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NavEx2018_Q2 Flipbook PDF

Navigator Express 2018_Q2




NAVIGATOR express Last crew member recounts events from “The Finest Hours” History of how the U.S. Coast Guard’s Racing Stripe started

See some of the Auxiliary’s unique buildings from around the country p. 16

Why do people serve? What motivates someone to join the U.S. Coast Guard and its Auxiliary? These are simple questions with any number of complex answers that often defy explanation.

Your Fine

Bringing The L

Story by H W. Smith

Occasionally there are concrete examples of what happens when the abstract desire to serve becomes heroically real. It is in those stories that the bedrock Coast Guard values of, “Honor, Respect and Devotion to Duty,” shine brightest. It is in the legendary actions of Coast Guard heroes that answers to the question of service before self can be found, particularly when times get tough. One legendary example of that rock-solid foundation can be found in what is regarded as the greatest small boat rescue in Coast Guard history. The rescue of crewmembers of the twin World War II era Type T2SE-A1 tankers, the SS Fort Mercer and SS Pendleton has been detailed in the book The Finest Hours by Michael J. Tougias and Casey Sherman. That book created the framework of last year’s Disney Studios film by the same name. This series of articles will examine those values through the lens of this particular event in Coast Guard history using the premise that its example, like much of the Coast Guard’s history, can offer a guide to the motivations of Coast Guard active duty and Auxiliary members alike.

27 A Legendary Story Made Real

What transpired that frigid night off the Cape Cod coast was at the core of the film and faithfully retold on the screen in vivid detail. The focus of the film was placed on the actions of the four crewmembers of the motor lifeboat CG36500 and the 32 sailors they saved. For those connected with the Coast Guard and its Auxiliary there are larger questions to be considered. The question of why Coxswain Bernard C. Webber, Engineman Second Class Andrew Fitzgerald, Seaman Richard Levesey and Seaman Ervin Maske were willing to face nearly insurmountable odds is one that connects with the Coast Guard’s core values in real and tangible ways.


USCG Photo

On February 18, 1952 during a full-scale ‘Nor’easter’ gale with snow an surviving crew members were rescued, with only one being lost at sea

In 1952 the unofficial motto of the Coast Guard still was “You have to go out but you don’t have to come back”. The Regulations of the Life-Saving Service of 1899, Article VI “Action at Wrecks,” section 252, page 58, stated: “In attempting a rescue the keeper will


est Hours

Legend To Life

h, with Patrick Hickey

one, and he will not desist from his efforts until by actual trial the impossibility of effecting a rescue is demonstrated. The statement of the keeper that he did not try to use the boat because the sea or surf was too heavy will not be accepted unless attempts to launch it were actually made and failed, or unless the conformation of the coast--as bluffs, precipitous banks, etc.--is such as to unquestionably preclude the use of a boat.” This language was again found in the Instructions for United States Coast Guard Stations, 1934 edition, Paragraph 28, page 4. These were not words of simple rhetoric, but words to live by. CBM Clarence P. Brady, USCG (Ret.), in the March 1954 issue (page 2) of the Coast Guard Magazine, related the story of Keeper Patrick Etheridge making the statement for the first time: “A ship was stranded off Cape Hatteras on the Diamond Shoals and one of the life saving crew reported the fact that this ship had run ashore on the dangerous shoals. The old skipper gave the command to man the lifeboat and one of the men shouted out that we might make it out to the wreck but we would never make it back. The old skipper looked around and said, ‘The Blue Book says we’ve got to go out and it doesn’t say a damn thing about having to come back.’” Patrick Etheridge was not exaggerating, nor were the Coast Guardsmen of the station in Chatham, Massachusetts on 18 February, 1952. Four men, all under age 25, took their creed to heart to respond in time of need and rescue 32 survivors of the sinking SS Pendleton in the midst of a hurricane force storm.

nd high seas, the T/V Pendleton split in half off Cape Cod. 32 of the 33 a, thanks to the heroic efforts of four brave coastguardsmen.

select either the boat, breeches buoy, or life car, as in his judgment is best suited to effectively cope with the existing conditions. If the device first selected fails after such trial as satisfies him that no further attempt with it is feasible, he will resort to one of the others, and if that fails, then to the remaining

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Of the four original crew members: Petty Officer 1st Class Bernard Webber, the boat’s commander, Fitzgerald, a petty officer 2nd class and the boat’s engineman, and two seamen, Richard Livesey and Ervin Maske, only Fitzgerald survives. While the old motto of “You have to go out, but you don’t have to come back,” was still a part of the Coast Guard ethic in 1952 there had to be other reasons why those men were willing to brave 70-foot waves,

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Your Finest Hours

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Andrew Fitzgerald and his shipmates departed from Chatham Lifeboat Station (today known as Chatham Coast Guard Station).

hurricane force winds and frigid temperatures, all in an effort to save mariners in peril. For some of those answers the chance to talk with the one surviving Coast Guard crewman who was there that night, Andy Fitzgerald, was a priceless opportunity.

