Featured Shipmate – Auxiliarist Aaron Forste

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


First Year Proficiency Award. Photo courtesy of Auxiliarist Aaron Forste.

What can you do in a year? Some people do nothing. Some people do everything. Auxiliarist Aaron Forste falls in the latter category. That’s why he was rewarded for his efforts with the “First Year Proficiency Award” by his Flotilla, 10-13 based in Wyckoff, NJ. This award holds deep value because it is not given out annually, which Aaron found to be especially meaningful.

Article by Auxiliarist Mary Bethea, Harrisburg, PA

Auxiliarist Aaron Forste. Photo courtesy of Auxiliarist Jaime Ruch.

Aaron acquired his zeal for the Coast Guard Auxiliary after taking the About Boating Safety class to learn more about boating. He found the Flotilla to be so engaging and welcoming; he joined the Auxiliary on February 25, 2011. In the year that followed he has become Boat Crew Crewmember (BCCREW), Recreational Boating Safety Visitor (MDC), Vessel Examiner (VE), and Administrative Procedures (APC) qualified.  Aaron has taken the Boating Safety and Seamanship class, as well as the following courses: AUXOPS, AUXSEA, AUXWEA, AUXCOM, AUXPAT, IS100, IS200, IS300, IS400, IS700, IS701, IS702, IS703, IS800, IS250, IS801-814, APC, FLC, Goodmate, IMSEP, AUX20 Intro, AUX22 2nd Class, NAV75, NAV90.

In addition, if you can believe there’s more, Aaron received the Auxiliary Sustained Service Award for the hours he volunteered between the months of February and July. He has also held the Publications and Public Affairs staff officer positions in his Flotilla. Are you tired yet? Aaron’s not. He is currently working on becoming a Coxswain and intends to be a Public Affairs Specialist 3 “by the time the boat goes in the water” this upcoming season.

To Aaron, the best part about being in the Auxiliary is the people. He says, “The thing that most shines me the right way is the good people who I’ve met and get to work with.”Aaron credits his Flotilla members for his excitement and enthusiasm, stating that he enjoys riding with a group of such knowledgeable and skilled people. Aaron’s incredible drive for learning stems from: wanting to impress his Flotilla members; wanting to be an equal; and wanting to perform his duties as well as the other Flotilla members.

The skyline of Edgewater and Fort Lee, NJ, as seen during a night patrol on board USCG-AUX Vessel "Andy Mac." Photo courtesy of Auxiliarist Devin Lopez..

One of Aaron’s cherished Auxiliary memories is from his first night patrol at the helm of a 36’ Grand Banks on the Hudson River. In Aaron’s own words: “I had to plot a course below deck and once I had my three leg course plotted out, up to the bridge, weigh anchor and off I went. At the helm with 8 POB steering off into to the darkness with a full moon shining down, aiming for the little dots of red and green. I made my first turn to the starboard and laid in on the range, hoping my turn was correctly timed and that I’d spot the leading lights in line. It was a beautiful July night and I enjoyed plotting and executing very much.” Paints quite the picture, doesn’t he?

The Coast Guard Auxiliary offers free courses of instruction to recreational boaters and Auxiliarists at all levels, from the fundamental to the advanced. Our courses are taught by experienced and knowledgeable instructors committed to the highest standards of the U.S. Coast Guard. Our trained and skilled members are held to the highest standards in order to support the Coast Guard in public education, vessel safety checks, recreational boater safety, marine safety and environmental protection, marine and air patrols, among other duties.

So, what can you do in a year?


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  1. Daniel says:

    Wow, I thought I got my sustained service fast in 13 months! Bravo Zulu!

  2. Bruce Pugh DCV-RE, VFC says:

    Once again Aaron well done and BZ. 10-13 is a better organization for your efforts and your commitment to serve. It is men and women like you that make the US Coast Guard Auxiliary truly a force multiplier for Team Coast Guard. Thank you for your service.

  3. BIG D says:

    Congrats brother! Great job!
    You are an example to us all!
    Keep up the good works.

  4. The Goldman says:


  5. Adopted brother from 014-04-08 says:

    Congrats Aaron !!! Many people will probably read this article and think, “No way did he do that much in that short period of time!!”.
    Having helped train you on some skills and riding crew with you, I can attest, “It’s True!!”. Keep up the good work.

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