Tuesday, December 8, 2009

James Howard heads to Iraq

James Howard, Flotilla 16-07, is headed out for another trip to Iraq.  Here's the story from TV12 news:

A local radio and tv personality also left for Iraq Sunday.

Sunny 92.3's and WDEF News 12 This Morning's traffic reporter James Howard is on his way to visit local troops from the 2-52nd out of Cleveland.
A lot of supporters came to see him off on his 4th trip.
James got on a plane Sunday afternoon headed first to Charlotte, then Washington, and straight to Kuwait, where he'll meet up with the military.

James says it's hard to leave his family, but he know his trips support the soldiers and their loved ones.

He says, "I talk to soldiers, and it's a big thing for them to see just a normal guy that they're used to hearing on the radio or seeing on television. Just a normal guy from their home town come in and eat chow with them, you know. It's a opportunity for me to let our community know what these men and women are doing for our country and for the country of Iraq."

James will be gone for two weeks.
He'll meet the local unit in a few days.
Listen for his trip updates on the morning show.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

In memory of Coast Guard crew CG-1705

This Friday, 6 NOV 2009, a memorial service will be held at Air Station Sacramento to honor the 7 Guardians and 2 Marines lost in the tragic mid-air collision off the coast of California.
We members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary should all take a minute to remember the sacrifices made by all members of Team Coast Guard, both past and present.

This Friday fly a Coast Guard flag if you have one or fly your National Ensign in remembrance.
The National Ensign will remain at half mast at all Coast Guard Stations until Friday.

Lieutenant Commander Che J. Barnes; age 35

Lieutenant Adam W. Bryant; age 28

Chief Petty Officer John F. Seidman; age 43

Petty Officer Second Class Carl P. Grigonis; age 35

Petty Officer Second Class Monica L. Beacham; age 29

Petty Officer Second Class Jason S. Moletzsky; age 26

Petty Officer Third Class Danny R. Kreder II; age 22.

The names of the missing Marines are Major Samuel Leigh, age 35, and First Lieutenant Thomas Claiborne, age 26.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Division 16 Picnic - Huge Success

What do you get when you combine a torrential downpour of rain, good friends, and plenty of great food? The Annual Divison 16 Picnic! We had one of the best turnouts in years and thank goodness it was indoors. We had so much rain that day that the county fair was cancelled, but nothing dampened the spirits or the appetites as we enjoyed an afternoon of food and fellowship. This year we were pleased to have 48 people in attendance and we're already making plans for next year.

Coast Guard Launches New Recruitment Campaign

In its first new recruitment campaign since "The Shield of Freedom" in 2002, the Coast Guard has a new recruitment slogan: "Born Ready". Here is a postcard mailer and a video commercial to give you a taste of the new concept.

For more information, visit the Coast Guard recruiting website: http://www.gocoastguard.com/

Friday, October 2, 2009

Honoring Our Coast Guard & Navy Veterans

What an honor it was to play Taps for the memorial service held by the crew of the USS Savage at the Chattanooga National Cemetery. The USS Savage, although a Navy ship, was manned in WWII by an all Coast Guard captain and crew. Three of the veterans attending were Coast Guard and these Navy vets treated them with the utmost honor and respect. After ringing a bell for each of their deceased shipmates the CG vets threw a wreath into the water of the lake behind the pavilion as buglers David Cox USCGAux, and Maj. Andy Addison, USAF (Ret) played Echo Taps. Many Coast Guard Cutters and CG manned Navy ships participated in WWII action.
For more on Coast Guard history go to: http://www.uscg.mil/history/articles/h_AtlWar.asp

Monday, September 14, 2009

Wreaths Across America

This December we will once again participate in a very meaningful ceremony at the Chattanooga National Cemetery called Wreaths Across America. Last year Terry Siler laid the ceremonial wreath representing the US Coast Guard. We will bring this up for discussion at our next division meeting to see how we might want to help out this year. Anyone wanting to sponsor a wreath for $15 each, contact Terry Siler for details.

