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In The Loop - Smithfield Flotilla 59 Newsletter - March 2016


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In this issue: Best of the Web, Meet Our People, Safety at Sea Seminar. In The Loop is the authorized newsletter of U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 59, Smithfield, VA. It is published monthly.

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In The Loop - Smithfield Flotilla 59 Newsletter - March 2016

  1. 1. Meet Our People Meet our newest mem- ber, Mark Mills, origi- nally from Yorktown and CG AUX Division VI. page 2 Best of the Web Flotilla 59’s website was recently named the “Best of the Web” of all flotillas in MD, VA and NC. page 1 Safety at Sea Flotilla 59 members recently attended the Safety at Sea Seminar at The Mariner’s Museum in Newport News. page 3 In this issue: The Newsletter of U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 59 • Smithfield, VA • March 2016 Flotilla 59 named “Best of the Web” Meeting Highlights See Website, page 2 See Meeting, page 2 Smithfield Flotilla 59 held its monthly meeting Feb. 15, 7 p.m. at the American Legion in Smithfield. Here’s what you may have missed if you could not attend: Awards and Recognition Lou Bott, Tom Sparling, and Al and Anne Coke received an award from the District Commodore for six years of service. Al Coke also received his eighth Coast Guard Auxiliary Sustained Service award for 6,000+ hours of service. Peter Faleski received his third sustained service award for a total of 2,250 hours. Tom Sparling also received his Meritorious Team Commendation ribbon and award for serving as support staff during DSAR 2015. Announcements Flotilla 59 had a 100% response rate to the latest CGAUX accountability drill. Boat Crew and Coxswains are advised to mark their PPE with a serial number consisting of their initials plus the last four digits of their member ID. FSOs in AP status must formally request a waiver to continue serving as of Jan. 1, 2016. Next DTRAIN will be Feb. 2017. Standing Rules now specify that dues will be collected by Jan. 31 and be $52. HENRICO, VA – U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary District 5 Southern has proclaimed Smithfield Flotilla 59’s website the “Best of the Web” out of all Flotillas throughout Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina for 2016. District Commodore Robert A. Sersen, Jr. announced the award at the District 5 Awards Banquet, held Feb. 14 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Henrico, VA. A panel of eight District-level officers selected Flotilla 59 for the award after reviewing several finalists throughout the three states comprising the District. Immediate Past Flotilla Commander Peter Faleski accepted the award on behalf of the Flotilla. “We’ve made numerous updates to our website in recent history to make it easier for the general public to learn about the Auxiliary and the services we provide, such as our boater safety classes and free vessel safety checks,” Faleski said. “And we’ve made it easier for them to request those services directly from our website.” Updates that contributed to the flotilla’s award included the option to easily request a free, no-consequence vessel safety check by one of the flotilla’s certified vessel examiners directly from the site, and the addition of a searchable database where anyone interested in boating can find and sign up for local boater safety classes for all age groups. The panel was impressed with the Flotilla’s overall design, as it offered a balanced approach to reaching the public as well as serving as a resource to Flotilla members. District 5SR Awards Banquet
  2. 2. S M ITHFIELD, V A FLOTILLA SMITHFIELD, VA Website cont. from page 1 Meeting cont. from page 1 In the Loop is the authorized newsletter of U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 59, Smithfield, VA. It is published monthly as a PDF and emailed to members. Hard copies are available by request from the editor. Members are encouraged to submit articles, photos, and letters to FSO-PB/FSO-CS Stephen Faleski at stephenfaleski@ Editor reserves the right to edit all submissions for length and content. FC/FSO-MS: R. Anderson Braswell VFC: H. Fred Hetzel FSO-FN/PA/MT: Peter Faleski FSO-CS/PB/SR: Stephen Faleski FSO-IS/PE: George Langdon FSO-HR: Dean Densmore FSO-DV/NS/DCAPT: Michelle Thornton FSO-PV: Charlie More FSO-VE: Lou Bott FSO-OP: Mike Quinn The website also includes a page intended for recruiting new members, which details the benefits of Auxiliary membership and provides step-by-step instructions on how to apply. Though not specifically cited in the award, 2016 Flotilla Commander Anderson Braswell believes the Flotilla’s extensive online multimedia efforts throughout 2015 also played a role in the Flotilla’s award. “Compared to other Flotillas, we currently sit in the top 1 percent in the nation in terms of social media following, such as Facebook, and last year we released a promotional music video on our new YouTube channel that quickly garnered nearly 2,500 views,” Braswell said. “We have taken a forward-looking approach to service in a volunteer organization that has served the nation for the past 76 years. As a result of challenging the process and leading through innovation, we are reaping huge benefits. When volunteer service groups from Tampa, FL and Adelaide, Australia actively seek out the Auxiliary Flotilla in Smithfield, VA for advice and mentoring, you’re doing something right.” Flotilla 59’s now-award-winning Why did you join the Auxiliary: I joined the Auxiliary as a way to serve my country and community. I am a 2002 graduate of the Virginia Military Institute and I was unable to obtain an active duty commission due to a medical