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Considering joining the Coast Guard...feedback please

Discussion in 'Military' started by CNEDEER, Jan 20, 2012.

  1. Jan 20, 2012 at 7:46 PM
    #1
    CNEDEER

    CNEDEER [OP] If ya ain't first, your last!

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    So I am currently a senior in college and will graduate next fall with a Bachelor's of Science in Criminal Justice. I have aspirations of becoming a police officer, but recently have considered joining the U.S. Coast Guard first. I think it would help me mature a little more and allow me to get more intense and professional training, which would allow me to enter a career afterwards in law enforcement.

    I was browsing through the website and came across the enlistment (position? MO? rating...not sure what is called) called Maritime Enforcement Specialist. It gave a brief description, but I wanted to see if anyoone has any experience in this field. Any tips? Suggestions? Comments

    Also, I see that with a Bachelor's degree I could go the officer route and attend Officer training? If I go this route, would I be able to enter the field as ME, or would it be a different position.

    I am really looking to go the law enforcement route so any and all suggestions would be much appreciated.
     
  2. Jan 20, 2012 at 7:55 PM
    #2
    Mr. Brown

    Mr. Brown Well-Known Member

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    ME is an enlisted only position. Getting in is a little tough right now though, I'd contact a recruiter to find out the wait.

    Becoming an officer is a good route for someone with a bachelor's degree but it is a longer process. You have to complete a package and submit it sometime around October. After that, and if you are accepted, it will take a little less than a year to get to active duty.

    How competitive are the PDs in Ohio? I think with a Bachelor's you should be competitive in the application process.
     
  3. Jan 20, 2012 at 7:59 PM
    #3
    CNEDEER

    CNEDEER [OP] If ya ain't first, your last!

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    Thanks for the quick response. Why is it so tough to get in right now? A lot of people applying? Or are they not accepting anyone?
     
  4. Jan 20, 2012 at 8:02 PM
    #4
    Brunes

    Brunes abides. Staff Member

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    Both-Bad economy means lots of folks want jobs...and less money means less spots to accept people into.
     
  5. Jan 20, 2012 at 8:03 PM
    #5
    Mr. Brown

    Mr. Brown Well-Known Member

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    A little of both. Cutbacks in the Coast Guard's budget have reduced the number of slots available, and the poor economy has more people looking at the Coast Guard as a job option.
     
  6. Jan 20, 2012 at 8:05 PM
    #6
    CNEDEER

    CNEDEER [OP] If ya ain't first, your last!

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    Now that you mentioned it I have heard of that. If I were to get in as an officer, is there type of path I could follow while in there that would be law enforcment oriented?

    Or do you recommend going in as an enlisted ME.

    That is, of course, if I could get in.
     
  7. Jan 20, 2012 at 8:09 PM
    #7
    Mr. Brown

    Mr. Brown Well-Known Member

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    There is. If you did four years active duty you will likely be stationed in more than one place. If the first place isn't LE oriented. You can usually get your second place. Of course you'd have to be willing to give on other things like where your unit is located.
     
  8. Jan 20, 2012 at 8:13 PM
    #8
    Special_K

    Special_K o_o

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    Last year on my ship the wait time for ME "A" school was two years...I can't verify that though. Definitely hit up a recruiter like Mr. Brown said. I think a lot of the kinks are being worked in that rate since it's relatively new but I know it's been backed up for a while.

    If I went enlisted I would have gone ME. Out of the 10 guys on my team, 9 are ME's.
     
  9. Jan 20, 2012 at 8:13 PM
    #9
    Mr. Brown

    Mr. Brown Well-Known Member

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    I'd say look at your options and decide what is best for you.

    On a side note have you considered the reserves? That way you get the training and experience, but you still have the ability to apply for local law enforcement.
     
  10. Jan 20, 2012 at 8:13 PM
    #10
    CNEDEER

    CNEDEER [OP] If ya ain't first, your last!

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    Gotcha. Does enlistment work like it does in the other military fields. ex. you enlist for 4 years and then can reinlist? etc?

    Staying with the LE theme, is it a lot of patroling, or is there an array of different tasks?
     
  11. Jan 20, 2012 at 8:16 PM
    #11
    Mr. Brown

    Mr. Brown Well-Known Member

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    As with all first enlistments I believe you are on the hook for 6 years. You can sign up for active duty in 2, 4 or 6 years increments. After that you'd go into a type of inactive reserve where they can pull you back in if necessary.

    After your first active duty tour, you'd be allowed to re-enlist.
     
  12. Jan 20, 2012 at 8:19 PM
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    Mr. Brown

    Mr. Brown Well-Known Member

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    There are many facets to Coast Guard law enforcement. Anti-terrorism, drug interdiction, recreational boating safety, and the general enforcement of federal law. It depends on the unit and location how much and what kind of LE you do.
     
