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Author Topic: USCGAux Benefits compared to CAP Benefits  (Read 14508 times)
SARMedTech
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Posts: 798

« on: April 22, 2008, 12:04:03 AM »

Many, including myself, have brought up things that the USCGAux does well that CAP doesnt, and vice versa.  Aside from CAP not being a full time military Auxiliary, I would like to hear a reasonable and calm discussion on what various members think one auxiliary does better than another, what training might be superior in one over the other, etc. Im not at all interested in a bashing session, just a comparison and a way to see how both auxiliaries might learn from each other.  Thanks.
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Major Carrales
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« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2008, 12:14:13 AM »

Temper this discussion with the Knowledge that CAP and USCGAux have always been "different animals."  Most of their aircraft, for example, are privately owned.

I would suggest dual membership in coastal areas, although even I cannot afford that.
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SARMedTech
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 798

« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2008, 12:22:47 AM »

Well, I was sort of predicating it on the fact that folks would operate under the knowledge that the CGAux is water based and that CAP is Air/Ground based.
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CadetProgramGuy
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« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2008, 12:24:02 AM »

CGAux does hold a Land SAR course though.
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Slim
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« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2008, 01:02:29 AM »

Here are a few things that I enjoyed about my time in the CG Aux, in no particular order.
  • CG SAR is a lot more proactive, being out on the water and establishing a presence.  It also tended (at least in my AOR) to cut down on a lot of shenanigans, the other boaters knew we were out there
  • The training was top-notch, and in most cases, the same as that used by the AD CG.
  • Not being treated like a leper by the gold-side.  They actually appreciated the fact that we were out there, multiplying the numbers.
  • Yeah, the exchange benefit was nice, but the closest CG exchange was about the size of a gas station, and located inside the Group (now Sector) Detroit building.  And, other than unit caps, sold no uniforms.  They would order them from UDC for you, or ship you out to the big AAFES MCSS at Selfridge ANGB, where we could only buy uniform items anyway.  But, it was nice to pop in and grab a pop or something like that.  I did visit CGEXes at two different Group offices (Grand Haven and Sault), that were similar in size to Detroit's.  CGAS Traverse City actually had a pretty decent sized exchange.

By far, my best experiences were working with the AD people on operations.  SAR cases were always hit or miss, just depended on whether our facility and crew
had pulled orders and got underway.  Though there were a few times when the facility I crewed on was used as the primary SAR boat while the 41' was out on something else, and we did get a case or two.
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Slim
afgeo4
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« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2008, 01:10:25 AM »

Here are a few things that I enjoyed about my time in the CG Aux, in no particular order.
  • CG SAR is a lot more proactive, being out on the water and establishing a presence.  It also tended (at least in my AOR) to cut down on a lot of shenanigans, the other boaters knew we were out there
  • The training was top-notch, and in most cases, the same as that used by the AD CG.
  • Not being treated like a leper by the gold-side.  They actually appreciated the fact that we were out there, multiplying the numbers.
  • Yeah, the exchange benefit was nice, but the closest CG exchange was about the size of a gas station, and located inside the Group (now Sector) Detroit building.  And, other than unit caps, sold no uniforms.  They would order them from UDC for you, or ship you out to the big AAFES MCSS at Selfridge ANGB, where we could only buy uniform items anyway.  But, it was nice to pop in and grab a pop or something like that.  I did visit CGEXes at two different Group offices (Grand Haven and Sault), that were similar in size to Detroit's.  CGAS Traverse City actually had a pretty decent sized exchange.

By far, my best experiences were working with the AD people on operations.  SAR cases were always hit or miss, just depended on whether our facility and crew
had pulled orders and got underway.  Though there were a few times when the facility I crewed on was used as the primary SAR boat while the 41' was out on something else, and we did get a case or two.

What are the costs of CG Aux like? I know you have to pay for the uniforms there too, but how much do they cost? How often are there changes? Is there a membership fee?

