AUP Alumni Newly Commissioned Ensigns

by Luis Meyer | Remote Collaborative Unit

On 17 May 2018, the US Coast Guard commissioned its newest Ensigns from Officer Candidate School in New London, CT.  Amongst the class of 76 Ensigns commissioned three were alumni of AUP. ENS Jacob Marx, a 2017 graduate of the Remote Collaborative Unit; ENS Molly Sternberg, graduated in 2017 from Unit Hampton Roads; and ENS Jesse Thrift, a 2014 graduate of Unit Washington.

They are pictured below with Andrew Welch - Director of Strategic Planning, Dr. Graig Arcuri - Division Chief for AUP, and LTJG Chris Papas - Operations Branch Chief (2015 Unit William and Mary alumnus and OCS grad).  Appearing from left:  Mr. Welch, ENS Thrift, ENS Sternberg, ENS Marx, Dr. Arcuri, LTJG Papas. (Photo: Melissa Kelly)

We wish the new Ensigns Fair Winds and Following Seas as they head off onto their new adventures

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National Operations Weekend 2018

National Operations weekend (NATOPs) is a time when Auxiliary University Program (AUP) students from around the nation convene to share ideas along with receiving unique training opportunities. This year’s conference was held at Texas A&M at Galveston (TAMUG), a distinct honor, but also a challenge for the officers and students to plan a challenging event.

AUP Students Attend Ethics Forum

AUP Students Attend Ethics Forum

AUP’s goal is to provide quality leadership education and opportunities to its members. To achieve that, AUX Christian Bowers and AUX Luis Meyer, both of the Remote Collaborative Unit, attended one of the Coast Guard’s premier leadership training events, attending the 29th Annual RADM Thomas Wetmore Ethics Forum at the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT.

AUP Visit to Oak Island Station, North Carolina

AUP Visit to Oak Island Station, North Carolina

Waking up at 0330 in the morning to begin a three-hour long road trip is not typically my idea of fun; however, I was wide awake and excited to visit the Coast Guard Station Oak Island for the first time. I was eager to learn firsthand about the daily routines and events that went on there and to have the opportunity to meet some members of the Coast Guard.

Unit Piedmont Student Receives Silver DAR Outstanding Cadet Medal

Unit Piedmont Student Receives Silver DAR Outstanding Cadet Medal

On April 19th, representatives of the North Carolina Society DAR, Davie Poplar Chapter, presented the Silver DAR Outstanding Cadet Medal to Jamie Marie Ramos. This presentation was the first to an AUP Cadet in North Carolina. Presenting the Award Certificate was Ms. Jane Forbes who was instrumental in bringing the AUP Cadet program to the attention of the DAR. Presenting the Silver Medal was Ms. Jean Lusted, the Regent of the Davie Poplar Chapter.

Unit William & Mary alumnus graduates from OCS

Unit William & Mary alumnus graduates from OCS

On 9 May 2017, AUP and William and Mary alumnus Jonathan Roth (2015) graduated from Coast Guard Officer Candidate School in New London, CT.  ENS Roth (right) is pictured with fellow 2015 W&M and AUP alumnus ENS Christopher Papas. ENS Papas graduated from OCS in November 2015.

2017 National Operations Weekend

2017 National Operations Weekend

Twelve AUP students convened in Washington, DC from the weekend of 7 April 2017. Unit Washington, Unit Virginia Tech, Unit Hampton Roads, Unit San Diego, and Remote Collaborative Unit (RCU) were represented over the weekend. Highlights of the weekend included participating in drills and visiting Station Washington and Coast Guard Headquarters.

AUP Unit California Maritime Change of Watch

AUP Unit California Maritime Change of Watch

On 6 April, 2017, AUP Unit California Maritime held a Change of Watch ceremony. At the ceremony, 20 students were recognized as AUP Seniors. Their former Unit Leader, Andrew Manning, was also recognized by Flotilla 51 as Auxiliarist of the Year. In attendance were CAPT Drelling (D11 Prevention) and CDR Kazek (USCG Ret.). Brazo Zulu!

