Meet the new US Coast Guard
Western Rivers Region
Publication of Alton Pool Four (Flotilla 34)
8th Western Rivers Region
MEMBERSHIP and STAFF OFFICERS
Vice Flotilla Commander-- Page 03
Parlamentarian------------ Page 04
Member - Liss----------- Page 05
Member - Tompkins----- Page 06
FSO-IS------------------- Page 08
Member - Wilson-------- Page 09
Wing Dam is a quarterly publication for the members of
the Eighth Western Rivers Region, Flotilla 34 in Electronic
ONLY format and published on the flotilla web site.
Reprints of articles or pictures may be used in other publication
without written permission provided proper credit is
given. Your feedback and contributions would be greatly
appreciated. Please send your comments, articles or feedback
to: Barbara Rhoades, FSO-PB. Address and email
available at AUXOFFICER.
Articles sent no later than
2350 hours on:
With the pandemic going on, the Wing Dam
has not been published for the last two issues.
Therefore, this issue will be about how our
members are coping with the shutdown of
activities as well as what that means in their dayto-day
life. Enjoy the insight into our members.
are handling the quarantine. Sometimes it is just
good to write it all down and look at it from a
new perspective. If you hold an office, you could
also write about what/if any information you have
on the AOR you cover.
All in all, the flotilla members have been safe
and healthy and we are grateful for that. Here’s
hoping this will end soon and we can return to
what we all think of as normal.
Musings of the FC
2020 – it has been a strange year. It started
off normally but by mid-March we were all
quarantined and fearing for our health and safety.
COVID was the name of the threat and the nation
didn’t know how to stop it.
Our flotilla was banned from having face-to-face
meetings and Zoom and WebEx became the
norm. Even with this, we gained a new member.
Andy Wilson is a pastor and is interested in the
Chaplain program. He got his ID number on July
27, 2020 which makes him an official member of
b e c a m e
normal activities and our VE station and Boating
Safety classes/events were cancelled. Even now,
September 2020, we are still doing this and it
looks like it will be happening into 2021.
With elections coming up, we will try to get
approval for an October face-to-face meeting.
There is additional paperwork and things like
safety officers and space considerations before
this can happen.
We have also not published the Wing Dam for
the last two issues as there have been little to
no activity to report. With this one, I am giving
each member a chance to write about how they
Vice Flotilla Commander
Corvid Didn’t Stop Auxiliary Activities
Marilyn Aten VFC, FSO-HR and FSO-MT
Listening to our Upper Leadership and the
DIRAUX Suzanne Hemann, you’d think nothing
was happening in the Auxiliary. There are
COVID-19 forms to fill out to do most everything.
I’ve been the Vice Flotilla Commander for the last
two years and converse with our Flotilla Commander,
Barbara Rhoades, about different subject
each month so we both keep up with what’s
happening in the division and district.
As the Division Member Training Officer (SO-
MT), I prepare a report each month of all the activities
and training each of our Division 3 flotillas
have been doing. Most of the Auxiliary leadership
in Division 3 attend the monthly ZOOM Leadership
Meetings put on by Commodore DeLaughter.
Several flotillas are now
meeting via ZOOM.
Members are missing
each other and the social
environment the Auxiliary
offers. They are also missing doing our missions.
Some have been out doing enough Vessel Exams
to stay qualified. Many are hoping that the
word will come down that no one will go into
REYR because of the COVID.
Many of you may know that I’m the District Administrative
Assistant. I work directly with the
Continued on Page 4
Continued from Page 3
District Commodore Tracy
DeLaughter. My job is to keep him organized
and on tract with things that need to be done
during the course of the year.
I correspond with VIPs on behalf of the Commodore
as he prepares for District Meetings in
the Spring and the Fall. I work with the Commodore’s
Planning Committee as the group develops
and organizes the meeting location, District
meetings, training and social gatherings for the
Spring D-Train and this Falls Virtual Biz Train.
I work with the Past Division Commanders Association
as Finance Officer and assist with the
Used Uniform Exchange located in St. Louis at
the Auxiliary Center.