I know that CAP doesn't require any experience in flying for one to become a member. How is that in CGAux? Would it make sense for someone to join if they don't like boats much?
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GEORGE LURYE
PA Guy
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« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2008, 04:26:27 AM »

I augment 2-3 days a month in a CG clinic. The gold side has been very accepting. The biggest difference between Aux and CAP is the attitude of the gold side folks. For the most part they appreciate what we do and like Slim said you don't feel like a leper when you walk around the base. When I augment I wear the member shoulder boards and I don't eat in the wardroom or chief's mess of the galley. I also don't go to the O Club unless I've been invited. Remember, there is no rank in the Aux only the symbol of office. If that is important to you the Aux would not be a good fit for you.

The CG Exchange is no big deal. Most of them are fairly small and I only use it for sundries while I'm on base. I have never taken advantage of the MWR facilities. One nice thing is the ability to order uniforms on line from the CG uniform center.

The costs are about the same as CAP. The most you might get from the CG is mileage and per diem for attending a course although I sometimes get mileage and per diem for augmenting. The only dues are local flotilla dues, in my case $25/yr.

If you are looking for a "military" experience the Aux might not be for you.  There is no D&C and customs and courtesy instruction is minimal. Auxies seldom if ever salute each other but are expected to render courtesies to CG officers. The demographic of the Aux tends to be quite a bit older than CAP.

If you live away from the coast you better like Recreational Boating Safety because that is the bread and butter of the inland flotillas. Getting crew qualified takes awhile with a lot of hoops to jump through, much longer than CAP. The background checks take a long time. And if you need the in depth DO background get ready for a full blown check starting with the SF 86 and interviews with your neighbors. The SF 86 also includes a release allowing the govt. to look into any part of your life they choose including financial, medical etc.

As I said I have enjoyed my time with the Aux but CAP and the USCG Aux are two very different animals.

As always, YMMV.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2008, 04:34:59 AM by PA Guy » Logged
SARMedTech
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Posts: 798

« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2008, 05:46:05 AM »

Here are a few things that I enjoyed about my time in the CG Aux, in no particular order.
  • CG SAR is a lot more proactive, being out on the water and establishing a presence.  It also tended (at least in my AOR) to cut down on a lot of shenanigans, the other boaters knew we were out there
  • The training was top-notch, and in most cases, the same as that used by the AD CG.
  • Not being treated like a leper by the gold-side.  They actually appreciated the fact that we were out there, multiplying the numbers.
  • Yeah, the exchange benefit was nice, but the closest CG exchange was about the size of a gas station, and located inside the Group (now Sector) Detroit building.  And, other than unit caps, sold no uniforms.  They would order them from UDC for you, or ship you out to the big AAFES MCSS at Selfridge ANGB, where we could only buy uniform items anyway.  But, it was nice to pop in and grab a pop or something like that.  I did visit CGEXes at two different Group offices (Grand Haven and Sault), that were similar in size to Detroit's.  CGAS Traverse City actually had a pretty decent sized exchange.

By far, my best experiences were working with the AD people on operations.  SAR cases were always hit or miss, just depended on whether our facility and crew
had pulled orders and got underway.  Though there were a few times when the facility I crewed on was used as the primary SAR boat while the 41' was out on something else, and we did get a case or two.

What are the costs of CG Aux like? I know you have to pay for the uniforms there too, but how much do they cost? How often are there changes? Is there a membership fee?

I know that CAP doesn't require any experience in flying for one to become a member. How is that in CGAux? Would it make sense for someone to join if they don't like boats much?

