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  • A couple questions...

    A few questions to you Coast Guard Vets I've seen on here.

    1. I'm trying to decide between going officer and enlisted. I don't care as much about pay as I do about loving what I do. That said, I've looked at the available ratings for Officer and Enlisted, and for those of you enlisted, would you say you were happier enlisted, or would you have tried officer.

    2. I've looked at the Aviation ratings, would love to fly again, but I've had a PRK operation (lasik) and have been told that would disqualify me from flying. I'd also appreciate some deeper information on the other available Aviation jobs. As far as the other ratings go, are there any jobs for linguists?

    I appreciate your advice and look forward to your responses.
    Last edited by goaves; April 5th, 2012, 17:48.

  • #2
    Sorry, it's been a few days since I visited here...

    1. Going O or E is a personal choice - and the only way to tell which one suits is to see for yourself. The O's are managers in almost all cases - they ensure that the E's can get the job done - which means that they sit back in Command Centers with phones or radios stuck in their hands and worry while the E's are out in the environment getting their hands dirty. At one time, I applied for OCS - and I even competed for Warrant Officer once, but am VERY happy that I wasn't picked up for either program - it was MUCH better for _ME_ being a Chief (then Senior Chief, then Master Chief). For other folks, they are happy with their decisions as well - and those choices may have taken them down much different paths. Enlisted folks get much more control over our careers - whereas Officers get TOLD what would be better for their careers. Enlisted folks can work their entire careers in the field, while Officers have to go from an operational tour (at a field unit) to a staff tour (at a headquarters unit) and back and forth for their entire career. Officers can't make it 20 years without at least one tour at CGHQ in Washington DC - while Enlisted folks can do whatever they want as long as the billets are available for them.

    2. Lasik is a DQ for flight status - but that could change in the next few years now that procedures have gotten better and more studies have been completed about the long-term affects of the procedure on aviators.

    Aviation jobs for Enlisted folks are limited to AST (rescue swimmers), AET (spark chasers), and AMT (flight mechanics) - that's it. The Navy has over 20 career fields to cover what we do with three - and AST's don't do squat for maintenance on our aircraft. Officers do the flying, and are limited to helo's, HC-130's, and a couple work on our jets (only a few in the inventory).

    Being a linguist is a collateral duty - you would have a regular rating (career field, like AMT), and you would have a qualification code that says you are qualified to speak a certain language. You may or may not get a billet that requires the use of that language. Other times, you may get hand-selected to go somewhere because of it - as a person that can speak some Korean, I was tapped twice to go to Korea to deal with some environmental disasters.

    For other questions, just holler!

    Brian Raini


    • #3
      Thanks, BRaini. I've talked to many personnel in the Navy, both officer and enlisted, and I from what I gathered, the enlisted were more open to friendly banter or jokes, though the officer guys were alright. From what you've said about the enlisted side of the CG, it sounds the same. Personally, I'd rather work myself, which is what makes enlistment appealing. I've also been looking into the Intelligence Specialist, Operations Specialist, and Gunners Mate ratings. I've got the basic information on those, but if you have any more in depth knowledge it would definitely help weigh my options.


      • #4
        After what I have told you about the ratings, everything I say will be biased, as I have NOT done those three ratings - even if I have helped on occasion.

        OS's sit at computer screens with telephones and radios within arms reach. When a SAR call comes in, they coordinate the search and rescue and communicate up and down the line. They work (usually) 12-hour shifts, working two days, off two days, then switching shifts on regular occasions. Some like it - most chose it for the bonus and hate it. In my opinion, it sucks, because you only rarely get to see the sun...

        GM's keep our weapons in working order. They run the armories and qualification ranges and train people that can't shoot at all to be capable marksmen. They clean the weapons and do quite a bit of law enforcement as a collateral duty. This rating can suck, because after a day on the range, you can spend hours or days cleaning weapons - and if you lose so much as ONE bullet, your career can be over.

        IS's are our super-secret-squirrel-spies, receiving intelligence and figuring out what is good and bad intel, then giving it out to those that need it. They do some investigations, but only rarely. They have Top Secret-TSI clearances, and it is hard to qualify for - so if there is ANYTHING in your background, you may want to avoid it. These folks are segregated from most others, so there isn't much camaraderie, as you'll be a stranger to most of the other people at a unit... and when you introduce yourself, many with think you are with CGI (Coast Guard NCIS) doing an undercover sting investigation.

        The friendly banter thing depends on the person and the unit - some units don't look kindly, at least between different rates (ranks). There isn't much rivalry between the Enlisted grades like I have seen for Officers. I've found that Cutter personnel are much closer (camaraderie) than shore-units.

        I will say - unlike the other services, I have seen VERY few crappy Coast Guard Officers. They are almost all top-notch and REALLY want to do a good job.


        • #5
          Thanks again. I've been contemplating going reserve. From what I've read, you have to go enlisted and apply for the selected direct commissioning program. I was going Navy at first, have undergone meps and passed the Asvab and have had my physical, but have not sworn in with anybody, nor chosen a job. I'm sending the Coast Guard my information and may go ahead with this.


          • #6
            Be advised: To apply (and be possibly approved) for a Direct Commission, you MUST have a 4-year degree in a field that we need AND several years of experience in that field. For the fields that can compete for DC's, look here: UNITED STATES COAST GUARD: DIRECT COMMISSION PROGRAMS

            It's a pretty limited list - and the Environmental Manager program hasn't had any solicitations for about ten years (we have enough).