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Some questions about the reserve.
Last Post 23 May 2019 08:49 PM by USMCtotheUSCG. 14 Replies.
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17 Apr 2019 04:48 PM
    Hey’all.

    I’m 23 and about 5 months through paramedic school and thought I’d ask some questions about being a HS in the reserve: 

    I’m kicking around the idea of joining the USCG in a couple years after I’m settled down south and live near the coast. I’ve always wanted to join the military, and the USCG is a no brainer for me. I’ll have an Associates Degree and my EMT-P upon graduation.

    My goal after paramedic school is to move to northwestern Florida and get a job down there full time in EMS. After that, I’d like to become a reserve police officer and be a SWAT medic for a local tactical team. This is not an overnight process, as I may have to spend 3-5 years at an EMS agency to get a shot at being selected as their SWAT Medic. This leaves a gap for me, and that is where the USCG idea came from. 

    First question; What does an HS do in the reserve? I know this is a broad question, since I could be at a PSU, small boat, or air station.. but is there any chance of getting to be a flight medic, or going out on boats and doing SAR and boardings, shooting guns, or anything cool like that? From the photos I’ve seen online, the corpsman seem to sit in clinics a lot.. but I’m not in the USCG, so I wouldn’t know.

    Second question; With my AS degree and EMT-P, would I qualify for DEPOT? 

    Third question; Does HS have ANY potential to do LE? I’ve looked into the ME rate (seems like everyone wants it) and the academy they go through could actually be a legal substitute for a reserve police academy in Florida; Problem is, with as hard as it is to get into the Coast Guard, I think my best chance would be to try for HS because of my skill set.


    Thanks for your help,
    JT


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    17 Apr 2019 05:43 PM
    I have nearly 20 years Reserve experience, so I can answer a lot of your questions. Regarding your first question, a Reserve HS does the same thing that an Active Duty one does, just part time. You're trained to the same standard as AD and are expected to function at that level. As a Reserve HS, you could be assigned to a PSU or a Base medical clinic. Small boat stations do not have HS's at all. AIRSTA's *may* have Reserve HS billets, but you would be handling medical care for assigned personnel, you would not be part of a flight crew. It's for the same reason there are no Reserve billets in any of the aviation ratings. Flight crews have a tremendous number of qualifications that must be kept current. Reservists don't have that kind of time available to make sure all quals and flight hours stay current. As a Reserve HS, your chances of doing any LE is slim to nonexistent.

    To address your second question, yes, you would qualify for DEPOT. However, you would likely have to attend HS A School. While you would have the professional background, due to your EMT-P licensure, you would still need to attend A school to learn CG techniques, admin procedures, etc.

    As for your third question, as I previously stated it's quite unlikely you'd do any LE, at least as a Reserve HS. If you went AD, and got orders to a cutter, you could get LE qualified and be on the boarding team. As for ME, that rating is going to be slow to move for some time. The A school was closed for a year, and just recently reopened. Waiting time for the school for AD personnel is forecast to be 36-48 months. Unknown how the A school closure will affect Reservists, as they get an actual date at time of enlistment, rather than going on a waiting list.

    One other thing to know about the Reserve program is that you are recruited to fill a specific position (AKA billet) at a specific unit. If there's nothing available within the Reasonable Commuting Distance (RCD= 100 miles round trip from your home zip code, not physical address), you can't be recruited to it. If you're willing to waive that 100 mile limit, then you can be recruited to that billet. The downside is that commuting costs are on your dime, which can take a big bite of junior enlisted pay. Making a 400 mile round trip commute once a month may not sound too bad now, but will you still mind doing it five years from now? My round trip is 110 miles and I hate it. That's typically 2 hours plus in Los Angeles traffic to get home. Three and a half hours is the current record. I'm sure glad I'm retiring from the CGR this October (and my civilian LE job in January).

    Feel free to reach out with any other questions, and best of luck! Did I mention I'll be retiring this October? ;-)
    "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him."-Jonathan Swift
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    17 Apr 2019 08:17 PM
    Thanks for the input, Chief. Congratulations on your retirement, and thank you for your service. 