You have a point. However, while all Auxies are taught boating basics, I know from my visit to the flotilla nearest me that there are plenty of positions which can be filled "ashore" for those who arent interested in becoming BCM's or whose physical condition does not allow them to endure the rigors of crewing a what can be rather large Auxie facilities (Auxie for boat). Also, there is much more a culture of participating as much or as little as you like or are able. I would say from my limited experience with CAP and from my even more limited experience with the Aux, there are far more options for the elderly to put on the "blazer combo" (the Aux equivalent of the golf shirt uniform) or to wear no uniform at all and still find ways to participate. I saw two men who appeared to be in their mid-70's wearing nothing identifying them as Auxies other than their lapel pins and was told that they are very active in administrative functions within the flotilla. Something else worth nothing is that the older culture of the Aux is changing as flotilla and other staff officers make an increased effort to recruit younger members. The friend who is trying to recruit me, who is also a team member in IMERT, let me know that his flotilla has a great number of new "up and comers" who are EMTs, ham radio operators, college students studying marine ecology, etc. Subsequently, there have been great improvements made to this flotilla's vessel to reflect the new types of missions they are taking on as new, younger and more gung-ho members join the ranks. I also noticed that there is a great sense of pride in the fact that Auxies wear insignia, badges, etc which are virtually identical to their gold side counter parts except for the fact that they may be silver instead of gold and have the tell-tale Auxie "A" on them somewhere. While I am not particularly concerned with blingage, having bling which is much more equivalent to the AD folks is a big moral booster and I think plays no small part in the excellent relations between the gold and silver sides. I wish I could be a two hatter in CAP and the Aux, but there will come a point where I will have to make a decision.

By the way, when I used the word "benefits" in the title of this thread, I was not referring to being able to shop at the BX. I meant rather to indicate the benefits of the overall culture of the organization. I'd like to thank those who have participated so far for keeping it civil and productive. Though I will not be able to be dual-hatted if I make the crossover, I know that there are lots who are and I appreciate their input.

I want to thank all those who have contributed to this thread so far for keeping it civil and on track and I look forward to even greater input as the days go by. Thanks to one and all.
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RRLE
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Posts: 378

« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2008, 05:51:47 AM »

Quote
To an extent I think you are right about the customs and courtesies being a little less formal at the flotilla level, ie during the meeting I attended, I did not see very many boat crew members saluting their commanding officer.

Auxies are not supposed to practice D&C among themselves. The following are quotes from the USCG Auxiliary Manual, aka AuxMan.

Quote
Saluting is not required between Auxiliarists. Saluting is proper courtesy for Auxiliarists when greeting commissioned officers of the Armed Forces (to include National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) uniformed officers, who serve with the Armed Forces).

Quote
The hand salute is a long-established form of greeting and recognition exchanged between persons in the armed services. Saluting between Auxiliarists is not usually the custom.

One of the quickest ways to get labeled a wannabee in the Aux is to engage in saluting another Auxie or insist on being saluted by other Auxies.

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SARMedTech
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Posts: 798

« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2008, 06:04:15 AM »

Quote
To an extent I think you are right about the customs and courtesies being a little less formal at the flotilla level, ie during the meeting I attended, I did not see very many boat crew members saluting their commanding officer.

Auxies are not supposed to practice D&C among themselves. The following are quotes from the USCG Auxiliary Manual, aka AuxMan.

Quote
Saluting is not required between Auxiliarists. Saluting is proper courtesy for Auxiliarists when greeting commissioned officers of the Armed Forces (to include National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) uniformed officers, who serve with the Armed Forces).

Quote
The hand salute is a long-established form of greeting and recognition exchanged between persons in the armed services. Saluting between Auxiliarists is not usually the custom.

One of the quickest ways to get labeled a wannabee in the Aux is to engage in saluting another Auxie or insist on being saluted by other Auxies.



