Thursday, November 17, 2011

Cooperative effort between U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Dominican Naval Auxiliary volunteers pays off in saved lives

U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Public Affairs

November 17, 2011
Contact: Bill Swank
Public Affairs Officer

News Release

Cooperative effort between U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary,
Dominican Naval Auxiliary volunteers pays off in saved lives

WASHINGTON – What began two years ago as an information exchange between members of the International Affairs unit of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and a group of civilian volunteers and senior naval officials of the Dominican Republic has blossomed into a dynamic organization already credited with saving more than 30 lives of boaters at sea, including five Americans.

The Dominican Republic Naval Auxiliary (Los Auxiliares Navales Dominicanos), officially established in December 2009 by decree of the President of the Dominican Republic, has grown to a unit of more than 200 members operating 135 boats and eight aircraft. They conduct search and rescue operations and recreational boating safety training in support of the Dominican Navy.

“Initially, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary international affairs team provided a lot of information to the Dominicans on how our organization works,” said John Cooper, the Auxiliary’s Director of International Affairs. “We followed that up with visits by U.S Coast Guard officers and Auxiliary subject matter experts to assist the Dominicans in development of their program.”

“Clearly, the Dominican Naval Auxiliary has done a superb job since its creation. They’ve set an impressive record by any standard…one of which they can be justifiably proud,” Cooper said.

This past August at the U.S Coast Guard Auxiliary’s national conference in Charlotte, N.C., Coast Guard Auxiliary Commodore James Vass and Dominican Naval Auxiliary Commodore Jose Antonio Najri signed a joint statement of intent recognizing the advantages to be obtained from continued bilateral cooperation in fostering on-water safety education for citizens of both nations.

The agreement calls for both organizations to continue working toward development of common training and operations standards, achieving international best practices and delivering fully-accredited computer-based training competencies to their respective members. It also calls for both organizations to be alert for opportunities to partner and share in the development and application of educational materials.

“The Dominican Republic and the U.S. traditionally have had very close cooperation,” said COMO Najri. “For our Auxiliary, the recently signed agreement is further proof of our two countries’ close ties that we must continually strengthen to not only save lives, but to protect our countries in these difficult times.”

The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, created by an Act of Congress in 1939, is the uniformed civilian component of the U.S. Coast Guard and supports the Coast Guard across all mission areas. For more information on the Coast Guard Auxiliary and a flotilla near you, visit

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