Coast Guard Auxiliary provides civilian support to waterways

The Coast Guard Auxiliary is the civilian component of the Coast Guard.

Everyday members of the U.S. Coast Guard help keep our nation's waterways safe, just like the one we visited along the Saginaw River. But what you may not know is members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary also play a vital behind-the-scenes role, and they're everyday civilians.

Officially it's known as the volunteer component for the United States Coast Guard.

But despite their civilian status, some auxiliary members know what it's like to be in the line of duty.

One of the captains we interviewed used to serve in the Midland Sherrif's Department.

"I'm still in that serving mode of I want to help people out and get things done," said Coxswain William Church.

Meanwhile, Ryan Peterson, who serves as a professor at Delta College, just likes to be on the water.

The average day for a Coast Guard Auxiliary member is filled with navigation exercises and training drills. But like any other service agency that deals with emergencies, trouble could always be lurking in the waters ahead.

"When things do happen, or as they say, we come upon a vessel that's in distress, then we react appropriately," said Church.

In just a few days members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary will help escort the USS Edson to her final home in Bangor Township.