FS-FOOD SERVICE SPECIALIST
Last Post 29 Jun 2020 06:03 PM by Naldo. 167 Replies.
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chuklesUser is Offline
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chukles

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10 Jan 2010 12:16 AM
    FOOD SERVICE SPECIALIST (FS)


    To view a video of this rate, click here.

    Food service specialists receive top training in cooking skills, accounting, management, leadership, and the ability to organize and carry out many tasks. They also will learn equipment use and safety; recipe conversions; basic food preparation skills and terminology; baking; sanitation; purchasing; storage; nutrition and wellness cooking; and dining-facility management. Being an FS provides excellent preparation and training in the fields of restaurant management, catering, cooking or a variety of other jobs in the food service industries.

    Types of Duty:

    Food service specialists can be found in just about every duty station available throughout the United States and various locations overseas. They serve on every Coast Guard cutter, from harbor tugs to icebreakers.

    Training Available:

    You'll start your career in this field with either 12 weeks of specialized instruction at FS 'A' School in Petaluma, Calif., or with on-the-job training. After initial study and some time improving your skills, further training is available in accounting; administration; advanced culinary skills involving nutritional cooking; and advanced pastry/baking skills. There is also an annual award program that recognizes the Coast Guard's most outstanding FS and galley teams. The "Food Specialist of the Year" awardees receive two weeks of culinary training at a prestigious culinary arts school. Training may be applied toward the member's certified executive chef credentials.

    Qualifications:

    To be an FS, you should have an interest in food preparation; an ability to understand and apply instruction and procedures for handling food; and good mathematical background for recipe conversions. Also, you should have high standards of personal cleanliness, and an education in food service and hospitality or experience in food service is helpful.

    Related Civilian Jobs:

    Chef
    Restaurant Manager
    Caterer
    Baker
    Cook


    Vr,
    Chuck

    These poor, plain men, dwellers upon the lonely sands of Hatteras, took their lives in their hands, and, at the most imminent risk crossed the most tumultuous sea…and all for what? That others might live to see home and friends. — Annual Report of the U.S. Life- Saving Service, 1885

    Recruiting Website

    Read here for answers to the most often asked questions about joining the Coast Guard!

    I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords. I'd like to remind them that as a trusted Coastie, I can be helpful in rounding up others to toil in their underground sugar caves.
    jchristine23User is Offline
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    jchristine23

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    02 Feb 2010 02:52 PM
    Do the FS people get to have any fun or are they stuck in the kitchen all day?
    jkribellUser is Offline
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    jkribell

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    02 Feb 2010 04:58 PM
    My daughter is an FS 3 on her cutter and they do their fair share of cooking but they also have several other "jobs" that they fill in for. She is a strong swimmer and has been on some boardings even to do light rescue swimming if need be. As they progress in their carreers, (she will be an FS2 soon) she is no longer doing the duty cooking, she does more of the ordering, managing etc. I think as in all things, it varies widely with the ship, commands, and any strengths and weaknesses each Coastie shows.

    On a side note, it amuses me that my daughter has always wanted to be a chef.....as I don't cook!! I guess she decided that if she wanted to eat, she better learn!!


    Proud Mom to FS3Kribell-USCGC Hamilton, San Diego
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    AET2bUser is Offline
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    04 Feb 2010 11:35 PM
    I have herd that the "majority" of perople who pick FS are assigned to cutters, is this correct?

    Also, I have herd that you can advance much faster and obtain more of a leadership role than other rates, is this correct or false information?
    jkribellUser is Offline
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    jkribell

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    05 Feb 2010 06:33 AM
    I don't know that answer to that. My opinion is that anyone that is willing to work hard will make it and advance no matter what the rate. Once again - just my opinion. Seems to me the Coast Guard gives everyone the opportunity & training to advance. I certainly would not go any one rate just to get "ahead: faster. You have to love it. In our case, my daughter has wanted to go to culinary school since she was a young child. If you don't love it - think twice or three times!


    Proud Mom to FS3Kribell-USCGC Hamilton, San Diego
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    Lucky to live in Hawaii - Mom to FS3Kribell, USCGC Hamilton, San Diego
    GearsUser is Offline
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    Gears

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    05 Feb 2010 11:23 AM
    Advancement in the CG solely depends on the individual. A hard working squared away Coastie will advance faster than one who is not. Advancement affords the opportunity for leadership.

    Cooks are located at just about every CG unit, including cutters. Seeing as how this is a sea going service EXPECT and EMBRACE going to sea. Keep in mind that cutter sizes and missions vary. 378s don't have the same missions or schedules as 225s, 175s, 140s, 87s, etc.


    "When you fall on your face, you are still moving forward."

    “I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.” ― Bruce Lee
    AET2bUser is Offline
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    AET2b

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    05 Feb 2010 04:32 PM
    Thanks for the input!
    Gears- don't assume that I am trying to get away from cutters. I simply was asking a broad yes or no question to confirm or deny the information being told to me. I do except and embrace going to sea. Maybe I only want cutters and want to know if I have better odds of getting one in FS.
    GearsUser is Offline
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    Gears

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    05 Feb 2010 05:20 PM
    AET2b,

    Don't assume I'm assuming anything. You asked about sea duty, I provided an answer.


    "I have the terrible feeling that, because I am wearing a white beard and am sitting in the back of the theatre, you expect me to tell you the truth about something. These are the cheap seats, not Mount Sinai."

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    “I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.” ― Bruce Lee
    jchristine23User is Offline
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    05 Feb 2010 05:38 PM
    out of curiosity... It is my understanding that there are not a lot of cutters that have billets for women, so as a women if I were to pick FS then would I have a better chance of getting some sea time, or am I still more likely to get assigned to a station? And then, what kind of fun stuff do you get do do as a FS at a station?
    AET2bUser is Offline
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    AET2b

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    05 Feb 2010 05:41 PM
    Now this is just an assumption , but when I assumed that you assumed, I assumed that we were just assuming. :)

    thanks for your answer.
    Bored of Desk JobsUser is Offline
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    Bored of Desk Jobs

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    05 Feb 2010 06:25 PM
    www.youtube.com/watch?v=TywmpMQYojs


    It all begins February 16th 2010!

    " height="200" width="200" quality="high" loop="infinite" TYPE="application/x-shockwave-flash" PLUGINSPAGE="www.macromedia.com/shockwave/download/index.cgiP1_Prod_Version=Shockwaveflash">

    GearsUser is Offline
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    Gears

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    05 Feb 2010 06:59 PM
    If you are a female you can only be assigned to cutters with female berthing. In the case of 87's there will have to be a minimum of 2 females in any combination. CO/non rate, BM2/FS2, etc.

    At stations FSs get to cook fun meals for the crew that handles the long, hard operational hours. Typically, the cooks finish the final meal, clean up, and go home for the night.


    "I have the terrible feeling that, because I am wearing a white beard and am sitting in the back of the theatre, you expect me to tell you the truth about something. These are the cheap seats, not Mount Sinai."

    -Orson Welles

    “I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.” ― Bruce Lee
    jkribellUser is Offline
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    jkribell

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    05 Feb 2010 08:20 PM
    Don't know about smaller cutters but on a 378 - they cook round the clock.  They have night bakers and they have duty cooks that cook for the night watchstanders etc.  When they are in port - it's a whole lot more relaxed but when out to sea, they really work around the clock. As you can see -FS is still on the critical rate list so most billets are short on the FS's which means they work even more hours.  I am down at the Sand Island Coast Guard station here in Honolulu alot and notice that they have the FS's from the Jarvis and Rush cooking in the Land Galley when they are in port as well.   


    Proud Mom to FS3Kribell-USCGC Hamilton, San Diego
    USCG Aux Member District 14 Divison 1
    DSO-CC/EM/PA; Flotilla FN/SR 

    Lucky to live in Hawaii - Mom to FS3Kribell, USCGC Hamilton, San Diego
    AET2bUser is Offline
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    05 Feb 2010 10:36 PM
    sounds like one of those jobs where you would be required to work longer shifts than other rates, and get there earlier than most, leave later than most, and be in a hot kitchen all the time... Sounds fun.

