News Center‎ > ‎

News Archive


Flotilla Northern Virginia Gets CPR-Pro Certified

posted Jan 1, 2013, 11:50 AM by Kamal Kalifa   [ updated Jan 1, 2013, 11:53 AM ]

November 2012 - Washington DC >>

With the gracious nature of our supporters, GWU (George Washington U
niversity) medical response personnel conducted a CPR for the Professional Rescuer class to auxiliary members.

The course was an extensive and thorough integration for auxiliary members to be successful when responding to rescue situations. Coursework covered topics such such as when and where to perform CPR, what situations/complications a team may encounter, as well as managing situational awareness.

Auxiliary members were also trained in the use of defibrillators on adults, children and infants. Although the USCG Auxiliary never wishes for boaters to be in a situation where they need CPR or defibrillators, our mission is to be always ready. As we are and will continue to be always ready for any situation.

Very respectfully,
Kamal Kalifa
FSO-IS

Irene, Flooding, 9/11, and 46 trashbags

posted Oct 10, 2011, 9:55 AM by Andrew Welch   [ updated Oct 10, 2011, 9:56 AM ]

Hurricane Irene preparation at James Creek Marina
Shipmates:

Flotilla Northern Virginia has had two OPS Weekends since my last all-hands message. The first, in August, focused on preparations for Hurricane Irene, when we were down at the waterfront working with marinas and boaters to properly and safely secure vessels and facilities for the coming storm.

The second was held over September 11 weekend. Thank you to all who stepped up, as it was our most successful OPS weekend of the year. We held a moment of remembrance at the Navy Memorial (thank you, Peter Hanke), ran patrols on 9/10 and 9/11, and a group of you participated in National Day of Service by hauling away 46 (yes, 46) bags of trash during your waterside cleanup at Jones Point (thank you, Jay King and crew). Underway, we ran a towing exercise, oversaw what (thankfully) turned out not to be a search and rescue case, were on scene to assist various boaters in distress, and patrolled our assigned security zone on the Potomac River.

Sam Tadros on the boom
Overall this year you have assisted well over 100 people, and you lead the division in mission hours logged. You have also qualified five new vessel examiners, four new crew, and two new coxswains in a four month time period.

I want to officially welcome Rob Bartolotta and Leonard Abreu to the flotillas new recruits, as well as Peter Hanke and Gary Dawson, both of whom have transferred in the last month.

As we grow and our operations and training tempo continues to quicken, please all take great care to attend to your administrative responsibilities and follow the chain of leadership. Let's not allow trivial matters to get in the way of properly executing our mission.

In closing, I want to pay special recognition to an impressive act of quick thinking that may in fact have saved lives this month. Heavy weather one night forced a patrol to not leave the pier. On his way home, Sam Tadros encountered significant flooding on the road, where motorists were trapped inside of submerged and partially submerged automobiles. By utilizing the boat tow line and life jacket in his vehicle, and moving with the current, he was able to reach the distressed persons and pull them to safety before they were taken under and carried away by the flood waters. His quick thinking and excellent knowledge of line handling, current, and boating safety led to the rescue of three persons in distress under very challenging circumstances.

To Mr. Tadros, and to all of you - thank you for your service.

Very respectfully,
Andrew Welch
Flotilla Commander

Fair winds, a welcome, and good stuff from Flotilla NoVA

posted Aug 11, 2011, 7:34 PM by Andrew Welch   [ updated Aug 11, 2011, 9:26 PM ]

Northern Virginia Shipmates,

In June we bid farewell to our absolutely superb Vice Flotilla Commander and second-in-command, Ken Doyle as he moved to Kansas to study at the Army Command and General Staff College.  This is a wonderful opportunity for Ken, and though his absence leaves us a great deficit, we wish him nothing but success over the next 18 months.

