Auxiliarists Augment USCG Rear Admiral’s Frocking Ceremony

Monday, June 2, 2014

RADML Pelkowski receives an award for his services in the USCG Reserve after being frocked. Photo by Auxiliarist James Chin

RDML Pelkowski receives an award for his services in the USCG Reserve from RADM Lee after being frocked. USCG Auxiliary photo by James Chin

Bronx, NY Auxiliarists from throughout the Northeast augmented Rear Admiral, Lower Half (RDML) Francis “Stash” Pelkowski’s frocking ceremony at State University of New York Maritime College.  RDML Pelkowski is a graduate and Assistant Professor at SUNY Maritime.

Article by James Chin, National Staff – New Media Branch Assistant

The frocking ceremony of a new flag officer is a rare event steeped in joy and tradition. Frocking is a U.S. military term for a commissioned officer being allowed to wear the insignia of the higher grade before the official date of promotion (the “date of rank”). The need to frock is a result of the fact that the number of people who may serve in a particular rank is restricted by federal law. Thus, even though an individual may have been selected for promotion and confirmed by the Senate, they must often wait for a vacancy (headroom) to occur in order to be officially promoted.

The Official USCG Auxiliary Band supported the frocking ceremony with their musical expertise. USCG Auxiliary Photo by Daniella Garrisi.

The USCG Auxiliary Band supported the RDML’s frocking ceremony with their musical expertise. USCG Auxiliary photo by Daniella Garrisi.

During RDML Pelkowski’s frocking ceremony, there was no question that Auxiliarists performed professionally and skillfully when augmenting active Duty, reservists, and civilians as part of Team Coast Guard. Indoors, the Coast Guard Auxiliary Band, led by John Sasso, performed a riveting mix of military tunes to enhance the formal atmosphere and entertain the guests.  The Band received great applause from all who attended.

Auxiliary photographers James Chin and Daniella Garrisi assisted PA2 Ann Marie Gorden by taking over 500 photos during the ceremony. The Auxiliarists took not only photos of the ceremony but also helped take high quality group photos for RADM Pelkowski’s friends and family.

Auxiliarist Daniella Garrisi utilizes her photography skills as she zooms into for a potential picture. USCG Auxiliary Photo by James Chin.

Auxiliarist Daniella Garrisi utilizes her photography skills as she zooms into for a potential picture. USCG Auxiliary Photo by James Chin.

AuxChefs were utilized to help staff a beverage table. Many thirsty guests appreciated the Auxiliarists’ cup and bottle handling skills.

AuxChef Maureen Comerford pours the newly frocked RADML Petrowski a drink. USCG Auxiliary Photo by James Chin.

AuxChef Maureen Comerford pours the newly frocked RDML Petrowski a drink. USCG Auxiliary Photo by James Chin.

Outdoors, a communications trailer was established and informed visitors of how the Auxiliary assisted the USCG using communications equipment. The trailer also distributed portable radios to help coordinate the events. In addition, a public affairs booth was established to provide information on the Auxiliary and boating safety.  Additional personnel were utilized as guides to help direct visitors.

Auxiliarist Ken Fisher explains the functions of the communications trailer to Commander Laura Moose. USCG Auxiliary Photo by James Chin.

Auxiliarist Ken Fisher explains the functions of the communications trailer to Commander Laura Moose. USCG Auxiliary Photo by James Chin.

The overall Auxiliary logistics and planning were conducted by Dave Porter while Jake Parker and Ken Fisher acted as field coordinators. A combination of strong organization and enthusiasm helped make all Auxiliarists eager to help honor RDML Pelkowski.

Commodore Alfred Verdi poses for a photo with the Auxiliary communications and guide teams. USCG Auxiliary Photo by James Chin.

Commodore Alfred Verdi poses for a photo with the Auxiliary communications and guide teams. USCG Auxiliary Photo by James Chin.

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