Division Chief (DVC), NACO Aide (N-D), Fellow
|Division Vice Commander (VCDR)
District Staff Officer (DSO), DCO Admin Assistant (D-AA), Branch Chief (BC)
|Flotilla Commander (FC)
Assistant District Staff Officer (ADSO), DCO Aide (D-AD), Branch Assistant (BA), Academy Admissions Partner
|Vice Flotilla Commander (VFC)
Division Staff Officer (SO)
Flotilla Staff Officer (FSO), Detachment Leader (DL)
Auxiliarists ascribe to the following pledge during induction:
Auxiliarists may be awarded medals and decorations of the Coast Guard or Coast Guard Auxiliary, and may wear certain medals and decorations awarded in prior military service based on what is approved in the Auxiliary Manual. There are currently 36 medals and ribbons for which auxiliarists are eligible.
United States Coast Guard awards:
Other awards authorized for wear on the Coast Guard Auxiliary uniform:
Qualification Badges of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary are approved and issued by the United States Coast Guard's DIRAUX to auxiliarists who achieve certain qualifications while serving in the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary. Listed below are the qualification badges permitted for wear by the auxiliarist on their uniform:
|Advanced Boat Force Operations Insignia|
|Boat Force Operations Insignia|
|Marine Safety Insignia|
|Personal Watercraft Operator|
|Recreational Boating Safety Insignia|
|Operational Auxiliarist Device|
All auxiliarists currently on the National Staff may wear the National Staff Badge. Auxiliarists in recruiting offices and meet five requirements may wear the Coast Guard Recruiting Badge. Auxiliarists who meet the requirements of the Academy Admissions Partner Program and are approved by the Superintendent of the United States Coast Guard Academy may be entitled to wear the Coast Guard Academy Admissions Recruiting Badge.
|National Staff Identification Badge|
|Coast Guard Recruiting Badge|
|U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Past Officer Badge|
The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary offers a number of benefits and fellowship opportunities. Auxiliarists are allowed access to the Coast Guard Exchange and have opportunities for training, awards, and uniforms. Some expenses incurred by the auxiliarist may be tax deductible. Auxiliarists are allowed access to the Coast Guard Mutual Assistance Program. Auxiliary Flotillas are also supported by the Coast Guard Foundation.
While on official orders, if an Auxiliarist is injured or killed in the line of duty, they may be entitled to compensation on a monthly pay rate equivalent to the GS-9 on the General Schedule Payscale.
An Auxiliarist may be issued an official identification card by his/her local Director of Auxiliary (DIRAUX) only after the USCG Security Center completes a Personnel Security Investigation and issues a favorable suitability-for-service determination. The card also serves as an identification that the Auxiliarist falls under the protocols of the Geneva Conventions (specifically the Fourth Geneva Convention).
The Coast Guard Auxiliary Association (CGAuxA) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based out of St. Louis, MO that raises and donates money to support outreach activities of the auxiliary. According to its website, the organization was established in 1957 and supports the Auxiliary with its mission to support Recreational Boater Safety, fundraising, and provides the Auxiliary with needed supplies. In addition Auxiliary Association members have access to the Pentagon Federal Credit Union. The Coast Guard Auxiliary has also established a number of national partnerships for discounts on office supplies, hotels, rental cars, prescriptions, and insurance. The Auxiliary Association is led by a ten-member Board of Directors that receives no compensation. Auxiliarists are automatically extended a free membership to the Auxiliary Association.
Potential applicants must be a United States citizen, be at minimum 17 years of age, and prior members of the United States Armed Forces must provide proof that they were discharged at minimum under honorable conditions. Applicants must have never committed a felony and have a social security number that is valid. While the auxiliary attracts boat owners and veterans of the armed forces, neither are requirements to join and are common misconceptions.
Sea Scouts are eligible to join at age 14, under an exception granted by agreement between both organizations.
In order to qualify for membership the applicant must fill out an application and get fingerprinted. The initial applicant must successfully complete the new member course and pass the new member examination. After successfully passing the applicant will be issued a new member ID number and will be placed into approval pending (AP) status until their PSI[clarification needed] is adjudicated. Starting February 1, 2018 new auxiliarists under AP Status must pass the Basic Qualification Course II which consists of seven tested modules based on the Auxiliary Manual before they can be granted any higher status.
If the PSI is favorably adjudicated the auxiliarist may be eligible to be placed into initially qualified (IQ) status, and those who have an unfavorable PSI adjudication will be disenrolled from the Auxiliary. Members in IQ status are not eligible for basically qualified (BQ) status until they have successfully completed all required mandatory training. After all mandatory training has been completed the auxiliarist may become eligible for BQ status. Beyond that if the auxilarist in BQ status completes a rigorous course of study they can achieve the operational auxiliarist (AX) distinction.
|Levels of Status|
Auxiliarists with prior service are likely to have a smooth transition into their flotilla as they are able to come up to speed with current Coast Guard Auxiliary responsibilities and military customs. Prior service in the United States Armed Forces such as military service insignia, badges, ribbons, and devices earned may potentially be worn on the Auxiliary uniform based on what is approved in the Auxiliary Manual.
