Among the guests were: the Honorable Donna Fiala, Collier County Commissioner; Steve Carnell, Department Head, Collier County Public Services Department; Dr. Lee Niblock, Marco Island City Manager; Marco Island City Council Chairman Jared Grifoni, Vice-Chair Charlette Roman, and Councilor Howard Reed; Commander Robert Corriveau, Civil Air Patrol; Marco Island Police Chief Alfred Schettino; Marco Island Fire Chief Michael Murphy; as well as elected officers of the various yacht and boating clubs on Marco Island. Representing the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), the parent agency of the USCGAux, were Chief Warrant Officer (CWO3) Robert Gruschow, CommandingOfficer, Station Fort Myers Beach (STAFMB), and BM3 Bryan Sochacki, STAFMB liaison to Flotilla 95.
The USCGAux, Flotilla 95 was chartered on April 30, 1967, and during those fifty years over 500 community members of the “VolunteerArm of Team Coast Guard” conducted numerous Search and Rescue Missions in response to “Mayday Calls;” Came to the aid of scores of vessels and crews that were stranded, in distress or in need of towing to safety; Monitored and operated VHF radio channel 16; Conducted thousands of safety patrols on the 220 sq. miles of waterways around Marco Island and the 10,000 Islands; Monitored and inspected all the Aids to Navigation on those waterways; Was responsible for over one hundred place names added to the official records of the United States Board on Geographic Names and now appear on National and Atmospheric Administration charts; Responded to reports of sunken vessels and/or oil discharges; Provided escort vessels and picket patrols for regattas and boat parades; Conducted thousands of annual courtesy Vessel Examinations; Thousands of residents in the Marco Island area took courses in basic and advanced boating taught by the Flotilla’s certified instructors; Hundreds of third grade students were taught how to survive in the water through the “Water-Wise” program; and conducted hundreds of lectures, speeches, demonstrations and exhibits to the boating public in support of U.S. Coast Guard’s Recreational Boating Safety mission.
As part of the 50th Anniversary celebration, the Hon. Donna Fiala and Jared Grifoni each presented the Flotilla with proclamations celebrating the long-standing service and dedication to duty by the Flotilla to Collier County and the City of Marco Island respectively.
The second half of the program involved the Change of Watch, a timehonored tradition, and incoming Flotilla Commander John Montville was sworn into office by CWO3 Gruschow. As part of the ceremony, USCGAux Division 9 Commander Thomas Bamford participated in that ceremony where outgoing Flotilla Commander Douglas Bartlett transferred the Flotilla Standard to Montville.
For further information about this event, education opportunities, joining, and other programs offered, contact USCGAux Flotilla 95 at 239-394-5911 or www.USCGAuxMarco.org.