Coast Guard Reserve Anniversary
Wising a Happy 74th Birthday to the USCG Reserve
February 19, 2015 by Jake Butler
On this day 74 years ago, Congress passed the Auxiliary and Reserve Act of 1941. This effectively split the U.S. Coast Guard into three separate, but still intertwined groups: Guardsmen, Reservists, and Auxiliarists.
The act established the Coast Guard Reserve and the Auxiliary as we know them today. In the years that followed, they’ve played a huge role in maritime safety, security, and national defense; leaping into action in times of need and supporting the Coast Guard in all its endeavors.
Today we pause to thank all the brave men and women who have served over the years, including all 8,396 active Reservists who support and aid the Coast Guard’s most critical missions. One weekend a month, two weeks per year, and whenever else they are called up to active duty – a Reservist is always ready to step in and help maintain peace and order on the high seas.
We’ll leave you with the Coast Guard Reserve’s mission statement, so you can take a moment to reflect on all the ways they help strengthen and support the U.S. military, and continually redefine the definition of operational readiness:
The U. S. Coast Guard must be prepared to respond to a wide range of contingencies at home and abroad in accordance with the authorities and responsibilities vested in the Service by law. The Coast Guard Reserve is an accessible pool of talent that enhances the depth and breadth of our readiness for these 21st-century challenges.
Reservists provide critical skills and experience that are vital to our ability to lead, manage and coordinate the national response to acts of terrorism, disasters or other emergencies in the maritime region. Accordingly, the core strategic purpose of the Coast Guard Reserve is to maintain the competencies to perform three prioritized functions:
- Maritime Homeland Security;
- Domestic and expeditionary support to National Defense; and,
- Domestic, natural or man-made, disaster response and recovery.
Foremost, the Coast Guard Reserve must be ready for call-up at any time to provide surge capacity during such contingencies. Training, including normal drill periods and two-week annual active duty, will focus on building and honing the skills and knowledge required for these mobilization duties.
Secondly, by virtue of full integration into shore-based units, reservists are available as an augmentation force for the continuum of traditional Coast Guard missions. Their employment in day-to-day operations should be structured to complement mobilization readiness requirements.
Every commander, commanding officer, officer-in-charge and program manager of units where reservists are permanently or temporarily assigned is expected to provide leadership and oversight to keep those reservists trained and accessible for mobilization. Individual reservists have an equal stake in acquiring and keeping current the competencies they must bring to contingency duties.
Through unity of effort, we will ensure that the Coast Guard Reserve is a relevant, strong force multiplier, available to deploy at a moment’s notice to secure and defend America at home or abroad.