Operational Auxiliary Program (AUXOP) is an advanced training program available to Auxiliarists. This program has been in existence since 1952 and was established under leadership of National Commodore Bert Pouncey. AUXOP was created to better assist the Coast Guard to fill needed skill sets and to assist with operational Coast Guard missions. In order to achieve the Operational Auxiliarist distinction seven credits must be completed from three different types of courses. Core, Leadership, and Electives are the different required course types. Specialty courses in weather, seamanship, and communications are required in the core curriculum that are all good for a credit each. An additional four credits are required under the leadership and elective course types. Upon completing the training program the Auxiliarist is entitled to wear the AUXOP Device. AUXOP advanced training also helps the Auxiliarist to increase their support capability and capacity to assist with operational missions for the Coast Guard.
Auxiliarists are required to complete six mandated training courses within their first year of joining the organization, and then must complete them all again every five years after. These six courses cover Fundamentals of Security, Suicide Prevention, Privacy, Sexual Harassment & Assault Prevention, and civil rights awareness. In addition, auxiliarists must complete influenza and ethics awareness just once in their career using the Coast Guard Auxiliary Learning Management System.
Failure to complete the mandatory training may make the auxiliarist ineligible to participate in Coast Guard Auxiliary exercises, drills, or response events.
The Coast Guard Auxiliary requires auxiliarists to take mandatory Incident Command System (ICS) courses. Four of the Incident Command System (ICS) courses are offered through FEMA's Emergency Management Institute (EMI) and another course if offered through the Auxiliary Learning Management System. Auxiliarists are expected to take courses that will help them to understand the Incident Command System's organization, basic terminology and common responsibilities. Auxiliarists are required to acquire the skills necessary to perform in an ICS support role. Officers, certified coxswains, pilots, or those in a leadership role may need to take additional EMI courses pertaining to the National Incident Management System and/or the National Response Framework. As part of ICS Training, all auxiliarists must respond immediately to emergency response alerts and participation in mandatory.
|Course number||Name of course|
|ICS-100||Introduction to Incident Command System |
|ICS-200||ICS for Single Resources and Initial Action Incidents |
|ICS-700||National Incident Management System |
|ICS-800||National Response Framework |
Note: ICS-100 and ICS-700 are part of the Mandatory Training requirement.
|Coast Guard Auxiliary Learning Management System course|
|Course number||Name of course|
|ICS-210||Initial Incident Commander |
The Coast Guard sponsors over 15 different advanced training courses for auxiliarists to take at C-Schools. Selection to attend a C-School is competitive due to limited availability, and the training is for auxiliarists who want to be promoted in their levels of responsibility. To attend a C-School course the auxiliarist must first be approved by their DIRAUX who will issue then issue official orders to the auxiliarist. When an auxiliarist is attending a C-School course their lodging and per diem are typically reimbursed by the Coast Guard. C-School opportunities include leadership training which are offered at three levels: AUXLAMS (Leadership and Management), AMLOC (Mid-Level Officer course), and AULOC (Upper-Level Officer course).
While assigned to federal duty, auxiliarists are considered federal employees for the purpose of civil liability; therefore, individual auxiliarists are protected against being sued directly in many tort, property, and injury cases arising from their official duties.
A handful of states offer limited employment protection for members of the auxiliary who are called to assist emergency responders following a disaster or to attend to other auxiliary matters.
A Coast Guard Auxiliary safety patrol in Portland, Oregon in 2014.
Auxiliary units conducting helo ops on the San Francisco Bay.
A U.S. Coast Guard auxiliarist (right) provides English-to-Spanish translation for a member of the Dominican Republic coast guard during Tradewinds 2013, a U.S.-led multinational military exercise in the Caribbean basin.
|Ralph Abraham||Member of the United States House of Representatives|
|Ross Baker||Political Science Professor at Rutgers University|
|Lloyd Bridges||Actor (He was a member of Coast Guard and Coast Guard Auxiliary and did a number of public service announcements for the Coast Guard)|
|Tim Burton||American saxophonist for the band The Mighty Mighty Bosstones|
|Walter Cronkite||Newscaster, member of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary and an honorary commodore|
|Leif Erickson||Actor, Auxiliary and Honorary Commodore for the Coast Guard Auxiliary|
|Preston Foster||Actor and member of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary and an honorary commodore|
|Sheila Foster||Actress and member of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary|
|Olivia Hooker||American psychologist and professor|
|Alan Jepson||Former Mayor of Milford, Connecticut|
|Robert Kennedy||Current mayor of Freeport, New York|
|Michael Kilian||Notable author and writer|
|C. Douglas Kroll||Professor at the College of the Desert and notable author|
|Lubby Navarro||Current member of the Miami-Dade County Public Schools|
|Andrew Niquette||American politician and activist, one of the youngest National Delegates to the 2016 Democratic National Convention in American history.|
|Al Roker||Television personality, Honorary Commodore, Coast Guard Auxiliary|
|Steve Riggs||Current member of the Kentucky House of Representatives|
|Auxiliarist's name||End of watch|
|Herman Mau ||July 8, 1984|
|Madeleine Mau ||July 8, 1984|
|Richard Smilgoff ||January 21, 1989|
|Linda Smilgoff ||January 21, 1989|
|Robert Duffield ||September 18, 1989|
|Gerard Rene ||September 18, 1989|
|Russell Anderson ||May 12, 1990|
|Christopher Polimeni ||May 12, 1990|
|Charlene Huhne ||May 12, 1990|
|Julie Nappi ||May 12, 1990|
|Gilbert Feig ||January 13, 1992|
|Frank Lizak ||June 2, 1997|
|Frederica Lizak ||June 2, 1997|
|Casey Purvis ||February 1, 2001|
|Robert Fuller ||February 1, 2001|