Commodore 2018

Auxiliary National Leadership              Coast Guard Senior Leadership 

 COMO Richard Thomas
COMO Wally Smith


The Mission of District 11 North (D11N) directly reflects the Auxiliary’s mission as delineated in the National Strategic Plan:
  • To promote and improve Recreational Boating Safety
  • To provide a diverse array of specialized skills, trained crews, and capable facilities to augment the Coast Guard and enhance safety and security of our ports, waterways, and coastal regions
  • To support Coast Guard operational, administrative, and logistical requirements

            The "Watch Words" of D11N for 2017-2018 are:
✓ Excellence
✓ Energy
✓ Efficiency 

Bottom line ... strive for EXCELLENCE with ENERGY and EFFICIENCY.

These will be the foundation from which all operations, missions, and activities are executed. 


In any District Plan, both the Operational Plan of the Sector and the Strategic Plan of the Auxiliary National Commodore should be incorporated.  In researching the Sector San Francisco Operational Plan, it was determined that there is no current Operational Plan.  Such a plan was under development three years ago, however, the effort was abandoned when the officer heading the project transferred from the Sector.


      • Current operational status
      • Future operational planning
      • Contingency planning
      • Focus on “Mission” and “Vision”


      D11N supports the Coast Guard in a myriad of ways and, most importantly, supports the Auxiliary’s primary mission of RBS.  In 2016, D11N members recorded over 195,000 volunteer hours with the top five AUXDATA categories consisting of:

      ✓ Recreational Boating Safety
      ✓ Marine Patrols / Search & Rescue
      ✓ CG Operational Support
      ✓ Public Affairs
      ✓ Vessel Safety Checks

      All of the core missions outlined in the National Strategic Plan have been and will continue to be supported by D11N personnel.  Those core missions include   

  • Academy Introduction Mission
  • Administrative Support to the Coast Guard
  • Aids to Navigation 
  • America’s Waterway Watch Program (AWW)
  • Bridge Administration
  • Contingency Preparedness
  • Merchant Mariner Licensing
  • Operational Support to the Coast Guard (OPS)
  • Port Safety and Security
  • Public Affairs
  • Public Education
  • Recruiting
  • Search and Rescue
  • Training for Sea Cadets and Sea
  • Inspections of commercial vessels
  • Waterways Management

    The 2017 – 2018 Operational Plan is to continue, to expand upon, the high level of support of Coast Guard operations with an emphasis on member training to better fulfill the current missions and roles therein.  Additional training will be developed as mission needs evolve. Some of the areas that will be focused upon are:

  • Paddlesport Safety
  • Leadership Development
  • Interpreter Corps 
  • Auxiliary University Program
  • Enhance Public Education (See below)
  • Leadership Development is at the forefront of planned training.  To that end, all newly elected Flotilla Commanders are invited on reimbursable orders to attend the annual D11N Elected Officers Training each November.  This D11N-developed 8-Hr program is designed to provide a foundation for incoming FCs.  Furthermore, the Flotilla Leadership Course (Residential) is offered annually at the Fall PCA Fair.  We offer this because we believe it is far more effective than the on-line version.  Additionally, as it has in the past, D11N will continue to offer leadership C-Schools whenever possible to wit: AUXLAMS 2013, 2014, 2015 x 2, 2016; and AMLOC in 2016.

    D11N is fortunate to have a strong cadre of skilled and dedicated District Staff Officers.  Several have been in office for many years.  Those that continue to excel in their fields of expertise are invited to continue in their roles.  This is directly in line with the “leadership philosophy” of appointing the best people and letting them do their jobs.

    Public Education traditionally has been a foundation for success in the RBS field.  The State of California recently passed a bill that will go into effect next year that requires a “Vessel Operator Card” for all vessel operators.  While we believe that the State will accept our PE courses to satisfy the education requirement for licensing, the District is actively working to assure that this will be the case.  At the time of this writing, it is understood that NASBLA approved courses will be accepted but that is yet to be confirmed. 

    The two Sectors within D11N including all small boat and station units are undergoing a GAP Analysis to determine ‘needs’ that the Auxiliary can support.  The two primary needs that have emerged thus far are Food Service and Watchstanding.  Planning is underway that will increase the number of qualified members in these specialties to better support local unit needs.  As additional needs are recognized through GAP Analysis, every effort will be made to provide the requested support.


    Sector San Francisco is developing a comprehensive CONTINUITY OF OPERATIONS PLAN (COOP) - a.k.a. Disaster Planning - to maximize Sector operations assets and personnel when there is a sudden surge demand and additional resources are desirable, and/or when the usual Sector operations assets and personnel are not all available due to a local disaster (earthquake, tsunami, terrorist incident).  The D11N Auxiliary has been requested to augment the Sector in four primary missions.  “Workgroups” have been established in these specific areas:
  • Berthing
  • Emergency Transportation
  • Communications
  • Medical
  • The first order of business is to determine feasibility of executing the tasking of each mission group.  Below is an outline of requested tasking for each mission group.

  • Auxiliarists, primarily in the SF Bay Area, to provide emergency housing in their homes for Sector CG personnel for up to 72 hours

  • Vessel Transport
  • Provide Auxiliary operational facilities to transport Sector CG personnel in the event of a major disruption in public transportation and/or infrastructure

  • Communications
  • Provide communications support for VHF-FM and HF operability in the event that normal operating communications routing is disrupted.

  • Medical
  • Provide first responder support for CG personnel in the event of a local disaster
  • Planning is actively underway and expectations are high from Sector that significant progress will be made in a short amount of time.  There have been committee face-to-face meetings and webinars to review progress … the first meeting was held on 09 May 2016.  As the COOP evolves, the D11N Auxiliary stands ready to implement missions and support as requested.

    The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary – the best trained, most valued maritime volunteer organization in the world – highly effective during normal operations and ready for emergencies. 

    4.  SUMMARY 

    Throughout the Operational Planning process, the primary missions of the Auxiliary per the National Strategic Plan, as noted in Paragraph 1, will remain in the forefront.   


    "Surround yourself with great people; delegate authority; get out of the way."  Ronald Reagan

    "Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing."  Albert Schweitzer

    My leadership philosophy mirrors the quotes above … hire the best people and let them do their jobs!  Don’t try to micromanage … learn to delegate!  Lead by example!

                "Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm." Publilius Syrus 

    Strive for “fair winds & following seas” for all members.  There will be times when the seas are not calm and challenge loom, sometimes from the least anticipated direction.  Before “reacting”, an effective leader should gather the facts, seek input from trusted counsel, weigh the facts & input … all before rendering a decision.  A leader should continually demonstrate the maturity to not “overreact”.

    Recognize the accomplishments of others.  When someone in the organization does “good” … recognize them!  Be liberal with awards.  Recognition rewards the recipient and serves as a great motivational tool for others as well.  Keep in mind, anything can be accomplished as long as you don't care who gets the credit! 

    Leading an organization of volunteers is a great challenge!  ADM Zukunft said if you think you’re a good leader, try leading a group of volunteers!  I intend to keep my Watch Words in front of me and continue to rely on my Leadership Philosophy as my guide.  And always … Lead by example! 

    And remember... Nobody said it couldn’t be fun!

    Very respectfully,
    Wally Smith
    District Commodore - D11N  

    The COMMANDANT of the United States Coast Guard
    National Commodore's website
    With clear communications, we build strength