I don't think its correct to say that Auxies are not supposed to exercise D/C with other Auxies. What I saw on my recent flotilla visit were BCMs and even coxswains saluting their flotilla commander and vice commander. Because AUXMAN, which I have recently been studying, says that it is not required between Auxies, does not mean that it is not done out of respect for one's superior FOs/FSOs. I havent met an Auxie yet who would "insist" on being saluted and I certainly don't think it is the mark of a wannabe to salute someone who is superior to yourself within the Aux. It is a sign of respect that, during the course of one meeting, I saw several Auxies participate in. My CAP sqdn has a former AD NCO and to be quite honest, it makes me a little uncomfortable to be saluted by him. In my mind, in a military/para-military auxiliary, it makes much more sense to salute someone with a superior rating that signifies in many cases years of hard work than it does to salute someone with more brass on his collar simply because he has it. While saluting is a sign of respect and though not required among Auxies, I do believe that it is appropriate and the meeting that I attended saw a lot of saluting because it was a promotions and awards ceremony.
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RRLE
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« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2008, 07:20:17 AM »

What you witnessed is very abnormal for the Aux and a violation of the clear rules.

This was previosuly quoted as being in the AuxMan - maybe it needs its own highlight.

Quote
Saluting between Auxiliarists is not usually the custom.

The AuxMan is Commandant Instruction (COMDTINST). If he states that saluting is not customary, then it is not customary - period - end of story - private motives and good intentions do not count. What you witnessed is a flotilla that is in clear violation of the Commandant's instruction by making saluting customary. Flotillas sometimes get a rogue leadership that goes 'off the reservation' when it comes to saluting and other military courtesies - but they get noticed sooner or later and the situation is corrected. One way they often get caught is they take their improper D&C to a wider forum (like a division or district meeting) and the higher-ups fix it.

The CG has always had a policy that the Aux is a civilian organization and it does not want the Aux to attempt by any backdoor means to become a para-military one.

A few years ago, the issue of saluting within the Aux became a hot topic on one of the Aux boards. A cross-over member of CAP tried to institute saluting within the Aux as a matter of national policy. That failed. He also got his flotilla to do what you witnessed - until he took his saluting 'off the reservation' and got called on it. During that debate in the Aux I wrote a research note (several pages long) on "Saluting Within The Aux".  It was posted on the web but was removed. I can repost it to my private web page if you care to read it. It shows that saluting within the Aux has never been the custom and should not be made customary.

And FWIW - Auxies do not practice drill or marching in formation either.

The thread so far has stressed Aux boat crew.

The Aux also has an air program - using private planes as someone mentioned.

The qualification levels are:

Air Observer - very minimal qualifications, earns a ribbon.
Air Crew - most of the non-flying pilot qualifications are required, a medical is required. Earns wings. I held this qualification (as well as coxswain)
Co-pilot - minimum pilot qualification - rarely used and rarely gets missions. Pretty much restricted to logistics flights
First Pilot - medium qualifications.
Aircraft Commander - requires IFR rating.

The pilot ratings are mainly based on 2 factors - license (VFR/IFR) and time as pilot-in-command. Experience as PIC before joining the Aux counts. There has also been a move within the Aux to move away from a 'take anyone who applies for the program' to becoming much more selective in terms of accepting candidate observers, air crew and pilot candidates and aircraft. In some districts it would be hard to join the air program as a pilot if you were not capable of being an aircraft commander, for example.

Above Aircraft Commander are the optional qualifications of Instructor Pilot and Flight Examiner (usually both are held at once).


The air program in the Aux is very district and then air station dependent. The 7th District (Fl, GA, SC, VI, PR) is probably the most active. Some districts have no air program to speak of.

The Aux also has a radio program. However, from what I have read of CAP comms - the CAP program is light-years ahead of the Aux program -  in terms of qualifications, equipment provided and nets. However, Auxies can augment at CG stations as watchstanders - it is a fairly common way for Auxies to augment at CG stations. An Auxie must be able to meet and pass the CG PQS (Personal Qualification Standard) - just as the Coasties do.



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mikeylikey
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« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2008, 09:01:09 AM »

Yikes......the whole "don't salute because it's not customary", just turned me off of the Coast Guard Auxiliary. 

