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Considering joining the Aux
Last Post 07 Jan 2020 02:57 PM by PriorQM. 7 Replies.
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DowntheShoreUser is Offline
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DowntheShore

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05 Sep 2019 12:54 PM
    Hello All,

    Some background on me:

    36 years old.  Was always interested in the military but never had the opportunity to join, due to a couple of minor disqualifying medical issues.   Recently heard about the Aux, and I think it could be a good opportunity for me to finally be able to serve in some capacity, and to wear a uniform with pride.   I work a day job, but id like to be able to volunteer one day per week.  

    I live on the NJ coast, and luckily there are many flotillas near me, including some based at active coast guard stations.

    From what I understand, the Aux is mainly made up of older folks, retirees, etc.   At age 36, would I be one of the youngest guys in most flotillas?   This is perfectly fine with me, I just wanted to know what to expect.

    Also, what type of duties would be available to me as an entry-level Aux approved for OS (Operational Support)?   Is it mostly administrative duties, boating safety, etc. at this level?   

    What type of duties would require you to get DI or DO approval?   

    Thanks for the help, I know that it will probably be a long wait to get approved and alot of training involved, but I am ready to put the work in.   I plan on reaching out to some local flotillas soon to get the application process started.  

    Best regards,
    PriorQMUser is Offline
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    PriorQM

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    06 Sep 2019 08:41 AM
    The Auxiliary is a great way to scratch the itch, but that is about all it is for most people.

    You can do as much or as little as you want. I have read articles of Auxiliary members being on boats with active duty, playing the support role for disaster relief and a whole host of other things. You are at a huge advantage being located near the coast. I am inland, and most of what we do is boat checks for people before getting on the river. Some guys distribute safety materials at marine dealers, and give boater's safety courses.

    It is really all up to you on what you want to make of it. There are a ton of trainings you will need to do before you can do anything in particular. I think it is a great organization, and welcome aboard.
    AuxnoobUser is Offline
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    Auxnoob

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    09 Sep 2019 09:56 AM
    PriorQM has pretty much nailed it. The Aux primarily is to teach and support boating safety. But different flotillas have different programs. You are lucky in that there are a number of flotillas available to you. You can check them out for the one that fits your goals. It is worth the time to check them out. There is one in Jersey that gave a high school girl a hard time about joining. She went to the CG Academy and is a JG. Just sayin'.
    VicNaz1User is Offline
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    VicNaz1

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    21 Dec 2019 09:05 AM
    I thought I’d chime in. I’ve been away for a while both working my ‘day’ job as an engineering project manager on contract with the Coast Guard, Navy and CBP and also on missions for the Coast Guard as an Aux. I’ve also been dealing with the aftermath of 3 deaths in the family including pursuing prosecution of the criminal alien who’s responsible for my little brother’s death earlier this year in ‘sanctuary’ Montgomery County Maryland.

    First thing, as per statute and regulations, Aux. are indeed allowed to do any job in the Coast Guard authorized by the Commandant and the proximate Coast Guard command. Current policy is that Aux should not be assigned to duty in shooting combat roles or deputized law enforcement roles. That means no guns unless the Aux is performing range instructor/officer duties or the weapon is considers essential for survival and specifically, individually authorized to a fully qualified Aux. Both of those are exceptionally rare and I’ve never met any Aux who have actually been in those situations so just think of Aux duty as anything where you don’t carry a weapon.

    You can be on those missions involving weapons and body armor but unless you are a translator you will be unarmed crew on the boat and that’s where you stay. I’ve worn my body armor many times but my involvement with the arms stops at helping the BM mount the M-240 on the bow and then me keeping lookout or running the radios or driving the boat.

    Most Aux regard participation as a part-time ‘retirement’ job performing the Coast Guard mission of promoting water and boating safety, teaching classes, posting literature, helping with environmental protection, inspecting boats and bigger vessels, etc. This helps the public while freeing up active duty or reserve personnel who might otherwise be obliged to do more of it themselves. This does include Aux personnel certifying to inspect commercial vessels and many intense, rigorous, non-operational and administrative missions.

    The next level above that is operational duty under orders. About 1/4 to 1/2 of Aux qualify to be assigned to operational duty under orders. These duties are usually low and occasionally medium risk missions wherein the Aux personnel are in uniform on patrols or participating in an operation or event as proximate Coast Guard ‘presence’ where safety or security needs to be promoted or enhanced. Patrols may involve verifying aids to navigation, ice survey, environmental protection or whatever the order issuing authority deems appropriate. When necessary that may mean Aux personnel on Aux boats or aircraft taking active duty personnel aboard to accomplish any authorized mission.

