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Enlisted - Best and Worst Experiences
Last Post 17 Jan 2018 04:24 AM by sylviashea. 8 Replies.
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curiosussiraUser is Offline
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curiosussira

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18 Feb 2016 02:07 PM
    I'm considering enlisting after I finish college (a little over a year from now) I'm wondering if some vets or active duty coasties might share what they think is the best and worst thing about serving in the coast guard.
    Thanks!
    thestormiscomingUser is Offline
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    thestormiscoming

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    18 Feb 2016 02:13 PM
    Not to derail, but why wait until after you graduate? Your physical and ASVAB (indefinite for officer) scores are good for 2 years and you can start the process for enlisted and officer (assuming you meet the OCS-R requirements) while in your senior year. Even better, start the prescreen now and establish communications with your local recruiting office so you can get your ASVAB and physical done during your summer break.


    Best: Never getting my #1 pick after my non-rate afloat tour, post basic training.  I went to my #6, #2 (met my wife), and #2 so far.  I've always been extremely satisfied with my 3-4 years at a unit that wasn't my top pick and wouldn't go back and change a thing.

    Worst: The smell of rotting trashcans on the port side after a 17-day underway stretch on a 210', due to migrant ops off of Haiti.
    curiosussiraUser is Offline
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    curiosussira

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    18 Feb 2016 02:35 PM
    Thanks for the advice! Right now I'm planning on making a final decision for myself over the summer, my plan so far is to get in touch with a recruiter in my fall semester (as my "local" recruiting office is two states over from where I live) Can you do your ASVAB and physical at a non-coast guard recruiting station? I'm from MN and the nearest one according to the USCG website is Chicago.
    AG305User is Offline
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    AG305

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    19 Feb 2016 08:34 AM
    the asvab and physical is done at meps. theres one in minneapolis. youre probably gonna be doing all of your stuff right there.
    AG305User is Offline
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    AG305

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    19 Feb 2016 08:46 AM
    Posted By thestormiscoming on 18 Feb 2016 02:13 PM
    Worst: The smell of rotting trashcans on the port side after a 17-day underway stretch on a 210', due to migrant ops off of Haiti.

    i bet you there was 1 or 2 of you folks contemplating whether or not to throw that trash overboard lol
    hooliganUser is Offline
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    hooligan

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    27 Feb 2016 10:51 AM
    Dear Curiosussira,
    I served on 2 small boat stations, a cutter (ship), and a recruiting station. My best experience, ever, by far, was saving lives at sea. I did over 500 rescues, I was at some very, very busy locations. People at risk on the open ocean are helpless, living minute to minute, fearful, and pulling them to our Coast Guard decks, getting them out of danger, was like Christmas and New Years and your Birthday all at once. Problem is, we were all always too busy in the rescue to celebrate it, which we did later, yes with beer, at the nearest seaside bar off duty. Different time, maybe, but I always felt calm and happy and really alive after a rescue, beer or no beer. I think we all did. 

    The expressions on the faces of the people we rescued were a mixture of fear, (sometimes outright terror), concern, and gratitude. We actually had some survivors try to hand us money. One person, after we wouldn't take his money, fished out a roll of tape, and taped a 100 bill to the side of our boat secretly at about midnight while we tied him up safely, when we weren't looking. The boat seaman found it in the light of the next day while we were doing boat checks. We used to tell people, 'hey, you pay your taxes, right? you don't owe us a thing. just pay your taxes.'

    For me the saddest experiences were when there was nothing we could do, when someone passed at sea, drowned, and we had to recover their remains. I was disgusted, angry, mad, every time, in accordance with the age and circumstances of the person's passing, but I used it and made certain we were always ready to go, that no equipment failure or omission would ever cause us a shred of remorse in any rescue. If someone died young, and for a foolish reason, that made me the maddest.

    Saving lives was an amazing experience, by far the best job experience I've ever had in my life. Think about that.

    A close second sad experience was stopping drug smugglers. Cartels are run by criminal psychopaths, and to see how badly they treat everyone was and is disgusting. Most smuggling crews were happy, I repreat, happy, to get busted by us. Once we had them, at least they'd get clean drinking water, a shower, hot food and a blanket, even if they were in cuffs, and they'd be smiling and happy we busted them, happy to see us. Drug dealers are psychopaths. And their crews would eat anything, they were so hungry, so dehydrated. Damned shame.

    So, good luck to you, and trust me when I say that if you choose the USCG, all the effort you will put in will be well worth it. And, I did a B.S. and M.S. and had a career after I left the service, 25 years ago. With all due respect to my later employers, The Coast Guard was and is a good job, best rewards I ever had, saving people from awful situations.

    And, I never started out with that in mind, never set out with all that knowledge, I was just looking for a job and some travel and some technical training. It all just happened to me, and it's not recruiting hogwash. I am a 50% service connected disabled coastie today, and yes, I'd do the USCG all over again in a second.
    AG305User is Offline
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    AG305

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    27 Feb 2016 02:17 PM
    wow hooligan. that is the absolute best thing ive ever read! i too share your passion for saving lives and helping others in need (which is why i decided to join this service and not the others). i feel if im not out there, making a difference in someones life and actually doing something meaningful and worth a damn im not happy. no dead end job no matter how much money there is to make can compare with that satisfaction. thank you so much for sharing!
    JoannaAquinoUser is Offline
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    JoannaAquino

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    08 Nov 2017 07:02 AM
    So, what is your decision? What are your best and worst experiences? Will you share some?
    sylviasheaUser is Offline
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    sylviashea

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    17 Jan 2018 04:24 AM
    Hi! Thanks for the contributed experiences. We must know about best and even worst ones! The thread is indeed helpful!
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