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Considering joining the Coast Guard...feedback please

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Old 01-21-2012, 07:17 PM   #21
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Just a quick note to add on to what CNEDEER said; If you get guaranteed ME "A" School you'd only have to worry about possible attachment to deck or engineering while waiting for school. Once rated you'd be placed in an ME billet and your main job would be law enforcement.

As Forerunner said there if you join the CG there will be "grunt work" but it won't be any worse that the first couple of years at a police dept. working under a FTO. It's not really "wasting your time." No matter what job you take up, you'll always have to do stuff that doesn't necessarily include Law Enforcement.
Don't get me wrong, I understand that no matter what you gotta start somehwere and do the so called grunt work. I guess my concern is that I don't want to join something I don't have to unless I am guaranteed to enter into a field that I have chose. Maybe not within the first year, but I want to be guaranteed that I will be given the opportunity.

Having said that, if I were to join, is there a guarantee that I could get into "A" school, after the wait time and so forth?
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Old 01-21-2012, 07:21 PM   #22
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You have to get your "A" School Guaranteed in writing before you depart for boot camp. Otherwise you have no promise of ever becoming an ME. It should be to hard to get ME "A" School guaranteed in your contract.

Also, just curious as to what thoughts or opinions you have given to the reserves?
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Old 01-21-2012, 07:26 PM   #23
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I haven't given much thought to be honest with ya. Back in high school I considered joining the ARMY as my best friend did a year ahead of me. But I had already college credit and wanted to get my degree first. What all does the reserves entail?
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Old 01-21-2012, 07:27 PM   #24
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I'd also recommend looking into the law enforcement side of NOAA if that's what you're into. They we're soliciting for people in the past few months so it may still be open. I can't tell you specifics on how they run because there are so many different parts of NOAA but from the little I've worked with the enforcement guys they are pretty relaxed and easy going. Plus it's federal LE experience and you can transfer around just like in the military while still maintaining the civilian status.
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Old 01-21-2012, 07:28 PM   #25
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I'm a newbie to all the lingo... NOAA?
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Old 01-21-2012, 08:16 PM   #26
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In my opinion, if you want to actually DO the law enforcement, go BM or MK.

Not to say that ME's don't do law enforcement, but most of the jobs are ensuring that the LE training is done and that the people doing LE at the unit know what they're doing.

Both BM and MKs are at nearly every unit from stations to cutters, TACLETs and MSSTs, and there is plenty of room for advancement. I would say go that route, you will do more LE in either of those rates.

It's still so new that it's honestly hard to tell. I have heard of people who have found their "niche" but I have also heard of people at units with commands who don't understand the purpose of an ME, making it extremely difficult to perform your duties.

One thing for sure is that advancement is extremely slow, and will be for awhile. Good luck in whatever you decide, and don't let me discourage you if that's what you want to do. Just giving you my opinion!
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Old 01-21-2012, 08:19 PM   #27
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Im just exploring my options right now as I still got 2 semesters of school left. Im in no hurry to make a decision, but I thought starting early may give me a better idea of what I want to do. Not sure on what the abbreviations BM and MK mean though?
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Old 01-21-2012, 09:07 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CNEDEER View Post
Don't get me wrong, I understand that no matter what you gotta start somehwere and do the so called grunt work. I guess my concern is that I don't want to join something I don't have to unless I am guaranteed to enter into a field that I have chose. Maybe not within the first year, but I want to be guaranteed that I will be given the opportunity.

Having said that, if I were to join, is there a guarantee that I could get into "A" school, after the wait time and so forth?
There is a saying in the Coast Guard "Chose your rate, chose your fate" I can assure you that that is not true. I was an ET and changed rates to TT and am now an IT (rate merger in 2003). You can join without guaranteed A School and go from there. Get qualified at your unit and then put your name on the A School list.

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Originally Posted by Mr. Brown View Post
You have to get your "A" School Guaranteed in writing before you depart for boot camp. Otherwise you have no promise of ever becoming an ME. It should be to hard to get ME "A" School guaranteed in your contract.

