- THE UNIFORMED, VOLUNTEER COMPONENT OF THE USCG
The Coast Guard Auxiliary is the uniformed, volunteer component of the United States Coast Guard. As such, we have the right and the privilege to wear the official uniforms of the Coast Guard, with subtle differences in insignia to identify us to one another, and to active duty Coast Guard members. The most obvious differences: their buttons and braid are gold; ours are silver, and our collar and shoulder insignia all have a small "A" signifying "Auxiliary".
Since, to most of the general public, we are virtually indistinguishable from our active-duty shipmates on the "gold side", we are held to the same high standards of dress, grooming, and comportment. We wear the uniform with pride.
- The Uniform of the Day
Different uniforms are worn for different tasks and different levels of formality. But with the exception of operational tasks such as safety patrols, or working alongside the Coast Guard, a blue blazer with dress slacks or a skirt will serve on formal occasions, and many Auxiliarists, particularly new members, wear ordinary civilian clothing to flotilla meetings
But most auxiliarists can be found owning three basic uniforms: the tropical blue ("trops"), the operational dress uniform, or "ODU", and the service dress blue uniform. And, these uniforms are usually acquired in that order.
- Tropical Blue
The Tropical Blue uniform is the typical uniform of the day for flotilla meetings, public education classes, boat shows or other public events, and Auxiliary member training courses. It consists of a light-blue, short-sleeve dress shirt, worn open at the collar, with insignia of office worn on shoulder boards. Complementing this are navy blue dress slacks or skirt, black socks, belt, and black dress shoes. Nametags are worn on the right breast, as on virtually all uniforms, with ribbons and other insignia on the left.
Finishing off the uniform are a choice of hats, or "cover" including the formal, military "combination" cover, with the distinctive flared brim, chin strap and buttons, and pancake-like white top; or the cloth "garrison cap".
- Service Dress Blue and Dinner Dress Blue
Auxiliarists who wish to dress appropriately for more formal occasions add the Service Dress Blue uniform to their kit. The uniform consists of a tailored, four-button, single-breasted jacket with silver lace on the sleeves, flap pockets with silver buttons, matching trousers, a pale blue dress shirt with navy blue four-in-hand necktie (or tab tie for women), and the white and blue combination cover (hat). Although the uniform is considered appropriate for meetings, classrooms, etc., it is rarely seen in such uses, which favor the "trops", and when authorized, the ODU. It is seen, however, at public ceremonies and in honor guards. Nametag and ribbons are worn identically to the tropical blue uniform.
Nonetheless, many auxiliarists own this uniform, because with the substitution of a white shirt for blue, and a bow tie (men) for the four-in-hand tie, the uniform is transformed into the Dinner Dress Blue uniform, worn for formal occasions such as dinners, changes of watch ceremonies, and the like. The nametag is removed, and miniature medals and other insignia substitute for ribbons, etc. Although the tuxedo-like, very formal dinner dress blue jacket or dinner dress white jacket uniforms, depending upon the season, are preferred for such occasions, they are very expensive, and many auxiliarists, as volunteers, cannot justify the purchase.
- Winter Dress Blue
The winter dress blue uniform, authorized in District 11SR from November 1 through March 31, is extremely sharp, and can be worn in place of the tropical blue, adding a "touch" of formality. It is specifically authorized as a substitute for the Service Dress Blue uniform, except on occasions when civilians would wear a coat and tie, which is, in turn specifically authorized to be worn as a substitute for the tropical blue.
It features a navy blue, long-sleeve "CPO" shirt with collar insignia, navy blue necktie (men and women), and matching blue dress trousers, with black socks and black dress shoes. The garrison cap and the combination cover are authorized with this uniform, as are the windbreaker and trench coat.
(Revised 21 June 2011)