For more information: http://www.wreathsacrossamerica.org/

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Use of Weather Radar for Patrols

This time of year a great safety addition to any patrol is the use of internet weather radar. If you are using a land based radio guard or have wireless internet access on our facility, keeping an eye on the radar will help keep you advised on what's over the hill. Here are several suggestions:

Metro radar:

Regional radar (1km loop):

Southeast loop:

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

There are some great CG Aux videos on YouTube

Check out some of the great videos on YouTube about the Coast Guard Auxiliary.

Did you know there is an Auxiliary Detactment at the College of William and Mary?
Coast Guard History

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Navy Sea Cadets Train at Chattanooga SSD

The Navy Sea Cadets is a program for 11-17 yr olds sponsored by the Navy League, and supported by the US Navy and US Coast Guard. When I showed up to cover this event I had already set myself for a bunch of loud, hyper, slightly disruptive kids. You know - teenagers. I could never have been more wrong in my preconception. What an incredible group of young men and one young woman. These kids were impressive. From the sharpness of their morning formation to the questions they would answer in class it quickly became clear this was no ordinary group of children. The pride they take in their organization and their eagerness to learn is second to none. I overheard at least one of the Cadets express his interest in becoming a CG officer. Perhaps we in the Auxiliary should take a look and see what we might be able to do to become an involved part of the Sea Cadet program.

The class was taught by Chief Smith of the USCGR with assistance from several crew of the USCGC Ouachita. The subject of the 2-day class was Fire Fighting and Damage Control.

Click any photo for a larger view

Press "Play" for more info on the Navy Sea Cadets program.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Big VE Event this Saturday on Watts Bar Lake

Attention all Div 16 VEs! On Saturday, 25 JUL we will be holding a VE blitz at the Spring City Marina on Watts Bar Lake begining at 0800. For our new Vessel Examiners this will be an excellent opportunity to do your 5 VEs. Even if your not a VE you're welcome to join us and help out passing out boating safety literature. It's easy to get to Spring City by either of two ways. Take I-75 to the Sweetwater exit, turn left, cross Watts Bar Dam on Hwy 68, and then turn right or take Hwy 27 north thru Dayton and on to Spring City. If you would like to car pool or need more information, contact Rudy Achata SO-VE, 614-7866 or cell, 284-9504.
Click map to enlarge

Saturday, July 18, 2009

COMO Walter Cronkite

It's sad to hear of the news that honorary National Commodore Walter Cronkite has died. He was an avid sailor and a member of the Auxiliary which presented him his honorary title in 1977.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Coast Guard Magazine

For those of you who don't subscribe to the Coast Guard Magazine you're missing out on a first class publication. The articles are very information as to what is going on in the Coast Guard world and the beauty of the photography is outstanding. Take a look at the on-line edition and you can read up on "Social Media" (facebook, twitter, and yes, even this blog) and learn how it will impact Team Coast Guard now and in the future.
Here is an excerpt from the current issue quoting Commandant Thad Allen on Social Media:
"It is critically important that the senior leaders of the Coast Guard understand what technology is doing today, how it is changing, and how we must change with it," said Allen. "Social Media takes out the middle man and lets interested parties communicate nearly directly with one another."

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Great Day for Training

Eight members of Division 16 did a training patrol Saturday morning at Harrison Bay State Park.

The patrol was to practice tows and other crew related tasks for several members, some to re-certify and others going for their certification for the first time. Rudy Achata even showed up to do VEs at the marina dock while the rest of us went through our pre-patrol briefing. It was a beautiful day to be on the water.