I am happy to report that on August 9, Emily Johnson formally assumed duties as our new Vice Flotilla Commander.  Ms. Johnson brings to this post her experience serving on small boats, as a vessel examiner, instructor, and as a human resources officer.  She is graduate of the Coast Guard Auxiliary program at The College of William and Mary, where she served as commander of her detachment.  

I have to admit that I was one of her instructors during her time at William and Mary, and I am immensely proud of what she has accomplished since then.

Emily and I lead the finest crew in the entire Coast Guard Auxiliary.  Of this I have no doubt.  At my change of watch this past January, I shared my belief that "history is replete with turning points, when small groups of good people accomplish extraordinary things."  As a tribute to each of you, and also to Mr. Doyle's leadership, I'll share with you some of the great things this small group of part-time "coasties" has accomplished since January 1, 2011:
  • You have provided assistance to at least 50 mariners on waters ranging from the Potomac River to the Chesapeake Bay;
  • You have demonstrated extraordinary devotion to duty through your collective participation in 10 distinct incidents, 73 distinct exercises, and 80 distinct events;
  • You have honored your profession through your observance of the sea's traditions - a change of watch, a dining out, and over 100 hours out in the community telling the Coast Guard's story;
  • You have respected your shipmates by taking care of each other through tough times - personal sickness and loss, trying times in your families, and in strengthening friendships;
  • Six of you have qualified as new vessel examiners, and are already keeping others safe before they leave their dock;
  • One of you has qualified as new boat crew, with another five of you well on your way in the next several months;
  • Your tireless efforts on the decks and in the engine room have brought two new vessels online and in service to the public trust.
I could not be more proud to serve with you.  In the next six months we will focus on maintaining the operational tempo we have reached this summer, operationally qualifying our most junior members, and working hard to building up our crew.  Thank you to Ken for your service - fair winds, and see you when you return.  Welcome aboard, Emily.  Thanks to each and every one of you for your service.

Very respectfully,
Andrew Welch
Flotilla Commander

"Welcome" and "Thanks" from the Flotilla Commander

posted Jan 20, 2011, 11:57 AM by Andrew Welch   [ updated Jan 20, 2011, 9:46 PM ]

Shipmates,

I want to take a moment to thank you for your warm welcome as your new Flotilla Commander at this past weekend's Change of Watch ceremony.  I appreciate your support nearly as much as I appreciate your service in the Coast Guard Auxiliary to our community and to our country.  I also want to thank you for joining us for dinner after the ceremony; it was great to spend that time with you, and I am really excited about what lies ahead.  Rather than add more words to that which was said on Saturday, I have instead included the text of my remarks from that evening below.  I also want to share our small, but growing, photo album from the day's events - thank you to all who took and contributed photos.

Good evening, friends, family, shipmates.

I realize that our ceremony is a little more formal tonight than what is sometimes seen at an Auxiliary Change of Watch, but it is said that at sea there is a tradition older even than the traditions of the country itself.  It is the tradition that with responsibility goes authority, and with them both goes accountability.  Mr. Doyle and I felt it essential to begin this watch by observing one of the sea's great traditions: that of passing responsibility, authority, and accountability from one leader to the next.

What an evening this is, here in the presence of some of the most astonishingly great people that I have ever known.  

As I was walking in earlier, I couldn't help but to be taken up in this place, Fort Myer, where generations of great American men and women have passed some of their time in service to our country.  They have been selfless public servants, some warriors, and -- as we in the Coast Guard can attest -- humanitarians and life savers as well.  

Serving far and wide, they have been women like Ida Lewis -- who as an 1800's lighthouse keeper saved as many as 237 lives and helped clear the way for women in our service... the first female ship Captain, the first female vice service chief, and recently announced, the first female service academy superintendent.  They have been men like Michael Healy, who in assuming command of a cutter in 1882 became the first African-American ship captain in our nation's history; or men like Joshua James, who died saving others while on active duty at the age of seventy-four. 

