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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 7:59 PM
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    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?
     
  3. Jan 20, 2012 at 8:02 PM
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    Brunes

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    Both-Bad economy means lots of folks want jobs...and less money means less spots to accept people into.
     
  4. Jan 20, 2012 at 8:05 PM
    #4
    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.
     
  5. Jan 20, 2012 at 8:13 PM
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    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.
     
  6. Jan 20, 2012 at 8:13 PM
    #6
    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?
     
  7. Jan 21, 2012 at 7:22 AM
    #7
    PVT Pablo

    PVT Pablo Ultra Junior Member

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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!
     
  8. Jan 21, 2012 at 7:26 AM
    #8
    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.
     
  9. Jan 21, 2012 at 9:18 AM
    #9
    CNEDEER

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

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    So, what are you currently doing now while waiting?
     
  10. Jan 21, 2012 at 11:20 AM
    #10
    4x4Runner

    4x4Runner Now with more Oi Vey! Moderator

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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.
     
  11. Jan 21, 2012 at 5:09 PM
    #11
    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...
     
  12. Jan 21, 2012 at 6:05 PM
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    4x4Runner

    4x4Runner Now with more Oi Vey! Moderator

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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.
     
  13. Jan 21, 2012 at 7:17 PM
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    CNEDEER

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

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    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?
     
  14. Jan 21, 2012 at 7:26 PM
    #14
    CNEDEER

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

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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?
     
  15. Jan 21, 2012 at 7:27 PM
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    Nirvana

    Nirvana Tesla Auto - Non union and proud

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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.
     
  16. Jan 21, 2012 at 7:28 PM
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    CNEDEER

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

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    I'm a newbie to all the lingo... NOAA?
     
  17. Jan 21, 2012 at 8:16 PM
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    TacPro45

    TacPro45 Well-Known Member

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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!
     
  18. Jan 21, 2012 at 8:19 PM
    #18
    CNEDEER

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

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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?
     
  19. Jan 21, 2012 at 9:07 PM
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    4x4Runner

    4x4Runner Now with more Oi Vey! Moderator

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    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.

    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.

    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.
     
  20. Jan 21, 2012 at 9:12 PM
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    CNEDEER

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

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    LOL, can someone please clarify BM and MK and so forth.
     
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