To actually think someone would get reamed out for throwing a salute is just plain ridiculous. 

Wow.....

Your AUX regs says "not customary", it did not say forbidden.  There is a difference.  IF they wanted it forbidden, they would have written forbidden!
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isuhawkeye
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John's web site
« Reply #12 on: April 22, 2008, 09:11:56 AM »

Saluting is simply not a part of their culture
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afgeo4
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« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2008, 10:11:11 AM »

I'm confused. They want to look as military as possible (as close to a/d USCG as can be), but act as civilian as possible? That may be why they don't attract many people. It sends a dual message that says "we're fakers!" even though that's not really the case.

Think of how that looks to a civilian... they don't know you're not the real Coast Guard... or the Navy for that matter when you're  in black/whites. You wear the grade insignia of an Ensign and you're not saluting someone who's wearing the grade insignia of a Commander? I'd have a negative impression.

I think the custom of not saluting is proper for an organization that doesn't wear military uniforms.
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GEORGE LURYE
JayT
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« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2008, 10:33:18 AM »

I'm confused. They want to look as military as possible (as close to a/d USCG as can be), but act as civilian as possible? That may be why they don't attract many people. It sends a dual message that says "we're fakers!" even though that's not really the case.

Think of how that looks to a civilian... they don't know you're not the real Coast Guard... or the Navy for that matter when you're  in black/whites. You wear the grade insignia of an Ensign and you're not saluting someone who's wearing the grade insignia of a Commander? I'd have a negative impression.

I think the custom of not saluting is proper for an organization that doesn't wear military uniforms.

I disagree, even through I do find it odd.

Honestly, how often do you see CAP Senior Members exchanging salutes? Where does it say we're required to salute?

I don't think that would put members of the public off. Does Johnny Q know what an Ensign insignia is? Or a lite or full Commander?

Infact, the opposite could be true. A lot of the pilots and boaters I know are pretty independent types.
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MIKE
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« Reply #15 on: April 22, 2008, 10:45:00 AM »

No offense to my fellow Auxies, but from what I've seen... a lot couldn't pass for "military" despite the similarities of the uniform.

Someone asked about dues.  My CAP dues are around $55 a year, while my Aux dues are still under $30 a year.  Like with CAP, your dues may vary.
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Mike Johnston
sandman
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Posts: 351

« Reply #16 on: April 22, 2008, 01:27:03 PM »

Yikes......the whole "don't salute because it's not customary", just turned me off of the Coast Guard Auxiliary. 

To actually think someone would get reamed out for throwing a salute is just plain ridiculous. 

Wow.....

Your AUX regs says "not customary", it did not say forbidden.  There is a difference.  IF they wanted it forbidden, they would have written forbidden!

Just to let you know, we do salute often. Sector San Diego and others encourage it! Many members are former military and continue the custom in CGAUX uniform. You will not receive a bad label for saluting and in fact may increase the patriotism of your unit.

That said, there are some people that will cast an odd look at you. Those people are from some backwater flotilla who have no members with any military service, have irregular contact with division or higher or the gold side, and are comfortable with just being another "yacht club"

I encourage you to reconsider joining! Take time to look at several flotillas near you (if you have that option). You could be just the person they are looking for to initiate that patriotic spark!

/r

LT
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JoeTomasone
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« Reply #17 on: April 22, 2008, 06:41:02 PM »

Honestly, how often do you see CAP Senior Members exchanging salutes? Where does it say we're required to salute?