A Colorado Coastie

What follows is an account by Eighth District, Western Rivers, Division One, PA-1 Patrick Hickey of his encounters with Fitzgerald. Mr. Fitzgerald’s comments have been edited for clarity. It was a crisp winter evening in Colorado when Hickey met Andy Fitzgerald for the first time. Unbeknownst to Hickey, both he and Fitzgerald were attending the Colorado All Service Academy ball at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The annual event is held in honor of service academy cadets that were home for the holiday. Among the families and friends representing the Coast Guard Academy, Hickey was surprised to learn the story of “The Finest Hours” and astonished to learn that he was sitting in the company of one of the four crewmembers who took part in the rescue. The entire audience at the ball was enthralled as the details of this rescue were recounted, and gratefully rose to acknowledge Fitzgerald, who is 85 years old.


Hickey listened intently as Fitzgerald responded to questions regarding the events of that evening off the Cape Cod coast on February 18, 1952. That chance meeting led to further opportunities to interact personally with Fitzgerald. Hickey was asked to interview him specifically for this article. Although the details have been recounted in many venues, Hickey offered his personal gratitude for Fitzgerald’s service to his country. That night, 65 years ago, four men, all under age 25, took their creed to heart and responded in time of need, rescuing 32 survivors of the sinking SS Pendleton, in the midst of a raging storm. As the last surviving member of that crew, Fitzgerald’s legacy is strengthened as the story lives on. It provides a tangible example of the spirit of the Coast Guard and by extension the Coast Guard Auxiliary. What follows are some of Fitzgerald’s memories of the rescue as were related during an interview conducted by Chief Petty Officer Stanley Ritter (SR), Master Chief Petty Officer Jack Hunter, USCG (Ret) (JH) and Auxiliarist and Hickey (PH). Fitzgerald’s comments have been edited for clarity and are a part of a longer interview that has been preserved. (Ed.) The interview was conducted on March 17, 2016 at the Coast Guard recruiting office in Denver, Colorado.


Fitzgerald, born on March 19, 1931, did his best to remember that night 65 years ago when he, and his shipmates, made history.


Fitzgerald’s Story SR Were are you originally from Andy?


AF From Massachusetts, I was born in Brockton, Massachusetts, me and Rocky Marciano. SR Why did you join the Coast Guard? AF Why did I join? I guess I just wanted a little bit of excitement. JH You told us in the past you didn’t want to carry a rifle… AF You know what? I would have a really hard time taking a rifle and shooting at somebody. SR And the draft was going on …

Bret Fendt Editor Roger Bazeley Assistant Editor H William Smith Assistant Editor Zacary E. Wilson Assistant Editor Curtis Pratt Layout Editor Review Team Brian Harte Mary Patton


AF So I thought about it and I said… well, the Coast Guard’s training to save people, and the other services are all trained to kill people. So that’s why I went in the Coast Guard… SR What units were you at…or stationed at? Where was your first station? AF I know I went to … it was on Cape Cod…it was at Chatham, I was at Chatham. I was at that station about three years…I was an Engineman 2nd. JH When you came out of Engineman School, did you go to Chatham? Was that your first station? AF That was my first place… at Chatham. We did go out. I ended up with a gold lifesaving medal. Because I went out one night. One day, one night, on a thirty six foot lifeboat… SR Do you remember much about the rescue that night? The kind of safety gear you guys had on? AF We had a life jacket. I think I had to take it off before I jumped in the

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Elizabeth Burgess “U.S. Coast Guard Fan” Robert Carlson District One Southern Joseph Giannattasio District Five Northern Patrick Hickey District Eight Western Rivers Sondra-Kay Keen USCG

NATIONAL STAFF Richard F. Mihalcik Director of Public Affairs Thea Narkiewicz Deputy Director, Publications Thomas Ceniglio Deputy Director, Support Robert Miller, M.D. Division Chief, Publications © Copyright 2017 Coast Guard Auxiliary Association, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Your Finest Hours

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water. I checked the temperature of the water. I forget who told me… it was 32 degrees. I thought there’d be a couple of guys on this tanker … split in half … and as we are pulling out… I am in that little cockpit on that (CG)36500… and I look up and there is a whole line of people there. I said…how in the hell are we going to get up there and get them off? SR How long did it take you to find the tanker? AF I think it was only...we were about four or five miles maybe an hour or something like that. SR What kind of electronics did you guys have on the boat? Did you just get lucky finding them? AF Very little… JH Did you tell them about the compass…on your way out…do you remember that? AF Oh yeah. A big wave came just as we hit the sand bar…it was very dangerous…. But when we hit the bar…nobody liked the bar. But we had to go over the sand bar when we left our station. It was about five miles out I think, or something like that. When we hit it, a wave come up and lifted me up about three or four feet and then right back down. The way I got on a boat was originally about noontime that day. I was at the station, and I was trying to figure out how I could get on a boat. I really wanted to go out on a rescue… SR The first rescue you were on was that one?

