Commentary | June 23, 2021

Happy birthday to the Coast Guard Auxiliary!

By LT Chris Booth, BSX

The Coast Guard Auxiliary is recognized for marking a special milestone today, as it celebrates its 82nd birthday.

Dating back to June 23, 1939, the Coast Guard Auxiliary has a tremendous history of outstanding uniformed volunteer service, keeping both America’s waterways and its boating public safe.

Born out of Congressional authorization to create the Coast Guard’s “Volunteer Reserve” force in 1939 and then further defined in U.S. Code in 1941, the Coast Guard Auxiliary and its talented and devoted uniformed volunteer workforce has supported Coast Guard missions along our nation’s coasts and inland lakes and rivers.Auxiliary patrols are a welcome sight for mariners in distress.

Using their own boats and aircraft, Auxiliarists can be seen patrolling the waterways to offer vessel safety checks or flying above to assist active duty personnel in life saving search and rescue operations.

Despite COVID-19 limitations throughout most of 2020, the Coast Guard Auxiliary still saved 65 lives and $5 million in property, along with administering almost 17 thousand vessel safety checks and log almost 2 million hours of activity in support of other Coast Guard missions.

Emulating the watchwords of Ready, Resourceful, and Resilient, the Coast Guard Auxiliary continues to evolve and become more integrated with the Coast Guard in new and innovative means.

Always ready to engage where needed most, highly trained Coast Guard Auxiliary Health Services members volunteered at Coast Guard clinics nationwide, at Training Center Cape May, and served on afloat deployments to provide invaluable medical assistance to active duty personnel.

Coast Guard Auxiliary personnel overcame COVID-19 restrictions and found ways to remain engaged and simultaneously social distanced. Examples of Auxiliarists flying medical supplies to remote locations or chaplains administering aid at heavily impacted Coast Guard units are truly emblematic of how committed the Coast Guard Auxiliary is to helping the nation and its citizens in times of need. 

The Coast Guard Auxiliary and its incredible volunteer workforce of is truly one of innovative augmentation of the Coast Guard.

We thank the many Auxiliary clergy, watercraft operators, pilots, medical staff, musicians, cyber security professionals and so many more outstanding professionals for their ongoing and invaluable assistance to the Coast Guard and its missions.

Happy 82nd birthday to the Coast Guard Auxiliary!