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The overarching mission of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary is to contribute to the safety and security of our citizens, ports, waterways and coastal regions.
We will balance our missions of Recreational Boating Safety and Coast Guard Support with Maritime Homeland Security and other challenges that emerge as a result of our growing understanding of changes required in the post-9/11 era.
The Auxiliary operates safety and regatta patrols and is an integral part of the Coast Guard Search and Rescue team. Auxiliarists also stand communication watches, assist during mobilization exercises, perform marina, lake, river, and pollution patrols, provide platforms for unarmed boarding parties and recruit new people for the Service.
Today, as in 1939, Auxiliarists are civilian volunteers who are authorized and required to wear a uniform similar to the Coast Guard Officer's uniform. Distinctive emblems, buttons, insignias, and ribbons are employed to identify the wearer as a member of the Auxiliary. One such insignia is the letter "A" on the shoulder boards of an Auxiliarist. Despite their silver shoulder boards (versus gold for Coast Guard officers), Auxiliarists hold no rank. The shoulder boards symbolize the office and level to which an individual Auxiliarist has been either appointed or elected.
The Auxiliary has members in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and Guam. Membership is open to men and women, 17 years or older, U.S. citizens of all states and territories, civilians or active duty or former members of any of the uniformed services and their Reserve components, including the Coast Guard. Facility (radio station, boat or aircraft) ownership is desirable but not mandatory.
- Jim Duffin
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