Fitzgerald Gets His Chance

Fitzgerald continued his story: Well I went out on a couple where we would rescue people off sandbars. Earlier that day…around noon-time… Melvin (we called him Gus) Gouthro came in and he was a level ahead of me as an engineman. And so he would get any job that came…while there were other guys that were a little higher than him, but I hardly ever got to go,


except taking people off sand bars. So, Mel Gouthro comes to me and says … I don’t feel good at all. I said: well, there is a bed back there, why don’t you go back there and sleep? And he would have been the next guy to go on any kind of a boat. Two guys went out earlier because it was a bad storm, it was like 72 mph winds…and the waves, where we had the boat, and all that stuff, were like 45 to 60 feet high. Being a dummy, I really wanted to be on that boat, Fitzgerald said. So he went to bed in the station (Chatham), where I was then. About 5:00 in the afternoon, Bernie Webber gets a call from the guy that was in charge of the station. He goes in there, an Admiral or a Captain calls him and says: We want you to go out to that …two tankers have split in of them split out way away from us…they sent out two cutters to go to them, (the SS Fort Mercer). Another tanker split in half about five or six miles away from us, from our station (the SS Pendleton). So Bernie gets called into the office, the guy says, we’ve been called and told to go out to that tanker that’s only five miles from us. Go take the 36500 (sic), (a 36 foot Motor Life Boat, with a capacity of 12 to 15 people. Ed). Fitzgerald continued: So we figure there is only a few people at the tanker. Bernie comes to me and he says: Where’s Gus? Because he wasn’t going to take me…I was a Third Class Engineman.
I says: Why, what do you want Gus for? And he (Webber) says: Well, I’ve been told to go out and get the 36 footer, 36500, and go out to the tanker and see if we can take anybody off of there, because they had been calling, saying they had problems. They are split in half... 
So, what do you want Gus for? (Fitzgerald asked) I want him to go with me, Webber said.
I’m thinking…here is my chance. I said: Well Gus is back there sick. 
I am going to go get him, Webber said. 
You can’t do that, I won’t let you do that, Fitzgerald remembers saying. Well, what am I going to do then, asked Webber? I says: I will go on the boat with you...

End of Part 1

Please join us next issue for the conclusion of:

Your Finest Hours


Johnson Takes the Helm The Coast Guard Auxiliary Welcomes its new Chief Director Biography: CAPTAIN SCOTT L. JOHNSON, Chief, Auxiliary and Boating Safety Captain Johnson is the Chief of the Coast Guard Office of Auxiliary and Boating Safety where he serves as the Chief Director of the Coast Guard Auxiliary as well as the National Coordinator for the National Recreational Boating Safety Program.

USCG Photo

His previous assignment was a Division Chief in the Coast Guard’s Office of Design and Engineering Standards where he led the development of U.S. national maritime safety and environmental protection regulations and policies for complex shipping, oil and gas projects. In his tenure, Commander Johnson produced standards for dynamic positions systems, safety management systems and portable accommodation systems, as well as numerous novel ship designs. In 2010, Captain Johnson was assigned to Sector Anchorage in Alaska as the Chief of Prevention. In this role, he was responsible for all Marine Safety, Waterways Management, and Port Security missions in Western Alaska. While assigned to Sector Anchorage Captain Johnson oversaw Arctic oil drilling operations, served as Deputy Federal Onscene Coordinator for a major Incident Command System response when the Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit KULLUK grounded, and served as On-scene Commander for Operation Nome Energy Support winter delivery of fuel to Nome, Alaska. In 2006, Captain Johnson was assigned to the Coast Guard Marine Safety Center in Washington D.C. as the Division Chief of the Tank Vessel and Offshore Division. In this capacity, he supervised a staff of naval architects and engineers performing technical plan review of tank vessels, offshore supply vessels, mobile offshore drilling units and oil production facilities. He oversaw the technical review of numerous novel vessel designs, including the United States’ first Floating Production Storage and Offload System, an innovative oil production ship.

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Previous assignments include serving as Executive Officer of Marine Safety Unit Baton Rouge, as a marine inspector and investigating officer at Marine Safety Office New Orleans, and as an engineering officer aboard Coast Guard Cutter ALERT. Captain Johnson is a 1994 graduate of Norwich University where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. He also graduated from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA in 2006 with a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering. Captain Johnson is a native of Covington, Louisiana. He and his wife Tamara live in Stafford, Virginia with their five children: Madison, Nolan, Benjamin, Teagan and Callahan.


