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USCG/USCGAux History

The History of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary
at Rochester, N.Y.

A west coast yachtsman proposed to the Coast Guard an idea of a Coast Guard Reserve to establish a relationship between the Coast Guard and the boating community.

June 23, 1939
U.S. Congress legislated the establishment of the Coast Guard Reserve as a volunteer Civilian organization comprised of U.S. citizens. It was this year that the first members of the future Rochester Coast Guard Auxiliary started as volunteer Coast Guard Reservists.

February 19, 1941
Coast Guard Reserve was restructured with the start of WWII. The civilian portion was called the Coast Guard Auxiliary and a new Coast Guard Reserve functioned as a military unit. The Reserve consisted of Regulars who had to meet certain requirements and Temporary Reservists (TRs) who could not meet requirements. The ‘temporary’ designation referred to the member that was not on full time duty. Members of the Auxiliary could offer to become TRs and many of our Rochester original members enrolled. These TRs offered their boats for war time patrol in the local area as well as performing shore patrol. The Coast Guard requisitioned guns for these vessels.

First Coast Guard Auxiliary uniforms (khakis) were authorized.

April 13, 1943
The Rochester Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 3-01 was established headed by J. Webb L. Sheehy and Harold Field who were both TRs. The Auxiliary trained members to become TRs. ( This training was a for runner of our current member & Public Education training.)

The Temporary Reserves were demobilized at wars end and all TRs were “honorably disenrolled” and awarded the Victory Medal.

When the Sodus Flotilla disbanded, 7 members transferred to Rochester Flotilla 3-01.

1947 - 1950
J. Webb L. Sheehy held the office of Vice Commodore of Area O (a part of District 9) which covered Lake Ontario west to Dunkirk and south to Ithaca. In 1951 he was elected as District Commodore.

The Public Education and Vessel Examination programs were established.

The Auxiliary District 9 reorganized it’s Divisions and Flotillas changing Flotilla 3-01 to 2-04.

May 1950
Flotilla 2-04 acquired its’ current building from the estate of Lorraine Gussen.
Flotilla 2-04 had an Auxiliary aircraft piloted by Lawrence C. Gleason VFC.

J.Webb L. Sheehy was elected as the 3rd National Commodore of the Coast Guard Auxiliary.

Al Bowers and Jack Palmer had Auxiliary aircraft facilities.

November 1974
District 9 reorganized changing Flotilla 2-4 to 4-2. All members of the old 2-4 were assigned new ID numbers and became charter members of 4-2.

The Auxiliary switched from the original khaki uniforms to blues. National said the khakis could be worn until they wore out. Well, these khakis seemed to not wear out fast enough so National directed all to change to blues.

The 42 elections could not produce a Flotilla Commander so we were granted a waiver for Richard Tanner to run for a third consecutive term. (We had to do a little arm twisting with Richard but he conceded for 1 more term.)

1970s - 1980s
Annual weekend SAR training cruises to various lake ports were a tradition. One team would be charged with establishing coordinates where they would set out early in the morning to set the markers. Four to five teams with boats and crew, each assigned to a marker, would set out to locate and collect the markers.

The Auxiliary has constantly improved processes to make our efforts more productive with better training and technology such as Boat Crew, Coxswain and GPS training.

March 2001
Auxiliarists from Flotillas 42 and 48 manned Station Rochester for a few days when the Station duty crew was dispatched to Buffalo to help in the search for 4 Coast Guardsmen missing on routine patrol.

George Webster was elected Commodore for District 9ER and was re-elected for 2003. In November a train wreck near our Base caused a fire that narrowly missed our building requiring the Flotilla to have meetings and PE classes at Holy Cross church until February 2003.

The Auxiliary Career Counselor (CC) program was terminated and replaced by the new Academy Admissions Partner Program (AAPP). This was done to adapt Coast Guard Academy recruiting to meet today’s competitive college recruiting challenges. Flotilla 4-2 remains active in the new program.

A new CG support program began rolling out known as Aux/Chef subsequently changed to Aux/FS (food services) with a few Flotilla 4-2 members getting qualified.

Division Captain and Division Vice Captain positions were changed to Division Commander (DCDR) and Division Vice-Commander (DVCDR) to align with the Coast Guard.

The first Flotilla 42 web site was established.

Paddleboat inspections became part of the VE program.

Major building repair in replacing sills, new front and sign to building.

New core training requirements were introduced by National to put all Auxiliary members on the some footing as Coast Guard personnel.

The Flotilla historical archives for the period 1939 - 1st quarter 2013 were all scanned, reproduced on CDs and distributed to members.

New Auxiliary Staff Officer position created for Diversity.

New District staff officer position (DSO-UPV) created for vessel exams of commercial boats.

New Staff Officer positions were created at Flotilla and Division levels for paddlecraft safety training.

Due to high water and Auxiliary Base flooding, meetings and training were held in other locations during June & July.

Flotilla 42 celebrated their 80th birthday.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Coast Guard Auxiliary was directed to stand-down from any face-to-face interactions.

Flotilla virtual meetings began in April using ZOOM Web conferences.

Modifications to the election process were developed to accommodate virtual elections due to the pandemic. Kayaks were approved as Operational Facilities.

Staff officer position (FSO/AS) established to enhance partnering between the Auxiliary and the Sea Scouts. The objective of this position is to improve Sea Scout training opportunities, enrich Coast Guard and Auxiliary recruiting, and better overall promotion of recreational boating safety. Sea Scouts is a youth program supported by the Coast Guard.

NOTE: This page will be updated as more information becomes available.
Last Update: by Len McFadden, Flotilla 4-2 Historian, 27 September 2022

The History of the U.S. Coast Guard at Rochester, N.Y.
by Michael Scott and Chilloa Young (Unit Historians)
December 3, 1988

If you wish to get a copy of the document you can download it by clinking on the link below.