    Bored, very interesting....
    I assumed it was going to be some CG related FS video....
    LMAO!!
    aftocgUser is Offline
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    07 Feb 2010 01:09 AM
    FS is a cake job (no pun intended). i work 2 on 2 off with sliding weekends, only 15 days a month. now that's at a sector, it would be completely different if i were attached to a boat. FS is a great job but you half to have a joy for cooking or you would hate it.
    willekgUser is Offline
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    willekg

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    20 Feb 2011 08:33 PM
    Sorry for what may be a silly question but my wife is curious, if she has a bachelors in culinary business managment, would there be a chance she could get a guarantee spot as fs and would she still need to go to boot camp?
    chuklesUser is Offline
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    chukles

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    20 Feb 2011 08:35 PM
    She would still need to go to boot camp, but she can get a guaranteed school prior to enlisting! Have her contact a recruiter!
    I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords. I'd like to remind them that as a trusted Coastie, I can be helpful in rounding up others to toil in their underground sugar caves.
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    21 Feb 2011 12:13 AM
    Only thing is she knows she can't make it through boot camp due to her medical problems, she has spondo of her back . Spondo is a floating disc cuz she broke her back when she was a kid
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    21 Feb 2011 05:20 AM
    Then she would not be allowed in the military. You can't join and skip boot for medical reasons. All enlisted persnnel in the military must go through boot camp.
    Sector NY, Staten Island
    mtrue711User is Offline
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    mtrue711

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    08 Mar 2011 06:14 PM
    I was just wondering if anyone can tell me what it will be like at A School. I start July 5th as long as everything goes well in boot, which Im sure it will. I was just wondering what the day to day life is like at School?
    There is no Great and Powerful Oz! OWN IT!
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    19 Mar 2011 09:53 PM
    this sounds sort of like a fun rate! I like to bake, and I make some mean chocolate chip cookies My recruiter told me that A-school for FS was guaranteed...does that mean I would go immediately after boot, or still have to wait four months? I think I'd like to be a non rate for a while and truly understand what the coast guard is all about first... I'm simply curious about how the process works!
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    20 Mar 2011 10:03 AM
    I am going to boot camp in 9 days, and after I get out I am going straight to FS School afterwards.
    There is no Great and Powerful Oz! OWN IT!
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    cgashley

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    20 Mar 2011 12:12 PM
    Posted By mtrue711 on 20 Mar 2011 11:03 AM
    I am going to boot camp in 9 days, and after I get out I am going straight to FS School afterwards.

    Oh cool thanks.  Keep us posted on what it's like! And good luck at boot!
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    25 Apr 2011 09:20 PM
    RE: "I am down at the Sand Island Coast Guard station here in Honolulu alot and notice that they have the FS's from the Jarvis and Rush cooking in the Land Galley when they are in port as well. "...
     
    When the Jarvis, Rush or any other cutter arrives back to homeport, they usually go through a maintenance period. Thus, the cooks are left with nothing do if the galley is closed aboard the ship. This also means that they have to get their food from somewhere, most times it comes from the galley at the BSU. The FS's that go to the galley and help out are only doing this temporarily until their cutter/galley is back up and running again. 
     Also, if an issue arises and one of the FS's from one of the ships' needs a place to work, they are usually sent to the BSU galley.
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    ebee

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    14 Sep 2011 11:00 AM
    Just checking in as someone who is interested in FS. I have been all over the place with my interests, but am starting to realize that if I enlist, I should do something which I personally enjoy and which would be challenging. It seems like FS fits that bill, while also giving me the opportunity to get some more management experience.
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    AdrienneRager

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    14 Dec 2011 12:02 PM
    my A school starts on 3/26/2012 & i get out of basic on 2/24/12, what am i going to do between that break ?
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    14 Dec 2011 12:50 PM
    You will still go to the A school and day work until your school starts.
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    14 Dec 2011 11:26 PM
    ohh okay, thanks (:
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    25 Jan 2012 11:05 PM
    Does anyone know how they decide how to divvy up the assignments after FS A-school? I realize that it's firstly based on whatever is in the best interest of the military, but other than that, is it mostly performance based? ie. will the top performers in the class will have a better chance of getting one of their top few choices on their dream sheet? Or is it based on something else?
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    27 Jan 2012 02:32 PM
    There are multiple factors that are considered when assigning duty stations. However, FS is slightly different only because the great majority of people going into the FS rate are coming straight out of boot camp. So those other factors don't play so heavily in the decision making process. With that being said, one of the factors is performance based. Since the possibility of the other factors greatly diminishes for that particular rate, that is probably the key factor to look at when getting an assignment.
    Sector NY, Staten Island
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    30 Jan 2012 05:08 PM
    Thank you! This was very helpful, and confirmed what we were thinking...
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    01 Feb 2012 01:21 PM
    Are there a lot of cutters that have billets for women?
    skitdu671User is Offline
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    skitdu671

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    01 Feb 2012 01:34 PM
    if your assigned to a cutter but have a family, how does this work?
    Do something every day that you don't want to do; this is the golden rule for acquiring the habit of doing your duty without pain. ~ Mark Twain
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    01 Feb 2012 01:41 PM
    You go out to sea, they stay at home. It's pretty simple actually and many Coasties do it every day.
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    skitdu671User is Offline
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    skitdu671

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    01 Feb 2012 01:51 PM
    thanks Sir, i just meant would we get housing?
    Do something every day that you don't want to do; this is the golden rule for acquiring the habit of doing your duty without pain. ~ Mark Twain
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    Old Guard2

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    01 Feb 2012 02:08 PM
    First things first... I'm looking a little worn out and rough today, but it's still ma'am! LOL

    Second thing... yes, anyone and everyone in the CG is authorized some form of housing. They won't let you live on the street. Your "family" means you are married. I have a very long term boyfriend but if I were in the military they would not care about him. Only spouses and children count. But absolutely you will be provided housing or an allowance to allow you to pay for housing if there is no government housing available in the area. Housing is one of the areas that you rarely ever need to worry about. The CG will take care of you and yours in that respect.

    And remember... ma'am or just Macie or even Hey You... but please, never sir! LOL
    Sector NY, Staten Island
    skitdu671User is Offline
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    skitdu671

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    01 Feb 2012 02:27 PM
    oh i am so sorry!

    but thank you, not married YET, just trying to get info for when the time comes.

    thank you Ma'am.
    Do something every day that you don't want to do; this is the golden rule for acquiring the habit of doing your duty without pain. ~ Mark Twain
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    skitdu671

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    05 Mar 2012 07:14 PM
    what is life like at A-school?
    is it pretty stressful? kinda like college?
    should i bring my truck? and can family visit?
    Do something every day that you don't want to do; this is the golden rule for acquiring the habit of doing your duty without pain. ~ Mark Twain
    FloridaGirlUser is Offline
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    FloridaGirl

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    05 Mar 2012 07:36 PM
    http://www.uscg.org/Forum/aft/12614.aspx

    This will have a lot of info for you. It's kinda like college, but you learn to be an FS. You will be cooking for the rest of the a-school students, which means you will have some pretty odd hours. Galley opens and 6:30, so I hope you like waking up early! Bring your truck for your days off, and yes your family can visit, BUT know your duty schedule first. As an FS it's different from the rest of Petaluma so I can't even begin to guess. Wait until you learn that before making any plans. And I think cooking for that many people is stressful, but that's why I am not an FS. But it's not at all like bootcamp, so you'll be fine. Once classes and your duty is over, you are free to do whatever you want.
    Honor: if you need it defined, you don’t have it.
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    skitdu671

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    05 Mar 2012 08:33 PM
    Haha I figured it would be odd hours. I like cooking for people do I'm expecting it to be kinda stressfull. Yeh I wasn't going to make any plans until I was settled in, I'll be there for about 3 months starting July22.

    Thanks for responding!
    Do something every day that you don't want to do; this is the golden rule for acquiring the habit of doing your duty without pain. ~ Mark Twain
    BellsUser is Offline
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    Bells

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    05 Mar 2012 11:01 PM
    In theory...

    There are a lot of cutters... alot of them have females onboard, but if the female rooms are full and they can't move people around then you cannot get on the boat.

    EX: I just got my transfer picks, something like 7 out of 8 of the cutters on the list I can't even try to go to because they don't have room for females.

    I want a boat. I want sea time. So my command is working with my detailer to have me stay a year, be tour complete next year, and transfer with my priority 2 next summer, which means I am likely to get one of my top 5 picks out of 300 offered, (historically, my cutter's transferees do pretty well).

    You are more likely to go to a bigger boat since there is more female berthing,

    FSs need a lot of seatime.
    Take what you like and leave the rest behind.
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    06 Mar 2012 04:48 PM
    Bells...wheres the picks list!
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    Bells

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    06 Mar 2012 09:47 PM
    CGC ESCANABA
    CGC RELIANCE
    STA JONESPORT
    CGC DAUNTLESS
    STA SABINE
    STA SOUTH PADRE ISL
    STA (SM) WASHINGT
    STA BAYFIELD
    STA ERIE
    STA TAWAS
    CGC BOUTWELL
    STA LA/LONG BE
    STA RIO VISTA
    WMSL CREW ALPHA
    CGC STEADFAST
    STA TILLAMOOK
    CGC SEQUOIA
    CGC MAPLE
    CGC SPAR
    CGC SYCAMORE
    STA VALDEZ

    lol there are, they are captnicks too so we'll see what he'll get.

    the only one I woulda took was the 215' out of guam but its male only.

    I fleeted up though today to a bm2 spot cause mine got hurt. So I'll do the piece of cake 90 day patrol this year and get my dream job next year. yay
    Take what you like and leave the rest behind.
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    skitdu671

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    06 Mar 2012 10:22 PM
    Yeh I figured I'd make the sacrifice of going somewhere like Guam, Puerto Rico(even though its not really a sacrifice to go there)...
    somewhere I can get sea time. Then put in for somewhere on the mainland.

