U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary History
A Proud Tradition, A Worthy Mission
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About the Historian's Office
The Historian's office is a division of the Community Relation's Section under the Public Affairs Directorate.
The history program (ASH) of the Division of Special Projects, National Department of Public Affairs is dedicated to the collection, preservation, and promulgation of information and materials that pertain to events and persons important to the history of the U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. The national historian's staff collect and promulgate information that relates to national events, national officers, and members who have made historic contributions. District Historians are tasked with collecting and preserving information on the histories of their units within the regions of the Coast Guard Districts. All members can participate in collecting information, training members, and informing the public of our proud history and traditions. Materials collected include documents, photographs, and significant artifacts, such as uniforms, flags, commemorative items, etc. See Program Components and duties of District Historians on this website for more specific information on how members can participate.
Although long-time members had always been aware of the
Auxiliary's record of service and historians had been appointed, efforts to
maintain the Coast Guard Auxiliary's history had been inconsistent as 1990
approached. The Auxiliary history program was formally established
during the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Auxiliary in 1989.
Executive staff were aware that documents resided in members' basements,
offices, garages, all over the country. There had never been a focused
attempt to collect them. Thus, in 1989 O. W. "Sonny" Martin, Jr., of
A contract was also entered into with the Joyner Library
The history staff went all out to celebrate the
Auxiliary's 60th Anniversary in 1999. In part they recognized this
would be the last opportunity to honor the contributions of World War II
Auxiliary members of which there were two remaining members at the time.
C. Kay Larson had been appointed branch chief for research and publication
in 1994. She spearheaded a 3-year research project, utilizing ECU and
other sources, to develop an exhibit at the
With Sonny's passing in 1999, he was posthumously awarded
the Auxiliary's Distinguished Service Medal. The torch was passed to
Kay who is an independent scholar, specializing in the Civil War, World War
II, political, maritime, and women's military history. She has
authored three books that include 'Til I Come Marching Home: A Brief
History of American Women in World War II (Minerva Press, 1995).
This work is the only joint service, military history of women in World War
II and the only one to feature women in the Coast Guard Auxiliary and
temporary Reserve during the war. Kay's two other World War II Auxiliary
articles, "Bravo Zero," and "MacArthur's Navy," appear in the
Articles" section of this website; she has also written for the Navigator and Coast Guard
magazine. For twenty-five years, she held executive management staff
positions, including in
Since 2000, the history program has concentrated on developing its webpage which has entailed much research and writing. A historian's guide has been produced and posted for the use of District Historians and members as well. A footnoted milestone dateline is available. The online Auxiliary bibliography, which is part of the Coast Guard's, has been updated (as of ca. 2005). A complete honor roll of Auxiliary Gold and Silver Lifesaving Medalists and Plaque of Merit award is available for viewing. Complete text articles have been posted. The Coast Guard Art Program is publicized by the history program. And more. Meantime, history staff have been compiling oral histories, statistics, and reports on 9/11 and Hurricanes Katrina. History staff are also working with Turner Publishing of Paducah, Kentucky to produce an illustrated history of the Auxiliary. Members should view "History News," to keep abreast of current program initiatives.
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