Indeed these heroes from our past inform our present - male, female, black, white, old, young, new recruit or seasoned veteran - in our service, and in our Flotilla, everyone eager to live our core values and serve the American people is welcome to serve with us.

But evenings like this are most poignantly special thanks to those that have inspired us personally, like Jim Clark, who has been a mentor to so many of us since our days as students or instructor at The College of William and Mary.  Or my grandfather, retired Navy Captain Richard Knott, whose steady hand and stories of air and sea told to this child years ago are perhaps most responsible for my standing here before you tonight.  

Collectively, these are the people and legacy that we honor with tonight's change of watch ceremony, symbolizing a centuries-unbroken chain of service.

This unit is in the midst of such significant change with people coming, going, retiring, transferring, and the newest recruits making this their very first Coast Guard home. There are, at this moment, forty-four shipmates on our roster, with well over half of them in some such uncertainty.  But the core is strong, and it is led by bright and capable young Auxiliary officers, with several in the midst of their first assignments.  

Anyone who has ever worn a uniform is no doubt familiar with the barely controlled chaos that is preparing dress uniforms -- many of which have not been worn in quite some time -- the week before a formal event.  Between items being out of stock at the exchange, a late night drive through a snow storm in search of emergency tailoring, pants ripping, and the fact that several of you are now on a first name basis with the good people at the district material center (to whom, by the way, we must send cookies), I hope that this recently minted crew has learned how a little teamwork and advance planning can overcome any challenge.  In fact, one of your shipmates, and I won't mention names, nearly had to pay thirty dollars to FedEx a ninety-nine cent button here yesterday.  But in the end, we all seem to clean up well.  And it's a good thing, too, because there are many eyes on us this evening.  With so much change here in the Flotilla, it's no wonder that our guests tonight outnumber the crew.  

I am undaunted.

Tonight we are promising great things, and we are doing so in the presence of senior officers, friends, family, significant others, and shipmates from around the Coast Guard.  Our die is cast, and forward is our only direction.  But history is replete with turning points, when small groups of good people accomplish extraordinary things.

I thought a lot about what to say this evening. And with a little help, it came to me last night: don't try to be too lofty, Andrew; speak directly, and speak from the heart.

We all have different reasons for being here. But whether you are here to save one, or to save the world; for friendship or for country; because you love the sea or because you know that you're just very good at what you do, I ask that you serve with the mission in mind. That our Coast Guard Core Values -- Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty -- be your watch words. That you remember we serve the American taxpayer, the people of our community. That when you are here, you lay greatness on the line: your best uniform, your best professionalism, your best seamanship, your firm, yet temperate conduct, perseverance in your duties. What I believe in is faith, and I have faith in this crew, that if you do these things, we will prevail.

You will look into the eyes of American men and women who you are charged with serving, and in some cases, whose lives you are charged with saving.  You will see them on the dockside, and on their boats.  You will see them in the supermarket and in your offices, and neither you nor them will know it.  And it will be your training, your readiness, but most of all your tireless devotion to duty that will prepare you - day in and day out - to stand the watch, and, when called upon, to save.  It will be your mission, and I implore each of you to make it your passion, and your calling.

Thank you, all, for your support - and more than anything, thank you for your service.

Let's get to work!

Very Sincerely,
Andrew Welch
Flotilla Commander

"Off Season" to be an opportunity for continued training in Flotilla Northern Virginia

posted Oct 14, 2010, 8:23 AM by Andrew Welch

Direct mission activity traditionally slows down as the "high season" -- spring and summer months when the waterways are most busy due to increased recreational boating traffic -- comes to a close.  As Flotilla Northern Virginia's "off season" gets underway, boat crews have continued their on-water missions, but others have focused on sharpening their skills and training for the year ahead.

Three auxiliarists, including Emily Johnson (pictured here the day of her final qualification), have completed boat crew training and will be regulars on future safety, search and rescue, observation, and other on-water operations in the future.  