    Do something every day that you don't want to do; this is the golden rule for acquiring the habit of doing your duty without pain. ~ Mark Twain
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    07 Mar 2012 07:12 AM
    Bells, Sta Valdez. Anchorage & Fairbanks are driveable and the town has a great feel about it! I would go back in a heart beat!
    Sector NY, Staten Island
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    Bells

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    07 Mar 2012 09:09 PM
    Macie you know I will never go back to Alaska! Even though I am going back to Dutch and Juneau. Lol damnit.

    I kinda liked Anchorage. It was a real town with real stores. ITS JUST SO COLD AND FAR
    Take what you like and leave the rest behind.
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    07 Mar 2012 09:51 PM
    OK, ok it isn't everyone's cup of tea. But it is a good place to be stationed!
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    08 Mar 2012 04:00 PM
    The only pick I like is the NSC and of course Long Beach.
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    08 Mar 2012 05:50 PM
    The bertolf is going to the Arctic, which i dont want anymore of. lol and i woulda took the cali stations but i want a cutter
    Take what you like and leave the rest behind.
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    08 Mar 2012 06:57 PM
    I would take one of the NSCs in a heartbeat. Preferably the Stratton, but it makes no difference really.
    You can meet the standard, or you can set the standard. It's your choice.
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    11 Mar 2012 10:11 AM
    I would too,but i wanf to wait until i am at least a second before i go back to a big boat again.
    Take what you like and leave the rest behind.
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    22 Mar 2012 08:09 PM
    My husband goes to California for his ''A'' School on April 23, 2012. He's going FS. Can someone message me and help me understand everything about the whole FS training he'll have to go through? Is he going to stressed out from this? He is a GREAT cook, he has 9 culinary credits so I believe he'll do pretty good. I'm going to miss him. I wish me and the new baby could go!
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    23 Mar 2012 12:34 PM
    I believe it is a 3 month course.
    3 weeks of classroom stuff
    4 weeks of learning in the kitchen
    5 weeks of working in the galley.

    I was told it isn't as stressful as basic, it's kind of like college.
    Weekends they do PT if I'm correct but once that is done the have the rest of the day free.
    Since you are married you are able to visit him and stay in the lodging there, or at least that's what I was told as well.
    I heard there is bad cell service there too.

    I am too going int FS
    I leave for basic in 4 weeks, 2 days. Then I have guaranteed FS A-school July 22.
    I'm an alright cook, I've always wanted to go to cooking school and join the CG so I figured doing both was a perfect match.

    http://www.uscg.mil/petaluma/FS_Sch...efault.asp

    Hope this helps.
    Congratulations for you and your husband!
    Do something every day that you don't want to do; this is the golden rule for acquiring the habit of doing your duty without pain. ~ Mark Twain
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    23 Mar 2012 01:02 PM
    Yes bad cell service
    He'll also have duty where he'll have to cook dinner/weekends/holidays ie. not during the classroom days. They have places to stay on base and they are limited. You can get a hotel room with another room for 40-50 a night. My family would come up and stay there.
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    25 Mar 2012 03:20 PM
    Quick question. I understand that the rankings for fs go fs3, fs2, fs1, Ffc, ffcs, etc... But where does the fso fit? And what is the difference between the fso and the rankings listed above? Is this for fs enlisted who decide to go through ocs? And is the job description the same? I was reading about it here's and was just a little confused: http://www.uscg.mil/epm/AO/FS.asp.

    Also according to this, one would need to complete two years of sea duty before advancing to e6 and three years before they can advance to e7. Is this correct? And also is that sea time actual time at sea or is it time an a boat or cutter assignment?

    Thanks. Sorry for all the questions. My hubby has finished all of his qualifications -(92 on asvab! So proud!)and is just working on his security clearance paperwork now. Unfortunately his recruiters office is full for this year and so he is waiting to see if his office will agree to open another spot for him. But we are under the understanding that he That they will be penalized if they do this. We were just curious why? Anyone know?

    Lastly, if they do wait until the next fiscal year to submit his paperwork what are the chances of him getting a October ship date?

    Thanks all.
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    25 Mar 2012 03:43 PM
    The FSO is basically the senior most FS at the unit. On a 378, it would be the FSCS, and on a 270, it would be the FSC.
    You can meet the standard, or you can set the standard. It's your choice.
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    26 Mar 2012 05:43 AM
    Sea time is time assigned to a cutter, 65 feet or larger. It doesn't mean the time actually underway but assigned to that particular unit. My son has almost 3 years sea time because he has been on the Seneca for that long. They have not been underway that long. BUT Colin's sea time is unrated. That means he was a non-rate while at the unit. I'm not sure about FS but a lot of the time it has to be rated sea time to count. So he might get a ship out of boot but it might not count towards his sea time to make 1st class or Chief. (That just clears it up doesn't it? LOL) Let us know if you have any other questions.
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    29 Mar 2012 07:11 PM
    Just out of curiosity, could someone who is a complete newbie at cooking (the type of person that only knows how to make toast for example  ) make it as an FS?
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    29 Mar 2012 07:14 PM
    Yes, while in 'A' school, you will learn all the fundamentals.
    You can meet the standard, or you can set the standard. It's your choice.
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    29 Mar 2012 08:06 PM
    They will teach you... my grandfather always said if you can read, you can cook. But if you don't have the passion to WANT to cook, that will reflect in your food. If you want to learn and you have a desire to learn, wonderful! If you are contemplating it just because you can move up in rank faster... you won't do well and you will hate your job. Just something to consider.
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    29 Mar 2012 08:23 PM
    Thanks for the replies. I can actually cook well (not great) and have been interested in cooking for awhile now thanks to Gordon Ramsay believe it or not. I've gotten better and better but am by no means a cooking expert hence the question. I was worried about going for FS if I was going to be stuck with a bunch of chefs and culinary students and didn't want to get left in the dust if FS is possibly in my future. FS is probably my #3 or #4 choice at the moment and wanted to find out a bit more info. Thanks again!
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    29 Mar 2012 08:37 PM
    Great answer! I'm glad it isn't just for rate climbing. Gordon Ramsay is a jerk but I love him and he can be an excellent motivator! I can see where he might inspire you to want to cook more and better. There will be some culinary types and there will be some like yourself, you want to... can you? Of course! Put your mind to it and you can do anything.
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    26 Apr 2012 04:36 PM
    So my husband just got his boot camp and A-school dates today. YAY! It sounds like he ships out to boot on July 24, and he should be going to A school for the October 8th start date. Here are my questions:

    1) will the coast guard send him back to our home in Alabama for his five days off before he flies to CA? Or will we have to pay for his NJ to AL ticket and then they will pay to fly him to fly (or drive) to CA?

    2) If his A- school is 12 weeks long, and he is starting on October 8th, then that means that he will graduate on December 31st. Does anyone know how they work this around the Christmas holiday? Will he get a day or two off? I plan to fly there with my son so we can have Christmas with him, but I just wanted to find out anyone had some tips on this.

    Thanks!
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    28 Apr 2012 03:49 PM
    1) The CG will pay for him to get from NJ to CA. Alabama is kind of on the way, so, personally what I would is buy his ticket home for him at the same time you buy your ticket to NJ (assuming you are going to graduation). Don't do this until week 6 or so of bootcamp, because he may not graduate on time for any number of reasons. The CG will pay you back some, if not all, of this money. If your husband chooses to drive to CA, he will get 9 days drive time. My mom and I did it in 6 days from Orlando, it took us 1 day to get to New Orleans from there, and we lost a day because my car died! If he flies to CA, he will get 1 day travel time. In this case, I'd recommend driving if possible. If he arrives early, it will save him leave days which he can use in the future. I stayed home for 5 days, but because I got to California 3 days early, I saved 3 days of leave. I also got all of my plane ticket home reimbursed.

    2) I can almost promise you he will not be graduating Dec 31st. It will most likely be around the 27th of December, since FS graduations are on Thursdays I think. However, Petaluma has a Christmas exodus, so he may *MAY* graduate early. However, since the FS students are the ones who cook for the base, I would not count on this, because he could very well graduate later. Honestly, do not plan on anything until his class advisers tell him what is going on.
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    28 Apr 2012 08:13 PM
    Hi FloridaGirl!
    Thanks so much for the info. Maybe you can clarify a little more for me about the leave/travel time. I was under the understanding that my husband would get five days off in between the end of boot and his A-school. Is this considered leave (like, does he have to use the four days of leave that he will accumulate at boot camp for this?), or is this some other kind of allowed leave for traveling? We were thinking we would fly back to our home in AL the evening after his graduation, and then have five days here, and then he would fly to CA on the sixth day (his one day of travel time). We have considered driving but aren't sure we have a reliable enough car to give him for three months. Still looking into that. I guess we could possibly drive from Cape May to Petaluma, but I'm not sure if that would be the best decision time wise/financially. If he drives will they pay for gas and hotels for the trip there? We just want the most time possible with him between boot to A-school because we also have a 1 year old, who will at that time be about a year and a half, and I know my husband will want every second with him- and me- possible.

