Martha’s Vineyard Coast Guard Auxiliary chapter recognizes members

Three Flotilla 11-9 volunteers passed advanced training.

From left, Vice Flotilla Commander Glenn DeBlase, Division Commander Mike Hays, Division Vice Commander Ray Hogan, Flotilla Commander Tim Carroll, Derrick Teel, Joe Berini, Stephen Lewenberg, Wayne Iacono, and Karen Kukolich. —Rich Saltzberg

On Saturday, at a modest ceremony in the training room of Coast Guard Station Menemsha, Coast Guard Auxiliary officials recognized three members of Flotilla 11-9, the Island’s recently established auxiliary, for having completing a rigorous training program. Referred to as the doctoral degree, the Operational Auxiliarist Program (AUXOP) confers advanced skills and knowledge on Auxiliary volunteers through a series of courses and proctored examinations.

Islanders Derrick Teel, Joe Berini, and Glenn DeBlase passed the program. In recognition of their hard work, each received a decoration known as the AUXOP Device. Coast Guard Auxiliary Division Commander Michael Hays, along with Division Vice Commander Raymond Hogan, were on hand to present the decorations.

Flotilla commander and Chilmark executive secretary Tim Carroll said attaining the AUXOP device is a special accomplishment, and enumerated what it takes to get one. “It is achieved through extensive study and academic testing in weather, seamanship, marine patrol, radio communications, leadership courses, marine safety, pollution prevention, and navigation,” he said.

Although not present, several other members of Flotilla 11-9 received awards or commendations on Saturday. Norman Somer and Veronica Murry received certificates for five years of service to the Auxiliary. Chris Scott received a certificate for completing 50 hours of public affairs activity. David Pothier earned a certificate of advancement to Instructor Specialist, and was awarded a certificate for superior performance of duty. In addition, he was honored with a plaque as flotilla member of the year.

The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary is a civilian arm of the U.S. Coast Guard. From vessel inspections to marine rescues, it performs many of the same functions the Coast Guard does, and helps to reduce costs and free up resources across 16 national districts. Flotilla 11-9 is part of District 1NR, which encompasses Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine. It is the Vineyard’s third flotilla since WWII. Due in large part to recruitment efforts by David Pothier, who previously volunteered in Woods Hole’s Flotilla 11-2, Flotilla 11-9 was founded last November at a ceremony in the Coast Guard boathouse in Menemsha.

According to Flotilla Commander Carroll, the Island’s Auxiliary would welcome new recruits. Division Commander Hayes agrees. “Vineyarders should definitely consider joining the Auxiliary,” he said in an e-mail to The Times. “The best way to do this is to contact Tim Carroll, or they can go to the and click on: Join Us Now.”