“The USCG Diversity strategic Plan challenges Coast Guard men and women, active duty, reserve, civilian (and the USCG Auxiliary), to join in changing the culture of our service which better reflects the diverse fabric of American society and promotes retention.


Story and all photo

Diversity embraces the understanding that each individ formed by the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, se abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideo

Our record of mission excellence, combined with a strong legacy of superior service, has resulted


in the Coast Guard achieving unprecedented

1. Assure a Diverse Workforce (and Auxiliary Volunteer Membership) Through All-Hands Commitment with Leadership Accountability

relevance in the minds of the American people. To ensure that we sustain excellence while preparing for the future, it is imperative that we continue to progress toward the strategic goal of attracting and retaining a workforce (and Auxiliary Volunteer Organization) that is reflective of our nation’s diverse composition. Our people are our greatest strength and we must capitalize on that fact by establishing an inclusive environment that respects and values the perspectives of diverse individuals, enculturating those influences, and combining them with our proven core values to build our future workforce. In this way, we can achieve our goal of organizational excellence and continue to be the nation’s lead maritime first response agency.” Admiral R.J. Papp, 24th Commandant USCG Ret.


2. Fully Utilize Communication and Focus Groups To Improve the Workforce (and Auxiliary Membership) Cultural Climate 3. Expand outreach to Achieve Access opportunity For Underrepresented Populations 4. Ensure equitable Hiring, Career, and Volunteer opportunitiesffor All employees 5. Optimize training and education to enhance Diversity Management and Leadership skill sets. MISSION: the role of the Coast Guard is critical to national security. Its mission is to protect the public, the environment, and America’s economic interests in the nation’s ports and waterways. The Coast Guard values diversity, teamwork, and responsiveness. Our mission in valuing diversity is to build a positive and respectful work environment for all personnel; regardless of their similarities or differences, to enhance our mission capabilities.



os by Roger Bazeley

dual is unique by recognizing our individual differences exual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical ologies. VISION: the Coast Guard will be recognized as the “service of Choice” in the federal government for recruiting, retaining and sustaining a ready, diverse and highly-skilled total Workforce. We will foster an environment in which every individual has the opportunity to prosper and contribute to Coast Guard missions. VALUES: HONOR, RESPECT, and DEVOTION TO DUTY-- the Coast Guard Core Values embody the very nature of selfless service achieved through the contributions of each individual. Leadership Accountability Goals and Performance objectives Develop methods to ensure leader accountability for implementing diversity initiatives and programs. Implement a communication and engagement strategy to keep members informed, gain involvement, and develop ownership to successfully address diversity management training, issues, and concerns. Utilize leaders at all levels throughout the Coast Guard/Auxiliary as force multipliers in promoting the importance of diversity in organizational climate.

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1. Fully Utilize Communication and Focus Groups to Improve the Workforce Cultural Climate 2. Capitalize on the use of social media to communicate the importance of diversity and to broadcast outcomes. 3. Expand outreach to Achieve Access opportunity for Under-represented Populations including those with Disabilities Strengthen our partnerships with the public and private sector as a force-multiplier for the Coast Guard. As we capitalize on agency relationships to achieve results, we will expand our coordinated efforts with external stakeholders through outreach activities. It is through these activities that we will spread awareness of Coast Guard opportunities and reach as many people as possible from diverse backgrounds and cultures Outreach and Marketing Goals and Performance objectives The Coast Guard must be in the field reaching as many people as possible from diverse backgrounds and cultures to increase awareness of all of our opportunities. We must also engage leaders within the community, government, academia, and industry in order to leverage their influence. Ensure equitable Hiring, Career and Volunteer opportunity for all Members With an over-the- horizon focus, we must prepare for the future by providing the keys to success to all members of the organization through timely

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career counseling, professional development, and mentoring in order to retain a highly skilled and diverse workforce. Provide equitable opportunities based on performance so every member has the potential to compete, ensuring promotion and advancement. Implement mentoring introduction modules into leadership trainings of all members. Provide every member the resources necessary to reach their full potential. Optimize training and education to enhance Diversity Management and Leadership Skill-sets We must ensure members at all levels are provided the tools to enhance their diversity management and leadership skill sets by educating the entire organization on the benefits of inclusion, equity and respect for all personnel, their talents, experiences and abilities. Train and educate leaders at all levels in the organization on how to lead a diverse workforce. Educate all members (active duty, reserve, civilian, and Auxiliary) on the benefits of a diverse workforce. SUMMARY: Diversity Management is critical to the Coast Guard’s future. The Coast Guard recognizes that improving workforce diversity is not only a business imperative, but also a moral obligation. The service remains committed to building and sustaining an organizational climate that embraces the potential and contributions of all employees by promoting inclusion, equity, and respect. Team Coast Guard Leadership Commitment Our commitment to diversity begins at the top and permeates the entire organization. We are committed


to ensuring that the Coast Guard is a national leader in hiring and retaining a diverse workforce. Our strategy is focused on building a diverse and proficient workforce that enables and sustains Coast Guard mission success. Key features include senior leadership commitment, performance and mission focus, and accountability