    Thanks for the clarification. All of the details are pretty fussy right now.
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    28 Apr 2012 08:16 PM
    OH- and if he "saves" travel leave time by arriving early he can reuse those days at a later time? I thought those days were only allotted for travel? ie- use them or loose them type of thing?
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    28 Apr 2012 08:16 PM
    It is charged to his leave, yes. Your plan for him to fly to CA on the sixth day would work just fine.
    You can meet the standard, or you can set the standard. It's your choice.
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    28 Apr 2012 08:18 PM
    #fuzzy, not fussy. ha!!! woops.

    And Cooch- thanks! Does day one of his five day leave between assignments start on graduation day (as in graduation day is day one) or does the day after graduation count as day one?
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    28 Apr 2012 08:22 PM
    The day after. Leave begins on Saturday and he will travel to California on Thursday.
    You can meet the standard, or you can set the standard. It's your choice.
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    28 Apr 2012 09:17 PM
    What I mean by travel time is just for traveling, it is not leave. If he drove (and if you unsure of the car making the journey, I'd go with fly) he would get 5 days of leave - which he earns 2.5 days a month, plus 9 days for travel. Kind of like the way if you fly, you travel on the 6th day. 5 days of leave + 1 travel day.

    What I meant by saving leave is that, the CG is going to use your travel days before your leave days. So, I had exactly 2 weeks to get to Petaluma. I took 11 days. So, out comes 9 travel days, and 2 days of leave to make up the difference. As much as he may want to stay at home, I wouldn't use travel time as extra leave time. So, don't stay home for 10 days and say "I can totally get across the country in 4 days!". That is a bad, bad plan. Yes, the CG gives your husband money for gas and hotels.

    But, uh, don't drive to NJ. Let him fly home.
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    28 Apr 2012 09:31 PM
    Ahhhh! Got it. This is so helpful! Thank you for helping to explain all of this.
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    05 May 2012 04:36 AM
    Im looking for information on FS in the coast guard. Ive been considering the coast guard for about a year now. i get my braces off in 6 months than i will be all set for boot camp. alot of people are doubting my decision for choosing FS but personally i enjoy cooking and wanted to go to culinary school but its jut to expensive. Im pretty sure i will be fine after bootcamp (very nervous) i think i will love the coast guard I just dont want to be stuck with a horrible job for four years. anything helps!
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    05 May 2012 07:33 AM
    IMO, the FS has the most important job at any unit. We can't do anything if we can't eat. If you really want to go to culinary school, FS is the way to go. You'll have opportunities to go to advanced culinary schools and learn techniques others will pay big $$$ for. Do what's best for you, not what other people think is best for you.
    “I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.” ― Bruce Lee
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    29 May 2012 11:02 PM
    So, my hubby just swore in this morning. YAY! His boot date is July 24th, and A-school starts Oct 8th (Or right around then...)

    Today when we were signing paperwork the recruiter told us that it's possible that while my husband is at A-school that we MIGHT get Petaluma BAH? She said that she wasn't sure and that the Yeoman would explain it all to my husband at boot. But I was just wondering if you guys had any insight. My gut says no, that he'll still get BAH from our home of record for boot AND A-school. But I thought I'd ask since it's almost twice what we'll get for our current location.

    Lastly, the recruiter also wasn't sure if he would be getting the family seperation allowance for boot OR A-school. If he does qualify for it, do we need to do anything to apply for it? Or is it an automatic thing?

    Thanks!
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    29 May 2012 11:54 PM
    He will get BAH for his home of record. As for the seperation pay, I have no idea. Occuring to the rules he should, but since boot and a-school are training, often different apply. Hopefully someone else can clarify that for you.
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    30 May 2012 12:29 PM
    I got FSA for A school. There is a form to fill out, they will do it the first week at A school. It does take awhile for it to kick in though. Don't fret when 2 months pass and you don't see. They will retro pay it.
    "It's classified"
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    20 Jun 2012 03:13 PM
    I'm heading to a-school tomorrow but I report in Friday. Can anyone tell me aside from the sea bag list what should I pack? Bed sheets? Towels? Iron? What kind and how much Civilian clothes? Oh and what is the GOLD SHIELD that we should have in our sea bag?
    How much should I pack? I'm taking 01 suitcase 01 sea bag and my laptop and phone of course.
    My a-school doesn't start until July 16 though so exactly what will I be doing from Friday until then? Is there any way I can get a head start in things I need to study/ know?
    Do something every day that you don't want to do; this is the golden rule for acquiring the habit of doing your duty without pain. ~ Mark Twain
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    20 Jun 2012 03:32 PM
    Towels definitely. Sheets and irons are provided. Bring all the civilian clothes you want. There's a large wardrobe and some drawers to put your things in. Not sure what the gold shield is though.
    You can meet the standard, or you can set the standard. It's your choice.
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    20 Jun 2012 05:39 PM
    Skitdu,
    Pack your own sheets and blankets. I asked the same thing about the GOLD SHIELD its the sheild on top of your Combo cover. Since your getting there early you will b working with the MAA on base hours are 7 to wish. Its really easy. Back a bathing suit so you can lay out by the pool. Pack whatever civil clothes you like you have a pretty big locker to keep all your stuff in and your suit case you can stow under your rack. Oh don't forget to bring a pillow. If you need any other info pm me if you like. I was jus there less than a year ago
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    20 Jun 2012 08:13 PM
    They will provide sheets and blankets, but I would bring your own. The bed will be an XL Twin. You will need towels though. Irons and ironing boards are provided. I brought a larger suitcase of civilian clothes (I was there for 6 months, from March to September) and I had room. I wouldn't bring any more than that, though. You could, but if you are like me, you'll just end up going shopping and buying things anyway. Also a pain to move if you have your entire seabag and a bunch of civies!
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    22 Jun 2012 01:35 PM
    I am here now but didn't bring my own sheets, instead I brought a sleeping bag, will that help? I didn't bring a pillow...the one here sucks. I did bring a whole suitcase full of civi's, brought a total of 06 bags: laptop bag, sea bag, duffel bag for uniform stuff, carry on bag for uniform stuff and a large suitcase.
    Right now I am in horsely hall but its not my permanent room, I'll find that out in a few weeks. I have liberty until Monday so I'll be sure to get some needed items. Boon dockers, should I get new ones here? I have the ones I was issued in basic but I would like a another pair.
    How strict are they here?
    What are inspections like? Pretty strict?
    I'm excited but kind of nervous because I don't know anyone here.
    Do something every day that you don't want to do; this is the golden rule for acquiring the habit of doing your duty without pain. ~ Mark Twain
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    22 Jun 2012 02:08 PM
    You'll meet people soon enough. No need to worry about that. It's a training environment, so there is a certain level of strictness, but it's not recruit training all over again. Wear your uniform properly and abide by the rules and you will be just fine. You can get a new pair of boots at the exchange. They close at 1600. They have pillows as well if you'd like to get one. The base itself has everything you might need, but otherwise you can take the liberty can out to Rohnert Park to the Walmart or other stores. The liberty can schedule should be in your check in paperwork, but if not, ask the front desk at Horsley Hall. There's a lot of good running/biking trails on the base. If you're not a serious runner, best to hold off on Texas Hill for the time being, unless the plan is to run down it rather than up.
    You can meet the standard, or you can set the standard. It's your choice.
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    22 Jun 2012 05:35 PM
    If you aren't in your permanent room, are you an early arrival? If so, when does your class start?
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    30 Jun 2012 09:20 PM
    I am going to FS A-school in September.  My recruiter did some research and found out my graduation would be January 11th.  This is a longer "semester" than the other a-school dates (Oct 8th - Jan 11th)
    Here is my question:
    Does anybody know what the FS A-school does for Christmas and Thanksgiving during this term?  In terms of time off, or work duty or... Either the schedule for this year, or schedule of how they did it in past years?

    Thanks


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    03 Aug 2012 04:23 PM
    hi i am new to the coast guard and am having trouble deciding on a rate. i am really thinking of going FS and am wanting some information on a school and how billets are given. i have a 3 month old son who i have had to enroll into the special needs program due to an orthopedic surgen need. i dont really want to go underway but would love to get into the FS rate. i am not meaning to come off as a bad person when saying i do not wish to go underway i just have a lot going on in life. can anyone help me with this?
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    03 Aug 2012 05:48 PM
    Just as a heads up, FS is the most underway rating in the CG.
    You can meet the standard, or you can set the standard. It's your choice.
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    04 Aug 2012 03:10 PM
    The CG is AWESOME at taking care of special needs families. Getting underway is just part of being in the CG. While you're gone you can rest assured knowing your child will have access to the best possible healthcare. Also, your command will know ahead of time you are enrolled in the Special Needs Program so they'll do their best to accommodate you for DRs appts or emergencies.
    “I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.” ― Bruce Lee
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    04 Aug 2012 03:57 PM
    And special needs doesn't prevent a member from going underway. It simply means that the CG will do their best to send you to a geographical region where your special need can be cared for.
    You can meet the standard, or you can set the standard. It's your choice.
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    06 Sep 2012 11:16 AM
    So I've decided to talk to a recruiter and try for the FS rating spot in the USCG. One thing I've noticed is that there are a lot of spots open for this rating. Is there a reason for that? Is it tougher than others or just people not interested in being in a kitchen and making food all day?

