DVC-HX, Division Chief
The Uniform Division of the H-Directorate represents the “face” of the Coast Guard Auxiliary. Often the public does not differentiate between Coast Guard active duty and the Auxiliary, especially when the uniform is worn. Since its creation in 1939, the Auxiliary has been granted a unique privilege: the Auxiliary is allowed to wear the same uniforms as the Coast Guard active duty and reserve personnel. But (as John F. Kennedy once said) “to those whom much is given, much is expected”.
Coast Guard active duty members are bound by strict military grooming and weight standards. Realizing that the Auxiliary is made up entirely of volunteers, the active duty grooming and appearance standards are relaxed as they apply to Auxiliarists. As a matter of pride, all Auxiliary members should set the goal to strive to attain the same standards as active duty members. Auxiliarists who wear the Auxiliary uniform will be held to higher grooming and appearance standards. Auxiliarists are authorized to wear Coast Guard uniforms with the appropriate Auxiliary insignia. Uniforms shall be worn as prescribed in the actual Coast Guard Uniform Regulations, COMDTINST M1020.6 (series), except as noted in Chapter 10 of the Auxiliary Manual (COMDTINST M16790.1 (series)). There are a few exceptions specifically for the Auxiliary (when it comes to full dress uniforms), but these are clearly spelled out for Auxiliarists.
For those who still wish to be visually associated with the Coast Guard Auxiliary, but may not be able to wear the uniform to the same sharp & professional standard as the active duty, there is the approved and available Auxiliary Blue Blazer outfit. The Auxiliary Blue Blazer outfit is recognized as optional apparel and is authorized for activities described in Chapter 10 of the Auxiliary Manual. This is also an option for members who may not want to (or be comfortable with) wearing a military-style uniform. Also, Auxiliarists who desire to wear their hair, jewelry, or maintain a general appearance different from that described in the Auxiliary Manual are specifically directed that they “shall wear the Auxiliary Blue Blazer outfit instead of the Auxiliary uniform”.
As the Uniform Division, we are NOT the “uniform police” for the Coast Guard Auxiliary. Proper wear of the uniform is to be observed and enforced by the elected leadership at the “deck plate” levels: Flotillas, Divisions & Districts. Neither is the Uniform Division the “policy maker” for changes to Uniform & Protocol. This process is spelled in Auxiliary Policy and originates from the bottom up: ideas and proposals are first presented at the Flotilla levels, and then advanced up the Chain of Leadership and Management for further review and action.
So…who ARE we in the Uniform Division and what do we do?!?! The Uniform Division of the Human Resources Directorate is tasked with transmitting and receiving (in a timely manner) information, clarification, and policy changes that are specific to the Auxiliary in regards to Uniform and Protocol. While not the “uniform police”, we are the subject matter experts when it comes to helping interpret Uniform & Protocol issues. To affect this, our Branch Chiefs are divided into three geographical areas: Pacific, Atlantic, and Atlantic – West (Districts 8 & 9). These Branch Chiefs are the “link” between the National Staff and each District Bridge and DSO-HR. In addition, the Uniform Division has working links with the District Materials Store at the Auxiliary Center (Coast Guard Assn) and the US Coast Guard’s Uniform Distribution Center (UDC).
Wear the Coast Guard Auxiliary uniform smartly and proudly! And remember: the Uniform Division is here to help you achieve that goal! Semper Paratus.
Commodore E. Lee Ward,
Branch Chief BC-HXE
Branch Chief BC-HXW
Branch Chief BC-HXP