Flotilla History

The following article is from On-Watch Vol. 3 Issue 2, October 2010 (by which time the flotilla was renumbered 114-01-09) written by Lena and Jim Davis.

Division XVI was formed on February 11, 1978 at the Holiday Inn at the Embarcadero. It was a very formal occasion with many dignitaries in attendance. Nearly 200 new uniformed members were sworn into the auxiliary that night. How did we get that many uniforms together that quickly? We had a tailor come to San Diego. He measured and fitted every last person so that they would have a uniform on that special of special occasions. Fred C. Marsh II of Oceanside became the first Division Captain for Division 16. James DeNicholas of Coronado was made the Vice Division Captain. Both of these men were members of Flotilla 16-05. Seven Flotillas were formed, two in San Diego, two in Mission Bay, one each in Coronado, Escondido, and Oceanside. It was predicted that the Coronado Flotilla would fail because there were only retired Admirals in Coronado. WE fooled them!

Before the actual formation of the Division XVI these 200 people had to take the Boating Skills and Seamanship Class, they had to be BQd, and had to take formalized training to become boat crew qualified, and other things. This meant that when they were sworn in they were ready to go to work.

Preliminary formalities leading to the establishment of a U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla in Coronado were held at the Coronado Yacht Club on January 11, 1978.  Twenty two charter members were sworn in to the flotilla, Flotilla 16-05. Brian Masters, Captain of Division II from Dana Point officiated at this ceremony.  The fledgling members lost no time in launching their new flotilla. They elected Erik Jacobsen as their Flotilla Commander and Jack Swartz as their Vice
Flotilla Commander. The formal chartering ceremonies were held on February 11, 1978, the same night the Division was formed. The Flotilla Commander, Erik Jacobsen said, “I joined this organization to learn something and do something, so let’s get to work.”

Flotilla 16-05 was the first in the Division to receive the following awards: Best in Operations, Best in Education, Best in all the other categories. Flotilla 16-05 was the first to receive the award for Best Flotilla in the District and Best in our category in the Parade of Lights. This Flotilla won best in its category in the Coronado 4th of July Parade. Flotilla 16-05 was the first lotilla to have a walk around character, Mr. Safe T Seal, who was approved and recognized by the National Board. This Flotilla and its members have received so many awards for the “BEST” that they are too numerous to mention. There are some we don’t even know about.  On-Watch received second place in the District as the best flotilla publication. 

This Flotilla put up a flag pole at Ballast Point to raise a flag for small craft warnings. Flotilla 16-05 was the first to have a radio directional finder station on Point Loma for many years. 

Our first Public Education classroom was in the Coronado Oak Wood Garden Apartment's game room. We moved from there to the D Street School where we had our very own classroom. We had to pay the Coronado School District $400 a year for utilities. Then we moved to the Coronado High School where we are located now.

Flotilla 16-05 had its own office in the Babcock Courts where the Coronado Police station is today.

Flotilla 16-05 played a very important part in the Fourth of July Celebration ever since it was formed. We have participated in the Coronado Fourth of July Parade; we are responsible for crowd control in Coronado Bay, and much more.

Another first! Flotilla 16-05 established a color guard of its very own. The color guard members looked into the history of the U.S. Coast Guard and made costumes exactly like those worn by the first Coast Guard members. The four members were very dedicated to what they were doing and participated in many parades and events.

This Flotilla has always owned its Public Affairs Display unit. We have used this display trailer for boat shows and other functions.

Flotilla 16-05 has always had a close relationship with the Log and its staff. One of
our members was the editor of the Log for a long period of time.

Flotilla 16-05 put on the first major event at Sea Port Village and North Embarcadero Park. We had the largest National Safe Boating Week Event in the Nation. Prior to this time National Safe Boating Week was held in San Diego. When the base was under construction and being remodeled we had to find another place to hold this event so we went to Sea Port Village. For National Safe Boating Week we had many specialty events incliding a poster contest for school children.