CAPP 151, Section 2b:

b. Saluting. It is a courtesy exchanged between members of
the Civil Air Patrol when in military-style uniform as both a
greeting and a symbol of mutual respect. As such, it is never
inappropriate to salute another individual. The basic rules
regarding saluting for CAP members are:
(1) You salute when in military-style uniform.
(2) You salute the President of the United States, all
Medal of Honor recipients, and commissioned officers and
warrant officers of the Armed Forces who are senior in rank to
you.
(3) You do not salute when indoors unless you are
formally reporting to an officer senior in rank to you.
(4) You salute when outdoors unless:
(a) You are carrying articles (or a heavy object) in
both hands, which cannot be transferred to the left hand, or
another legitimate reason such as injury, and so forth. In this
case, an oral greeting should be exchanged, such as "Good
Morning, Sir or Ma'am." If you are the lower ranking individual
and the one you are approaching is higher in rank but
whose arms are incapacitated, you will still salute.
(b) You are in a designated "covered" or "no salute"
area, (aircraft marshalling areas and flightlines are "no salute"
areas).
(c) You are a member of a military formation or a
work detail (only the senior member of the formation or detail
salutes).
(d) You are attending a public gathering such as a
sports event.
(5) When on a military installation, you salute officers in
government cars if the car has a flag or metal standard that
identifies the rank of the occupant (usually general officers
and military wing or base commanders).
(6) Military personnel are not required to render a salute
to CAP personnel, but they are not restricted from doing so if
they desire.


Now, b(2) is a little misleading since it states that you salute AD officers superior in rank to you, but not CAP Officers.   However, since the parent paragraph states "It is a courtesy exchanged between members of
the Civil Air Patrol when in military-style uniform as both a greeting and a symbol of mutual respect.", then the omission isn't much of a problem to me.   I sent a question to the KB and they mucked the answer up while not answering the question.

The AD officers I've saluted have seemed pleased to see it done (which hopefully doesn't mean that many CAP members do NOT salute them), and I've even been saluted by AD airmen, which I appreciated (but obviously have no right to expect).   I definitely agree with the sentence that states that it is a sign of respect and therefore never inappropriate, and therefore can't fathom what the CG Aux is thinking by requiring NO saluting.   I have my own personal rule - I originate salutes to Spaatz cadets to show them that I respect and honor their achievement.   It catches them off guard, but when I remind them that as soon as they turn Senior that they'll outrank me anyway, it's not as awkward.

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RiverAux
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« Reply #18 on: April 22, 2008, 06:53:02 PM »

CG Aux does not have any land SAR training or mission as someone mentioned earlier. 

Advantages to being a CG Aux member vs CAP --
1.  If you are near a CG unit and are interested, you can probably find an opportunity to work directly with the CG in some form or fashion and have a real impact on helping them perform their mission, or at a minimum improve morale by giving some Coastie a shift off while you do their job.
2.  More actual programs in which you can participate whether on water or land.  As noted, they all revolve around boating safety, but there is actually much more that a CG Auxie can do.  Lots of things that you can do as an individual compared to CAP which is pretty much all done as a team.
3.  Because of the wide variety of programs and opportunities for individual work you can really plan out your CG Aux activity pretty well.  A lot of certainity about when you'll be doing stuff. 
4.  Pilots in coastal areas will get way, way, way more free flying time with CG Aux than CAP since they do regular patrols. 
5.  The AF lawyers aren't involved in CG Aux!


Advantages of CAP over CG Aux:
1.  CAP is monumentally more involved in disaster relief missions.
2.  CAP is much more hooked into the local community (for the most part) and you're not tied down to just supporting the AF.
3.  I think the opportunity to work to develop kids into leaders is a net plus for CAP membership.
4.  I think CAP missions are generally more challenging than CG Aux missions.  While CG Aux occassionally does have multi-boat events (even some really big ones), they're not all that complex and are usually geared towards non-emergency situations.

Overall costs are about the same between CAP and CG Aux for most members. 
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isuhawkeye
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Posts: 1,282

John's web site
« Reply #19 on: April 22, 2008, 07:19:23 PM »

really,

Essentially you are correct the coast guard aux does not have an operational ground component, but then there is this

http://www.acc.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-060606-010.pdf

Otherwise great assessment


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