Commodore Patricia McMenamin
U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary District 7
The United States Coast Guard is the volunteer uniformed auxiliary service of the United States Coast Guard (USCG). Congress established the USCG Auxiliary on June 23, 1939, as the United States Coast Guard Reserve. In 1941 Congress passed a law to restructure the Coast Guard Reserve two years after it was established. The Coast Guard would hence forth have two reserve forces. The existing civilian organization would be renamed the Coast Guard Auxiliary which would not have roles that require “direct” law enforcement or military engagement. The other organization would be the Coast Guard Reserve. The Coast Guard Reserve would have military and law enforcement responsibilities.
During the 1940’s the Coast Guard Auxiliary has helped to guard our coasts against German submarines and other threats. In the 1950’s the Auxiliary became more seriously involved in educating the boating public, performing free safety checks on recreational boats, and assisting the Coast Guard in search and rescue. A major focus during the 1960s was bringing a national organizational structure into being and starting a national publication. During the Vietnam War, the Auxiliary began to become a true force multiplier by performing duties and filling stations left empty by active duty who were serving on cutters in Southeast Asia. The 70’s, 80’s and 90’s were characterized by Auxiliarists beginning to help with natural disasters, assisting mariners in distress, attending to marine safety and protecting the marine environment in addition to conducting safety patrols, and standardizing training for crew and coxswain.
It takes a strong continuing desire, support from our families, and time commitment to be successful in the Auxiliary. We volunteer not only our skills, talents, and knowledge, but our boats, planes, and radios. We buy our own uniforms and pay dues. We train to become certified in specialties and mission areas in order to serve, and we train to become better at what we do and to always be prepared (Semper Paratus). Fellowship was a cornerstone from the very beginning and continues to be a significant part of being a member of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary.
In return we make great new friends and consider our shipmates as part of our family, learn new skills, and develop pride and satisfaction in our successful missions. Earning the respect and gratitude of the boating public and serving as a relevant member of Team Coast Guard, we make a difference.
Since our inception, we have grown and matured. This has been recognized by the Federal Government and the Coast Guard. As a result, they are continuing to expand our missions and responsibilities. Our role in assisting the Coast Guard is ever changing and expanding.
You can proudly serve your country, your community and help others by joining the Coast Guard Auxiliary. Do consider joining us and become a member of the most efficient and effective maritime volunteer organization in the world.
COMO Patricia McMenamin
USCG Auxiliary District 7