When the Coast Guard "Reserve" was authorized by act of Congress on June 23,1939, the Coast Guard was given a legislative mandate to use civilians to promote safety on and over the high seas and the nation's navigable waters.
Two years later, on Feb. 19, Congress amended the 1939 act with passage of the Auxiliary and Reserve Act of 1941. Passage of this act designated the Reserve as a military branch of the active service, while the civilian section, formerly referred to as the Coast Guard Reserve, became the Auxiliary under title 14, chapter 23 of the USC.
When we entered World War II, 50,000 Auxiliary members joined the war effort as military teams. Many of their private vessels were placed into service in an effort to protect the U.S.