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.


Becoming a Member

Just like any other organization, there are requirements that must be met if one wants to become part of the Volunteer Reserve. The minimum age requirement was 17 years old and should not have been convicted of a felony. On the other hand, it does not have any physical requirements, except for being physically and mentally ready to do the job. As listed on the USCG Aux’s website, applicants must also be prepared to:

  • interview with FSO-HR and FC and submit formal application
  • undergo a Personal Security Background Check, with fingerprints
  • learn about history of USCG AUX and our chain of leadership
  • take short exam on history and leadership
  • find out what opportunities there are for you in the Auxiliary
  • learn the tasks associated with the opportunities you choose
  • give back to the Flotilla by attending monthly meetings and being active in the areas of opportunities you choose
Auxiliarists rescue boater off an outboard that had foundered during storm 1967, Long Island Sound, New York.

And for those who wanted to know why one would want to become a member of it, even though it was unpaid, they also had that listed.