Coast Guard Auxiliary elects new commander and vice commander

Tim Carroll, left, and Glenn DeBlase discuss responsibilities of newly elected positions at the Coast Guard Auxiliary meeting. — Lucas Thors

Two Coast Guard Auxiliary members at Station Menemsha were given new roles in the Martha’s Vineyard and Elizabeth Islands flotilla 11-9 at an election meeting Saturday.

The Coast Guard Auxiliary exists to support all Coast Guard missions, except those requiring direct intervention from law enforcement or military engagement.

Some central tasks of auxiliarists include teaching boating safety courses, conducting safety examinations, and responding to distressed boaters.

A unanimous vote by the nine members who were present made Joe Berini, originally vice flotilla commander, the new flotilla commander. Secretary Derrick Teel will take over Berini’s prior position as vice flotilla commander. According to Berini, the flotilla commander provides primary leadership and supervision to the flotilla, and is responsible for assuring that the overall program conforms to the Coast Guard and auxiliary policies and procedures, as well as providing the communications link with division elected officers. The vice flotilla commander has the primary responsibility for unit administration and coordination between staff members, and is essentially the chief of staff for the flotilla.

Berini and Teel will officially take over their responsibilities on Jan. 1.

Berini said elections are held each year, but a member can only hold a position for two consecutive one-year terms.

To be elected to an official position, a flotilla member must have at least one year of certified experience and must complete staff officer prerequisites.

A past flotilla commander, Glenn DeBlase, said he thinks Berini will be the best choice for the position. “I wholeheartedly endorse Joe. He has been doing a great job, and has been the real backbone for our flotilla,” DeBlase said. “I appreciate what he has done for us, and I believe his new position as flotilla commander is well-deserved.”

DeBlase said the flotilla has been doing a great job, but there are some small things that need to be addressed. “Little things like CPR certification we need to take care of, but other than that, I am proud of our flotilla,” he said. “I am pleased to hand the reins over to Joe.”

Members of the group were pleased to meet Louis Piacentini, a new applicant to the flotilla.

The Menemsha Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla was formed in 2015, and according to DeBlase, has improved its membership base and gotten more organized each year.