    I think I’d probably just need to wait and see if I can get an ME billet when I’m ready. I don’t want to join the USCG just to be able to SAY I’m in the military and have a uniform to match. If I’m gonna commit to a government contract, I need to be doing something I really wanna be doing. I like medicine, but I’m already doing it as a civilian. So yeah, something to think about!
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    18 Apr 2019 05:56 AM
    Chief, you're retiring???? Wow! That's awesome and congratulations but the CG will be missing a good man.
    Sector NY, Staten Island
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    18 Apr 2019 09:52 AM
    Posted By Old Guard2 on 18 Apr 2019 06:56 AM
    Chief, you're retiring???? Wow! That's awesome and congratulations but the CG will be missing a good man.

    Yes, ma'am. October 30. I'll have 20 years between the USAR and USCGR.
    "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him."-Jonathan Swift
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    18 Apr 2019 11:41 AM
    Nothing says you can't hang around for another 4 or 5 or 10 years...
    Sector NY, Staten Island
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    18 Apr 2019 02:21 PM
    Posted By Old Guard2 on 18 Apr 2019 12:41 PM
    Nothing says you can't hang around for another 4 or 5 or 10 years...

    Reserve High Year Tenure says so, plus I'll have 30 years for pay purposes (calculated on my Pay Base Date) as of January 2020, so I'd be out anyway.  I can't complain.  I'll get my Reserve pension when I hit 60. I'll be retiring from my civilian law enforcement job in late December/early January after 31+ years there.
    "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him."-Jonathan Swift
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    18 Apr 2019 06:50 PM
    For what my opinions worth, based on what you have said your career goals and interests are, I would strongly recommend going into the ME rating and getting a billet at a PSU. Even at the PSU, the very few HS's at the unit are essentially clinic workers filling a support billet at the unit and don't have the opportunities for the amount of tactical training you're looking for. The ME rating is also a much better choice for the Coast Guard Reserve if you're looking doing it for the long term, as there are far more opportunities in line with what your civilian career plans are.
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    19 Apr 2019 11:03 AM
    Posted By USMCtotheUSCG on 18 Apr 2019 07:50 PM
    For what my opinions worth, based on what you have said your career goals and interests are, I would strongly recommend going into the ME rating and getting a billet at a PSU. Even at the PSU, the very few HS's at the unit are essentially clinic workers filling a support billet at the unit and don't have the opportunities for the amount of tactical training you're looking for. The ME rating is also a much better choice for the Coast Guard Reserve if you're looking doing it for the long term, as there are far more opportunities in line with what your civilian career plans are.

    A couple of things .. CG tactcal and LE training don't translate very well into the civilian LE realm. Some of the stuff I've seen the CG do would make any civilian LE trainer cringe. Also, I'm curious as to what the opportunities are beyond a PSU, Sector, or perhaps Base security, that would open up in an ME Reservist's career.  Of course, there's always the option for T10/ADOS orders, but that's true of most ratings, and they're not guaranteed.


    "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him."-Jonathan Swift
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    19 Apr 2019 11:00 PM
    Posted By USMCtotheUSCG on 18 Apr 2019 07:50 PM
    For what my opinions worth, based on what you have said your career goals and interests are, I would strongly recommend going into the ME rating and getting a billet at a PSU. Even at the PSU, the very few HS's at the unit are essentially clinic workers filling a support billet at the unit and don't have the opportunities for the amount of tactical training you're looking for. The ME rating is also a much better choice for the Coast Guard Reserve if you're looking doing it for the long term, as there are far more opportunities in line with what your civilian career plans are.
    Thanks for the response! I’ll have to look at openings when I get closer to moving. 

    Not gonna lie, what the chief said has me a little skeptical.. I do not want to pick up any bad habits. One of the biggest reasons I would join the military is to make myself a better medic and a MORE dangerous adversary to criminals. I want to be the most lethal SWAT operator on the streets, as cliché as that sounds! 