As FSO-HR, I’m happy to say that we have a new
member, Andy Wilson, who has been active getting
his new member training completed along
with his BQII. Andy is interested in the Chaplaincy
Program and will be a welcome member to our
Flotilla 34 is one of the more active flotillas in Division
3. We like to have training at all our monthly
meetings to keep our members up to speed
on their annual requirement to stay qualified in
their Auxiliary missions. This year we started out
good. Then as you know everything changed so
we slowed down. Having a ZOOM meeting has
allowed us to bring back a little more training.
We’ve missed out on our many VE Stations at
several launch ramps and marinas. We always
have a PA Exhibit and give each boat inspected a
packet of boating information. This is our way to
connect with the public and spread safety on the
water. This is where we work to save lives. We
all miss doing these missions.
It’s important that we all stay up to speed on
our qualifications. 2021 could be interesting since
boat sales are up 58%. Boating accidents are up,
and we are definitely missed as a force whose
presence at boat ramps, boat shows, and marinas
make a difference in the accident statistics.
I think the Coast Guard is finally realizing the
many things we do as Auxiliarists that unknowingly
effect the lives of boaters.
Flotilla Staff Officer
For those of you who have read the September
“Recreational Boating Safety News”, you can skip
this article. If you have not yet read it, I found the
article about Electric Shock Drowning something
everyone should know. The main points of the
article by Sidney Hay, BC-BRE were:
• “Electric Shock Drowning is most prevalent
in fresh-water marinas.”
• “Electric Shock Drowning happens when
an electric current typically low-level AC
current from boats, docks or lights escapes
and shocks nearby swimmers. The shock
paralyzes them and they cannot swim or
• A random sampling of shore power cords
in several fresh-water marinas showed
about 13% of tested boats were leaking
potentially lethal amounts of AC current
into the water.
• Mr. Hay concludes his article by stating, “It
is vital that every fresh-water boater and
swimmer learn how ESD happens, how to
prevent it and what to do and not to do to
help an ESD victim.”
To read the whole article go to the Sep 2020
issue of RBS Job One http://wow.uscgaux.
The link in your email was posted September 22.
Flotilla Staff Officer-FN
COVID and the Legal Profession
any exams in 2020. Maybe we can resume the
VE program in the spring.
The COVID crisis has been going on for
approximately six months. Hopefully, within a
year, we can get back to our normal lives and
our activities in support of the Coast Guard.
Since the COVID fighting procedures began in
March, it has been difficult for us attorneys to
practice law as usual. We are not allowed to
physically enter the courthouses. We do file
cases electronically. While electronic filing has
been in place for about 10 to 15 years, we still
need to do certain other things in person, such
as conduct jury and bench trials. The state and
local courts conduct some
dockets by Zoom and other
online sites. The federal
district and bankruptcy
courts conduct hearings
by telephone conferences.
These procedures keep the dockets moving but
much more slowly than normal. It is also difficult
to get an actual trial date. As a result, the courts
seem to be directing more attorneys and litigants
It is also difficult to meet clients in person
due to social distancing requirements and the
requirements that some facilities, including office
buildings, have reduced occupancy limits - in
some jurisdictions as low as 25 percent. While
it is possible to communicate with clients by
telephone, text and e-mail, face-to-face meetings
are much more private and more productive. As
a result of all of these changes, I find myself
working more from home in my law practice.
And it is also taking longer than usual to bring
cases to a resolution.
In addition to the effects on my practice of law,
I find that COVID has reduced my, and other
members, involvement in Auxiliary activities. We
have one division meeting every other month
and one flotilla meeting per month but these
are now Zoom meetings. We have fellowship
activities when possible but much less frequently
than before COVID arrived. Also, as a qualified
vessel examiner, I have not been able to conduct
COVID-19 – PTSD – CST – CBT
Jay L. Liss, M.D.
These are a lot of letters describing significant
diagnoses and methods to relieve symptoms for
the general population.
PTSD stands for Post Trauma Stress Disorder.
The D actually stands for delayed. It gets worse
with time not age and it can occur both in the
civilian world and in the military world. The initial
stress causing PTSD can be actual physical or it
can also be experienced or perceived. Everyone
would understand the trauma of seeing an
accident in person or a physical injury creating a
reaction. However, all of us also see airplanes go
through the New York towers when we say 9/11.
This later would be an example of perceived
PTSD. Isn’t it amazing how the brain stores these
images and this is also evidence of the physical
nature of PTSD. PTSD used to be thought of
as an emotional psychiatric psychological illness.
