Thursday, August 20, 2009

Auxiliarists of the Regional Examination Centers

Excerpt from U.S. Coast Guard “Proceedings of the Marine Safety & Security Council” magazine.

Full article by Mr. Marvin Butcher, Auxiliary Sector Coordinator, Sector Upper Mississippi River, and Auxiliary Branch Chief, Regional Examination Centers, available at

On November 13, 2007, a merchant seaman entered a Regional Examination Center Remote Customer Assistance Office in St. Paul, Minn. He presented an application for renewal of his license.

During his appointment, his application was checked and verified for acceptability; he was fingerprinted; his payment was verified and accepted; his citizenship documents were examined, verified, and copied; and his package was then sent to the REC.

There were no active duty, reserve, or civilian employees of the REC involved in the process, since all members of this customer assistance office are auxiliarists.

Today, Coast Guard Auxiliarists provide support to the mariner licensing and documentation program and are actively engaged in doing so at many RECs, filling various functions.

The Regional Examination Center Remote Customer Assistance Office
One of the most exciting and important projects the auxiliary has become involved in is an offshoot of direct support to the Regional Examination Centers—the Regional Examination Center Remote Customer Assistance Office (RCAO) project, which was designed to reduce merchant seamen’s travel costs and decrease document turnaround time.

In August 2006, the chief of the REC monitoring unit in St. Louis requested auxiliary assistance to provide remote customer assistance. Numerous auxiliarists volunteered to work in this special pilot program, which was implemented over a period of 14 months.

Considering that the entire project was established and run by auxiliarists, who are by definition volunteers, this is a remarkable achievement. While each RCAO is open only two days per month, in the first year of operation, the offices processed:

· Branson, Mo., 32 merchant mariners;
· Kansas City, Mo., 27;
· Denver, Colo., 18;
· St. Paul, Minn., 48.

Remote Customer Assistance Offices
For appointments at any Remote Customer Assistance Office, call REC St. Louis at (314) 269-2504.

· Remote Customer Assistance Office
2720 Shepherd of the Hills Expressway
Branson, MO 65616
Open on the first and third Wednesday of each month

· Remote Customer Assistance Office
7355 W. 88th Avenue
Westminster, CO 80021
Open on the second and fourth Thursday of each month

· Remote Customer Assistance Office
6228 NW Barry Road and I-29
Kansas City, MO 64154
Open on the second Wednesday and third Thursday of each month

· Remote Customer Assistance Office
Henry Whipple Federal Building
1 Federal Drive
Saint Paul, MN 55111
Open on the second Tuesday and third Thursday of each month

About the author:
Mr. Marvin Butcher served 27 years in the U.S. Navy, where he commanded several warships before retiring at the rank of captain. He then served as a merchant marine ship’s master of a U.S. Navy special mission ship. Mr. Butcher was named the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliarist of the Year for 2006 and is currently the branch chief for regional examination centers.

For more information:
Full article and 124-page “Focus on the Mariner” edition of USCG Proceedings is available at Subscribe online at

Direct requests for print copies of this edition to:


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