Unit William & Mary Student Experiences Life Aboard USCG Cutter

Unit William & Mary Student Experiences Life Aboard USCG Cutter

This winter break, I was privileged to spend 26 days aboard the USCGC Hollyhock, homeported in Port Huron, Michigan. She is a 225-foot buoy tender and icebreaker, commanded by Lieutenant Commander Molly K. Waters.
I didn’t know what to expect when I came on board, but I was ready to experience cutter life.

Internship at the United States Coast Guard Academy

Internship at the United States Coast Guard Academy

AUP students are eligible to apply for an internship with the USCG. Mr. Christopher Us is another AUP student who worked hard and contributed to the program. In the case of Mr. Us, from AUP Virginia Tech (Flotilla 7-7 out of Fairfield, Connecticut), AUP is a way to serve his country as well as using it as a springboard towards Officer Candidacy School. 

Internship at USCG Air Station Elizabeth City

Internship at USCG Air Station Elizabeth City

As part of AUP, students involved are eligible to apply for an internship with the USCG. These internships typically follow the interests of involved students as a way of putting all the classroom knowledge to work. In the case of Mr. Jacob Marx from Flotilla 9-5 out of Davenport Ohio and a member of the Remote Collaborative Unit, it was a way for him to become more familiar with the workplace at a Coast Guard air station.

AUP Unit Spotlight: California Maritime and Massachusetts Maritime Academies

AUP Unit Spotlight: California Maritime and Massachusetts Maritime Academies

The California State University Maritime Academy and Massachusetts Maritime Academy are the largest and most successful units in the USCG Auxiliary University Programs, both offering AUP to all attending cadets. The program is similar to ROTC in the sense that the program teaches students about the Coast Guard, builds professionalism and leadership qualities, and presents opportunities to interact with both enlisted and officer Coast Guardsmen while gaining hands on experience. 

Leaders Serving: Ensigns Garrett Hendrickson and Joshua Smith Emphasize the Importance of Networking

Leaders Serving: Ensigns Garrett Hendrickson and Joshua Smith Emphasize the Importance of Networking

AUP is a perfect way for students to get involved in the world of the US Coast Guard. They are presented with countless opportunities to interact with enlisted and officers. It is not every day that an AUP member is given the chance to hear from a USCG Officer who was once an AUP member themselves, learn about what they did as member, and get some advice. Both Ensign Garrett Hendrickson and Ensign Joshua Smith graduated from OCS and were avid members in AUP while they were undergraduates.  

Mass Maritime Academy Cadet Voyages on the Juniper

Mass Maritime Academy Cadet Voyages on the Juniper

Cadet Matthew Singleton of Massachusetts Maritime Academy went aboard the US Coast Guard Buoy Tender Juniper. While aboard the vessel, Mr. Singleton used his skills obtained at the Maritime Academy to contribute towards his activities.

AUP Alumni Graduate from U.S. Coast Guard Officer Candidate School

AUP Alumni Graduate from U.S. Coast Guard Officer Candidate School

Congratulations to (L to R) ENS Chris Papas, ENS Chris Weber, ENS Garrett Hendrickson, and ENS Sam Sbalbi (not pictured) on their graduation from U.S. Coast Guard Officer Candidate School on 24 November 2015. 

Leaders Serving: Alum John D. DeCastra says AUP prepped him for a bright future

 

By Bethany Buchanan Bogacki | Branch Assistant, Public Affairs

Editor's note: Leaders Serving is an occasional series where the AUP catches up with its alumni to see what they're working on and what advice they have for future and current AUP students. 

John D. DeCastra, the Response Department Head of Marine Safety Unit Huntington West Virginia, was grateful for what he learned as an Auxiliary University Programs student the first week in his position when he had to handle a pollution incident and unsafe tugboat, all within days of each other.

“The AUP is where I learned to do all that,” DeCastra said. “So not only was I in the AUP learning how the Auxiliary and Coast Guard worked and recruiting others, I was also a full-time engineering student, working 20-plus hours a week, designing race cars, had all these different priorities going on. The AUP really taught me how to dig into manuals, prioritize and handle multiple things that might seem daunting and break them down into more manageable chunks.”

