June 23, 2022, is the 83rd birthday of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary. While most of us know what the coast guard is, not much of us have heard about the Coast Guard Reserve, although its role and existence are nonetheless important. If you don’t know them yet, then it’s time that you meet our Grandpa celebrant and get to know him a little more.

Birth of the Auxiliary

It all started when the Coast Guard Auxiliary was authorized by an act in Congress on June 23, 1939. It was then the Coast Guard was given a legislative mandate to use unpaid forces of volunteers who would perform duties in supporting the regular Coast Guard, if not performing similar duties as long as they do not involve law enforcement or real military operations. From then on, civilian volunteers were used to promote safety in the country’s waters.

The Volunteer Reserve was further defined two years later, on February 19, 1941, when Congress amended the act with the passage of the Auxiliary and Reserve Act of 1941. And so the talented and dedicated volunteer workforce has since then worked alongside Coast Guard during missions, be it on coasts, rivers, and lakes.

Those who initially served in the Reserve before being part of the Auxiliary were usually given their own vessels, although it is now not required to own a boat to be part of the service.

In wartime, the members of the CG Auxillary would probably be folded into the service to plus up their manpower quickly. During WWII, Auxiliarists enrolled themselves and their vessels in the  Coast Guard Reserve. Over 50,000 temporary Reservists served in the war patrolling harbors, factories, bridges, and docks. They also fought fires; provided emergency and disaster assistance and even conducted search and rescue and anti-submarine warfare operations.