NORTH BEND, Ore. – Coast Guard Auxiliarist Leroy Homedew has retired after 31 years of service.
Homedew’s retirement ceremony took place at Coast Guard Group/Air Station North Bend, Thursday morning. His official retirement date is December 31st 2012.
“Mr. Homedew’s selfless service to his country and community has been invaluable,” said Capt. Mark Reynolds.
Mr. Homedew is no stranger to serving his country. Prior to his time in the Coast Guard Auxiliary, Homedew served as a Boatswain’s Mate First Class in the Navy during World War II, joining the service after his high school graduation. As a BM1 on the Cruiser Wichita, he saw action in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. A highlight of that deployment was when the Wichita was in a pitched artillery battle with the Vichy Battleship Jean Marc off the coast of North Africa. Later, Homedew served on the Destroyer Tender Cascade and on a hospital ship.
After the end of the war, Homedew became a logger. Marriage and children demanded a more steady profession so he entered the insurance business and, after he retired, he joined the Auxiliary.
His Auxiliary accomplishments are many. He is a rated coxswain and can plot a course anywhere with pencil, plotter, and a navigational chart. Working out of Coast Guard Station Coos Bay, he and his crew have handled hundreds of cases and towed many a fisherman back to port. He is also a certificated Aids to Navigation verifier, Auxiliary Instructor, and Recreational Vessel Examiner.
For the past five years, Homedew has been the lead man for the Auxiliary at the Coos County Safety Festival. Each of those years, auxiliarists have taught water safety to every 4th grade child in Coos County.
Chuckling, Homedew said “between Cub Scouts, ROTC, the NAVY and the USCG Auxiliary, I’ve spent most of my life in uniform.”
The USCG Auxiliary was established by congress in 1939, with the over arching mission to contribute to the safety and security of citizens, ports, and waterways and coastal regions as directed by the United States Coast Guard.