4 New Member Information
Information for New Members
The Coast Guard Core Values are;
Honor, Respect, Devotion To Duty.
As volunteers with Team Coast Guard,
these values are well worth striving for.
You'll find that they work both with the Coast Guard and in your "civilian"
Below is a basic survival guide with information on obtaining uniforms in the
New Jersey/New York area, their care and feeding, and basic military and sea
service customs and courtesies.
- A poor uniform may reflect poorly on you, but that's
the least of the reasons for wearing a proper uniform -- when you act as an
auxiliarist, you represent the Auxiliary, the Coast Guard ("CG"), and the
United States. A shabby uniform reflects poorly on all three. When the
public sees you, they see the Coast Guard. When
you are not in proper uniform it makes the Coast Guard look bad in the eyes
of the Public, and the Auxiliary look bad in the eyes of the Coast Guard.
- An improper uniform on a military base, especially at
a CG base, stands out like a sore thumb. Every contact with the CG is an
opportunity to leave a good impression of the Auxiliary and the
professionalism with which we do our job, or make us look like folks out of
- A uniform commands respect and represents authority.
This can aid the auxiliary mission.
- Whether or not you recognize it, We are generally
older than the Coast Guard Personnel on the Cutters, at the Stations, etc.,
and when they see us in uniform, we can be role models of a sort. If we look
sharp, observe proper protocol and courtesy it reinforces what they've been
taught. If we don't they may not think they have to either. Let's set a good
What uniform should I wear?
A couple of uniforms will take care of more or less all of your needs. Most
of the "different" uniforms share components. For more in-depth information,
see the uniforms chapter of the Auxiliary Manual, or click on the Uniforms link
on the Member's page, but here's a quick survival guide for Flotilla 4-8:
Flotilla 4-3 uses the Tropical Blue or Winter Undress uniforms at meetings.
- The Tropical Blue
uniform consists of the Coast Guard ("CG") blue wool pants, the short
sleeved light blue (Air Force style) shirt with epaulets. Shoulder boards,
the plastic pin-on name tag, and ribbons are worn on the shirt. Collar
devices are not. When out of doors and not sitting, wear the garrison cap
or combination cover (big round white hat). Only wear V-neck undershirts
with this uniform - your undershirt should not be showing.
- Note - this is sometimes called "tropical blue
long." The long is for long pants. The Coast Guard (not auxiliary) has
a tropical blue uniform with short pants, called "tropical blue short."
- Women may wear the CG blue skirt in place of the
pants. See the USCGAUX manual for specifics.
- The Winter Undress Blue
uniform is similar, with the same CG Blue wool pants, and the long sleeved
light blue Air Force style shirt with a tie for the men or tab tie for
women. Wear the plastic name tag and shoulder boards with the uniform.
Neither collar devices nor ribbons are worn with the uniform. When out of
doors and not sitting, wear the garrison cap or combination cover (big round
- Women may wear the CG blue skirt in place of the
pants. See the USCGAUX manual for specifics.
- Note - black unadorned dress shoes and black socks
are worn with both uniforms.
On patrol, use the ODU or Working Blue uniform. The choice of uniform is up
to the Coxswain. Also ask the Coxswain about shoes. Boat shoes or black
military style boots are usually worn with this uniform. Some Coxswains prefer
boat shoes to protect their boat's deck from excessive wear.
- The Operational Dress
Uniform, or ODU consists of the Coast Guard ("CG") ODU
pants and shirt, ball cap and black (CG type) boots. The shirt may be worn
with the sleeves rolled up accordion style or fully extended and a dark blue
"T" shirt worn underneath. You need to have embroidered office insignia or
if you are working on C.G. Base you need to have Member Devices on
the collars, sewn on name tape and USCG AUXILIARY tapes, (name always goes
on the right breast), and embroidered cloth tape Coxswain devices
above the USCG AUXILIARY tapes. The pants must be worn with the black web
belt with subdued black open faced buckle. While they can be worn with boat
shoes if the coxswain will not allow boots, BOAT SHOES MAY ONLY BE WORN ON
THAT BOAT. If you get off the boat at a CG station, (such as stopping for
lunch), you must then remove the boat shoes and wear them bloused with
boots. Remember that ashore, if you have ODUs with boat shoes you're OUT OF
UNIFORM. **Here's a tip** When buying the ODU pants, buy them at least an
inch or two longer to make blousing easier.** With the ODU, you may wear
black gloves, black scarf, ball cap or knit watch cap.