THE U.S. COAST GUARDS VISION FOR DIVERSITY & INCLUSION PLAN 2015-2018 UPDATED – Admiral Paul F. Zukunft, Commandant USCG “I am committed to improving diversity within the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard’s strength resides in its people and the different perspectives, talents and abilities they bring to the Service. We gain much from the ideas and viewpoints of a workforce that reflects the richness of American society. Recruiting drives the composition of our workforce but we must do more than just recruit effectively. Retention of a high performing, diverse workforce is paramount to secure our mission success. We must respect those who serve with us. We must leverage diversity and we must be inclusive in order to achieve the highest level of mission excellence. We will create and sustain a climate where people of different backgrounds are included, valued and respected. We will capitalize on the differences that each brings. A diverse workforce stimulates innovation, new approaches, and fresh perspectives to solve complex organizational challenges. Our


Service benefits greatly when we incorporate diversity at all levels of the workforce: active duty, Reserve, civilian, and Auxiliary. Diversity ultimately enables us to better perform our challenging maritime missions. Instilling a diversity-inclusion mindset is a process deeply connected to organizational strategies and every Coast Guard member’s personal growth and development. Building a collaborative work environment for all employees is vital, particularly in today’s resource climate when organizations are compelled to operate with less money, fewer people, and expanding missions. Our people are our most important investment, and they deserve an organization that serves to engage and retain a best qualified and inclusively diverse workforce. Only then, can the Coast Guard address the globally complex mission support and response challenges of the 21st century.”

NACO USCG STRATEGIC DIVERSITY PLAN NACO Policy: USCG Auxiliary Diversity & Inclusion Plan Implementation It is the policy of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary to ensure that all citizens, regardless of race, gender, color, national origin, sexual orientation, age, religion, or physical or mental disability have an equal opportunity to become a member of this organization. People from a wide variety of backgrounds and interests are welcome and encouraged to join the

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Auxiliary to work side by side with us as we serve the boating public. The fundamental action imperative of diversity is to create an environment, which fosters an appreciation of the values, skills, and abilities of each individual member. Members are responsible to each other for promoting an inclusive atmosphere of acceptance and respect, for demonstrating a commitment to fair and equal opportunity, and for moving beyond simple tolerance to embracing and celebrating our different backgrounds. We are committed to enjoying a diverse and inclusive membership. We all understand that diversity is not a problem to be solved, but that it is an asset to be developed. Very Respectfully

Richard Washburn National Commodore

“Moving Beyond Simple Tolerance” Promoting an inclusive atmosphere of acceptance and respect and creating an environment, which fosters an appreciation of the values, skills, and abilities of each individual member. - From the USCG Auxiliary Diversity Directorate



The Birth of the U.S. Coast Guard

RACING STRIPE Story by Bob Carlson

It was October 19, 1956. The USCG Cutter Pontchartrain received a distress call from a passenger aircraft en route from Hawaii to California. The Pan American Clipper had lost an engine and was about to lose another one. The aircraft could not make land. The Pontchartrain was on ocean station1 and had the time to respond with a two-mile long frosting of foam on the water. The plane made a water ditch, and within minutes, two of Pontchartrain’s small boats were at the rescue site. All of the passengers were rescued. It is believed that once safely on board, one of the survivors exclaimed, “thank goodness for the Navy.” This situation, as well as many others, proved that the general public did not recognize the Coast Guard. Imagery was very important in 1961 to newly-elected President John F. Kennedy. He began to remake the image of the president, beginning with redecorating the White House interior and Lafayette Square. President Kennedy called on a famous industrial designer, Raymond Loewy to redesign Air Force


One. This successful redesign led to discussions to improve the visual image of the federal government. In May 1963, President Kennedy recommended the Coast Guard be the first to get an imagery overhaul called the Integrated Visual Identification Program. The design firm of Raymond Loewy/William Snaith, Inc. was contracted to develop an identification



Eventually all assets in the Coast Guard adopted the new symbol. By 1975 the Coast Guards’ training ship, Eagle remained the last service asset without the racing stripe logo. The nation was preparing for a bicentennial celebration and Eagle was to serve as the host ship of OpSail76. The Coast Guard leadership saw an opportunity to present the racing stripe logo, distinguishing Eagle from all the other tall ships. i


device. The result was the color bar concept, known as the diagonal racing stripe logo. This new design was tested on cutters and facilities at the Coast Guards’ Seventh District in Florida. Cutters, buoy tenders, vehicles and buildings at Base Miami all tested the new “racing stripe” logo. Helicopters and fixed-wing aircrafts were also included in the test at North Carolina’s Air Station Elizabeth City. With successful tests and a few modifications to the logo and type-font, on 6 April 1967, Commandant Edwin Roland issued Instruction 5030.5 which ordered service-wide implementation of the Visual Identification System. The racing stripe logo became official and was added to all Coast Guard vehicles, buildings, stationary, signage, stations, cutters, boats and aircraft.