Most have seen the movie Patton in which the
general slaps the poor private for suffering acute
stress. However, we no longer look at PTSD as
war neurosis. It is now known to be structural,
physical chemical changes of the brain brought
on by stressful or perceived stressful experiences
and therefore should not even be considered a
The symptoms of PTSD also overlap symptoms
of TBI, Traumatic Brain Injury and Post-Concussion
Syndrome. Here again more letters.
Continued on Page 6
Continued from Page 5 With PTSD there is a requirement
of a stressful event or a
near death experience creating disturbing memories,
anxiety and panic. Physical symptoms
such as sleep problems, concentration problems,
memory problems, startle reactions and hyperalert
symptoms. Complicating this picture are
the post COVID neurological symptoms which
are progressive and similar but are beyond the
scope of this report.
The awareness of the COVID pandemic has activated
and exaggerated and caused PTSD in the
general population. We have become isolated in
our simple lives, fearful, and reactive. We take
extra caution and become more focused on our
security, stockpiling of survival tools and supplies,
and protection of ourselves and our loved ones.
Those who already have PTSD find themselves
hunkering down and are developing symptoms
of solitary confinement. Getting very used to
their simple life and not anticipating leaving the
home or too many activities or even going back
to the high-rise office building. Children are safe
at their computers.
For PTSD and these other diagnoses, psychological
mental exercises have been developed that
give some relaxation and relief but do not treat
the core damage.
CBT stands for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy a
type of exercise used by mental health providers
to aid patients in focus. CST, Cognitive Stimulation
Therapy, an evidence-based method being
particularly seniors with mild Alzheimer’s symptoms
to advance their memory function and in
the case of COVID can also be used because
many of the COVID symptoms relate to cognitive
COVID-19 is a pebble in a pond backwards. Although
it’s a microscopic virus, the complications
now seem to be legion and unfortunately there is
going to be significant effect on the mental health
and neurological health of the global population.
How I Spent the Covid-19 Pandemic
SPANISH LAKE, Mo. – For me, flotilla activities
began as scheduled in 2020. The flotilla held its
first boating safety class at Holiday Shores, IL on
February 29, 2020. The flotilla had other boating
classes scheduled throughout the year. Those,
however, did not materialize and flotilla activities
took on a whole new direction shortly thereafter.
Between March 14, 2020 and March 20,
2020, three ALAUX messages where sent out
describing the increasing severity of COVID-19
and affectively shutting down all Auxiliary
activities. On March 23, 2020, St. Louis City and
St. Louis County issued health orders prohibiting
all activities except those deemed as essential
services. Basically, the citizenry of these areas
was told to go home, stay home, and don’t come
out of your homes except for essential activities.
The City and County provided a list of over 25
activities that they considered essential. Since my
employer was an essential activity (airline) my
COVID 19 vacation did not materialize.
As Auxiliary activities ground to a halt, my work
activities transitioned to my home office. Honest,
I really did get up and get dressed on my work
days. However. I suspected that some of my
colleagues, who could not get their video access
to work, were actually working in their pajamas.
Many of you know my skepticism about electronic
meetings and their security issues. But reality has
set in and I now have Zoom, Skype, Teams, Got
to Meeting, and Go to Training installed on my
various electronic devices. And the premium
addition of Norton Life Lock. Electronic meetings
and training sessions are no longer the wave of
the future. They are reality and will continue to
displace our face-to-face way of life.
On July 19, 2020, our FC forwarded an email
from the Branch Chief Photography announcing
an online photography course sponsored by the
Continued on Page 7
Continued from Page 6 PA Directorate. So, why not join. Ninety-one other people had the same thought.
Most of the participants are from the Auxiliary but Coast Guard and Army members
have enrolled as well. The Auxiliary photograph archive is in need of new material for PA and training
publications. By increasing the number of auxiliary photographers, it is hoped that the archive stock
will also increase.
Since this is the first time that this class has been given, the bugs are still being worked out. Software
and apps to conduct the training were initially a challenge but fast and concerted efforts by the
instructor and sponsors of the class changed up the platforms. The course is now running effectively
without the initial challenges.
The course consists of four classes each consisting of four sessions. The course started out to be 16
weeks long. It soon grew to 32 weeks by inserting a home work review session every other week.