    Also I have some concern about my credit rating and my driving record isn't so great either. Will these 2 be roadblocks to getting in to the USCG?
    Any info or advice would be great.  Thanks in advance.
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    07 Sep 2012 08:54 AM
    kitchen
    Galley.

    There just aren't many people who are interested in being cooks. I only recommend FS school to those who are interested in going to culinary school, or people who are really interested in learning how to cook.

    Your credit rating isn't a concern as long as you don't have anything in collections. Driving record can be an issue you'll have to talk to a recruiter about that. As long as your fines are paid and you don't have any court action pending you can process.
    “I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.” ― Bruce Lee
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    07 Sep 2012 01:36 PM
    thanks for the info.
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    09 Sep 2012 12:47 AM
    I am an FS3 that graduated A School in June 2012 so if any of you have any questions you can always feel free to message me. I think the FS rating is a great option but you really have to enjoy cooking, not mind working longer hours (getting here before everyone else and sometimes even leaving after everyone else) and not mind working hard!
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    09 Sep 2012 08:00 AM
    Congratulations Carolina. We haven't heard from you in a while! I hope all is going well. Where are you stationed? I hope it is all good.
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    18 Sep 2012 10:00 PM
    Hi! My hubby just enlisted and is going to FS-A school next week. We were hoping someone could answer a quick question for us. What is the sea time requirements for an FS to advance to E-6 and to E-7? Is it two years for E-6 and three years for E-7? Thought this would be good to know before we number his A-school billet list. Thanks!
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    20 Sep 2012 01:56 AM
    On My Shipper Contract, He Has Me Listed As An FS, He Said I Really Pick My Job During/After Basic; This True? Or Did I Get Screwed Into FS?
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    20 Sep 2012 06:03 AM
    Your contract should not say anything about FS unless you want to be an FS. You need to look at that contract again and question it. Plese send a PM to either Cooch or Gears, they are recruiters and can help you decipher something you might be misreading or help you clear things up. They can at least answer questions for you.

    As a side note, use proper capitalization and punctuation.  It is a bit difficult, borderline annoying, reading a sentence where every word is capitalized.  It just isn't correct or necessary.
    Sector NY, Staten Island
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    20 Sep 2012 08:34 AM
    Can any FS or someone with knowledge of the rating explain the differences between what you generally do as an FS3 fresh out of A school, compared to an FS2, FS1, etc?
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    02 Oct 2012 07:08 AM
    Posted By ebee on 20 Sep 2012 09:34 AM
    Can any FS or someone with knowledge of the rating explain the differences between what you generally do as an FS3 fresh out of A school, compared to an FS2, FS1, etc?

    http://www.uscg.org/Forum/aft/14027.aspx
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    02 Oct 2012 07:18 AM
    Thanks, Geo. Going to talk with my recruiter about it when I go in for a follow-up next week.
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    03 Oct 2012 07:33 AM
    Baby Burdell is off to take the ASVAB tomorrow.  She is always done well on tests and has been studying.  I don't want to worry, but I am a parent.

    She has made pro/con lists for each rating.  FS still comes out ahead.  Her main concern is cooking for many.


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    03 Oct 2012 09:58 AM
    If that's where her heart is, they'll teach her. No worries about that. Best of luck to her and you. It's hard being the parent and knowing we have nothing to offer but a big and kiss.
    Sector NY, Staten Island
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    10 Oct 2012 01:06 PM
    I am in the process of trying to join the CG right now. I keep looking at different rates and I keep going back to FS. I love to bake, but I am not very good cooking. Do you have to be good at cooking to go to FS A school? I am willing to learn. Also do FS do anything else besides cooking? Thanks You.
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    10 Oct 2012 02:52 PM
    They will teach you in FS A school. So don't worry too much about that. If you can read, you can cook; if you can bake, you can cook. You will do fine. they have the opportunity to have collateral duties including boarding team if your ship needs it. So while the majority of your time is spent cooking, that's what you were primarily trained for. The opportunity would exist to do some other things as well.
    Sector NY, Staten Island
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    10 Oct 2012 05:58 PM
    Thanks! I am pretty sure its what I want to pursue. I think I will call and talk to my recruiter about it tomorrow.
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    11 Oct 2012 11:59 AM
    Posted By Old Guard2 on 10 Oct 2012 03:52 PM
    If you can read, you can cook.
    I agree with this. However I hope people remember that to cook well, you also have to want to cook. And even then, the food doesn't always come out so great 

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    11 Oct 2012 03:15 PM
    Very true!!!! I made something for dinner one night... Followed the recipe precisely, it looked beautiful, it could have been a picture in a cookbook! Put it on the table, my husband was happy, we had a big salad to go with it... Nice dinner! We served up big helpings... we each took a mouthful. With his mouth still full, Jim said "Can you pass me the salad?" I thought it was horrible as well! Really, really horrible! Colin thought it was delicious, he was 5, he didn't know better. LOL The dog even looked at us as if to say "You expect me to eat that?" My heart was in it... but that was just bad on so many levels! LOL So even the best of cooks, following a perfectly good recipe, can still either mess something up or it just not be what they had figured it would be!!
    Sector NY, Staten Island
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    07 Dec 2012 07:49 AM
    Any FS's in the house? I'm trying to make my final decision about this rating, and wanted to find someone who can tell me their favorite and least favorite parts of the job.

    I like cooking, meal planning, entertaining, and I want a job that will have me active all day, which is why I want to go FS. But I'm curious about how much freedom you get for meal planning/recipe-making (mind you, I'm not trying to be the next Iron Chef over here, but I'm hoping you're not restricted to some pre-determined menus and recipes).

    Also, are there FS's assigned to PATFORSWA?
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    07 Dec 2012 08:26 AM
    ebee your active right, pm me and ill hook u up with some of the guys on the this boat
    Take what you like and leave the rest behind.
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    07 Dec 2012 08:47 AM
    Posted By Bells on 07 Dec 2012 09:26 AM
    ebee your active right, pm me and ill hook u up with some of the guys on the this boat

    Not yet. Planning to ship this summer.
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    07 Dec 2012 10:20 AM
    ohhhh ok, then pm me an email address and ill pass it along
    Take what you like and leave the rest behind.
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    16 Jan 2013 08:12 AM
    Just got my confirmation for FS A School in October!!!
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    16 Jan 2013 07:21 PM
    Nice! When do you ship for boot?
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    17 Jan 2013 04:57 AM
    I think Aug 6 is the day my recruiter put in for.
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    17 Jan 2013 07:20 AM
    Congratw did u ever talk to that kid
    Take what you like and leave the rest behind.
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    17 Jan 2013 07:30 AM
    Bells - I emailed but he never responded. But I was able to talk to another FS at my recruiting office.
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    21 Feb 2013 01:16 PM
    Ebee, you are likely in the class right after mine. I just got my dates confirmed for end of July. I am going reserves and really excited!!
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    21 Feb 2013 02:52 PM
    Nice! Where will you be drilling?
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    21 Feb 2013 04:27 PM
    What a butt, ill kick him into gear
    Take what you like and leave the rest behind.
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    25 Feb 2013 12:07 PM
    PSU 305 at Fort Eustis. Really excited about A school and the change of coasts!
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    16 Jun 2013 03:26 PM
    I'm an Auxie working on my Aux FS qualification - called AUXCHEF. I know that the CG institute has a FS course & that Auxies can enroll in some of those courses. The description for the FS3 course doesn't give any detail.

    Could someone give me an idea of what the CG Institute's FS3 course consists of? Is it something that can be done independently? Study a manual and take a test? Or is completion of that course tied to completion of the FS3 PQS ?

    I have access to the FS3 Performance Qualification Guides. Is the CG Institute course something different?

    Before I go track down someone who can talk to the ESO at the local Coast Guard Unit, just want to get a handle on whether this is something that might make sense for me to pursue.

    Thanks for any light you can shed.