  13. Jan 20, 2012 at 9:26 PM
    #13
    Mr. Brown

    Mr. Brown Well-Known Member

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    Needless to say, if you ever any questions about the USCG, or anything else, feel free to pm me.
     
  14. Jan 21, 2012 at 7:22 AM
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    PVT Pablo

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    I'm on the ME 'A' School list now and the wait is still over 24 months.

    It's a long wait, but I'm sticking with it!
     
  15. Jan 21, 2012 at 7:26 AM
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    Ohbrian

    Ohbrian Taco Roja

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    Personally I think if you already have a degree you'd be crazy not to go the officer route. To each his own.
     
  16. Jan 21, 2012 at 9:18 AM
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    CNEDEER

    CNEDEER [OP] If ya ain't first, your last!

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    So, what are you currently doing now while waiting?
     
  17. Jan 21, 2012 at 11:20 AM
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    ForeRunner

    ForeRunner BBC. Bring Back Clarkson Staff Member

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    Completely depends on where you are stationed. When you enlist you'll go to boot camp in Cape May NJ or 8 weeks. With a degree you'll likely graduate as an E3 and are considered a "non rate" or Seaman or Fireman because you're not rated. In the Coast Guard and Navy E4-E6 are Petty Officers. E7-E9 are the senior enlisted and are Chief Petty Officer, Senior Chief Petty Officer and Master Chief Petty Officer.

    If you go to a Cutter out of boot you'll either be in Deck department or Engineering. Deck you'll be sanding, painting and doing upkeep on the cutter. Engineering you'll be in the Engine room assisting the Machinery Technicians maintain the Cutters engineering plant. I would venture to say at some point you'll also be mess cooking, basically washing dishes for the cooks and keeping the mess deck/wardroom/Chiefs Mess clean.

    At a Station I couldn't tell you exactly. You'll most likely be on a two on two off with sliding weekend rotations and you'll be out on the small boats doing any variety of search and rescue, LE and zone enforcement.

    With what's been said the Coast Guard isn't hurting on recruitment and going the Officer route might be tough. I was stationed with a guy in Seattle that has a BA in Criminal Justice and they told him no on the Officer route because of the current retention. He waited 2 years to go to school and is now stationed on the Gulf Coast.

    I enlisted for initially for 4 years and almost 15 years later... I don't regret the decision and have made some good friends, seen a lot of cool places, drove the Alcan and drove across the country twice.
     
  18. Jan 21, 2012 at 5:09 PM
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    CNEDEER

    CNEDEER [OP] If ya ain't first, your last!

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    [
    If you go to a Cutter out of boot you'll either be in Deck department or Engineering. Deck you'll be sanding, painting and doing upkeep on the cutter. Engineering you'll be in the Engine room assisting the Machinery Technicians maintain the Cutters engineering plant. I would venture to say at some point you'll also be mess cooking, basically washing dishes for the cooks and keeping the mess deck/wardroom/Chiefs Mess clean.

    At a Station I couldn't tell you exactly. You'll most likely be on a two on two off with sliding weekend rotations and you'll be out on the small boats doing any variety of search and rescue, LE and zone enforcement.

    With what's been said the Coast Guard isn't hurting on recruitment and going the Officer route might be tough. I was stationed with a guy in Seattle that has a BA in Criminal Justice and they told him no on the Officer route because of the current retention. He waited 2 years to go to school and is now stationed on the Gulf Coast.

    I enlisted for initially for 4 years and almost 15 years later... I don't regret the decision and have made some good friends, seen a lot of cool places, drove the Alcan and drove across the country twice.[/QUOTE]

    Appreciate the info. I still have another year before I finish up college so it is something I will strongly consider. However, I am not crazy about signing up for something that may have me doing random tasks and so forth. I really want to get into some branch where I can develop skills that will help me in the LE route...
     
  19. Jan 21, 2012 at 6:05 PM
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    ForeRunner

    ForeRunner BBC. Bring Back Clarkson Staff Member

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    No matter which branch you sign up for you'll be entry level and there is grunt work associated with it. Don't think of it as random tasks. If you enter the CG as an enlisted person the work you do is character building. YOu may not like it, its boring, monotonous and somewhat demoralizing but it gives you respect for those doing it after you become rated. When you get to your unit put forth an effort and show initiative. Try to get on the small boat crew and go to BTM school to participate in boardings.
     
  20. Jan 21, 2012 at 6:21 PM
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    Mr. Brown

    Mr. Brown Well-Known Member

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    Just a quick note to add on to what Forerunner 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.

    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.
     
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