The all weather parka, windbreaker,
work jacket, trench coat, and wooly-pully or cardigan, with enhanced
shoulder boards, may be worn with this uniform. Additionally, we are
authorized to wear the CG Auxiliary Operational "pull over" golf type shirt
instead of the ODU top, but as with all uniforms, to ensure that they look
"uniform", everyone on the crew should be in the same uniform if possible..
- The Working Blue
uniform consists of the Coast Guard ("CG") blue cotton/poly work pants, and
the short sleeved CG (dark) blue shirt without epaulets. Wear
sew on collar devices and sewn on
name cloth tapes with your name and "USCG AUXILIARY." Do not wear shoulder
boards or ribbons. Wear the blue CG Auxiliary baseball cap with a
device. Only wear V-neck undershirts with this uniform.
- If you're going out on a boat, or working around
lines, you must remove any rings you may have to
avoid "degloving or amputation" type injuries.
If you are unsure about what
uniform to wear, ask. Your interest in keeping
up the image of the Auxiliary will be appreciated.
Where do I get the uniform?
Auxiliarists with a current, laminated ID card with photo have access to
CG exchanges, like those at Station Sandy Hook, Activities New York and Air
Station Cape Cod (Otis ANGB) for any and all purchases except alcohol and
tobacco. Auxiliarists can use DOD (Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force)
exchanges to purchase uniform items and accessories only.
The Auxiliary also has its own stores in each district which
do business via mail order and set up a store at the district conference.
Some private companies also sell CG and Auxiliary uniforms.
See the member's page for the used uniform exchange
Shop around for the best prices between the various outlets.
Store locations and hours:
- USCG Exchange ("CGES") Activities New York, (Fort
Wadsworth), Staten Island, (under the Verrazano Bridge)
- USCG Exchange Station Sandy Hook, M-Sa, hours unknown
- USCG Uniform Distribution Center, NJ, telephone or
mail order unless you want to take a 3-4 hour drive.
The Care and Feeding of Uniforms From Tasha VanEs, USCGAUX:
Working blue shirts and sew-on devices:
It is a good idea to wash your working blue shirts along with new name
tapes before you sew on the name. In other words, if you get a new shirt and new
name tape, throw both into the washer/dryer a few times before you actually get
the tapes affixed to the shirt. The reason for this is that the shirt and tape
may not wear the same way, and you might end up with a name tape that makes the
shirt all wrinkly around the edges. A CG Petty Officer recommended this, and
suggested the wash process be done at least 3-4 times before you go sewing on
Use and maintenance tricks from Flotilla
members or learned by trial and error.
- Devices: Name tags and certain devices can be
prevented from "flopping" by using a backing. Vanguard makes (and exchanges
carry) backing material, which you wear inside the shirt, cut to the device
size. As an alternative, use thin cardboard or plastic, such as that from a
margarine container lid. The auxiliary manual contains instructions on
where on the uniform they should be positioned. If you have any questions
about proper placement, just ask!
- Covers: Hats, or covers, are to be worn
squarely on the head, not tilted back or to the side. Hair or bangs should
not be visible below the brim or hatline of the cover. Long hair should be
up and away from the collar and contained under the hat, not sticking out
the back. Covers should always be worn outdoors, and removed indoors.
- Shirts: -- Putting creases in your shirts,
from Dan Desai --
- For the front of the shirt, use the pocket flap
buttons as a guide for where to place the crease, and have the crease
run parallel to the buttons down the shirt from the collar to the
tails/bottom. Thus, you will end up with 2 creases down the front of the
- For the back of the shirt, find the center of the
shirt, and crease from about 2 inches below the collar to the bottom.
