News Center‎ > ‎News Archive‎ > ‎

How AUP headed west: Reflections from Victor Bruno, Class of 2010

posted Feb 19, 2013, 8:44 PM by Unknown user   [ updated Feb 20, 2013, 8:21 AM ]
Victor Bruno, 2011 graduate of California State University, Fullerton, reflects on his time in the Coast Guard Auxiliary and how he founded AUP Unit LA/LB.

Pictured left: Mr. Bruno and Mr. DeCastra, AUP Unit Auburn '12, meet Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Bob Papp at the 2011 U.S. Coast Guard Innovation Expo in Tampa, Fla.

When I joined the Coast Guard Auxiliary in 2007, I had no idea that I would be able to use my experiences in my studies. Since I knew the Coast Guard did not have an ROTC program, I began to see the potential that the Coast Guard Auxiliary held for college students, like me, who were interested in the field of public safety but did not have a lot of experience in said field. In the middle of boat crew school, I caught wind that a college program was already developing on the East Coast.

When I finished boat crew school, my Flotilla Commander asked me what my next step was in the Auxiliary. I told her I wanted to build a University Program at my school, California State University, Fullerton. She simply replied, “Do it.” I got in contact with what is now the AUP National Staff and began building the only AUP unit west of the Mississippi river. However, not much could have been accomplished without a ton of help from my shipmates on the Division 12 and District 11 SR staff.

AUP Unit LA/LB currently has students from CSU Fullerton, University of California Los Angeles, and Loyola Marymount University.

Pictured right: Mr. Bruno works in the Division 12 Boat-Helicopter Operational Training Team off the coast of California. Behind him, a medium-range HH-60J Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station San Diego hovers above the water.

Today, I wear many hats in the Auxiliary. First, I am the Human Resources Officer for my Flotilla, 114-12-4 Los Angeles. In addition to being a boat crew member, I am also on the Division 12 Boat-Helicopter Operational Training Team. We work with Air Station Los Angeles and Air Station San Diego to train their crews to work with a variety of boats in different scenarios. I also serve with the Division 12 Ceremonial Color Guard as the training officer. Lastly, I am a Fingerprint Technician for Division 12. On top of all this, of course, is my position as Unit Officer for AUP Unit LA/LB.

Pictured below: Mr. Bruno, far right, participates in the Division 12 Ceremonial Color Guard for a Coast Guard ceremony.
If there is one thing that I learned while working in AUP, it is to always be ready to adapt. Situations change frequently, both in your professional life and personal life. Sometimes a “normal” patrol could end with you saving a life. Being a volunteer is not for everyone, but sometimes you have to sacrifice a tiny bit to succeed in the end.