    The next step up from that is “direct augmentation to active duty” which is certifying to fill or contingency stand by assist active duty billet. This means serving as crew for active duty vessels or aircraft, performing official active duty roles and pretty much anything command wants you to do. This does not change your service status. You continue to be an auxiliary member but you also are regarded as on duty. The legal president is similar to when a NOAA officer serves with the Coast Guard for a particular duty or mission. Official documents refer to Aux augmenting the active duty as unpaid civilian Coast Guard employees assigned to duty in uniform. There are legal aspects to this which are not as clear as one might hope but essentially, if you offer yourself for direct augmentation AND you are accepted AND you qualify to the active duty standard AND everything else goes well you’ll serve in uniform alongside other men and women in blue and green and brown and black as one of the team.

    As to direct augmentation, less than 1% of Coast Guard Auxiliary personnel attain that status. Just because an Aux wants to become a loadmaster on a C-130J doesn’t mean the command will accept that Aux or that the Aux can complete the PQS, including physical standards. There has to be a need, command must authorize everything and the Aux must completely measure up. On top of that anyone in the chain of command or leadership can object at any time and that’s the end of it. Every day is proving yourself worthy.

    When I passed the PQSs for duty on the 41 foot UTB and other boats and as watchstander as a forty something and the Senior Chiefs at those stations certified me for duty I was proud because it was hard and because I had earned the right to be regarded as one of the crew. As I still fly missions in the Chesapeake region and still meet with Congressmen and Senators representing the Academy I know that it’s been an honor to have been allowed to do so.
    flatfourUser is Offline
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    flatfour

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    23 Dec 2019 07:09 AM
    @VicNaz1: Man.....I'm so sorry for your loss. May you and your family find closure. 

    Thank you for chiming in. I'm a really new member. I just received my member number, completed all the required core training, FEMA, and anything I can get my hands on. I'm still in AP status and it seems like "your mileage may vary" for many waiting for BQ status. I understand the the hurry up and wait as I work FD on the side so been there and get it. I feel the current issue I'm running into is the Flotilla seems to concentrate on jobs like boat crew, cooks, and FSO roles. I do respect those roles but when I inquire about a path for Aux members or something that I'm interested in IE: Aircrew or Cyber I can't seem to obtain direct answers. Given, it could be a situation of a program that isn't available or nobody really inquired about it before. Your explanation helps but I also wish there was a direct cut and dry path of XYZ needs to happen rather than asking multiple hats that does not have the information I'm looking for.

    Happy Holidays Everyone!
    Old Guard2User is Offline
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    23 Dec 2019 08:36 AM
    Vic, I am so very sorry for your family's loss. I cannot imagine what you are all going through.
    Sector NY, Staten Island
    VicNaz1User is Offline
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    VicNaz1

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    24 Dec 2019 06:56 AM
    It sounds like you are doing the right thing. One issue that might not be obvious. The Aux. has a wide variety of jobs supporting the Coast Guard and much of that duty has unforeseen benefits. One such that I experienced was working with one of our less physically able members on Program Visitor duties wherein the Aux distribute boating and water safety literature and resources at stores, marinas, boat ramps, etc. Its not anywhere near as exciting or cool as flying tight orbits of a dismasted sailboat at 500 feet or pulling a disoriented sailor out of the 35 degree Chesapeake bay but the connection lead to other things. That Aux helped me get more involved in supporting command operations for special events. That lead to me qualifying for some genuinely interesting, high-profile, important duty supporting some elite teams in ‘unusual’ circumstances. I’ve earned 2 Special Ops and 2 Meritorious Team Commendations, active duty awards, as a result.

    As such, the moral of the story is, keep pushing for your goals but be open to unexpected possibilities with tasks and duties that you might not otherwise be interested in. You never know what you’ll learn pulling duty on radios or serving as a staff officer supporting publications, etc. The work needs doing after all and cool stuff can sometimes fall in your lap.

    Meanwhile, also meet everyone you can. Make a point of learning names and listening for details on a need or task. The Aux is significantly less rigid in the way information is disseminated and discussed. You must catch information from a variety of sources and react on your own initiative (while always advising your Flotilla Commander or mentor or training officer). I only got certified for active duty boats because another new member mentioned it offhand while talking about something else at a flotilla meeting. I actually showed up to the initial ‘shakedown’ assessment of Aux to see if they could qualify somewhat unprepared. I thought it would be a lecture on what was expected and introduction to the PQS. I got that but I also had to do the pushups, sit-ups, stretch & reach and I ran 1.5 miles in my boots.
    PriorQMUser is Offline
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    PriorQM

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    07 Jan 2020 02:57 PM
    If these responses from Vic don't get you pumped to be an Aux then you didn't read it correctly. That is an awesome breakdown of what is possible, thank you Vic!
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