Take a dollar bill and place it spread out lengthwise to each side to
find the side creases. These creases will begin about an inch lower than
the primary crease and go to the bottom. Thus you will end up with three
- Don't forget to press the sleeves!
- Shoes/Boots: Keep your black shoes shiny! Total
investment under 5 bucks. Here's how:
- The Exchanges should have a few things you need:
Polish, a Shoe brush, a rag, and of course, your shoes (they're not
included in the price quote).
- Read the directions on whatever black polish you
pick. If they differ, follow their directions, not mine. Basically, you
apply a thicker layer first, allow it to dry for a few minutes, then
brush that layer to create the base. Not much shine will appear after
this layer. Then, you apply a thin layer, you don't need to let it dry.
By gently sprinkling water on the new layer, then buffing it with a soft
cloth, you will begin to develop a nice shine. You can repeat a few
times if necessary. The only caveat in this process is, if you go too
crazy with the buffing, you'll actually over buff your shoes, lose the
shine, and have to start over.
- Belt and Buckle: The belt should be cut such
that there is not a long "tail" left over. In fact, the silver end of the
web belt should just slide through your buckle enough so that it appears an
uninterrupted chunk of silver at the buckle.
Don't be afraid to ask questions
about proper uniform. The only dumb
questions about uniforms are the ones that don't get asked!
U.S. Military and Sea Service
Customs and Courtesies:
(a survival guide)
- Wear a hat whenever you are out of doors and not
seated. If you are in a covered place (i.e. building with a roof) you need
not wear you own cover (i.e. hat).
- On board ship, always remove your hat when entering
the sick bay or when eating.
- Never wear a hat on a flight line or anywhere else it
could be a safety hazard
Saluting *(see examples
- When - if you are wearing a hat or should be
- Who? - Any officer (CG, other US military,
USPHS, NOAA, allied military) who "out-ranks" you. While Auxiliarists are
civilians and do not hold "rank", use the rank equivalent of your office to
determine who to salute. For example, a FSO wears one silver stripe on a
shoulder board or sleeve lace, or a gold bar collar device. A CG/Navy
Ensign (O-1) wears a single gold stripe on boards or sleeve lave, or, along
with an Army/AF/USMC Second Lieutenant (O-1), wears a gold bar collar
device. A FSO would salute anyone ranking a CG ensign.
- How do I recognize an officer? Look for gold
sleeve striping around the cuff of the jacket, shoulder boards with gold
braid stripes, or officer collar devices.
- Officer collar devices - While enlisted persons
wear chevrons, with a shield if in the CG, and *Chief Petty Officers wear
anchors, officers wear gold or silver bars, oak leaves, eagles, and (for
Admirals and Generals) stars.
- How do I salute? - bring your right hand to
your right temple, generally horizontal but with the back of the hand a
little bit forward.
- When do I start saluting - At a distance from
the officer at which you might make a greeting. It is not improper to
accompany your salute with a "good morning, sir!" or something similar.
- When do I stop? - Stop saluting when the
officer you are saluting returns your salute.
- (What's a Petty Officer or Chief Petty Officer? Petty
Officers are equal in rank to corporals, and Chiefs are equivalent to
Sergeants. As it says at the Chief Petty Officer school, "The Commandant
can't be everywhere, so there are Chiefs")
Returning a Salute
- Return any salutes you
- Return the salute, then stop saluting. The person
saluting you will then drop their salute.
- Failure to return a salute is very rude.
On boarding and departing a
- When boarding, upon arriving at the top of the
walkway, turn and salute the flag, or in the direction of the flag if the
flag at the ship's stern is not visible. Then salute the officer in charge
on the quarterdeck, and request permission to come aboard.
- When departing, salute the officer in charge on the
quarterdeck, request permission to go ashore, turn and salute the flag, and
- If you are not in uniform, the process is similar, but
you do not salute. Turn toward the flag but do not salute. Request
permission of the quarterdeck officer without saluting to come aboard and go
- If entering as part of a work party, one person
salutes and makes the request to board/depart.
Information on customs and courtesies courtesy of Dan Desai, AFSO
SEMPER PARATUS -- ALWAYS READY
(The Coast Guard motto)