    - Robert
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    26 Aug 2013 07:34 PM
    Question for any and all who may have more info....Does anyone have any info on what an FS3 role would be as a reservist at a Port Security Unit? I may be transferring to the reserves from active duty, and there is an open FS3 billet in my geographic location, and I'm seriously considering it, I know they get to do a lot of overseas deployments, but I'm more curious as to a. What does a typical drill weekend consist of? b. What duties might I have during a deployment? Just curious, as I find it hard to picture an FS coming in one weekend a month simply to cook two meals and then heading home until the following month, (granted I only have an active duty perspective in regards to FS's) any and all replies that could help with more info would be very much appreciated!
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    10 Oct 2013 03:42 PM
    Does anyone know when in A School FS students find out their next assignments? So excited to get started soon!!
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    31 Jan 2015 10:46 AM
    Son leaves for boot camp on Feb. 3rd. Over the past six months he has become very interested in cooking and seems to have some talent for it. I was looking at his scores today and noticed he is two points short of qualifying for FS. I have heard that FS is a critical need for the USCG. Will they waive the two points? Will they encourage/permit him to retake ASVAB once boot camp is completed to try and improve his scores? Are most FS going to A school or learning on the job?
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    02 Feb 2015 01:36 PM
    All FS's go to "A" school and its up to his command if they want to waive the 2 points. They can waive up to 5 points. He should be able to take the ASVAB once he gets out of boot camp but if he gets a worse score, that is his new score....no keeping the old one. I would encourage your son to get in and take a look at other jobs he might be interested in the Coast Guard before he decides to go FS.
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    02 Feb 2015 02:07 PM
    He is going in open to all. I told him he may like something he has no idea exists. Ships tomorrow. We are very excited for him and his opportunity.
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    10 Feb 2015 04:56 PM
    I had read somewhere that they were considering changing FS to CS. I read another story that said the commander of the program was trying to get A school graduates some sort of certification from a culinary institute. Is any of this happening?
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    25 Jul 2015 10:28 PM
    What is life like on a bigger cutter for an snfs. Is it more like being a non rate or a fs3? Also what is the work schedule like? And do fs stand duty?
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    07 Aug 2015 08:01 PM
    On my boat being a SNFS isn't really any different than being an FS3. You work on getting qualified as a duty cook and are put in the rotation with the rest of the 3rds.

    Your schedule will depend on the boat and how many cooks you have.

    I don't know any cooks below FS2 that stand ship's duty. They all stand galley duty, though. I have heard of 3rds at stations standing duty, and once you make 2nd you can expect to stand regular duty.
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    08 Aug 2015 11:54 AM
    At the station I'm at, there is an FS1 and two FS3s. The FS1 usually is a Monday-Friday 7am-3pm sort of worker. The FS3s normally split the week in half and work by themselves (with a mess cook) from about 0630-1830 the days they are working.
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    01 Sep 2015 02:22 PM
    Hey everyone. So I signed up to be in the direct to rate School for FS. I have a lot of fun cooking and even before going to lose weight I learned to cook and eat healthier to drop down to 15% body fat. Now I was curious about how quickly you progress up as I would love to absorb as much as I can while working as an FS. I noticed some of the C Rate classes require you to be Recommended or be of FS-4 or FS-5. My recruiter was telling me how I would most likely be a SNFS on a big Cutter out of Petaluma but I was just curious about how fast one could move up if they put the effort and drive into it.
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    01 Sep 2015 03:39 PM
    I am an FS2 (E5) and I've been in for just over two years. I went boot to A, went to a big cutter, focused on getting qualified there, then focused on getting my advancement sign-offs and passing the required test. I was able to advance 6 months after finishing my sign-offs and passing my test because the servicewide exam was waived. If the servicewide is not waived when you are trying to advance, it could take longer to make E5 because the servicewide is only administered twice a year.

    Generally speaking, I would say there is no excuse for you not to make FS2 by the time you are supposed to transfer out of your first unit.

    Also I suggest that you to request a boat straight out of A School. Getting underway is the only way you will know if you really want to be an FS. Especially if you go to a big cutter. Work your butt off at your first unit and learn everything you can and stay out of trouble and you will succeed.

    I'm happy to answer any other questions you have.
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    01 Sep 2015 05:00 PM
    Thanks for the quick Response. Yeah I definitely would love to head straight out onto one of the cutters after A school. Have you taken any C Courses yet or plan to? How hard is it to get authorized to be able to take them.
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    01 Sep 2015 06:45 PM
    There are really only two FS-specific C Schools now - shipboard baking and independent food service officer. I went to shipboard baking and am currently at IDFSO school.

    They've had several shipboard baking and IDFSO classes and are really pushing for people to go. Once you are qualified at your first unit, and as long as you are motivated and doing well, put in a request to attend. As long as the class doesn't conflict with getting underway or something like that, your command should be supportive of it (sometimes it's hard to find a class that doesn't conflict with your underway schedule, though).

    They have also had a couple advanced culinary programs (3-4 week classes) come available this year.
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    26 Mar 2016 08:44 PM
    Hello everyone!

    So I looked through the years of comments to find my answers but they never came about. So I have a few questions. 

    When finishing FS A school do I have the options of choosing a cutter or station?

    What are some perks of being a FS... in particular with time? Would I have certain days off? 

    There is also a huge signing bonus offered. Is that payed before or after bootcamp? Lump some or annuity? (taxed?)  
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    29 Mar 2016 08:57 PM
    Your options out of school depend on availability and what is needed.
    I don't know about perks of being an FS. I'm not an FS and I haven't met too many that love their job. That doesn't mean that there aren't a bunch of FS's out there who love it, I just haven't met one yet. I know they work pretty hard.
    The signing bonus is paid after successfully completing FS "A" school, it is taxed, and it is lump sum.
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    07 Apr 2016 07:27 PM
    Most FS picks out of school will be cutters. I was in a class of about 20, including 6 females. All the males and 2 of the females went to cutters.

    I would advise anyone to go to a boat out of school and knock your sea time for advancement.

    The main scheduling perk of being an FS is that as a 3rd you pretty much always get to go home at night if you're in port. I've never heard of an FS3 standing ship'same duty. However, the flip side is that you work really long days.

    I'm an FS2 with almost 3 years in. If you have more questions just let me know.
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    09 Apr 2016 09:14 AM
    Hi.  My daughter is presently in the process of enlisting in the Coast Guard, and has her Dep, boot & FS school dates already set.  I'd appreciate it if you could give me any insight on what types of things she will be doing after she gets out of FS school.  She really wants to get assigned to a cutter on the Pacific side and do a lot of traveling.  Is it fairly easy for a female to get assigned to a cutter?

    Also, my side of the family is very unhappy she is enlisting as a "cook".  They are all Navy vets and have a perception that she's going to be peeling potatoes and slopping food out.  I have been telling them that the FS position is not the same as what they experienced in the Navy, but honestly I don't know that for sure.  We are going to visit them in July and I'd like to be able to reassure them about daughter's choice.

    Any info and insight is appreciated!  Thanks.  
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    09 Apr 2016 03:18 PM
    I went boot to A and ended up on a 378' cutter out of Hawaii. I've had port calls in Japan, Mexico, San Diego, LA, San Francisco, and a few places in Alaska.

    Your daughter's chances of getting a boat out of A School are good. We had 6 girls in my class, 4 of them went to land units and the two of us who wanted boats got them. I've seen classes where everyone went to boats and a couple classes where most people went to stations. It's kind of a crap shoot, but usually if you want to go to a boat, you will. It's all just dependent on what's available to your class.

    As for what she'll be doing, it's definitely more than peeling potatoes. She will be helping make breakfast lunch and dinner for the whole crew which can range from 15 to nearly 200 people. When I first reported I helped with preps (peeling potatoes, cutting veggies) and making eggs to order for breakfast. I also did a lot of cleaning. Once you get qualified as a duty cook you jump right into it, though. The advantage of being in the CG is that you never really specialize in one thing. I've been night baker, galley supervisor, duty cook, and jack of the dust (writing menus, doing food orders, etc). She'll also be in charge of managing and developing the messcooks and newer duty cooks. She will definitely have a lot of responsibility and opportunity early on so long as she's a hard worker.

    I'm not going to lie and say that being an FS is a glamorous job. And yes there will be lots of jokes about what she does and the quality of food we produce, but the fact is that she will be way more than just a cook. If she stays in, she will be learning to run and manage her own galley independently and then as a supervisor.

    The most successful FSs are the ones who not only enjoy cooking, but who have good attention to detail, enjoy cleaning and organizing, can pick up on the paperwork side of things, and who are good supervisors. Developing yourself as a petty officer and shipmate is also really important in our rating.

    Get excited for your daughter because she's about to start an awesome journey
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    10 Apr 2016 06:41 AM
    Thanks so much for the great info! She's definitely excited, and I feel like she will be an excellent fit for this position.  Since she's a bit older (21), she definitely has a better grasp on what she wants to do in the future than she did right out of high school.
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    11 May 2016 09:16 PM
    Hey there just to give some insight though it is a Month later from the post. Just Finished 'A' School and have reported  to my first unit the WMSL Munro (PreCom). We had a class of 14 graduate and 13 of us went to cutters while 1 person went to an Airstation.

    I can't agree with Ebee enough everything they said get's stressed in boot camp but even more so in 'A' School. Unlike any other rate in the Coast Guard FS has a very hands on practical course. We don't work on a practice engine or electronics you learn skills that you are required to put right into use. It is a load of fun but also a challenge to rise up to. Even being in a unique position myself right now where I am not cooking in a galley. I have a huge impact on the morale of my crew. The food I bring in for myself and the motivation to focus and get all the qualifications done has not gone unnoticed.

