Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Seventy-First Anniversary of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary

On June 23, 2010, the Coast Guard Auxiliary will celebrate seventy-one years of faithful and dedicated service. Our Auxiliary shipmates have once again given generously of themselves to support Coast Guard personnel and missions, and to make our nation’s waterways safer for the more than 83 million recreational boaters who sail them. Coast Guard Auxiliary volunteers have literally taught generations of boaters how to properly equip and operate their vessels. Through their dedication to boating safety and their lifesaving activities, thousands of mariners are saved or assisted every year. The Coast Guard Auxiliary has honored our profession and advanced the outstanding service we provide our nation.

Over the past year, the Auxiliary has set the standard for organizational resilience and continuous improvement. By modernizing its national organization, the Auxiliary positioned itself to parallel the Coast Guard in its conduct of operations, training, policy development, and mission support. At the same time, it broadened its capabilities through a major expansion of its Trident program to provide greater support for the Coast Guard’s marine safety mission, the innovative application of social media and language interpretation skills to support rescue operations following the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, and the formalization of the Auxiliary’s chef program to better support Coast Guard food service personnel. More recently, Auxiliarists have served in a range of capacities in support of Deepwater Horizon Spill Response operations, including over 5,000 hours checking the readiness of vessels participating in clean-up operations, monitoring deployed booms, supporting the area command center, and assisting with public affairs.

Our shipmates, the Coast Guard Auxiliary, have performed superbly, always standing a taut watch and exemplifying our core values. Please join me in recognizing their superb dedication by celebrating their seventy-first anniversary with your local Auxiliarists.

Admiral Bob Papp

Admiral Robert J. Papp,

24th Commandant of the Coast Guard

(U.S. Coast Guard photo)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Communications Past and Present

As our flotilla has increased our presence through safety patrols on local waters we have sought to refine our communications capabilities. Our colleagues in Omaha have the benefit of a permanent base station known as AUX Station Omaha. The benefit to a more permanent and ready communications base for them is evident. It allows them to operate more quickly, with better reliability and in more comfort.

For our 2009 operational season we operated communications out of a tent that was shore-side to provide guard for the patrol boats on the water. After several weather events that hit us, it was clear that we needed something better.

Thankfully some donors thought so too and Flotilla 4 was able to receive a trailer to be outfitted as a mobile AUX Base for our operations. Auxilarists Roland Newton and Paul Faganel have provided much of the leadership and sweat to get it ready. After many hours of construction it was ready for its first test. On Memorial Day weekend it was rolled out for duty and was a vast improvement over the previous tent version.

Saylorville Lake AUX Base, Memorial Day Weekend 2009
(U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Photo by Gene Kellogg)

Saylorville Lake AUX Base, Memorial Day Weekend 2010
(U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Photo by Gene Kellogg)

Roland Newton, FSO-CS, stands watch in the Communications Trailer.
(U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Photo by Doug Jansen)