As was foretold, we've added advertisements to the forums! If you have questions, or if you encounter any bugs, please visit this thread: https://forums.penny-arcade.com/discussion/240191/forum-advertisement-faq-and-reports-thread/
Options

Is the USCG for me?

GirlPantsGirlPants Registered User regular
edited December 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
I'm not sure the best way to write this but my hope is that it will attract a few enlisted people that can shed some light. First a little background:

I'm 22yrs old, male. Pretty physically fit. I'm just about to finish my first year at community college for digital media. My plan was to transfer to a major university after 2 years. Because of the economy I was laid off from my job and have been unemployed for 6 months. I don't have any prospective employment and am moving back in with my mom as I have no other choice. I'm very worried about become a free loader and unemployment affecting school.

After talking to a friend of mine, I started thinking about joining the Coast Guard because of the financial benefits such as getting school paid for and having a steady job and place to live. I've never really wanted to join the military but the idea doesn't necessarily rub me the wrong way. I think it would give me a better perspective and overall would be a positive change in my life.

As a person who would like to continue going to school, is the Coast Guard something that would be right for me? I know I could receive the Gi Bill as well as getting other assistance and I've heard of a lot of people joining for this reason. Also, I haven't talked to a recruiter yet because I'm scared they will just give me a line of BS to get me to join. What I've found out so far is that I'll make $15g my first year as well as 3$g before taxes for boot camp. I assume there will be some other signing bonuses, but I don't know. What else do I have to look forward to if I join? Also how long is the mandatory term of service?

GirlPants on

Posts

  • Options
    duallainduallain Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    This thread has tons of information in it: http://forums.penny-arcade.com/showthread.php?t=70375

    From reading it I gathered:

    Make sure you know what you're entitled to, your recruiter's job is to get you at the lowest possible cost.
    ROTC = money and entering the service higher on the food chain
    Having a degree before entering the service is generally good

    Finally, good luck.

    duallain on
  • Options
    QuidQuid Definitely not a banana Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Just so you know, but we actually do have a general military questions thread.

    But to answer some of your questions, bonuses depend highly on what your job is. Not all jobs get them, and I have no clue how high they go for the CG. As far as going to school, it's very feasible while in the military, though generally not right away as you're busy training, getting qualifications, standing watches, etc.

    Also, if you're joining the CG to try and make sure you stay in the U.S. just know even that's not a guaranteed thing. I met some CG people on leave in Qatar who'd been deployed to train Iraqis. That doesn't mean it's very likely, but there's still a possibility that they assume you're aware of when you sign up.

    Quid on
  • Options
    RUNN1NGMANRUNN1NGMAN Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    I'm a former active duty USCG officer who graduated from the academy and served aboard a ship as well as at Headquarters in DC, my brother is currently an active duty officer in command of a patrol boat in Bahrain, and my sister graduated from OCS a few years ago, is stationed in San Diego, and is going through the flight school application process right now. I also live across the street from the CG Personnel Command and have a couple friends who work there. I can't guarantee that I'll know every answer, but feel free to PM any questions to me or post anything in here and I'll try and answer as best I can.

    As far as the GI Bill goes, if you enter the Coast Guard you definitely qualify for it. The standards for the GI Bill have recently all been changed, and it is completely different now than the old program, but you can find lots of information about it on Military.com and the VA website. Basically, your benefits are now based on how long you serve on active duty, and you don't have to "buy in" by paying money any more. The CG also offers tuition assistance if you take night classes or distance learning, and you can take CLEPS exams for college credit. Pretty much the same as other services.

    I have no idea what signing bonuses are available now, but I know in the past the CG has used re-up bonuses much more than signing bonuses for new recruits. It's really hard to predict those because it all depends on what rates (specialties) are short at the time, which is always fluctuating.

    RUNN1NGMAN on
  • Options
    HyperAquaBlastHyperAquaBlast Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    I'm also Coast Guard but enlisted and been in about 3 and half years. At the moment I enjoy it a lot. My job is a information systems tech which I think is a blast at my location and before that I was on a 378ft boat. Which is about the second biggest in size in the CG that is in use at the moment but I hated life there.

    From what I have seen and know is that if you want to stay in the U.S. then CG is your best bet. On the bigger boats you'll be out away from port at most 4 months on normal patrols and in port for about 2 or 3. The Iraq assignments are mostly special and most you have to volunteer to go out there and the guys that Quid mentioned are at my base and they are the international training division and they have all been in quite awhile so no need to worry about that.

    Signing bonuses I have no idea on. When I joined everyone got $3,000 just to join and the rates that needed people badly were up to about $10,000. Food Service was the highest paying that amount but if you wanna be a cook on boat thats the price you pay cause there are few land billets(job positions) for that on land for a new person.

    The saying is choose your rate, choose your fate. Go to the website and read up on them or you can ask me about all the enlisted jobs and I can give a pretty good low down on what to expect since I mess around with all of them every day and work at one of the training centers. Don't choose a job here for the bonuses. There are only a few jobs in the CG compared to all the other services but there is something for everyone so go after the rate that has the most hobbies you like.

    Also for actual college stuff, its very doable but wait until you make rate and have a permanent duty station (about 3 years in one place) and know what you are going to be doing and what your work day hours would be like before doing college stuff.

