Uniforms, Insignia & Ribbons
U.S. Coast Guard Breast Insignia and Badges
(Brought to you by USCG Port Security Unit 305)
U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Breast Insignia and Badges
For more information, read the current version of the
A poor uniform may reflect poorly on you, but that's the least of the reasons for wearing a proper uniform -- when you act as an Auxiliarist, you represent the Auxiliary, the Coast Guard ("CG"), and the United States. A shabby uniform reflects poorly on all three. When the public sees you, they see the Coast Guard. When you are in improper uniform it makes the Coast Guard look bad in the eyes of the Public, and the Auxiliary look bad in the eyes of the Coast Guard.
An improper uniform on a military base, especially at a CG base, stands out like a sore thumb. Every contact with the CG is an opportunity to leave a good impression of the Auxiliary and the professionalism with which we do our job, or make us look like folks out of McHale's navy.
A uniform commands respect and represents authority. This can aid the auxiliary mission.
What uniform should I wear?
A couple of uniforms will take care of more or less all of your needs. Most of the "different" uniforms share components. For more in-depth information, see the uniforms chapter of the Auxiliary Manual, but here's a quick survival guide:
Members use the Tropical Blue Long at meetings and for Public Education.
The Tropical Blue Long uniform consists of the Coast Guard ("CG") blue wool pants, the short sleeved light blue (Air Force style) shirt with epaulets. Shoulder boards, the plastic pin-on name tag, and ribbons are worn on the shirt. Collar devices are not. When out of doors and not sitting, wear the garrison cap or combination cover (big round white hat). Only wear V-neck undershirts with this uniform - your undershirt should not be showing.
Note - this is called "tropical blue long." The long is for long pants. The Coast Guard (not auxiliary) has a tropical blue uniform with short pants, called "tropical blue short."
Women may wear the CG blue skirt in place of the pants. See the USCGAUX manual for specifics.
On patrol, use the Working Blue uniform or Summer Undress Blue Bravo uniform. The choice of uniform is up to the Coxswain. Also ask the Coxswain about shoes. Boat shoes or black military style boots are usually worn with this uniform. Some Coxswains prefer boat shoes to protect their boat's deck from excessive wear.
The Summer Undress Blue Bravo uniform consists of the Coast Guard ("CG") blue cotton/poly work pants, and the short sleeved light blue (Air Force style) shirt with epaulets. Wear collar devices and the pin-on name tag. Do not wear shoulder boards or ribbons. Wear the blue CG Auxiliary baseball cap with a collar device. Only wear V-neck undershirts with this uniform.
The Working Blue uniform consists of the Coast Guard ("CG") blue cotton/poly work pants, and the short sleeved CG (dark) blue shirt without epaulets. Wear collar devices and the pin-on name tag. You can replace the name tag with sewn on name cloth tapes with your name and "USCG AUXILIARY." Do not wear shoulder boards or ribbons. Wear the blue CG Auxiliary baseball cap with a collar device. Only wear V-neck undershirts with this uniform.
For both of these uniforms, consider removing you name tag before donning a PFD/Life Jacket. The name tag can get caught on the inside of the PFD, and if you are hit while wearing it (or collar devices) the pins in the back penetrate skin very well.
If you are unsure about what uniform to wear, ask. Your interest in keeping up the image of the Auxiliary will be appreciated.
Where do I get the uniform?
Auxiliarists with a current, laminated ID card with photo have access to CG exchanges for any and all purchases except alcohol and tobacco. Axiliarists can use DOD (Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force) exchanges to purchase uniform items and accessories only.
The Auxiliary also has its own stores in each district which do business via mail order and set up a store at the district conference. For a catalog/price list, see your FSO-MA.
Some private companies also sell CG and Auxiliary uniforms.
Shop around for the best prices between the various outlets.
The Care and Feeding of Uniforms
From Tasha VanEs, USCGAUX:
Working blue shirts and sew-on devices:
It is a good idea to wash your working blue shirts along with new name tapes before you sew on the name. In other words, if you get a new shirt and new name tape, throw both into the washer/dryer a few times before you actually get the tapes affixed to the shirt. The reason for this is that the shirt and tape may not wear the same way, and you might end up with a name tape that makes the shirt all wrinkly around the edges. A CG Petty Officer recommended this, and suggested the wash process be done at least 3-4 times before you go sewing on the tapes.
Use and maintenance tricks from Flotilla members or learned by trial and error.
Devices: Name tags and certain devices can be prevented from "flopping" by using a backing. Vanguard makes (and exchanges carry) backing material, which you wear inside the shirt, cut to the device size. As an alternative, use thin cardboard or plastic, such as that from a margarine container lid. The auxiliary manual contains instructions on where on the uniform they should be positioned. If you have any questions about proper placement, just ask!
Covers: Hats, or covers, are to be worn squarely on the head, not tilted back or to the side. Hair or bangs should not be visible below the brim or hatline of the cover. Long hair should be up and away from the collar and contained under the hat, not sticking out the back. Covers should always be worn outdoors, and removed indoors.
Shirts: -- Putting creases in your shirts, from Dan Desai --
For the front of the shirt, use the pocket flap buttons as a guide for where to place the crease, and have the crease run parallel to the buttons down the shirt from the collar to the tails/bottom. Thus, you will end up with 2 creases down the front of the shirt.
For the back of the shirt, find the center of the shirt, and crease from about 2 inches below the collar to the bottom. Take a dollar bill and place it spread out lengthwise to each side to find the side creases. These creases will begin about an inch lower than the primary crease and go to the bottom. Thus you will end up with three back creases.
Don't forget to press the sleeves!
Shoes/Boots: Keep your black shoes shiny! Total investment under 5 bucks. Here's how:
The Exchanges should have a few things you need: Polish, a Shoe brush, a rag, and of course, your shoes (they're not included in the price quote).
Read the directions on whatever black polish you pick. If they differ, follow their directions, not mine. Basically, you apply a thicker layer first, allow it to dry for a few minutes, then brush that layer to create the base. Not much shine will appear after this layer. Then, you apply a thin layer, you don't need to let it dry. By gently sprinkling water on the new layer, then buffing it with a soft cloth, you will begin to develop a nice shine. You can repeat a few times if necessary. The only caveat in this process is, if you go too crazy with the buffing, you'll actually overbuff your shoes, lose the shine, and have to start over.
Belt and Buckle: The belt should be cut such that there is not a long "tail" left over. In fact, the silver end of the web belt should just slide through your buckle enough so that it appears an uninterrupted chunk of silver at the buckle.
Don't be afraid to ask questions about proper uniform. The only dumb questions about uniforms are the ones that don't get asked!