USCG Auxiliary
Corsair Fleet Of WWII
Corsair logo
As we know, many Auxiliarists served during World War II after being incorporated into what was then known as the Temporary Reserves (TR) of the United States Coast Guard.  The roles they performed were varied and some were even dangerous, the scope of their mission differed from one naval district to another.  Note that during WWII, USCG resources came under the command of the Navy and the War Department.  In the First Naval District, which included what is now the Auxiliary's 1NR, the jobs included port security, beach patrols, communications, coastal patrols, various administrative functions and standing regular watches in life boat stations.  One Flotilla in Boston was made up of men with special skills ranging from plumbing to diving.

The one task that sometimes put TRs "in harms way" was offshore patrol with the coastal picket fleet.  This was one of the earliest vital needs, men and craft to perform rescue work and track submarines "to keep them down" and reduce their effectiveness against coastal shipping.  The Navy was short of small craft and turned to the Coast Guard which procured some 2,093 vessels, most of them from Auxiliary members.  The coastal picket fleet was mostly sailing yachts with a scattering of motor cruisers that cooperated closely with naval vessels and aircraft.  The offshore duty could be tough and punishing on vessels and crews, yet they had to be sent out in large numbers "to stay on top" of subs so they couldn't run on the surface to charge their batteries.
The larger sailing vessels without motors worked far offshore.  Because they moved noiselessly through the water, they were better for underwater listening.  They also had a greater cruising radius and could stand heavy weather much better than small motor vessels.  The photo at top right shows CGR-2502 on coastal picket duty.  A TR stands near the bow with binoculars and you can see another TR kneeling in front of him holding a Thompson sub-machine gun.  By the end of the war, about 5,000 Temporary Reservists had served in the "Corsair Fleet".   During the war, the Walt Disney Studios designed logos for many military units.  Pictured at left is the logo Disney produced for the "Corsair Fleet".   (Illustrations Courtesy of U.S. National Archives)
Return to
Previous Page
ring link to notes page