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Coast Guard Aux History

"History is who we are and why we are the way we are."
David McCullough

The history of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary is an impressive story that was born out of necessity. In the 1930s, the Coast Guard recognized that there were hundreds of thousands of boats operating on federal waterways within the United States. At the same time, the small Coast Guard was struggling to answer the ever-climbing number of distress calls being made each year, and recognized shortcomings in boating safety training. In 1939, Congress passed legislation creating the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve - originally a volunteer arm of the Coast Guard- with the mission to assist with training and protecting boaters on US waterways. These events, on the eve of America's entry into the Second World War, would create the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary as we know it today- America's premiere volunteer life-saving force!

Thanks to the efforts of many Auxiliarists throughout the existence of the Auxiliary, our history has been maintained for all members to learn from and enjoy. These efforts are continued today by the Auxiliary's Public Affairs Directorate's History Division, led by the Chief Historian of the Auxiliary, Mark Snell, PhD. It is important that our members and leaders have an understanding of our organization's history so that we might continue our service in the spirit of those who have come before us.

To learn more about Coast Guard Auxiliary history, please check out the links below:

U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary History Division Web Site

The Virtual Museum of the Coast Guard Auxiliary (VMCGA)

For information on the importance of history education in Coast Guard leadership & professional development, please click the link below. This article was published by Dr. Mark Snell, Chief Historian, and LT Christopher Booth, CG-BSX, via the U.S. Naval Institute's Proceedings in August 2022. Lost at Sea: Teaching, Studying, and Promoting Coast Guard History