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The racing stripe concept continues to be adopted in various colors by nations throughout the world. The red racing stripe logo appears on all Coast Guard assets. You can see the stripe in different color configurations on white, black, silver, gray or red hulls of boats, ships, and aircraft. The stripe is also on buildings, signage, and printed materials. Today, the racing stripe emblem is instantly identified as belonging to the United States Coast Guard. ii 1 Ocean

Station refers to cutters stationed at sea.



William H. Thiesen, PhD, “The History of the “Racing Stripe” Emblem and Brand Part I: The United States Coast Guard,” Sea History 139, pdf, (Summer 2012). ii Christian

Ostersehlte, PhD, “The History of the “Racing Stripe” Emblem and Brand Identity for World Sea Services and Coast Guards Part II: The Rest of the World,” Sea History 139, https://, (Summer 2012).


References and further readings: Beard, Tom. The Coast GuardFoundation for Coast Guard History. Foundation for Coast Guard History Universe, 2010. Ostrom, Thomas P. USCG 1790 to the Present. Red Anvil Press, 2006. Thiesen, William H. PhD. “The History of the “Racing Stripe” Emblem and Brand Part 1: The United States Coast Guard” Sea History 139, Summer 2012


Vessel Sa


Coast Guard Auxiliary collection at the Joyner Library, East Carolina University, USCG Aux



afety Check Program

th ANNIVERSARY Story by Joseph Giannattasio

This year marks the 70th anniversary of what would become a key cornerstone of the contemporary Coast Guard Auxiliary - Vessel Examinations. Now known as the Vessel Safety Check Program, in 1947 the Courtesy Motorboat Examination (CME) program was originated and quickly became one of the Auxiliary’s paramount missions. The Vessel Safety Check Program (VSCP) is responsive to the safety needs of the recreational boating community and helps boaters achieve voluntary compliance with federal and state recreational boating safety laws. The Coast Guard established safety standards and regulations, and assigned authority to the Auxiliary to train and qualify members as examiners. As a result of being a component of the Coast Guard, it is not uncommon for the public to look upon the Auxiliary as experts in this field. Appropriately, Auxiliary Vessel Examiners have the opportunity and responsibility to share knowledge with boaters about the benefits of having the correct safety equipment onboard their vessels. In 2016 the Auxiliary performed 117,798 Vessel Safety Checks and issued 94,253 VSCP decals nationwide.

Joseph Giannattasio, USCG Aux

Joseph Giannattasio, USCG Aux

PREVIOUS PAGE: A vessel examiner holds up the 1966 Auxiliary Decal. ABOVE LEFT: Auxiliary Vessel Examiner James Brady (5NR) checks a boat owner’s personal flotation device during a Vessel Check at a local marina. ABOVE RIGHT: Vessels passing safety checks are awarded a U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Decal that informs boating law-enforcement & safety agency’s that the boat was in full compliance with all Federal and State boating laws during a safety check for that year.

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UNIQUE AUXILIARY BUILDINGS Story by Joseph Giannattasio Photos by Joseph Giannattasio and individual Auxiliary units


Coast Guard Auxiliary flotilla and division meetings do not require anything more than a room, chairs, tables and a decent cup of coffee. Yet, set amidst towns, cities and communities throughout the United States and its territories are assorted Auxiliary unit buildings that merit more. Unique settings that sets a mood, cultivates tradition, inspires heritage or just seems to fit the personality or spirit of the locale. Featured are some remarkable Auxiliary headquarters that provide an inspiring backdrop to any meeting or event.


One of the Coast Guard Auxiliary’s most enduring hallmarks is its versatility. And these diverse quarters are a testament to Auxiliary adaptability.

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Editor’s Note: Does your Flotilla or Division have a unique Auxiliary Headquarters with an interesting history? Let us help share it. Just send 1-2 good photos of the building with an informative caption to [email protected] and we’ll feature it on the Photo of the Week website and various Auxiliary publications and social media.





Affectionately referred to as “The Shack” by resident Auxiliary members, the headquarters of Flotilla 08-02 (D5NR) Cape May, NJ is a national treasure first utilized in 1890 by the U.S. Lighthouse Establishment as a Boathouse and Waiting Point for Lightship personnel. The building served as a Coast Guard Life Boat Station in 1939 when the Lighthouse Service was amalgamated with the Coast Guard. On September 1, 1947, the building was licensed to the Flotilla. The Flotilla is tasked with routine maintenance and upkeep of the property, the members receive great satisfaction showing honor, respect, and devotion to duty by protecting and maintaining an important piece of Coast Guard history.