Flotilla 16-05 was the first to have a TV Program shown on PBS Television called SAR. It starred all the flotilla members. This show was a half hour show, and then later the flotilla had an hour long show on Cable TV which ran 5 years straight. The third program that we produced was about PWCs. It was shown nationwide for seven years and is presently used in PE classrooms throughout the nation. Flotilla 16-05 won the National Award for Best in Education. It was another first and was presented to the Flotilla Commander of 16-05 in Dallas, Texas.

This Flotilla had the first qualified all women crew to go out on patrol.

Our first female Flotilla Commander was Carol Humes, whose husband was a retired Navy Captain. Pat Muraglia, was the second female to serve as Flotilla Commander. Pat and her husband Frank were the first married couple to both serve as Flotilla Commanders. Jan Lawrence was our third and final female Flotilla Commander.

In the first six years that the Flotilla was in existence, each Vessel Examiner did 100 vessel exams a year. In that same period of time Lee Davis escorted Mr. Safe T Seal (Jim Davis in costum) to parades, boat shows, and in schools, etc. Together they taught over 35,000 children a year to be safe in and around the water. Three summers in a row they taught at a school where there were only Down syndrome students.

The largest on the water operation was when the America’s cup Races were held in San Diego. For the first half of the time Jack Swartz was the Operations Boss for the Auxiliary. Tom McNife was Operations Boss for the second half. Both of these men were members of 16-05. Flotilla 16-05 was the first ever to use PWCs in a large number for crowd control during the America’s Cup Race. The auxiliarists who were involved in this were trained by members of 16-05; the PWCs were taken care of by members of the 16-05. Other auxiliarists did come to help out from other divisions, but 16-05 was the main source for this event.

This Flotilla has had members serving from the flotilla level all the way up to the
National Staff.

In a recent conversation with Flotilla 16-05 member, Andy Anderson was remembering his first patrol as a new member of 16-05. His first patrol was aboard the Mallard on November 16, 1986. Do you have a first memory?

Jack Swartz was the second person in our Division to receive the Boater of the Year Award from the California Boating and Waterways. Jim and Lee Davis were the only people in the Division to receive a Resolution from the Boating and Waterways Commission of the State of California.

Jack Swartz was the only auxiliarist to have the Operational Medal pinned on him by the Commandant of the Coast Guard, Admiral Thad Allen.

Jim DeNicholas was the first rear commodore to be elected from our Division and he was a member of 16-05.

The highest elected officer from our Division was Frank Muraglia, who was elected Vice Commodore of District 11s. He is now a QE in Texas.

The Mallard responded to three “Mayday” calls at the same time, all within 150 yards of each other and all unrelated to each other. This happened during the Parade of Lights.

Michael Saverson was the only person from our Flotilla to perform a wedding. This wedding was between a Coast Guard Liaison person and a Navy officer.

We were the only flotilla to appear on the TV Show, Sunup. We appeared for five consecutive years.

Our Flotilla was the only one from San Diego to participate in the Torrance Arm Forces Day Parade.

We are the only flotilla to have members involved in a parade in Pahrump, Nevada. We are also the only flotilla to have members involved in a Children’s fair in El Centro eight years in a row. We are the only flotilla to have a member appear on the stage of the Hollywood Palladium with Danny Thomas.

Our own Safe T Seal and Jim DeNicholas were the only ones from our Division to appear on the cover of the Coast Guard Auxiliary magazine, the Navigator.

We were the first flotilla in either Division to have an airplane as an operational facility.

We were the only flotilla to have a mayor of Coronado read a resolution declaring Jack Swartz Day in Coronado, just before Jack's passing over the bar.

This flotilla, 16-05, had the opportunity to teach a family in El Cajon who had just purchased two boats. The father was totally blind and decided that everyone in the family should take a boating class. They came faithfully for eight weeks to the BS&S class. On the test night all members of the family took and passed the test. The proctor read the questions to the father in a private room where he answered the questions and aced the test.

We stand ready to remain NUMBER 1!!!!!!!