In complete agreement with VicNaz1.
I am very happy with the fact that the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary provides a platform for individuals with different levels of physical challenges and/or disabilities; giving a sense of meaning and accomplishment for citizens who desire to help in any way or shape possible. In many instances, lots of these individuals bring solid, important skills Team Coast Guard can benefit from. Just as VicNaz1 stated, there are sooooooo many areas which requires no specific physical strength, endurance and/or ability in order to make a difference.
Having said that...anything else, (written or not written), which requires some important level of physical ability (for Active Duty and Reservists) should be seriously taken in consideration by members of the Auxiliary. First and foremost, for the safety of members of the Auxiliary. THERE ARE PLENTY OF REASONS why those "physical requirements" are set in motion. And the majority of them are there to protect Crewmen and Coxswains from physical injuries; and mainly, to be able to perform all 57 Crewmen tasks "with no physical assistance, without hesitation and with confidence".
I have been a Crewman since 2011. When I serve on a Coast Guard Auxiliary vessel which is in constant training (often in collaboration with Coast Guard Station Active Duty personnel in Connecticut, during a 6-hour patrol, at times in challenging weather conditions including night patrols), even "in decent shape" at almost 50 years of age, the next morning upon attempting to come out of bed, my body is reminded of all the water related activities that took place the previous day. Imagine how would our bodies feel if we are not in some kind of "positive" physical shape? Being part of "Operational Duty" teams, such as Crewmen & Coxswain, we must be (at a very minimum), making conscious efforts (even medically supervised, if need be), to better prepare our bodies and better our overall health in order to properly perform the job. If is a "requirement" for Active Duty personnel, then it should be (out of respect to them), a "personal goal" for us as Auxiliarists. - Requirements recycled into Goals - .
THERE IS NOTHING WORSE, (for me)....than being aboard an Auxiliary vessel, knowing that you are minutes away from meeting with an Active Duty Coast Guard vessel, and knowing there are several Auxiliarists on my vessel that are in important levels of "out-of-shape" conditions. Why is that bad? For several reasons:
1. Their health might be in alarming levels of danger, (most important one!!!).
2. In the event of an emergency, the efficiency of the crew and evolution might be compromised.
3. The chances for them to get hurt while performing an evolution increases by a lot (such as bringing an unconscious, dead-weighted, person-on-the-water aboard the vessel - followed by performing CPR for as long as needed until an Active Duty vessel or Helicopter arrives).
*** I personally know of an American Red Cross instructor (fairly in shape) - a professional EMT, who found a person not breathing while he was walking alone at a beach; performed CPR on an individual for more than half-an-hour until some noticed the situation and called 911. While the individual survived - thanks to his CPR intervention - the EMT ended up hospitalized for 3 days, due to the tremendous among of "life-giving" strength he lost during the process.***
4. I knew that upon meeting with the Active Duty personnel vessel, we were going to send a "non-spoken" message: "We can wear THE SAME UNIFORM you guys are wearing, and we can (look and feel) in whatever condition we want. It doesn't matter...because we are Auxiliarist." I don;t know about you, but what a terrible thing to say or think!!!
5. Last but not least, the image we provide to the GENERAL PUBLIC regarding the Coast Guard is NOT a positive one. They don't know the difference between "Active Duty and Auxiliary"....they only say or think..."Why are those Coasties looking so unhealthy?" I have often seen citizens in private boats, looking at members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary, and laugh, while pointing at them. (Of course, they would not laugh if their vessel was taking on water, and someone who seems "out of shape" on board an Auxiliary vessel would pass them a dewatering pump....don't you think?)
The point is....whether we like it or not....we, the Operational Duty personnel in the US Coast Guard Auxiliary (and everyone else "who can" for that matter), should consider maintaining some important level of physical health in order to better serve our beloved United States (Team) Coast Guard, and live healthy lives for ourselves and for our beloved families.
In shape, or not in shape...I respect you all....and I thank you for all your selfless service to our beloved Nation, United States of America. Keep up the good work, Shipmates!
HONOR, RESPECT, DEVOTION TO DUTY!