U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary picks South Carolinian for leadership role
Local resident Robert Weskerna was elected by his peers to the leadership role of Chief of Staff for the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary in District Seven. The district includes South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands with approximately 6,000 auxiliarists in nearly 100 units, called flotillas.
As district chief of staff, Weskerna will supervise the auxiliary district management and leadership and report directly to the district Commodore John Tyson. He will also oversee the administration and management of auxiliary programs within the region.
The Coast Guard Auxiliary is the volunteer, uniformed, non-military component of the U. S. Coast Guard. Auxiliary volunteers significantly contribute to a reduction of taxpayers’ expense as they support Coast Guard core missions of recreational boating safety and maritime safety and security for ports and waterways. The Coast Guard Auxiliary operates in any mission as directed by the Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard or Secretary of Homeland Security.
Weskerna has volunteered more than 20,000 hours since joining the auxiliary in 2002. That’s the equivalent hours of a full-time career position. Weskerna is trained and certified in surface operations as boat coxswain, marine safety, vessel examiner, instructor and numerous other positions. He offers his personal watercraft in support of safety patrols, regattas, Search and Rescue and training missions in South Carolina. Auxiliary boats are inspected and certified for use by the Coast Guard and must have required specialty safety equipment aboard.
Weskerna and two other auxiliarists from the East Cooper Flotilla unit, George Gammon and Bob Gerber, began a “walk the beat” program in Charleston 10 years ago. They meet weekly to conduct marine dealer visits, pollution control surveys, marine safety outreach, vessel exams and direct contact with dock masters and boaters.
Weskerna has received more than 50 awards including two Coast Guard Operational Merit awards for years of marine safety activity from USCG Sector Charleston. His path to chief of staff for District 7 began with elected positions at the flotilla and division levels in South Carolina.
In 2011-2012, Weskerna served as district captain north to represent South Carolina, Georgia and parts of Florida.
With a background in mathematics and education, Weskerna attended Virginia Military Institute, Franklin & Marshall College, Bowdoin College, Cornell University, Michigan State University, Newark College of Engineering, and Elmira College and achieved Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in Mathematics.
He taught Advanced Placement Mathematics and Mathematics in New York and New Jersey for 38 years and ran a small business with his wife Jacqueline.