After 27 Years serving with Coast Guard Auxiliary, Flotilla 1607 Outer Banks, Bill McNamara has decided to retire. He served from 1984 until 2013.
McNamara was raised in New Britain, Conn. As a young man he wanted to join the Coast Guard but was not accepted. He went into the army and served as a radio operator in the Korean War.
After discharge from the army in 1953, he attended St. Bonaventure’s College obtaining a Business degree. He worked for a short period in sales but found that he wanted to be working with his pastor serving the poor and street people in New Britain in a walk-in ministry.
McNamara and his wife would vacation on the Outer Banks and in the mid 1960s bought a home in Collington Harbor. During those vacation years McNamara met up with his friend, mentor and former commander of the flotilla, Bud Meyers.
Meyers convinced McNamara at retirement that if he was going to have a boat it was going to pass all the necessary safety requirements. It was at that time McNamara decided to join the Auxiliary.
He remembers thinking after 22 years of wishing he belonged to the Coast Guard, he finally achieved his dream. During the time at the Auxiliary, McNamara shared many responsibilities with this organization for which he is very pleased and proud.
Retirement to the Outer Banks started another career for McNamara. He became very involved with the Coast Guard Auxiliary. With his background in radio operations, McNamara served the men and woman of Station Oregon Inlet. He stood watch two days a week, always on a Friday, for over a decade.
In the years to follow through the 1980s McNamara served as a Coxswain, Crew, Operations Specialist, Vessel safety Inspector, Qualification Examiner (a flotilla first), Communication Specialist and Patrol Specialist. In the late 1980s and into the early 1990s, The Coast Guard Auxiliary covered search and rescue from Plymouth Island to the border of Virginia using private planes for patrol. This service was called Air Observer.
The patrol went out every weekend and was backed up by water patrol. McNamara was an important member of that operation.
He served as Flotilla commander 1989 and 1990 continuing to gather specializations in Operations as an instructor then adding another level of management. He was asked to join the 5th Southern Division serving from South Carolina to New Jersey. He went on to Division Captain in 1996.
Always keeping close to the flotilla service he continued to advance in specialization through the years. The goal of the Coast Guard Auxiliary is boating safety. This is accomplished by promoting vessel exams for safety issues. In 1999, McNamara and his team accomplished 1,039 hours in vessel safety examinations.
In 2012, he received his 25 year service award from the Coast Guard Auxiliary.
At this time he is active in the Knights of Columbus and works with a self help group several days and evenings a week. He also likes to bowl with his friends. Celebration of his retirement was Wednesday evening, Feb. 27, at the Black Pelican in Kitty Hawk.