Also, just curious as to what thoughts or opinions you have given to the reserves?
That is not true at all! If you join without a guaranteed A School you can still put your name on the list. That is unless the school list is closed and that happens once the wait reaches a certain time.

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In my opinion, if you want to actually DO the law enforcement, go BM or MK.

Not to say that ME's don't do law enforcement, but most of the jobs are ensuring that the LE training is done and that the people doing LE at the unit know what they're doing.

Both BM and MKs are at nearly every unit from stations to cutters, TACLETs and MSSTs, and there is plenty of room for advancement. I would say go that route, you will do more LE in either of those rates.

It's still so new that it's honestly hard to tell. I have heard of people who have found their "niche" but I have also heard of people at units with commands who don't understand the purpose of an ME, making it extremely difficult to perform your duties.

One thing for sure is that advancement is extremely slow, and will be for awhile. Good luck in whatever you decide, and don't let me discourage you if that's what you want to do. Just giving you my opinion!
What? Forget about MSST's? BM's and MK's only because they are the two largest rates in the Coast Guard. Sure your chances are there but also don't forget that the majority of them DO NOT FOLLOW LE paths. My Roommate has 10 years sea service as an MK and only did LE for 3 of them. He's at a NESU right now going around doing CSO's on the 378's.
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Old 01-21-2012, 09:12 PM   #29
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LOL, can someone please clarify BM and MK and so forth.
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Old 01-21-2012, 09:16 PM   #30
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LOL, can someone please clarify BM and MK and so forth.
BM is a Boatswains Mate. The drive the boats, do the navigation on cutters, manage deck force and ensure everything is painted correctly. They also blow the Boatswains pipe for Flag Officers when they come aboard.

MK is a Machinery Technician. They maintain the engines, AC systems, evaporator/reverse osmosis plant and generators to name a few. Mechanics if you will.

If you're serious let me know. I've got a good friend that works at Recruiting Command right now. Not recruiting office but Recruiting Command.
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Old 01-21-2012, 09:43 PM   #31
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As a 20-yr Coast Guard retiree (BM), I'll throw my two bits in on this one. Since you're already going through the time/energy to get your bachelor's, don't even think about going enlisted unless you don't have a choice (need a job asap). Don't get me wrong, I was enlisted my entire career, but you can make a damn sight more money going the OCS (officer candidate school) route in the end. Getting-in wise, you'll most likely have a longer wait, but that's something you'll have to figure out via a recruiter. I'm not saying I appreciated--or even gave a damn about--most of the officers I encountered in my career because I didn't. What I am saying is that there is some truth to the old saying that "the one who dies with the most toys wins" and money doesn't suck. Yes, I saw things, did things and learned things that no officer ever will, but I got paid squat to do so. Your call.
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Old 01-21-2012, 10:14 PM   #32
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As a 20-yr Coast Guard retiree (BM), I'll throw my two bits in on this one. Since you're already going through the time/energy to get your bachelor's, don't even think about going enlisted unless you don't have a choice (need a job asap). Don't get me wrong, I was enlisted my entire career, but you can make a damn sight more money going the OCS (officer candidate school) route in the end. Getting-in wise, you'll most likely have a longer wait, but that's something you'll have to figure out via a recruiter. I'm not saying I appreciated--or even gave a damn about--most of the officers I encountered in my career because I didn't. What I am saying is that there is some truth to the old saying that "the one who dies with the most toys wins" and money doesn't suck. Yes, I saw things, did things and learned things that no officer ever will, but I got paid squat to do so. Your call.
Wow! Sure the most toys wins but in the end if he's looking to do LE how much will be done as an Officer? Ensign, LTJG sure but once he becomes a LT he's going to be in an admin position telling folks what to do.

The best job in the Coast Guard is being a Chief. You have the knowledge of your rate, still get into the field to work and help mentor the Junior Officers. Strongest component of any command is the Chiefs Mess!