Greg Defriese SO-PA working on his coxswain certification.
The photographer finds a way to get his picture on the blog thanks to some help from Tiffany's sunglasses!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Coast Guard Monopoly

I didn't even know there was such a thing as "Coast Guard Monopoly" until I saw it at the Exchange on the Charleston CG base. Yes, it even has a square for the Auxiliary!
(click photo to enlarge)

Two New Patrols in July 2009

I received a call from Rebecca Thomas of the "VOL State Rescue Squad regarding two new events in our AOR in July. The Rescue Squad is asking for Coast Guard Auxiliary on-water support for these events. The first is Sunday, 12 July, for a Triathelon at Ross Landing beginning at 0700 through approximately 1130. We have supported this type of event before but always on the upstream side of the dam. The second event is on Saturday, 18 July, on Possum Creek. This will involve several private boats pulling handicaped kids on wakeboards, skis, etc. giving them a chance to enjoy watersports. The tows will begin at the Lutheran Camp and extend into the main part of Possum Creek both up and downstream. They ask that we keep boat traffic away from them and wakes down; our normal traffic control. I don't have a schedule for this event at this time but will get it soon. These are very worthwhile events and will be repeated, if successful, in future years.

I will be asking for a minimum of two boats and crews for each of these events and, of course, patrol orders will be generated.

Ray veldman, SO-OP

Tall Ships in Charleston SC

Now while I wouldn't normally post my vacation details on the Division blog, this trip involved so much Coast Guard and Auxiliary exposure that I felt I'd share a few thoughts and photos. Think of it as a glimpse into what our fellow Auxiliarists are doing in other places.

We traveled to Charleston SC to see the Tall Ships on display at Charleston' s Harbor Fest, 26-29 JUN 2009. Besides helping the Coast Guard maintain a 50 ft security zone around the Tall Ships, members of Div 12, 7th District, also helped clear the center of the harbor several times for the airshows overhead. Alan Miles, VFC 12-8, spent his time on deck of the USCGC Eagle showing the guests his knot tying skills in the sweltering heat and humidity. The local CG base had the 87 ft cutter, Yellowfin, 75 ft Construction Tender, Anvil, (which looks a lot like our own cutter, Ouachita, although it's 10 ft longer), and 3 or 4 SAFE boats. The numerous, well manned auxiliary facilities had the area well covered.

Note the Key West patrol facility.
What an outstanding choice for an Auxiliary vessel!
(yes, it is the same as my boat . . . )
One interesting plus was on Saturday morning when we went to see the Civil War submarine, Hunley, currently undergoing restoration in North Charleston. The Cutter Eagle was holding a Change of Command ceremony that day and the commander of the Charleston CG base had brought Rear Admiral Steve Branham of the 7th Coast Guard District to see the museum and we got to take the tour together with them. It was a great week with Coast Guard everywhere around!

Click on any photo for a larger view

Friday, June 26, 2009

Leadership Summit held at SSD Chattanooga

Thursday night a Leadership Summit was held at the Chattanooga SSD involving Auxiliary, active duty Coast Guard and USCG Reserves. The idea was to bring together leaders from the three groups to discuss many issues and to provide input on how we can do a better job of being truly, Team Coast Guard. District 08E COMO Dave Maul and Jim Myers, DCDR Div 16 represented the Auxiliary along with other elected officers. The active duty Coast Guard was represented by Tony Economy from the Cutter Ouachita, Josh McTaggert from MSD Nashville, Bradford Clark from Sector Ohio Valley, John Samoulis from SSD Chattanooga, and Gary Petty USCG Reserves. Several other active duty Coasties were present and two, Aaron Boykin and Brad VanHoose, did an outstanding job on the grill! Many great ideas were swapped and now it's up to use to get them into operation. Similar events such as this are planned for the future so we can all get to know each other a lot better and work together more.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Happy 70th Anniversary CG Auxiliary!