Others have stepped us as well, traveling to Coast Guard Training Center Yorktown, VA and completing courses in seamanship, patrol management, marine safety and environmental protection, and radio communications.  With training in cold water survival, marine safety administration and management, and marine environmental outreach, and the Leadership and Management School on the horizon for experienced members of the crew, newcomers to the unit remain engaged as they continue to work through their "Basic Introduction Course" under the guidance of experienced mentors.

Marine Safety Training Bulletin (May 2010)

posted May 2, 2010, 5:11 PM by Andrew Welch   [ updated May 2, 2010, 5:32 PM ]

POC: Andrew Welch, SO-MS, andrew.welch@cgauxnet.us.

There is one upcoming training opportunity in the Marine Safety field within Sector Baltimore during May.  If you are aware of others, please notify POC.

Understanding Hazards - Tuesday 11 May, 1900-2100; Coast Guard Yard, Barry Hall.
This class is needed for both Container and Facility PQS qualifications currently available for augmentee duty at Sector Baltimore.  This will not be sign off, but will rather be just the mentoring to get members ready for sign off.  Uniform is not required, I plan to be there by 6:30, so that we cal begin at 7:00 pm.  Driving directions are available at http://www.uscg.mil/hq/cg4/yard/driving.asp.  Ask about parking at the Guard Post entering the Yard.  Please notify Bruce Becker, ADSO-MS, at bbeckerusa@yahoo.com to register, and copy Andrew Welch, SO-MS, at andrew.welch@cgauxnet.us.



There are currently opportunities to pursue the following PQS within Sector Baltimore (please notify POC if interested):
  • Container inspection;
  • Pollution Investigation;
  • Facility Inspection;
  • Commercial fishing vessel examination;
  • Uninspected passenger vessel examination;
  • Marine Prevention Outreach Specialist;
  • Marine Safety Administration and Management Specialist.
Additional information and background available at this link: Increased Coast Guard Auxiliary support for Marine Safety, Security, and Environmental Protection.

USCG Auxiliary offers "Inflatable Life Jacket" basics for boaters, mariners, and Auxiliarists

posted Jan 13, 2010, 8:51 AM by Andrew Welch

Note that the full article text, photos, and diagrams are available in the PDF document attached at the bottom of this page.

Inflatable life jackets are comfortable and make patrolling in hot/humid weather a lot easier if authorized to be worn on the facility. Regardless of the style worn, all Auxiliarists should know how to maintain inflatable life jackets and be able to answer boater’s questions about them.

The term “life jacket” rather than “PFD” is used exclusively in this article because of the Coast Guard Boating Safety Division’s national thrust to promote life jacket wear and endorsement of the “Wear It” theme. The National Safe Boating Council and state boating authorities are also embracing “Wear It”; and promoting “life jackets” not “PFD’s.” In order to standardize the terminology used with the boating public, please only use the term “life jacket.” There were 709 recreational boating fatalities in 2008, two thirds of them drowned (510) and ninety percent of the victims (459) were not wearing their life jacket, as has been the case for the past ten years. Promoting Wear It and boater education will save lives.

The Coast Guard initially classified inflatable life jackets as Type V Hybrid Inflatable Devices with performance levels equal to a Type I, II, or III as noted on the label. They have evolved into the Type II and Type III categories making it easier for boaters to comply with boating laws. Read the label or data printed inside the life jacket to determine its Type and any restrictions.

There are three brands of mechanisms accepted by the USCG for automatic and manual inflating life jackets. It should be noted that some inflatable life jacket brands are not USCG approved but may use components similar to those used in USCG approved life jackets. If an automatic inflatable life jacket does not inflate when a wearer goes into the water, all models have a manual alternative. To manually inflate, the wearer pulls the lanyard attached to the mechanism to puncture the CO2 cylinder. If the cylinder is unused and properly installed, it will inflate the life jacket. A third option is to orally inflate the life jacket using a tube located on the wearer’s upper left side of the inner life jacket. The yellow lanyard handle can be seen on the bottom left side of this special demonstration model. The orange oral inflation tube can be seen on the inflated right side.