    Ebee has probably heard the rumors but they have been talking about changing the Food Service Specialist Rate to Culinarian Specialist to better represent the nature of the rate. She will learn the Classical Cuts and Cooking methods. She will learn how to prepare breakfasts, beef, poultry, poultry, seafood, vegetables, pasta, starches. This is all done in the first phase of training. The class is taught both by FS of the coast guard as well as Certified Civilian Chefs giving a lot of perspective and instruction to the students. I also got the chance while I was attending to help cook for the Enlisted Person of the Year dinner for our District. 

    As for what you can show your family to make them know about the differences. A good place would be the FS facebook https://www.facebook.com/CGCULINARY/ . It shows a lot of the food and events that FS participate in.
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    12 May 2016 07:16 AM
    Thanks for the info Loronus.  That's awesome that you are assigned to the Munro.  

    My daughter is finally done with her college semester, so I will point her in the direction of this forum so she can ask her own questions.  I'm sure she will have a few.    

    I really appreciate this forum (and all the people posting) as it is an invaluable source of information.
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    14 May 2016 02:27 PM
    Hello everyone, I'm kegs512's daughter! Thanks for the all the wonderful info, it just makes me more excited to start my journey I do have a few questions of my own and I'm sure I'll have many more to come.

    I'm doing my best to over-prepare for boot camp in the next few months, but is there anything I can or should do to prepare for FS school? Or should I wait for FS school to train me properly the way they want? I have no formal training in the culinary arts, although I am a very enthusiastic self-taught baker at home.

    I'm also concerned about transportation to, and during, FS school. I have a car, but its 20 years old and not very reliable for cross country travel. Is it better to get a car to drive out ahead of time instead of flying there, or would it be better to wait until after I graduate and find out where I'll be stationed to get a car? Or do I even need to have my own car?

    Thanks ahead of time!
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    21 May 2016 11:25 PM
    Honestly, focus on boot camp first and foremost. Don't look too far ahead and lose sight of what's in front of you.

    The only thing I'd really recommend before going to A School would be to just eat as many different kinds of food as you can. In my experience, the biggest struggle that our new cooks have is that they just don't have a very big palate. And in the Coast Guard you will be expected to cook Italian food one day, Indian the next, Mexican, American, etc, etc, etc. You don't have the benefit of a restaurant cook who works in the same genre every night. The Coast Guard will teach you everything you need to know about cooking techniques, but it's up to you to expand your palate.

    Regarding the car, I personally would have gone crazy without one at Petaluma. You will be working long hours in the galley and you will want to escape when you can. You get time off in the evenings, but you generally only get one weekend day off per week while you're there and trying to find a ride or coordinate with the liberty van is a huge waste of time. That said, it's up to you if you want to drive your car across country. Long story short - do you need a car? No. But in my experience those people who had cars enjoyed themselves much more than those who didn't.
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    30 May 2016 12:08 PM
    I agree with Ebee. Focus on Boot camp first and foremost. Make sure you are physically fit and can surpass all the Physical Fitness tests. That is one of the most stressful things to worry about in my opinion. If you pass those it's just a matter of keeping your nose clean and doing what you are told.

    I am one of those that didn't have a large palate going into 'A' School but I also had a lot of alternative eating style experiences such as Paleo. As for a Car in 'A' School. I drove cross country and it was an experience that I really enjoyed. Make it your own I ate conservatively but also tried out many interesting places on my way. I didn't stop at too many major landmarks but at stops that drove my interest more. Having a Car was great because it also opened a lot of Volunteer opportunities I could participate in. I know a few people ended up buying cars out at 'A' School but it ended up with a lot of confusion in their paperwork when they were leaving.

    If you do not feel reliable with your car I wouldn't take it. But I also wouldn't buy a new car until you complete boot camp. If for some reason you don't finish Boot Camp you suddenly have a new car that you are trying to pay off that you aren't using for the reason you bought it.
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    01 Jun 2016 02:58 PM
    Hi there!

    I'm looking into enlisting in the CS as an FS. I graduated culinary school in 2013 and worked as a private chef after. For those of you that have completed FS school, were there individuals who had completed culinary school? I'm looked at what all they teach at the school and I've learned it all. So basically I'm wondering if that will make it easier for me to advance or anything?

    Thanks!
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    03 Jun 2016 09:50 PM
    Just depends on how well you test for advancement.

    Also remember just because you do it a certain way in the civilian world doesn't mean its the same in the Coast Guard
    A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor
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    04 Jun 2016 01:32 AM
    Without hyping on the whole Chef thing. If you have Culinary Background it will help you in doing the work but just as LonelyOS said the Coast Guard does things a little differently. We didn't really have too many individuals who 'completed' Culinary School in the class I know of a few that attended beforehand. The program is much more accelerated compared to Culinary school and a lot more diverse including Baking and Nutrition. In 11 weeks you will probably go over and do the first...2 years I believe it was compared to of a Culinary Course covered in a University. 

    As for advancement it isn't just the cooking side that will help you as an FS though it is a large portion. Example would be one of the requirements for FS2 is preparing Hollandaise Sauce while another requirement is to fill out the proper forms for a tallying of Galley meal time attendance and the amount owed. Then you have the EPME and your Qualifications as well.

    Bottom line is will it help you. Yes, but you will learn a lot more as well to help comply with Coast Guard Standards.
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    25 Jul 2016 01:47 AM
    I'm sure someone has already answered this but how much leave is there between Cape May graduation and reporting to Petaluma?  I'd like to drive cross country with my wife then she'd fly home.  Looks like having a car would be beneficial.  How does registration work in that situation?  Are there special permits to be able to keep a car on base?
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    25 Jul 2016 09:36 AM
    If you drive you will get 9 days travel time plus your 5 days of leave. 9 days is plenty of time for the trip, especially if you split the time with someone. You will also receive per diem and hotel money for those travel days.

    As for keeping your car on base, registration and all that just has to be up to date.

    I drove from VA with my husband and we had ano awesome trip. We coordinated our overnight stops with sights we've always wanted to see and it was pretty awesome. It's not often you get paid to take a cross country road trip.

    Just make sure you car is in good shape before you go. We did get a flat tire at 7am on a Sunday in Utah. Thankfully we had a spare and Wal Mart was open and able to patch the real tire.

    Edit: Since you are married I am not sure if your travel time is based off of Cape May or your home of record. Hopefully someone else can clarify that point.
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    27 Jul 2016 01:33 AM
    Wow I didn't know about the travel days or the per diem.  How is that handled, do you just keep track of receipts?  I think we'll definitely make the drive knowing that.  We live in northeast NC right on the coast, I'd love to drive all the way to California and see the US like that.  

    How different was A school from boot?  Is there much privacy?  I have two children, both girls aged 5 and 2.  I'd like to bring a laptop, so that I can FaceTime them while I'm away.  

    Thank you so much for responding, my head is so full of questions it just feels good to have answers when so much is unsure.
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    27 Jul 2016 10:36 AM
    No problem! Like I said, we loved the drive and got to see some places we've always wanted to visit. Aside from the flat tire and nearly getting snowed in in Wyoming, it was a flawless trip.

    Keep your receipts and you will turn them in when you meet with the Yeoman in Petaluma. I don't remember what the per diem is, but they will go over all of that in Cape May. The yeoman at Cape May are very helpful just be sure you ASK QUESTIONS if you are ever unclear about something.

    A School is somewhere between Cape May and a regular unit in terms of freedom. As an FS you will have a uniform/sanitation inspection every morning. They will show you the standard for your chef whites and they will show you how to maintain that standard. It's not difficult to maintain or exceed that standard as long as you put in 10 minutes of work each night. They also look at your boots every day so again, 5 minutes per night to clean and shine them goes a long way.

    Coming from boot camp you should have no issue maintaining your military bearing. For students coming from the fleet I noticed it took a little adjusting to get back into training mode. Especially for people who came from more laid back units. So just make sure you're on your toes in terms of customs and courtesies. Don't start to learn other peoples' bad habits.

    You will get plenty of liberty/free time at school just make sure to use it wisely. Don't go to the e-club and get belligerent, don't speed on base, etc. There's a ton to do on base and in Petaluma, just remember why you're there. As much as I hear people make the comparison, A School is not like college. Sure, you're not woken up to "fire fire fire" every morning like at boot camp, but you are at a military training center and should act appropriately.

    As for living arrangements, you will share a barracks room and bathroom with 2 or 3 other people. You can definitely bring a laptop, but you have to pay for internet in your room. I think it was like $25 per month and you can rent a modem/router. There is also free wifi in a couple areas on base, and there are TVs in the common area. If you are a gamer you can bring that stuff too.

    I went boot to A almost 3 years ago so if you have any more questions just let me know.
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    11 Sep 2016 05:25 PM
    Just a couple of quick questions for all of my "seasoned" (<<<

    When do duty stations show up during "A" school? 

     How much information about the station will you be given?  

    If I go straight to "A" school from basic will I still make a dream sheet at basic?

    Is there a type of cutter that will help me to accrue sea time but not be away from my family for 6 months at a time?
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    11 Sep 2016 06:42 PM
    Posted By Wardoftheflies on 11 Sep 2016 06:25 PM
    Just a couple of quick questions for all of my "seasoned" (<<<

    When do duty stations show up during "A" school? 