    HyperAquaBlast on
    steam_sig.png
  • Options
    GirlPantsGirlPants Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Well, this is all very good info. Thank you for sharing.

    My hope was that I could somehow continue college flawlessly while enlisting, but I guess this is not the case. Maybe my best bet would be to wait until I get my 2 yr. degree to join. Also I am thinking of GC because I want to stay in the country. I don't want to go to Iraq at all, ever. Ever.

    Do most people go to college after they are out of the GC or while there in?

    GirlPants on
  • Options
    Limp mooseLimp moose Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    The coast guard kicks ass.

    If you are looking for a service that is seriously awesome look no further and PM runningman.

    Limp moose on
  • Options
    GirlPantsGirlPants Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Limp moose wrote: »
    The coast guard kicks ass.

    If you are looking for a service that is seriously awesome look no further and PM runningman.

    Care to elaborate?

    GirlPants on
  • Options
    RUNN1NGMANRUNN1NGMAN Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    GirlPants wrote: »
    Limp moose wrote: »
    The coast guard kicks ass.

    If you are looking for a service that is seriously awesome look no further and PM runningman.

    Care to elaborate?

    Well, the CG has its shitty parts just like other services, but also has some kick ass missions that rarely, if ever, involve getting shot at. You're a lot more likely to get your picture taken in front of six tons of cocaine in the CG, which is always fun. Also, everyone loves the CG. Except fishermen and drug runners and Haitian migrants.

    RUNN1NGMAN on
  • Options
    GirlPantsGirlPants Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    RUNN1NGMAN wrote: »
    GirlPants wrote: »
    Limp moose wrote: »
    The coast guard kicks ass.

    If you are looking for a service that is seriously awesome look no further and PM runningman.

    Care to elaborate?

    Well, the CG has its shitty parts just like other services, but also has some kick ass missions that rarely, if ever, involve getting shot at. You're a lot more likely to get your picture taken in front of six tons of cocaine in the CG, which is always fun. Also, everyone loves the CG. Except fishermen and drug runners and Haitian migrants.

    Ya see this is why I want to join. I don't want to die.

    I also am wondering about the reserves. How does that work? Would I be able to join that and still stay at home most of the time?

    About ROTC, do they have this at community colleges? I guess I should ask around.

    Edit: I wanted to clarify that I am looking at the CG simply because I don't think I have nearly as much chance of getting killed or shot at. By this logic is the Air Force something I should check into as well?

    Also, is there anyway to get into the service as an officer without a college degree? They make a lot more cash.

    GirlPants on
  • Options
    Limp mooseLimp moose Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Back when I was in flight school We did joint training with all services sans the army. (im in the navy) So at helicopter advanced school my class mates were Navy marine CG and AF pilots. In my experience EVERY single coast guard pilot was one of the nicest coolest people I met. They loved their jobs. Had the best stories and just generally were A OK people.

    They have great duty stations. Cool platforms (IE helicopters they get to fly) A cool mission (everyone likes rescuing people it is generally considered more fun than killing them) So Over all from my experience I like the coast guard.

    I have zero experience serving In and know little about it outside the realm of aviation. But every interaction I have had with members of the coast guard has been a positive one.

    Im like a CG fan boy.

    Limp moose on
  • Options
    RUNN1NGMANRUNN1NGMAN Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    GirlPants wrote: »
    RUNN1NGMAN wrote: »
    GirlPants wrote: »
    Limp moose wrote: »
    The coast guard kicks ass.

    If you are looking for a service that is seriously awesome look no further and PM runningman.

    Care to elaborate?

    Well, the CG has its shitty parts just like other services, but also has some kick ass missions that rarely, if ever, involve getting shot at. You're a lot more likely to get your picture taken in front of six tons of cocaine in the CG, which is always fun. Also, everyone loves the CG. Except fishermen and drug runners and Haitian migrants.

    Ya see this is why I want to join. I don't want to die.

    I also am wondering about the reserves. How does that work? Would I be able to join that and still stay at home most of the time?

    About ROTC, do they have this at community colleges? I guess I should ask around.

    Edit: I wanted to clarify that I am looking at the CG simply because I don't think I have nearly as much chance of getting killed or shot at. By this logic is the Air Force something I should check into as well?

    Also, is there anyway to get into the service as an officer without a college degree? They make a lot more cash.

    CG doesn't have ROTC really (they have a few minority focused programs). So that's out. You can go to OCS without a college degree, but involves enlisting, reaching a certain rank, and having an associates degree. Reserves is basically one weekend a month and one active-duty period each year. You could definitely do that while in school, and you can also collect tuition assistance as a reservist--you just have to agree to a certain amount of service (I think it's one year past the last year you collect tuition assistance). Any active duty time you do while in the reserves can also count towards the GI Bill, and I think benefits for that kick in after 90 days of continuous active duty, which isn't hard to get. The CG has a pretty robust reserve program, and you can do almost anything active duty CG does as a reservist.

    RUNN1NGMAN on
  • Options
    Iceman.USAFIceman.USAF Major East CoastRegistered User regular
    edited December 2008
    If you're interested in continuing college, then there ARE programs that let you enlist immediately and then go right back ROTC. Not sure if the CG does that but all the armed forces (AF, Army, Navy) allow it.

    Iceman.USAF on
Sign In or Register to comment.