Considering the number of students submitting photographs for critique every week this course
modification was definitely needed and is a significant course improvement. Every student who
submits a homework assignment each week receives a critique by email from the instructor.
The photography course began on July 27, 2020 and will end sometime around St. Patrick’s Day.
The weekly sessions run about an hour and fifteen minutes. As for the homework, that will take
one to three hours per week to complete. Depending on your situation this can be a significant
commitment in time and energy. I can tell you from experience that you will probably shoot ten
pictures for a homework assignment before you get the “keeper” that you want to submit as your
The photography course is taking up time that I would normally devote to other auxiliary activities
but it is well worth my time. The dedicate instructor and course sponsors are to be congratulated
for the development, modification and presentation of this stimulating course. A Bravo Zulu to all.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The photo on the last page and the one on this page are two
examples of the fine work this course has produced. And, I am told that the one on
this page has been submitted to the archieves! GREAT WORK!
Flotilla Staff Officer-IS
There have been so much confusing information or lack of information that our members just might
end up in RYER because of the pandemic.
It has been asked time and again what will happen if we don’t get our hours in for instructor or
vessel examinations or any other qualification that requires a certain amount of time to stay qualified.
Unfortunately, there has not been an answer from those up the chain.
So here are some ways to get in those required hours. If you are an Instructor and need hours,
why not help your newer members complete their BQII training or help someone figure out the
new AUXDATA II. You can teach BQII to all your flotilla members via a Zoom meeting. While older
members are not required to complete this training, being up-to-date on current information is never
a bad thing.
If you are a VE, good news! We are now allowed to do them BUT be sure to wear a mask!!!!
It is late in the year and there are only 2.5 to 3 months left to get hours into AUXDATA II. So get
going if you need hours so you don’t end up with a REYR letter. UGH!
I’m the newest member of our flotilla and so
I wondered what I had to contribute to our
publication. Having no technical expertise or
wisdom learned from years in the Coast Guard
Auxiliary, I wasn’t sure what experiences I could
share that others would find helpful or
interesting. That’s when it occurred
to me that I do have one experience
that is unique to our flotilla – I am the
newest member. Yes, being a new
member is not a unique experience.
Every person reading this is likely a
long-term member of our flotilla. However, how
long has it been since you were the new member
of the Coast Guard Auxiliary? My point is, my
unique experience as the newest member, is that
I can share with you my first impressions of the
Auxiliary in general, and our flotilla in particular
through fresh eyes.
I had never heard of the Coast Guard Auxiliary
until early this spring. While having a BBQ with
my wife, I met a gentleman in a St. Louis park
wearing an Auxiliary ball cap. I
asked him about the Auxiliary and
he spent the next half-hour telling
me stories of great adventures and
lifelong friendships as a member. As
soon as I got home, I did some internet research
on my own and I was immediately captivated by
what I learned. I was amazed at these volunteers
who often work as a force multiplier side-by-side
with the Coast Guard. It was here that I learned
that the Coast Guard Auxiliary was looking for
qualified pastors to serve as chaplains to support
the mission of Coast Guard chaplains. This felt
like a great opportunity to do what I love while
being of service to those who serve our nation.
while we navigated how to safely live our lives in
a pandemic. However, the Auxiliary was quickly
up and running with online training for us new
folks and our flotilla’s FC Barbara Rhoades and
VFC Marilyn Aten kept me on track for the work
I needed to complete to get my member number.
Even with a pandemic in our midst, the officers
of our flotilla have guided and encouraged me
along my Auxiliary journey from the
beginning. Once I complete an ABS
course and receive a favorable PSI,
I will be Basically Qualified and can
continue the process to qualify as
a chaplain in the Auxiliary Chaplain
Much has happened in all of our lives during the
pandemic. COVID-19 has made 2020 challenging
to say the least. But, at least for me, I have
something positive that came out of 2020 – I
joined the Coast Guard Auxiliary and am well
on my way to being able to serve as a chaplain!
I couldn’t have made it this far without the
awesome support from my flotilla. I just wanted
to share my first impressions with you all and let
you know that I think you are doing an awesome
job during a challenging time!
Lime Kiln Lighthouse
San Juan Island, Washington
Courtesy of Webshots
I was eager to submit my application to join the
Auxiliary and then COVID-19 hit the US. As you
are aware, everything slowed to a snail’s pace