Many amateur radio operators are willing to assist when emergency ham radio communications are needed but few of these seem to realize that they can be a part of another group that assists the public by volunteering their time not only when there is a major disasters but also help during local distress and other mishaps that are not yet distress. The group I am speaking of is the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary.
What Is The Coast Guard Auxiliary?
The CG Auxiliary is a uniformed volunteer arm of the US Coast Guard (“USCG”). It was established on June 23, 1939 and was called the United States Coast Guard Reserve. Because the Coast Guard had members in the Military Reserve program there was a need to change the name so February 19, 1941 CG Reserve became USCG Auxiliary (USCG
Aux). Members of the CG Aux are authorized to support the USCG in all missions other than those which involve direct engagement in law enforcement or military combat operations.
The Coast Guard is part of the U.S. Military Forces but it is not under the Department of Defense from 1967 to 2002 the Coast Guard was under The Department of Transportation then February 25, 2002 the Coast Guard was places under the Department of Homeland Security. The USCG reports directly to the Secretary of Homeland Security. This places the USCG Aux also under the Department of Homeland Security and assisting to protect our boarders against terrorists.
What Does The Coast Guard Auxiliary Do Anyway?
To answer that question I am going to refer you to an excellent post by Rande Wilson on “COAST GUARD Auxiliary Live” the Official Blog of the U.S, Coast Guard Auxiliary found at http://live.cgaux.org/?p=707 . [Click Here To Read The Article].
What Can A Ham Radio Operator Do?
Communications is a key factor in any operation is communication and ham radio operators are communicators. A new protocol needs to be learned to use the radio when working with the Coast Guard but that is not difficult.
To learn more see the article by Wayne Spivak — KC2NJV posted on eHAM.net titled “The USCG Auxiliary is Looking for Amateur Radio Operators”. http://www.eham.net/articles/9598#comments [Click Here to Read The Article]
How to Join the Coast Guard Auxiliary
To join the USCG Aux you must be at least 17 years of age and a United States citizen.
If you can find where and when the closest Flotilla to you meets you can attend a meeting and they will help you.
If you have difficulties finding information on your local Flotilla contact the Coast Guard District Office. They will be able to assist you.