issue. I wanted to serve my country and the Auxiliary is a wonderful way to do that. I was sold the second I went to the website. Why did you join Flotilla 59: I chose Flotilla 59 for several reasons. First and foremost it is the membership. I have many friends in F59 and not only are the members of F59 friendly and good shipmates, but they are all very professional, caring, and are filled with a spirit of service. I have held Flotilla and Division level offices, both appointed and elected in another division and I can say that F59 is a model for a great flotilla. I am looking forward to being a part of it. Future plans: I have plans to not only continue, but enhance my new found role as Awards 'czar' for F59. I am also hoping to get more involved with some additional Auxiliary missions and to earn my AUXOP device. I will also look toward other leadership opportunities in the future. website, and additional news and information on the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary can be found at Name: Mark Mills Hometown: Yorktown, VA (Moving Soon!) Profession: Project Manager/ Estimator, GC Commercial, Inc. Family: Stephanie (Wife) and Peanut (Dog) Years in Auxiliary: 4 yrs. 6 mo. Last/Highest Office: Division Vice Commander (Division VI, Sector Hampton Roads) Meet Our People Staff Report Highlights PA - Flotilla 59 received $91.50 in donations at the recruiting booth they set up outside Harbourview Theater in Suffolk during the opening weekend of The Finest Hours. CS - Flotilla 59’s YouTube music video now has 2,500 views. The Flotilla’s website was awarded “Best of the Web” at a DTRAIN awards banquet. IS - Flotilla 59 had a 100% submission rate for 7029s in Jan. DSAR Briefing Immediate Past Division Commander Al Coke held a special DSAR briefing during the meeting. Highlights from that briefing include: • Henry Troutner, Fred Hetzel and Mark Mills have committed to serving on one of Flotilla 59’s DSAR teams this year. • Three teams from District 5SR have already signed up. • The marlinspike event will be different this year. Details to follow. • Teams can be either three or four members this year, and must include a qualified Coxswain, two boat crew, and one optional trainee. • Proctors will be referred to as “umpires” this year. • DSAR will be held at TRACEN Yorktown or Ft. Eustis. Capt. Vance will attend.
  3. 3. Commander’s Corner Flotilla - Anderson Braswell Gen. Chesty Puller once said, “We make Generals today based on their ability to write a letter. Those kinds of men can’t get us ready for war.” I recently attended the Auxiliary Mid-Level Officer’s Leadership (AMLOC) c-school at DTRAIN in Henrico, VA. It provided an opportunity to swap best practices, concerns, and sea stories with other leaders from around the mid-Atlantic area. One common theme I observed that separated the successful units from the unsuccessful units was credibility. High-performing units were not hollow public affairs outfits who recycled pictures of other people doing things. Elite units were, consistently, the units who went out and accomplished things. They go on patrol. They do vessel exams. They teach classes. They recruit by letting their actions do the talking. They build and earn credibility, and other flotillas follow them. A boater safety student once said “I came here to take the class from you guys because I read about your success in Search and Rescue (DSAR). I want to learn from someone who actually knows what they’re doing.” You couldn’t receive a higher compliment than that. Each one of us has helped build that culture of credibility here in Smithfield. We are the kind of men and women who do keep us semper paratus. Let’s keep pushing each other forward. Flotilla Commander Smithfield Flotilla 59 Safety at Sea Seminar Professional and amateur mariners from across the country travel to The Mariner’s Museum in Newport News, VA every year to attend the annual Safety at Sea Seminar, an all-day series of lectures on boater safety. Members of Flotilla 59 were invited to represent the Coast Guard Auxiliary at the seminar and thus were able to sit in on the lectures free of charge Saturday, Feb. 20. Foreground left to right: Anne Coke, Lou Bott, Henry Troutner. Eight businesses in Surry County signed up to partner with Flotilla 59 to promote recreational boater safety through the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary’s merchant/marine dealer visitation program. As partners, these businesses have agreed to display Flotilla 59’s recruiting posters and/ or boater safety literature displays in their facilities. The Surry Seafood Co., a restaurant, hotel and marina set to open in early April, is particularly eager to partner with the Flotilla, not only by displaying literature, but also offering Program Visits Expand into Surry, Windsor their facility as a location for free vessel safety checks and on-site boater safety classes. Six businesses in Windsor also signed up, including Dairy Queen and Citizen’s National Bank. For more information on becoming a merchant/marine dealer or becoming a qualified Coast Guard Auxiliary “Program Visitor” - the term the Coast Guard Auxiliary uses to refer to our ambassadors to local businesses - see Flotilla 59’s staff officer for program visits (FSO-PV) Charlie More, or email District News In addition to proclaiming Flotilla 59 “Best of the Web,” District Commodore Robert A. Sersen, Jr. singled out the Flotilla for several other awards, including: • 3rd place out of 82 flotillas in District 5SR for total Public Affairs hours • 5th place out of 82 flotillas for USCG Admin. Support • Platinum level winner for more than 8,000 total hrs. in 2015 • Platinum level winner for the highest level of avg. hrs. per member in 2015 • 96% of members in BQ status as of Feb. 2016