Many boaters wear life jackets activated by one of two Halkey-Roberts automatic inflating mechanism, which use a 33-gram CO2 cylinder, and chemical inflator bobbin. The “new and improved” yellow shell bobbin replaced the original red shell bobbin in August 2002. Any red bobbins still in use should be promptly replaced. Regardless of the model, the bobbin only fits into the holder one way. The bobbin holder should be completely tightened before the CO2 cylinder is inserted to prevent puncturing the cylinder and inadvertently inflating the life jacket. Some brands use a Secumar inflator mechanism activated by a “pill” rather than a bobbin. When the bobbin/pill holder is properly secured, the firing pin retracts and a green indicator is visible. There are also green/red indicators for the CO2 cylinder and (on some) a green plastic insert for the manual lanyard device. A red indicator in any area indicates the life jacket is not properly armed.

If the inflation mechanism does not have a bobbin holder, it is a manual inflating life jacket. This author encountered boaters who thought they had an automatic model and it was a manual. One boater almost drowned before pulling the lanyard and the life jacket inflated and saved his life.

Regardless of inflatable model, the concept is the same. The bobbin/pill disintegrates when exposed to water and allows a firing pin to puncture a CO2 cylinder and fill the inflatable bladder in about 3 seconds to provide approximately 35 pounds of buoyancy. The manual models are activated by pulling the lanyard. Most automatic mechanism can be re-armed for manual only inflation with only a CO2 cylinder. Some require an adaptor in lieu of a bobbin or pill.

The Auxiliary Operations Policy Manual precludes crew members under orders from using manually inflating life jackets, or automatic models rearmed as a manual model. "Auxiliarists utilizing an automatic inflatable PFD must check before donning that the device is armed and packed in accordance with the owner’s manual, and that a fully charged CO2 cylinder is in place. Scheduled maintenance recommended in the owner’s manual must be completed. Uncharged or manual only inflatable PFD’s are not authorized for Auxiliary use while on orders." Automatic inflatable life jackets hinder egress in an enclosed cabin environment and are not authorized for use on Auxiliary aircraft of any type.

The third accepted mechanism is the CM Hammar inflator used in Mustang hydrostatic life jackets. The Hammar system is activated by water pressure and has a hydrostatic valve in place of a bobbin/pill. When submerged in at least 4 inches of water, the hydrostatic valve activates, and the CO2 cylinder is pierced and the CO2 inflates the bladder. This type life jacket is not affected by getting wet. Unlike the other two systems, the CO2 cylinder is positioned inside of the bladder. Once used, or every five years, the complete inflator and CO2 cylinder must be replaced to rearm it.

Certain inflatable models have a bayonet tip cylinder that requires a 1/8th turn clockwise to a full stop to secure the cylinder rather than a screw-in CO2 cylinder. Particular care should be given when inserting CO2 cylinders with bayonet tips. If the CO2 cylinder is not completely turned, the mechanism is supposed to eject it. It was discovered in some production units a false positive green indication can be achieved by simply pushing the cylinder into the mechanism without turning it to a full stop. If the cylinder is not fully turned to secure it in-place, the life jacket will not inflate, either automatically or manually.  To be safe, periodically check the USCG Boating Safety Division’s web site at http://www.uscgboating.org/ for recalls and the latest information.

When worn by vessel examiners, instructors or at boating safety exhibits, an inflatable life jacket’s comfort quotient is readily apparent to boaters, which is why we wear them on land. Recommend you unscrew the CO2 cylinder at exhibits to prevent manual inflation by a prankster. Then it is always a good idea to check the mechanism before embarking on a patrol. Be prepared to answer questions when wearing an inflatable life jacket because there is a lot of interest in them.

