June 2008

Coast Guard Auxiliary Looking for A Few Good Men and Women

Anyone who watched the T.V. show based on a fictional Boston law firm this week may have thought they had tuned into the Academy Award winning movie “A Few Good Men” during the scene where Tom Cruise, who plays a Navy lawyer, cross examines a feisty Jack Nicholson who plays a tough Marine Corps colonel. 

What viewers who tuned in this week actually saw, was the fictional T.V. show lawyer dressed in the Coast Guard Auxiliary “choker white” uniform, cross examining a witness similar to the scene from “A Few Good Men.” It appears the main characters from the T.V. show have joined the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary — in the show of course.

In the real world, volunteering as an attorney to provide legal assistance to Active Duty, Reserve and Retirees of the U.S. Armed Forces is one of the many missions performed by members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary.

“We are always looking for a few good men and women,” said Anthony Turner, an attorney who serves as the national spokesperson for the Coast Guard Auxiliary. “In addition to our traditional recreational boating-safety missions that we have always performed, such as boating safety classes and free vessel safety checks, we also perform a variety of other missions for and alongside Active Duty Coast Guard units.

Members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary serve as interpreters, health care providers, webmasters and web designers, public affairs officers, photographers, videographers, video editors, communications watchstanders, cooks at Coast Guard bases and on board Coast Guard Cutters, Aviators, and of course lawyers to name a few of the missions.

What has become one of our more important and visible missions is our outreach efforts promoting the America’s Waterway Watch (AWW) program. In an April 28 speech, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff commented, “America's Waterway Watch is so important.  It's the waterborne analogue to the neighborhood watch program. It uses the Coast Guard and its reserve and auxiliary components to enlist the help of everybody who lives, works, or plays around the waterfront so that suspicious behavior is reported to the National Response Center.” 

It is not unusual for a student in a Coast Guard Auxiliary boating safety class or during a vessel safety check to also be informed about AWW.