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Our History - Page 1 of 2

Flotilla 24-11 was originally named Flotilla 17-11 but became 24-11 when Division 24 was officially established back in January, 1997.  What follows is an historic look back to our noble beginnings as a very active Flotilla.

From "The Rangelight, November 1973"

      Ten years never seems to be a long time in the coming, but in the recalling, ten years can hold a great deal more than one might expect.
      For Flotilla 17-11 it holds days and hours of planning and hoping.  It holds as well minutes and seconds of anxious waiting.  It is about these days, hours and minutes you now read.
      On a cool November evening in 1963 the U. S. Coast Guard presented a quiet but determined group of men the charter of Flotilla 17-11 U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.       This occasion marked the end of months of meetings and discussions for and against the establishment of the new unit.  Only through the efforts of the individuals then involved was the chartering effected.
      If there was any question remaining in the minds of the new Flotilla's opponents as to the competence, zeal, drive, or motivation of the new unit's membership it was quickly resolved.
      Within the first week of its existence Flotilla 17-11 was in full operation responding to emergencies on Long Island Sound.
      The needs of boating safety required Public Education Courses for 1964 be started as soon as possible, so instead of starting as planned in March, courses were moved up to January.
      Though many students successfully completed the required course of instruction there were still more than a desirable number of boaters who became cases for 17-11 during the summer months.
      After one full boating season and over 150 assist missions many of which were carried out during late evening hours, it became obvious that a land-based communications center would better facilitate the operations program of the Flotilla.
      In January of 1965 the Flotilla was donated a used Connecticut Company Bus which after hours of labor by a number of willing hands was transformed into a totally mobile emergency communications center equipped with R.D.F., Public Address, Radio, charting gear, tools, counters, and eventually a galley and refrigerator.  Truly a spectacle to behold was "The Bus".
      Well prepared was Flotilla 17-11 in 1967 as it plunged headlong into a boating season not to be forgotten.  Early mornings, late evening the crews of 17-11 moved both boats and bus chalking up scores of assists on the Sound.
      1968 had one of the most memorable events in the unit's first ten years.  A boating safety spectacular was held at Saybrook on the Connecticut River complete with marine parade, parachuting, scuba divers, marine fire fighting demonstration and numerous exhibits, and oh yes "The Bus" of Flotilla 17-11.  Our mobile communications center was pressed into service for the event and driven from its home at Adams & Podoloff Marina in West Haven to Saybrook on the Connecticut River and there became the coordinating center for the Boating Spectacular.  The bus, driven by Frank Ward was passed toll-free on I-95 both ways - how, no one has yet explained.  It was, as you might expect, manned throughout by those "volunteers" of 17-11.  In 1968 following a short period of dismay when the Group Commanders Award was presented to the Division XVII as a whole and spurred on by the desire to convince all concerned that the seeming error would never bear repeating, Flotilla 17-11 again forged ahead into operation at full tilt.
      The first move in 1969 concerned the location of "The Bus".  Up until 1969 it had been permanently located in the Adams & Podoloff Boat Yard, but by this time there was a growing desire within the Flotilla to get the Bus moved to a better "radio" location, as reception in the boat yard was far from being ideal.  During the spring of 1969 the bus was brought to a new home on Ocean Avenue opposite the West Shore Fire Station and adjacent to the West Haven Fish & Game Club on the beach.