If an automatic inflating life jacket mechanism was activated by a liquid, ensure all parts of the compartment are thoroughly dried before inserting a new bobbin/pill. If there is an immediate need to rearm the life jacket for automatic inflation, you blow dry the compartment then place the life jacket in the sun to dry any remaining moisture. Rearming a wet mechanism for automatic inflation will result in the bobbin/pill dissolving and the life jacket inflating again.

A worksheet at the end of this article is a good preventative maintenance guide and record if used in conjunction with the life jacket owner’s manual/label, and what you learned from reading this article. For example, even if not called for in the owner’s manual, periodically orally inflating a life jacket for a leak check is a good idea. You should submerge it to check that the bladder, oral inflator tube, and cap do not leak. Coast Guard literature reviewed requires a 2 hour inflated observation period semi-annually. One manufacturer recommends overnight evaluation, we agree.

Halkey-Roberts recommends changing their recreational use bobbins every 3 years, more often in extreme conditions such as high temperature and high humidity where a chemical bobbin (photo on left) may deteriorate in less than 30 days. However, most of us are not operating under those conditions and a bobbin can provide years of functional use if inspected. The date of manufacture is on the bobbin’s side; and, they have a life jacket manufacturer’s shelf life of up to 4 years if properly stored. Service life commences at point of sale to the user. Bobbins used in a commercial marine environment should be changed every 2 years. Owners should visually inspect bobbins to ensure the "ridges" are still evident (the exposed surface has ridges) and the bobbin is not cracked or the white fill discolored.
The Secumatic inflator mechanism in some brand life jackets uses a “pill” which has a smooth surface (photo on right). A visual inspection of the pill encompasses ensuring the pill retains its original shape, is not cracked, discolored, or otherwise damaged. Recommend the same change rules as for bobbins apply.

A half moon green plastic pin inserts into Halkey-Roberts and Secumar mechanisms and retains the lanyard arm in place. These can break when removed. A few on-line sources offer rearming kits and/or individual components. However, a word of caution is warranted. While obtaining individual replacement components, such as a pin, bobbin or pill, may be cost effective, as a rule inflatable life jacket owners should purchase the rearm kit specified for their life jacket. That is because the opportunity to use an incorrect CO2 cylinder exists. Only knowledgeable persons should purchase components.

The critical time for needing a functioning life jacket is not when a boater should discover a mistake was made rearming. When purchasing a rearm kit, ensure that kit is specified for that model life jacket. Model numbers can be found on the inner side near the “USCG Approved” statement. Always ensure the correct capacity CO2 cylinder is used. This is particularly important when rearming belt pack life jackets because they use smaller CO2 cylinders than other models. Stick with the manufacturers’ recommended product to be safe and always check your jackets bobbin and CO2 cylinder before getting underway. We made checking these items part of patrol crew briefings.

The most significant factors in life jacket service life are their use, storage, and maintenance. With high usage, poor storage, and poor maintenance, a life jacket can wear out to the point of being unserviceable within a year or less. For inflatable life jackets, beside routine checks on the CO2 cylinder and inflation mechanisms, there is some added maintenance at least annually for checking the bladder as specified by the manufacturer. For automatic inflatable models, the care of the automatic components are particularly important and may have a limit on service life of only a few years or less in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.

The USCG does not specify a maximum service life for inflatable life jackets. A lifejacket remains approved if it is in "serviceable condition." If a life jacket can be used properly and is not deteriorated, it is acceptable as meeting carriage requirements.

As with most items aboard any vessel, reading instructions, becoming familiar with how to properly wear and inflate the life jacket, and properly maintaining the equipment with clean storage will promote a better service life which could possibly safe a life when necessary.

There are also automatic inflatable life jackets for pets which operate on the same life saving principal as for humans. Unlike most inherently buoyant pet life jackets, in addition to keeping the animal afloat, these models keep its head out of the water when the animal becomes too tired to keep paddling. They use Halkey-Roberts bobbin mechanisms with an 8 gram CO2 cylinder for up to 15 pound pets, 12 gram for up to 40 pounds, and a 25 gram for up to 200 pounds. These life jackets also have the manual and oral inflation capability that owners can use. While animal life jackets are not USCG approved, they nevertheless have a place and can help promote pet owner life jacket wear, and especially life jacket wear by children.

