U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary National Web Site

Our History - Page 2 of 2

From "The Rangelight, November 1973" (continued)

      Labor Day 1969 was one day which cannot go without notation.  It was a beautiful warm and sunny day, perfect for boating until just about 6 P.M. when emergency weather broadcasts came over the marine radio in the "Bus" which at the time was being manned.  In less that twenty minutes without further warning a severe thunderstorm raced eastward up the middle of the sound.  Torrents of rain and great gusts of literally rocked the Bus and tossed many small boats over, mid-sound.
      Immediately all Coast Guard stations were deluged with calls for assistance from swamped, disabled, and sinking small crafts.  From that hour well into the night members of Flotilla 17-11 manned the telephone, the radio, and their boats assisting in identifying, located, and towing in disabled, missing and overdue boats from the sound.
      As if the events of 1969 were an omen of things to come, 1970 saw a long late night search for a vessel which became disabled, broke up on the New Haven Breakwater and sank five persons on the wall near the old Sperry Lighthouse.  Inadvertently the search teams from 17-11 dispatched on the case were responsible for the safe rescue of these persons who for reasons unknown entered the lighthouse and turned off the light.
      The search team noting the extinguished aid to navigation reported the situation to New London Coast Guard through the "Bus Station."  The Coast Guard in turn dispatched a repair team in a small boat who discovered the people in the lighthouse and brought all safely home.
      In 1971 a medical emergency case became a near nightmare when a boat racing for shore, carrying a fisherman bleeding severely from a large fishhook lodged in his arm struck a rock and began sinking.  The boat managed to make it to Branford under it's own power and was met by a travel hoist and waiting ambulance.  Again emergency services coordinated and provided by Flotilla 17-11 and their "Bus".
      In 1972 crowned all years for assists.  As the saying goes, "We had everything from soup to nuts". And believe me we had plenty of "nuts".
      Through all the years of the Flotillas hard work never had the members had a home of their own.  Generously the West Haven Yacht Club year after year offered their facilities for meetings of "The Flotilla" but there's no place like home.
      By sheer dogged determination, perseverance and the sweat of their brows, the members of Flotilla 17-11 raised funds, poured concrete, cut boards, hammered nails, and nailed down shingles on what now stands as a monument to years of hard work, the permanent base radio communications station at #1 Kimberly Avenue, West Haven home of Flotilla 17-11 Coast Guard Auxiliary.
      In addition to patrolling, towing, inspecting, rescuing, communication and educating the public has provided its facilities contributions to the Auxiliary itself by this Flotilla are most noteworthy.  They include the following officers - 1 District Commodore, 1 Rear Commodore, 2 Division Captains, 2 Vice Captains, 2 District Staff Officers, 6 Division Staff Officers and numerous Division Committee Chairmen for various events and projects.  The membership through their individual efforts have inspected hundreds of boats, run hundreds of assist cases and safety patrols often without reimbursement, taught hundreds of pupils and won to date 9 consecutive Group Commanders Awards, was named 5 years consecutively to the Director's Honor Roll and has received numerous awards for greatest number of hours under orders, and greatest number of days in service per year.  In addition, many individuals have been cited for their outstanding performance as Auxiliarists.
      In the short course of ten years the Flotilla has grown both in members and in spirit.  Many members have joined, some have passed on, may those who have rest in peace.  Many hundreds of boaters have been schooled in safety, may they sail with fair wind over calm seas.
      And to the cause of safe boating and the safe return of those in distress now and in the future this Flotilla continue to dedicate itself as to the chief purpose for existing.
      Now at the conclusion of their tenth year of public service, in their own home, preparing for another ten years of continued service, Flotilla 17-11 says to all those who helped along the way -- a sincere and grateful - Thanks!



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