Yesterday marked the 70th anniversary of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. In the late 1930s, the Coast Guard drafted regulations for a non-military Coast Guard reserve force in order to leverage the skills, talents, and patriotism of America’s growing boat owner population to enhance the operational capabilities of the Coast Guard.
Driving this initiative were the increasing number of maritime assistance calls the Coast Guard received from recreational boaters and the gathering clouds of war over Europe. The objectives of the new organization were to promote efficiency in the operation of motorboats, promote safety and effect rescues on the high seas and navigable waters, and facilitate other operations of the Coast Guard.
On June 23, 1939, Congress passed the Coast Guard Reserve Act. In 1941, Congress amended the original act to create the Coast Guard Auxiliary and Reserve Act which created a new military reserve and renamed the original civilian reserve the Coast Guard Auxiliary.

CG petty officer and Auxiliarist conducting boardings 1942, New York Harbor. (I can't help but wonder if he made the jump?)

National Archives/History program, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.

For more detailed history of the Auxiliary go to:


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

David Cox Attends Public Affairs "C" School in San Diego

Division 16's SO-PB, David Cox, was in San Diego, Calfornia, for 3 days of CG Auxiliary Public Affairs traning at Coast Guard Air Station San Diego. The classes were held 12-14 June from 0800 till 1700 each day with a 1 hour break for lunch. As soon as the class day ended, the homework began. The class was split into groups which met in the hotel lobby to work on the assignment for the next day. Then it's off to your room to type your presentation and get a little shut-eye. My problem was that at 0400 my body thought it was 0700 so there I was, wide awake. I soon learned it was better to finish your homework in the morning hours before breakfast than to try to stay up late. Even now that the classes are over, we students have a long list of assignments which must be completed before we are given credit for the completion of the class.

The classes were fantastic! Very informative with lots of practical skills I can use in my Auxiliary work. So what's a Publications officer doing at a Public Affairs class? With the ever increasing use of electronic media (such as this blog site) the areas of PA, PB, and CS are becoming ever more intertwined thus creating the need for these areas to work together more closely than ever.

The weather was great. Highs in the low 70s and lows in the low 60s with low humidity. The base was very attractive with Spanish tiled roofs and lots of beautiful landscaping. The occasional arrival or departure of a USCG HH-60 Jayhawk added some excitement to the day. Auxiliarists in Sector San Diego have a very active role in on-base activities. They even have a few parking spaces "Reserved for Auxiliary". How nice is that!

(Click on any photo to enlarge to full size)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Div 16 Does Radio Show

Div 16 Commander, Jim Myers, and Commodore Dave Maul did a live radio show very early Saturday morning. The Tony Sanders Outdoutdoors show airs on WGOW 102.3 FM from 0600 to 0800, and is great "fishermans' drive time". Several topics were discussed concerning boater safety as well as explaining what the Auxiliary is and who can join. We were very well received by host, Tony Sanders and his staff and were able to present his audience a good picture of the Coast Guard and Coast Guard Auxiliary.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Auxiliary video commercial

Throughout the 3 days of the Public Affairs course in San Diego many video clips were used to illustrate certain points. In this video it begins by illustrating how some of us might approach promoting the Auxiliary with lots of colorful graphics, cute kids, and a nice sing-along song. Then the video takes on a much more professional hard hitting approach. Although this is not the type of music I personally listen to, and you may not either, I can tell you, from spending 3 days next to a Coast Guard aircraft hanger, that this is the music the younger generation is listening to. We must began marketing the Auxiliary to a younger crowd, even if it requires us to come out of our comfort zone.

Div 16 Chattanooga starts a blog

In a world that is an avalanche of technology, the blog may very well replace the newsletter, both printed and digital. This is a great way to get information out quickly, with photos and graphics, and not have to worry about having current email addresses for all members. We can set certain members to be "authors" on this blog and they can write their own stories, post their photos, and any member may enter their comments for each of the stories.

Take a look at this and give it some thought. I could write a story on my "C" school in San Diego, add a few nice photos, and publish it in the next newsletter - and three months from now you can read it. With this blog, however, I could have written the story, added my photos, added some video, and published it all on this blog -- all before leaving California. Now that's progress.