We hope this article answered your questions about the operation, rearming, care and maintenance of inflatable life jackets. Mustang Survival also has videos that can be viewed at http://www.mustangsurvival.com/resources/documentation/training/md3031/index.html.  Readers are invited to contact the author at cgauxstu@yahoo.com with questions or comments.

Disclaimer: Although brands, manufacturer names and item, and sources are mentioned, the U.S. Coast Guard and Coast Guard Auxiliary do not endorse any particular product or brand over another. What we do endorse is wearing a Coast Guard approved life jacket on the water.

Contributors: Mr. Martin Jackson from Coast Guard Lifesaving & Fire Safety Division, Leland Ltd., Halkey-Roberts and Coast Guard Auxiliary B, O and V Departments all provided valuable information used in writing this article.

Photo credits: Our appreciation to Halkey-Roberts, CM Hammar/Mustang Survival, Stearns, and Critter’s Inflatable for permitting use of their photos; and the North American Safe Boating Campaign for the banners below.

Discussing Marine Environmental Protection with High Schoolers

posted Jan 3, 2010, 6:01 PM by Andrew Welch

Andrew Welch, Marine Safety officer for Flotilla Arlington | Northern Virginia, spent the day on December 17, 2009 discussing Marine Environmental Protection and the role of the Coast Guard with students at Berkeley Springs High School in Berkeley Springs, WV.

Welch discussed the experience on his blog, a portion of which is quoted below.

"Speaking with a mix of Government, Biology, and Environmental Science classes, we covered a variety of topics including invasive species (also called aquatic nuisance species), hazardous materials and marine pollution, Coast Guard roles and responsibilities, and the process by which a system based on rule of law principles incorporates international engagement, law making, policy formulation, implementation, and all of the external inputs to generate the "playbook" by which government agencies (such as the Coast Guard) get their job done."

ASTD learning and development professionals have opportunities to serve as one of "America's Volunteer Guardians"

posted Dec 3, 2009, 10:43 AM by admin@cgauxnova.us   [ updated Dec 7, 2009, 8:56 AM by Andrew Welch ]

Several members from Flotilla Arlington | Northern Virginia are attending an event held by the DC Chapter of the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) this evening.  We've heard a lot about the organization, whose website explains that, "The chapter provides members with a forum for professional development opportunities and resources to improve the workplace learning and performance industry," a great goal, and one that shares much in common with the missions of the Auxiliarists working in our organization's training, personnel, and leadership functions.

I, Andrew Welch, am personally excited to attend the event because of past and current involvement in the Auxiliary's university programming initiatives.  I served last year as an instructor to our Detachment at The College of William and Mary, and now serve (in addition to my duties here in Northern Virginia) as the program manager for our university efforts nationwide.  Many of us in a volunteer service wear multiple hats, but those that I have worn helping to develop our newest members have proven to be the most rewarding.

In keeping with the event's theme centering around career enrichment through volunteerism, we hope to connect with ASTD members and share thoughts on volunteering for positions in which they could use their expertise.  The Auxiliary offers a number of opportunities in which learning and development professionals can contribute to the service's missions and the development of our people.

We appreciate this opportunity to meet and learn with the members of ASTD.  We invite you to learn more about opportunities (below) for these learning and development professionals to serve in the Auxiliary as one of "America's Volunteer Guardians", and all non-ASTD members to learn more about that organization by visiting their website at www.dcastd.org.  Visit "Interested in Joining" (www.cgauxnova.us/join) to learn more or to get started.