The Reading Flotilla Training Base was donated to the local Auxiliary unit by the City of Reading, PA in 1953. The original building, which dates from the late 1700’s, was abandoned and in disrepair. Auxiliary volunteers rebuilt the structure and refitted all utilities. Materials were purchased by issuing debentures to the members. In the 1960s, an annex was added, again with member labor and donations. This annex added a new classroom and dining area to the back of the building. Today, the building serves as home to Division 21 (D5NR) and is used for meetings and fellowship, as well as public education and member training.

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6 With the combined effort of local Auxiliarist of Ft. Pierce, FL, USCG Station Fort Pierce, DIRAUX (D7) and USCG Sector Miami, in 1973 Flotilla 05-08 was granted use of the Old Boat House/Garage located on the west side of USCG Station Fort Pierce . Built in 1936, this 1600 square-foot building has required major upgrades over the years and remains an active testament to Coast Guard heritage.

7 In the mid 1950’s, Flotilla 11-03 (D7) in Madiera Beach, FL conducted Public Boating Education classes at private venues or city hall. The members took the initiative to raise funds to construct a building which was completed in 1957 and has served as wonderful quarters for Flotilla activities, educational classes, meetings, and fellowship ever since.








The familiar proverb, “Good things come in small packages.” exemplify the compact headquarters of Flotilla 11-06 (D7) New Port Richey, FL. Located on the bank overlooking Big Bayou, this quaint building serves as a communication building, classroom for boating safety classes, and meeting place for Auxiliarist to conduct business and enjoy spectacular sunsets over the Gulf of Mexico.


Unique Buildings


10 When the Alaska Railroad retired a fleet of cabooses, the city of Whittier, Alaska acquired one in 1990 and allowed the Auxiliary to use the caboose as the home for Flotilla 02-04 (D17). Area Auxiliarists renovated and painted it in Team Coast Guard colors and it soon became a Whittier icon. To local Auxiliarists, “The Caboose” is a focal point of Auxiliary activities. For the public, everyone notices its unique colors and is mindful of the Coast Guard’s presence.


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Officials Designate San Diego a

Coast Guard City strengthen that bond,” explained Kevin Faulconer, mayor of San Diego. “It’s all about partnerships. That’s what we’re proud of in San Diego: we work together. With this designation we now have the opportunity to shine a light on the hardworking men and women who have dedicated their lives to making a career and serving our country in the United States Coast Guard.”

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Kevin Faulconer, mayor of San Diego presents Adm. Paul Zukunft, commandant, U.S. Coast Guard with the key to the city of San Diego during a ceremony designating San Diego a Coast Guard city Feb. 23, 2017.

As the sun rises over San Diego, the usually busy helicopter ramp at Coast Guard Sector San Diego is abuzz with a palpably different excitement. Instead of Jayhawks preparing to launch, crews are busy preparing the area for an event that’s been more than a year in the making. On Feb. 23, 2017, the city of San Diego was officially designated as the 21st Coast Guard City in the nation during a ceremony at Sector San Diego. This designation also makes San Diego the largest Coast Guard City.

Since the opening of the first Point Loma Lighthouse in 1855, San Diego would have deep ties to the Coast Guard and the military. According to Faulconer, approximately one in seven people in San Diego have a connection to the military, including the Coast Guard. “San Diego’s deep roots with the military have established this city,” noted Jerry Sanders, president and chief executive officer of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. “They have also established our businesses and our communities.” In addition to the commerce generated by the military members who live in San Diego, the Coast Guard’s role in the region is particularly important as the commander of Sector San Diego also serves as captain of the port. “In San Diego our ports and our border are economic engines for our region and the Coast Guard helps us ensure that both run smoothly,” said Rep. Scott Peters, 52nd District of California.

“Make no mistake our partnership with this community has been an enduring one, and it will endure for centuries to come,” said Adm. Paul Zukunft, commandant, U.S. Coast Guard, during the ceremony. The Coast Guard’s mission inherently creates a need for understanding and the formation of a bond between the local units and the community. The designation bestowed by the commandant, with approval from Congress, signifies San Diego’s exceptional ability to build that bond. “We pursued this Coast Guard City designation to



H O N O R , R E S P E C T, D E VO T I O N T O D U T Y :

Auxiliarist Jeffrey Pielet Story by Petty Officer 1st Class Sondra-Kay Kneen

“Love what you’re doing. Show pride in your work and how you handle yourself. Always remember that others are watching and listening so lead by example. Even down to the simplest detail, someone will be watching, someone will be listening.” – Coast Guard Auxiliarist Jeffrey Pielet, commander of Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 12-04 in Marina Del Rey, California.

