Flotilla 04-08 New Member Information
Welcome Aboard Flotilla 04-08! Below is a basic survival guide, prepared
by our members, with information on obtaining uniforms in the New Jersey/New
York area, their care and feeding, and basic military and sea service customs
- 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 McHale's navy.
- 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 example.
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 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 white hat).
- 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
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 may have
embroidered or metal office insignia on the collars, sewn on name tape and
USCG AUXILIARY tapes, (name always goes on the right breast), and embroidered
cloth tape or metal Coxswain devices above the USCG AUXILIARY tapes. It's
highly recommended that you remove any metal devices prior to donning a PFD,
as they could cut you or the PFD, (especially bad with inflatables). 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 collar devices and the pin-on
name tag. You can replace the name tag with 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 collar device.
Only wear V-neck undershirts with this uniform.
- For both of these uniforms, consider removing you name tag and any metal
devices before donning
a PFD/Life Jacket. The name tag can get caught on the inside of the PFD,
and if you are hit while wearing it (or collar devices) the pins in the back
penetrate skin very well, as well as the chance of cutting either you or the
PFD exist. If you're going out on a boat, or working around lines, consider
removing any rings you may have to avoid "degloving or amputation" type
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.
For a catalog/price list, see the member's web page.
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. See the link on the member's page.
The Care and Feeding of Uniforms From Tasha VanEs,
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 shirt.
- 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 back creases.
- 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
- On board ship, always remove your hat when entering the sick bay or when
- Never wear a hat on a flight line or anywhere else it could be a safety
Saluting *(see examples below)
- 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
- 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)
- 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
Returning a Salute
- Return any salutes you receive.
- 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 military vessel:
- 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 go ashore.
- 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 ashore.
- 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
e-mail to Webmaster/FSO-CS
SEMPER PARATUS -- ALWAYS READY
(The Coast Guard motto)