Designing Learning

Whether locally for Flotilla Arlington | Northern Virginia, in the greater DC area, or nationally through the Training Department, Auxiliarists at all levels of the organization are responsible for developing the continuum of operational training necessary to field operationally ready units for our many mission areas, or the education necessary to develop our leaders at all levels.


Improving Human Performance

In October I had the privilege of attending and presenting at the Coast Guard's three-day Human Performance Technology conference in Williamsburg, VA.  I had worked with several of these folks in the past, but was quite impressed with what I learned, and the great discussions I had with the Coast Guard's uniformed and non-uniformed human performance professionals from around the country.  My presentation focused on cross-training a "new generation of Guardians" from among our active duty, reserve, auxiliary, and civilian work forces.  The experience was both rewarding and indicative of the Coast Guard's commitment to the human performance concept.


Delivering Training 

Auxiliarists actually have a unique opportunity in delivering training.  Our qualified instructors deliver both in boating and nautical education to the public, helping to keep them safe on the water, but also to our own members on any number of operational, leadership, and organizational topics.


Facilitating Organization Change

The Coast Guard and Coast Guard Auxiliary are currently in the midst of the most significant organizational change since their founding.  Organization framework and processes from the unit level all the way to national and headquarters levels are being reshaped with the goal of dramatically enhanced mission execution and value to the American public.  As the organization changes, so too are local level units such as Flotilla Arlington | Northern Virginia looking at their operationally processes and seeking to make dramatic strides.  This work is ably facilitated by our organizational change leaders, and is a great area of current personnel and volunteer need.

Managing the Learning Function

Every Coast Guard Auxiliary unit--be it a local area Flotilla, a regionally-focused Division, a District encompassing several states, or the national staff--is home to one or more dedicated "Member Training Officers" charged with managing the delivery of training and maintenance of qualifications of fellow Auxiliarists.  This is a particularly significant opportunity in Flotilla Arlington | Northern Virginia as we develop a new generation of leaders and grow in number of members and scope of mission to serve the safety needs of the local public and marine environment.

Coaching

A new approach to member development locally, coaching has been for some time a significant area of focus championed by Coast Guard leadership's Individual Development Plans and the Leadership Development Framework.  There are opportunities for our members to serve as coaches, particularly for younger and less professionally experienced Auxiliarists, and as managers of this process as work continues to educate our work force on coaching concept.

Career Planning and Talent Management

In a similar vein as "coaching", of career planning and talent management practitioners are called on to facilitate the development of skills in new members, of particularly value when working with members of the "Millennial Generation" to chart their course within the organization, and also to work in Member Training and Personnel roles to match mission needs with volunteers' skills.

Managing Organizational Knowledge

The confluence of new technologies and and methodologies with the coming of age of a new generation of eager volunteers has created in the Coast Guard Auxiliary a need to retain and then transfer significant organizational and operational knowledge.  Leaders in this space will find significant need for their expertise and opportunity to make a real impact on the organization's future.

-- Andrew Welch, andrew.welch@cgauxnet.us

Flotilla Arlington | Northern Virginia will connect with public, partners, potential members through newly launched website

posted Dec 1, 2009, 11:13 AM by admin@cgauxnova.us

Today we are very happy to launch a new website for United States Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 054-25-12 at www.cgauxnova.us.

Our hope is to use the site to provide information to and make connections with our Arlington and Northern Virginia communities like never before.  To that end, the site has been built entirely through Google's "Sites" application, which we felt made the site a bit more rich, more dynamic, and more accessible to many in the public that are already familiar with Google products.

The new site exemplifies the need the Flotilla and the Auxiliary have for devoted volunteers with professional experience outside the maritime domain.  Web designers, communications and information technology specialists, and public affairs practitioners are welcomed and valued as uniformed volunteers in Team Coast Guard.

We invite you to learn more about the AuxiliaryFlotilla 25-12, and our missions here in Northern Virginia, and we hope that you will subscribe to our news feed and check back often as our volunteers work hard to serve the community.

1-10 of 10