The Coast Guard 9th District honored 75 years of service from the Coast Guard Auxiliary in a ceremony at the Coast Guard Cleveland moorings today.
What began as fishermen and private boaters reporting sightings of U-boats in American Coastal waters has evolved into the Coast Guard Auxiliary. The Auxiliary was established in 1939 to facilitate the operations of the Coast Guard. Starting out as the Coast Guard Reserve, it was split into a military reserve branch and auxiliary operation in February 1941. During WWII the volunteers provided search and rescue support, patrol and picket duties, port security, and limited aviation patrols.
The 30,521 members of the modern day Auxiliary use 3,415 operational vessels, 236 aircraft, and 2,459 communication stations to patrol U.S. waters and assist the Coast Guard with search-and-rescue, boater education, and administrative support. In the 1990s the Auxiliarists integrated into everyday Coast Guard operations, including running rescue boat stations around the Great Lakes.
Some of the services provided by the Auxiliary include:
*The Auxiliary Interpreter Corps, whose 452 interpreters, fluent in 48 languages, facilitate over 50,000 conversations per year. Interpreters provide oral and written translation services for the Coast Guard, Navy, Army, Air Force, and Marine Crops and have been deployed to every continent except Australia and Antarctica.
*Auxiliary University programs are home to the best and brightest college students serving their communities and country in marine safety and security.
*Safety vessel inspections for private motor craft.
*Safe boating classes provide instruction to paddlers and motor boat operators on correct usage of personal flotation devices, life saving equipment, and safe navigation practices.
Notable Auxiliarists from the Great Lakes include:
*In 1955, Commodore Charles S. Greanoff from Cleveland, Ohio challenged members to enhance their proficiency, a theme of continual self-development that persists today. His dedication and commitment inspired the National Auxiliary Leadership Award in his name.
*In 1990, Commodore Bob Colby from Saginaw Bay, Michigan, earned the Gold Lifesaving Medal for demonstrating courage in the face of personal danger to rescue eight sailors from the burning gasoline tanker Jupiter.
*In 2010, Auxiliarist of the Year (2009) Ryan Bank from Chicago, Illinois used his innovative fusion of social media feeds to pinpoint Haiti earthquake victims in support of search and rescue efforts, which was instrumental in saving at least 80 lives.
In 2012, Auxiliarist Chris Bandy was recognized as 9th District Auxiliarist of the Year for his work on the Paddle Smart program, which educates paddlers on safety practices.
*From 2007 to the present, Auxiliarist David Linder, from Sodus Point, New York, contributed to the Coast Guard 9th District Mounted Automatic Weapon training program in Fort Knox, Kentucky, preparing food for hundreds of Coast Guard men and women.
Persons over 17 years of age are eligible to join the Coast Guard Auxiliary.