The AUP caught up with the alumnus recently to see what he’s up to. Below are his replies to submitted questions, edited for mechanics and style.

 

Which school did you go to? For how long? When did you graduate?

Auburn University. Four years. August 2012.

 

How old are you?

25 years old.

 

What was your major in college?

Mechanical engineering.

 

How did you join the AUP? When?

I joined the AUP through a friend who I saw wearing their uniform on campus.  The brought me to a meeting, and the rest is history. I joined the fall semester of my junior year.

 

What positions did you hold during your AUP tenure?

I was an instructor and a vessel examiner.

 

Will you explain your current job title and where you work? What are your duties?

I was initially a non-rate, seaman, on the CGC GALLATIN, a 378-foot cutter stationed out of Charleston, S.C.  While stationed there I painted, cleaned, scrubbed dishes, stood helm and lookout watches, sailed through Hurricane Sandy searching for survivors of the HMS Bounty, launched helicopters off the cutter in the middle of the night, was part of a custody crew of a fishing vessel caught smuggling drugs off the coast of Columbia, in total I was a part of seizing a little over 10 tons of cocaine.  I then got picked up for OCS and was stationed on CGC DILIGENCE out of Wilmington, N.C.  The first six months I was the Command, Control, and Communications Officer.  I supervised the Combat Information Center and selected boarding targets on a northeaster fisheries patrol, and mid Atlantic fisheries patrol.  Within those six months we boarded over 150 commercial fishing vessels preventing illegal harvest in closed areas and prevented illegal fishing practices that not only created unfair competition, but depleted limited natural resources through over fishing.  The last year I was the first lieutenant where I was in charge of Deck Department, which consisted of overseeing preventative hull maintenance schedules to keep a 50 year old ship operational through corrosion control (ensuring paint was on the hull and the ship stayed white), and ensuring the cutters small boats were operational and crews were trained.  Lastly I was the aviation officer and worked closely with the air stations to ensure the cutter personnel were trained and proficient in launching and recovering helicopters.  I am currently the Response Department Head of Marine Safety Unit Huntington West Virginia where I am responsible for Law Enforcement, Ports Waterways and Coastal Security, Incident Management, Recreational Boating Safety, and Search and Rescue on a little over 1,000 miles of river in Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky.

 

What did AUP teach you about leadership?

When I was a part of the AUP, it was in its infancy. By this I mean that the formal training programs, courses, internships, ect. were not yet established.  I spent the bulk of my time in the AUP trying to set those things up by building relations with the Gold Side by traveling to a small boat station that was four hours away to stand watches and work with the station personnel, gaining AUX quals, recruiting people in the college and, most importantly, building relations with the Auxiliary (something I am still doing for the AUP as the auxiliary liaison for my unit).  One specific example of this was speaking at the District 8 Auxiliary conference with the D8 commander present about the advantage the AUP has in diversifying the Auxiliary and the other advantages it has.  The Auxiliary is currently trying very hard to get more age diversity.  Every flotilla I come in contact with is very interested in the AUP and how to get younger people involved. This being said, the AUP taught me about upper-level management, thinking about the big picture, and working with partners through first-hand experience.

 

How did AUP prepare you for your future?

It gave me first-hand experience in working in upper-level management, working with partners, and how the Coast Guard works. It also gave me exposure to ICS and other incident-management tools.

 

What would you say to all the current and future AUP students out there?

Get involved!  Get your quals, teach classes, conduct CMEs, do patrols, volunteer at your local station as a watchstander.  You will get more out of the program, experience more of the local communities, more out of the coast guard, and more self satisfaction.  Not only get involved with the AUP, but also the other local flotillas in the area, division, and district!  You will inspire your other flotillas, your fellow AUX members.  The more involved you get the more you will benefit from the program, and the more the CG and American public will benefit from the AUX.


Know someone who should be profiled as a part of this series? Fill out this form here, send an email to Bethany Buchanan Bogacki at bethany.buchanan@cgauxnet.us or share your recommendation on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #AUPthought.