    Though, I’m often worried that i’ll never be as good as the guys who served in direct combat roles (like infantry) who become SWAT officers; Mostly because they have 8 weeks of intense combat training, whereas SWAT school is only 2-3 weeks long. Any thoughts on this as a leatherneck yourself? 
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    20 Apr 2019 04:06 PM
    Understand that while SWAT operator training and infantry training have some similarities, it's mostly like comparing apples and oranges. You can be a perfectly good SWAT operator without ever having served in the military, or serving, but not in a field involving tactical training.
    "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him."-Jonathan Swift
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    20 Apr 2019 07:02 PM
    I can appreciate that. I understand they are much different, but I’ve heard some SOF guys (who have themselves trained or trained with SWAT) say that SWAT officers have no idea how to do “basic training stuff” like strong wall entries.
    Now, from being in Fire/EMS I know a thing or two about ‘Elitism.’ This could be that, or it could be valid. It’s probably a little bit of both. 

    Another question for you: is drill always a consecutive 2 days, or is it sometimes 1 shift every 2 weeks? I’m just trying to figure how it would work if I did (2-3) 24 hour shifts a week, plus 2-3 days of monthly SWAT training and 2 days of drill.

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    22 Apr 2019 11:36 AM
    Posted By Medic1995 on 20 Apr 2019 08:02 PM
    I can appreciate that. I understand they are much different, but I’ve heard some SOF guys (who have themselves trained or trained with SWAT) say that SWAT officers have no idea how to do “basic training stuff” like strong wall entries.
    Now, from being in Fire/EMS I know a thing or two about ‘Elitism.’ This could be that, or it could be valid. It’s probably a little bit of both. 

    Another question for you: is drill always a consecutive 2 days, or is it sometimes 1 shift every 2 weeks? I’m just trying to figure how it would work if I did (2-3) 24 hour shifts a week, plus 2-3 days of monthly SWAT training and 2 days of drill.



    So a little history lesson for you. Around 1995, the CG integrated the great majority of it's Reserves with the Active Duty side of the house. As such there were no more separate Reserve units. The exception to this is the PSU's. Due to their mission, they maintain the traditional Reserve model. In other words, everyone shows up on the third weekend of the month (for example) and everyone does their two weeks active duty at the same time. Reservists assigned to regular Active Duty commands have a bit more flexibility in their schedule. For example, you could batch your drills. This means you come in for three or four days in a row, which would enable you to skip a month and still maintain your participation standards.  Also, you can often decide when you want to do your two week active duty period. You're not tied to the summer months.  Now there will be times when all Reservists have to show up on the same day, e.g. All Hands meetings, mandated training, etc. 

     Hope this helps
    "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him."-Jonathan Swift
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    28 Apr 2019 11:00 AM
    Posted By Medic1995 on 20 Apr 2019 08:02 PM
    I can appreciate that. I understand they are much different, but I’ve heard some SOF guys (who have themselves trained or trained with SWAT) say that SWAT officers have no idea how to do “basic training stuff” like strong wall entries.
    Now, from being in Fire/EMS I know a thing or two about ‘Elitism.’ This could be that, or it could be valid. It’s probably a little bit of both. 

    Another question for you: is drill always a consecutive 2 days, or is it sometimes 1 shift every 2 weeks? I’m just trying to figure how it would work if I did (2-3) 24 hour shifts a week, plus 2-3 days of monthly SWAT training and 2 days of drill.


    Just because some “SOF Operators” , whatever that is, say something, doesn’t mean they know what they are talking about. And your 8 weeks training comment is also way off. It takes years of training to start to be good.

    I can tell that you are very young, but if you want to be taken seriously, you need to listen more, and not get all starry eyed when someone with an “Operator “ patch starts talking.

    And before anyone jumps on me:

    35 years LE, including SWAT, Aviation, TEMS.
    11 years USCGR, MSST and PSU, SECDIV and MEDDIV LPO, Instructor.
    40 years EMT, EMTP.
    Instructor for many, many, things.

    ME1 sends.
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    USMCtotheUSCG

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    23 May 2019 08:49 PM
    Excellent points. I was speaking more from the perspective of him bringing valuable skills to the PSU than the other way around. Having EMT certifications and prior LE experience is extremely beneficial in the reserves, and the ME rating is honestly the better choice long term within the reserves for both advancement and opportunities within a typical reserve schedule that are at least somewhat in line with his career goals. You are entirely correct about the PSU's being the main duty assignment for a reserve ME however, the ME rating within the reserve really is focused around being assigned to a PSU, so that's something to think about for anyone wanting to join.
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