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’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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
A vital and exciting element of the AUP course of study is the internship component. This summer, two AUP students secured internships with the Department of Homeland Security.
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.
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.
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.
On Saturday, March 5th of 2016, LTJG William R. Singletary of the AUP class of 2013 from The Citadel, received the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal.
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.