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Pielet joined the Coast Guard Auxiliary April 22, 1977, with his father, as a father-son activity. “It was a very different Coast Guard Auxiliary then,” said Pielet. “We weren’t as involved with the active duty side as we are today.” Since 1977, Pielet has witnessed the Auxiliary evolve and become an even more vital part of the active duty Coast Guard. Pielet has participated in different activities ranging from routine patrols on the water to creating a training and recertification program that assisted Coast Guard air stations Los Angeles, San Diego and Sacramento with hoist training and drop training. Pielet was also a coxswain during 9/11. He was assigned to command an operation patrol in the Port of Los Angeles-Long Beach. Pielet and his boatcrew patrolled the Los Angeles waters that day and for several months afterward while the country braced for another possible attack. “I still reflect to this day how our training, knowledge and experience kicked in,” said Pielet. “I took command and made the assignments just as I had practiced so many times on a patrol. It was a tension-filled night and on the outside, I lead as a leader should do, cool and focused, but honestly, inside it was the scariest night of my life! Still, we had a job to the do and the Coast Guard was depending on us to do it.” Though times have changed since joining nearly 40 years ago, Pielet’s spirit of leadership still continues to bring success to the Coast Guard Auxiliary. As flotilla commander, Pielet’s enthusiasm and leadership was instrumental in revamping a number of flotilla programs to attract and maintain members. He refocused the flotillas public education efforts,

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Auxiliarist Jeffrey Pielet, commander of Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 12-04, Marina Del Rey, California.

encouraged the flotilla to undertake shorter seminar classes, and led the flotilla in teaching courses that could be taught in a single day rather than over the course of several weeks. This process increased enrollment in the public education classes. Pielet also recruited nine new members by introducing them to the many programs the Auxiliary offers. He also promoted participation by coordinating a number of social events such as flotilla dinner meetings, summer BBQ’s, and a winter holiday party. In an effort to bring back inactive Auxiliary members, Pielet changed the meeting format to focus on member training by partnering with local flotillas to hold joint training sessions. This introduced an added energy by having more members and improved meeting attendance. He also gave those members who were unable to attend the option to attend via internet webinars. Pielet was requested in 2009 by the former commanding officer of then Air Station Los Angeles to develop a hoist program due to his previous Continued on Page 22


Jeffrey Pielet

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hoisting experience. Pielet helped form the highly successful Division 12 Boat Helicopter/Fixed-Wing Training Team. His suggestion that the crews of the former Coast Guard Air Station Los Angeles use the Auxiliary Operational Facilities to better simulate the type of civilian vessels that MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrews would encounter on rescue missions proved beneficial to rescue operations.

and bearing were consistently impeccable, are considered for nomination.

Additionally, Pielet also developed a training curriculum and qualification sign-off workbook that allowed select Auxiliary coxswains and boat crew to qualify and participate in underway hoist missions with crewmembers from air stations Los Angeles and San Diego and managed the program that resulted in 1,185 safe hoists with zero mishaps. He also managed 100 drop missions with Air Station Sacramento.

Pielet resides in Santa Clarita, California, but spends most of his time in the water near Marina del Rey. As an active member in the community, Pielet has organized a program that takes University of Sothern California medical students on the water to study and observe the effects of hypothermia first-hand in field conditions. He assisted with an inner city youth initiative by educating the California Center for Economic Initiatives Staff in boating safety and best risk management practices to ensure boat outings with children are safe and enjoyable.

“In some respects, I never imagined when I joined that I would get to experience so many different things in the Auxiliary and with the active-duty Coast Guard,” said Pielet. “I am honored to represent every Coast Guard Auxiliarist as the 2016 Commodore Charles S. Greanoff Inspirational Leadership Award recipient.”

Pielet recently received the 2016 Commodore Charles S. Greanoff Inspirational Leadership Award for his contributions to the Auxiliary. The award recognizes the most exemplary performance by a flotilla commander during the previous calendar year. Only those flotilla commanders who demonstrated sustained, exceptional standards of proficiency and conduct, and whose appearance


The Inspirational Leadership Awards are sponsored by the Coast Guard’s Office of Leadership and serve to recognize those Coast Guard men and women who demonstrate proficiency in leadership and best exemplify the Coast Guard’s core values of values of Honor, Respect, and Devotion to Duty.




“Understanding U.S. Coast Guard PhotoDiversity” PowerPoint Presentation 12 Handouts for Diversity Toolkit Auxiliary Strategic Plan for Managing Diversity


U.S. Coast Guard Office of Diversity (CG-12B) Diversity Highlights


COVER PHOTOS Front: U.S. Coast Guard fan, Elizabeth Burgess, shared this photo of Old Glory flying high & proud from the stern of USCG Barque EAGLE during Sail Boston. Back: Photo and artistic effect by Joseph Giannattasio



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A drinking fountain in the Coast Guard is called scuttlebutt. A scuttlebutt in old days was a cask that had openings in the side, fitted with a spigot. Sailors used to congregate at the scuttlebutt or cask of water, to gossip or report on day’s activities.*

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