In The Loop - Smithfield Flotilla 59 Newsletter - March 2016
Meet Our People
Meet our newest mem-
ber, Mark Mills, origi-
nally from Yorktown and
CG AUX Division VI.
Best of the Web
Flotilla 59’s website was
recently named the
“Best of the Web” of all
flotillas in MD, VA and
Safety at Sea
Flotilla 59 members
recently attended the
Safety at Sea Seminar at
The Mariner’s Museum
in Newport News.
The Newsletter of U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 59 • Smithfield, VA • March 2016
Flotilla 59 named “Best of the Web”
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
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.
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
District 5SR Awards Banquet
cont. from page 1
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@
gmail.com. 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.
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 www.aux59.org.
Name: Mark Mills
Hometown: Yorktown, VA (Moving
Profession: Project Manager/
Estimator, GC Commercial, Inc.
Family: Stephanie (Wife) and Peanut
Years in Auxiliary: 4 yrs. 6 mo.
Last/Highest Office: Division Vice
Commander (Division VI, Sector
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
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.
Immediate Past Division Commander
Al Coke held a special DSAR briefing
during the meeting. Highlights from that
• 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”
• DSAR will be held at TRACEN Yorktown
or Ft. Eustis. Capt. Vance will attend.
- 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
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
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
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.
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
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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