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History of the Coast Guard Reserve

1960s


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Throughout the 1960s, maximizing the capability for quality mobilization-related training was a central focus. New units were developed, small boats were acquired, and cutters were operated for the express purpose of Reserve training. In 1961, the “Reserve Division” at Headquarters, which had previously been within the Office of Personnel, was shifted to the Chief of Staff ’s Office, under the direction of an Assistant Chief of Staff for the Reserve. He was charged with forming policies, and advising the Chief of Staff, (then RADM James A. Alger, Jr.), about Reserve affairs, who then in turn reported to the Commandant.

Also in 1961, the annual RADM Russell R. Waesche Award was instituted and presented for the first time. The award, named for the Coast Guard’s wartime Commandant, was developed to recognize outstanding Reserve accomplishments within a Coast Guard District. The 7th District won this award the first year, and this tradition continues today. Past winners are honored on a plaque in the Reserve & Training Directorate at Headquarters. Since the early 1950s, Reserve appropriations had grown to $16 million and there were 46 authorized ORTUPS. The Coast Guard Reserve had 139 port security units and 63 vessel augmentation units.

The growth of the Coast Guard Reserve resulted in the creation of the Office of Reserve in 1963. RADM Louis M. Thayer was the first Flag officer in charge of the newly created Office of Reserve. In 1964, the SPAR program was revitalized, and more women were sent to yeoman and storekeeper training. By this time, there were 60 Reserve Program Administrators whose specialty was in overseeing the operation of the growing Coast Guard Reserve.

During the Vietnam conflict, nearly 8,000 Coast Guard personnel, both Active and Reserve, served in Southeast Asia. In 1967, the Coast Guard transferred from the Department of Treasury to the newly created Department of Transportation.


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