     How much information about the station will you be given?  

    If I go straight to "A" school from basic will I still make a dream sheet at basic?

    Is there a type of cutter that will help me to accrue sea time but not be away from my family for 6 months at a time?

    I think we were given picks during week 3 or 4 (it was the last week of the first phase of school) and were given the weekend to research picks and figure out how we wanted to rank our list. (You will have to rank every pick on your list.)

    The instructors will answer any questions they can about the picks on your list, and you may even have students in your class or other classes that came from some of the picks. Network as much as possible and ask as many questions as you can.

    You will submit a dream sheet at boot camp, but the instructors will tell you what to write re: guaranteed A school.

    Generally the smaller the cutter the smaller amount of time you will be out at a time.
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    12 Sep 2016 09:24 AM
    You will still be away approximately half the year. Be it 3 months in, 3 months out or 5 days in, 5 days out. You can expect to be gone half the year. As is the consent of many, if you do not expect to be separated from your family, maybe the military lifestyle isn't for you. My son and his bride have been married 5 years, they only just spent their first anniversary together. It happens. You learn to accept these things and cherish the days you do have together.
    Sector NY, Staten Island
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    17 Oct 2016 09:41 PM
    hi there
    currently in backgrounds with CG
    going in as FS
    have a masters in culinary/hotel management
    getting bonus. yay!
    is it paid after A school in lump sum or payments?
    married with a kid. wife is active duty CG stationed in st louis, mo on land
    chances of me getting co-located there?
    heard another rumor of mid-west being on the recruiters preferred listing right now. does that improve co-location?
    joining so i can be a chief warrant officer, as i am prior army already
    thanks
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    18 Oct 2016 11:34 AM
    My bonus was paid in a lump sum, but that was a re-enlistment bonus. I think the signing bonuses are paid part when you go to school and part after you graduate. Ask your recruiter.

    Chances of getting co-located in St Louis - I don't even know if we have FS billets there. Your chances depend on that, and there being open billets. The detailer at A School will try to help yout, you just may have to be apart until your wife is due to transfer.

    I am an FS2 who graduated A School a couple years ago. Let me know if I can answer any specifics about school or the job.
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    23 Oct 2016 11:29 AM
    I read on the GoCoastGuard website that as an FS you have the possibility of working at the White House as a chef.  I can't seem to find anything online that details who works in the White House kitchen except for the exec. chef at the time.
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    23 Oct 2016 12:33 PM
    I think there is 1 FS billet at the White House, and I'm pretty sure it's an FS1 or a Chief billet. There is also an FS billet at DHS's executive dining facility.
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    21 Feb 2017 05:04 PM
    I'm interested in joining the Coast Guard. My sister is currently in Miami working for the Admiral and got me hooked on the idea. I'm currently working as a sous chef and she said there is a bonus the Coast Guard issues if you want to be a chef. Is this correct? Also, should I complete culinary school first or after?
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    21 Feb 2017 05:09 PM
    I'm debating on going in the Coast Guard. My sister is currently working for the Admiral in Miami and got me hooked on the idea with the sign on bonus. Is the $20,000-$40,000 sign on legitimate? I'm currently working as a sous chef and have been for the past few years. Should I go to culinary school before joining? How would it affect my relationship with my fiancé, being out for at least 2 weeks at a time, can anyone give me an inside perspective? We come from a military family ( our dad was in the AF) so traveling and moving every few years is natural to me.
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    22 Feb 2017 05:00 AM
    There is a bonus at those amounts if you have a culinary degree. There is a smaller bonus for those going in as a Culinary Specialist. Contact a recruiter for what would specifically apply to your situation. And be aware, depending on where you are stationed, you could be shore side and come home most nights, or on a cutter that is underway 3 days, 2 weeks, 2 months or 6 months, depending on the size.
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    22 Feb 2017 11:03 AM
    The $20,000 bonus is for those without a culinary degree. The $40,000 bonus is for those with a degree. If you are serious about joining, I would forego the degree because bonuses can disappear as fast as they appear. So while you are in Culinary School the CG can forget all bonuses for FS and then you will have lost the smaller bonus. Yes, they are absolutely legitimate. Here is a blurb from the ALCOAST in reference to FS...

    3. Enlistment Bonus (EB). This paragraph applies to new accessions accessed into the
    Regular Coast Guard from the date of this ALCOAST through FY17.
    a. A $20,000 EB is authorized for applicants to enlist in the Coast Guard,
    complete guaranteed FS Class A-School after recruit training, and satisfactorily
    complete the full term of their initial enlistment in the Regular Coast Guard in the
    FS rating.

    If you wish to read the entire ALCOAST it can be found by copying this link...
    https://www.uscg.mil/announcements/alcoast/157-16_ALCOAST.txt
    Sector NY, Staten Island
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    31 Aug 2017 11:07 AM
    I am new to all of this. 
    Upcoming Coast Guard wife of a future CS (Leaves for boot camp on 11/21)
    I feel like I'm going into this life with an open mind. 
    I am searching for some real talk. 

    I know where my husband will be at boot camp and A School. I am aware he will be gone/busy. I know how the pay works, I know what's expected of him. All that stuff. We have been married for 4 years, and aren't as young as some people when entering this life, but we're still fairly young. He's 24 & I'm 25.

    I am excited for this new adventure we're taking on, as he has truly felt this is his calling, and I am supporting him fully. We don't have any kids, so I am completely diving in with as much "adventure" as my heart can allow. Even though I'm sure it might not be all that great at times and I am not expecting a walk in the park. 

    What I really want to know is, what's it like? Being a spouse of someone in the CS position.
    Is he gone ALWAYS? What can I expect? I'm not expecting a normal schedule, but will I see him regularly? I know that there's a large potential of him being on a cutter, but what are some other things? 

    Someone please, just give me a little insight? That would be appreciated. 

    Thanks so much in advance! 
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    01 Sep 2017 08:25 AM
    Welcome to the CG. It isn't always easy but it is always an adventure. So keep that spirit in your heart and the bad times will pass almost unnoticed. It all depends what type of unit he gets stationed at. If he is on a cutter, well, he'll be underway and gone. Even that, the time gone depends upon the size of the cutter. A polar roller (ice breaker) he can be gone for more than 6 months in a stretch. If he is on one of the smaller cutters, he may only be gone for about 10 days at a time. If he is at a land unit, he'll be home every night. You will see him as regularly as the CG allows depending upon duty assignment. Isn't that a terrible answer?? But there is no direct and easy answer when you don't know where you will be stationed.

    Just make sure you keep your mind open to the adventure. Think of the places you are going to go that you might never have even visited, now you might get to live in some of those places! How exciting. Make sure you adopt your CG family. If you're from Wichita Kansas and suddenly find yourself in Portland Maine, well, you're going to need family. You have one built in! Meet other spouses, get involved in the community, get involved with ships activities or unit activities. If things don't look like their happening, make things happen! We were at one unit, they did nothing. My Coastie and I organized a holiday party. The galley (your husband ) made dinner for the entire unit, spouses and kids, too. I wrote to every business I could think of for donations for door prizes. We went shopping and bought present, age appropriate, for every child in the unit. It wasn't a huge unit, about 8 officers and 20 enlisted personnel. One of the single guys dressed like Santa, handed out presents, we all ate a huge holiday meal. We had so many donations, everyone walked out that night with at least 2 door prizes!!! That was probably 25 years ago and I can still see the smiles and my friends and the kids... So get involved, these are the things that make a unit fun. Don't forget to look for his boot camp company facebook page. Join the CG spouses page, my daughter in law finds a lot of support through that. Mostly, have fun! You will. Any questions, feel free to ask away. We're happy to help here.
    Sector NY, Staten Island
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    07 Sep 2018 12:41 PM
    How easy is it to advance in the CS rate? I have a degree, and I would hopefully do direct to A school from boot, so at the end of that i know I'd be an E4 - what opportunity is there to advance after A school?
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    03 Oct 2018 05:46 AM
    Was wondering if any Reserve CS or anyone that has worked with a Reservist, are in this feed?

    If so do you mind sharing what a typical drill weekend and two week AT looks like for a CS Reservist. 

    Also, how often/ what a deployment is like for the Reserve side?

    Also, If you enjoy this rate from the Reserve side of things. 

    Thanks 
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    30 Sep 2019 10:35 PM
    Are there opportunities for CS to serve abroad in Singapore or The Netherlands? I see the Activities Europe Unit is moving locations to an Army Garrison, so does that mean only the Army will provide the CS or will CG also provide CS? How about NORAD? I know CG has operations there but do CG CS have the opportunity to work there? I actually ate Thanksgiving dinner inside NORAD when I was maybe 7 or 8 years old - not sure exactly how that happened except I think it was something connected to my grandfather and his Army service (he was in food service) but being that we live in Colorado, NORAD could be a fun assignment for my son if that's even an option?
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    29 Jun 2020 06:03 PM
    Hey everyone! Enlisting in July! Culinary is my passion and I'm looking forward to serving my country as a military cook/chef!

    Any advice or tips?


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