Also, going enlisted there are a variety of Officer programs available to him. Warrant to LT, DCO/DCE and OCS.
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Old 01-21-2012, 10:39 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by ForeRunner View Post
Wow! Sure the most toys wins but in the end if he's looking to do LE how much will be done as an Officer? Ensign, LTJG sure but once he becomes a LT he's going to be in an admin position telling folks what to do.

The best job in the Coast Guard is being a Chief. You have the knowledge of your rate, still get into the field to work and help mentor the Junior Officers. Strongest component of any command is the Chiefs Mess!

Also, going enlisted there are a variety of Officer programs available to him. Warrant to LT, DCO/DCE and OCS.
I wholeheartedly agree that this is the BEST way to go, but I'm trying to look at it from their perspective. As a career BM, I had the opportunity to work with/over a lot of college grads whose recruiters convinced them that it was in their best interest to go enlisted because they (the recruiter) had quotas to fill when the exact opposite was true. I ended up with people who didn't feel they 'belonged' on deck with the rest of the scrubs which made my job that much harder. On the other hand, I've been retired now for nearly 10 years and I'm seeing much more clearly now just how little what I did in my career matters on the outside. That's where my "toys" comment came from.
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Old 01-22-2012, 08:28 AM   #34
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Got an email from my buddy at Recruiting Command.

Quote:
Has about a 3% chance of selection for OCS right now. For active duty ME is not a rate we can guarantee so he'll have to do the nonrate thing then go to school. For reserve we can guarantee ME but only for certain areas. Not sure if this is what youre looking for. Give me a shout on Monday and I can answer any questions.
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Old 01-22-2012, 03:06 PM   #35
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You guys are awesome and full of info. Very much appreciated! OCS seems pretty stiff with competition. Any idea what can I can do to maybe enhance my chances of getting in?
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Old 01-22-2012, 04:33 PM   #36
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What? Forget about MSST's? BM's and MK's only because they are the two largest rates in the Coast Guard. Sure your chances are there but also don't forget that the majority of them DO NOT FOLLOW LE paths. My Roommate has 10 years sea service as an MK and only did LE for 3 of them. He's at a NESU right now going around doing CSO's on the 378's.

That's what I meant, they are the two largest rates so he would have a good chance at getting an operational unit and conducting LE. Meant BM and MKs are at most units, including TACLETs and MSSTs.

True that most do not follow the LE path, but if you want and have a desire to, the odds are in your favor. Just depends on how motivated you are to take that on in addition to your normal duties.
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Old 01-22-2012, 05:18 PM   #37
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So, what are you currently doing now while waiting?
Sorry to take so long to get back to you on this.

Currently im an SN (seaman E-3) at a small boat station. I came in as an E-3 because I have an AA degree.

I start my day checking boat outfit ensuring that the boats are ready for missions. The rest of my day consists of station upkeep (cleaning, painting ect.). Then we do training on the boats practicing towing, man overboards, anchoring and emergency procedures for equipment failures.

I work 2 days on, 2 days off with sliding weekends so I only work 15 days a month.
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Old 01-22-2012, 05:47 PM   #38
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Hmm. Well I got some time to consider my possibilities. Seems like it maybe awfully difficult to get into OCS anytime soon. If I did join, I want somethign that is going to provide me real world and career experience for when I become law enforcement.
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Old 01-22-2012, 05:52 PM   #39
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Hmm. Well I got some time to consider my possibilities. Seems like it maybe awfully difficult to get into OCS anytime soon. If I did join, I want somethign that is going to provide me real world and career experience for when I become law enforcement.
I should of added right now, I am working on my BTM (boarding team member) qualification which directly translates to Law Enforcement. I will soon be assisting Boarding Officers in safety inspections, proper emergency equipment; flares, life jackets ect.

This is pretty similar to stuff local PD would be doing, although we're on the water
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Old 01-22-2012, 05:58 PM   #40
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That seems cool. And you went in enlisted? HOw long have you been in?
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