June 23, 2008 marks the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary’s sixty-ninth year of dedicated service to the nation. Over the past year the Auxiliary has provided over three million hours of direct support to the Coast Guard. Admiral Thad Allen, Commandant of the Coast Guard stated in his 69th Anniversary message to the entire Coast Guard family that “the overall contribution that Auxiliarist have given year after year is impressive, but the greatest measure of their impact is found in their spirit of patriotism and their steadfast commitment to the guardian ethos and the men and women of the Coast Guard with whom they serve. The Coast Guard Auxiliary is an extremely valuable asset to [the Coast Guard], the Department of Homeland Security, and our nation.”
Over the past few years the Auxiliary has significantly increased its capacity to support Active Duty Coast Guard units in several mission areas such as Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) and the America’s Waterway Watch program. Auxiliary members are teaching tens of thousands of America’s recreational boaters, and public and private stakeholders who live, work, and play on and around America’s waterfront, how to properly identify and report suspicious maritime activity for the benefit of our nation’s safety and security. Auxiliary members have been incorporated into the Coast Guard’s port, waterways and coastal security missions as well as providing administrative and logistical support at venues ranging from medical clinics to Coast Guard training center classrooms to foreign language interpreter services aboard deployed cutters.
Of course the Auxiliary continues to conduct its traditional recreational safety boating missions. Over the past year Auxiliarist provided the boating public over fifty thousand (50,000)hours of boating safety education courses and conducted over one-hundred thirty-thousand (130,000) vessel safety checks. These education courses and vessel safety checks directly contribute to the prevention of countless search and rescue cases and lives saved each year.