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AST-AVIATION SURVIVAL TECHNICIAN
Last Post 30 Sep 2018 05:13 PM by CPORJM. 594 Replies.
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chuklesUser is Offline
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chukles

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10 Jan 2010 12:14 AM
    AVIATION SURVIVAL TECHNICIAN (AST)


    To view a video of this rate, click here.

    ASTs function operationally as helicopter rescue swimmers and emergency medical technicians basic. ASTs may find themselves being deployed into a myriad of challenging rescues ranging from hurricanes and cliff rescues, to emergency medical evacuations from ships at sea. ASTs also provide all survival training to aviators such as swim tests, survival lectures and shallow-water egress training. Other aircrew positions include HC-130H dropmaster, loadmaster, sensor systems operator, HU-25A dropmaster, and basic aircrewman.

    In addition, ASTs perform ground handling and servicing of aircraft, and conduct routine aircraft inspections, and aviation administrative duties. ASTs inspect, service, maintain, troubleshoot and repair cargo aerial delivery systems; and drag parachute systems, aircraft oxygen systems, helicopter flotation systems, dewatering pumps, survival equipment for air-sea rescue kits, and special-purpose protective clothing. ASTs also store aviation ordnance and pyrotechnic devices.

    Types of Duty:

    ASTs are stationed at Coast Guard air stations throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. ASTs also are assigned to the Polar Operations Division in Mobile, Ala., in support of ice-breaking operations. ASTs may serve at large or small air stations servicing HC-130H (Hercules), HH-60J (Jayhawk), and HH-65A (Dolphin) aircraft.

    Training Available:

    The 16-week AST 'A' School is followed by three weeks of emergency medical technician training at a training center in Petaluma, Calif.

    Qualifications:

    An AST must be in superior physical shape with no chronic orthopedic problems, and must possess a high level of mental acuity and outstanding military bearing. Training is extremely stressful and is designed to identify those candidates who possess the physical and mental skills to handle the rigors of being a rescue swimmer. The member must pass an aircrew-candidate physical and qualify for a "secret" security clearance.

    Related Civilian Jobs:

    Emergency Medical Technician
    Aircraft Ground Handler
    Land & Water Survival Instructor
    Parachute Rigging and Repair
    Life Support Equipment Technician
    Commercial Aircraft Life Support Technician
    Paramedic


    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.
    uscg_nickgUser is Offline
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    uscg_nickg

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    12 Jan 2010 07:11 AM
    I was just wondering what I should be able to do physically on land and water before leaving for A school. I heard that prior to A school you get a workout of what your physical abilities should be the day before leaving. I'm still awaiting a ship date but would like to know what i should be getting ready for. Thank You


    proudUSCGpopUser is Offline
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    proudUSCGpop

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    14 Jan 2010 12:27 AM
    I have to first say I am not an AST, only the proud father of one recently graduated from Elizabeth City, NC. The airman program does prepare you and your command won't let you proceed if they think you are not prepared or won't succeed.

    Dry land:

    He didn't join a gym and lift weights. He focused on the PT basics, push-ups, sit-ups, tons of flutter kicks (works and stretches your hip flexors), pull-ups, chin-ups, dips. He basically lifted his own weight. That helped build his upper body strength. At his graduation the instructors told us of a student who wasn't able to do the required push-ups at his midterm and he was dropped from the program.

    Wet:

    He was initially stationed on a cutter, USCG Bertolf, out of Alameda CA. They have a good sized pool on Coast Guard Island where he spent a lot of his off time. He started easy doing laps and improving his stroke. He grew up in the southwest no water insight. At one point he hired a swim coach at the local YMCA to help him refine his stroke to become comfortable in the water. Every chance he got he was in the water building up his "confidence". Initially his ability to hold his breath under water wasn't the best, but he kept trying and eventually he could get the required 25 yards under water without surfacing. I think right now he can on one breath swim 50 yards (down and back).

    The airman program really does prepare you for what you will be tested on in the AST A school program. You will be working out with the swimmers at the airstation and they will keep you busy. He told me that there were better swimmers in his A school class, but they didn't have the "confidence" in the water he had. They DOR'd and he didn't.

    Good luck with your goals and remember if you really want to succeed as an AST failure is not an option. If you allow that thought to enter your head you've already lost.

    Richard
    sunny717User is Offline
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    14 Jan 2010 03:13 PM
    Richard

    Well Said.

    Joe


    Coastie Dad & Mom and Sunny

    Sunny
    USCGforMeUser is Offline
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    USCGforMe

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    15 Jan 2010 02:48 AM
    Richard/Joe,

    Do either of you remember what your son's duty rotation was like during the Airman program? Do the Airman stand duty, or do they relieve them of duty during the Airman program due to their 5+day/wk workout schedule?

    Richard,

    It is good to hear your son didn't grow up as a swimmer. I am definitely not a 'swimmer', although I've spent my fair share of time in water. Most of it was kayaking shark batis out into the surf in TX and getting dumped by a big wave...haha! I've been tangled in shark leaders and 130# mono fishing line out in the 5-6' sloppy surf of TX in 10-15' of water, and didn't panic...so I like to think I'm confident. With that said, I have zero instruction under my belt, and therefore lack technique. My current cutter is in port frequently and we have a YMCA here which I've been using to become acquainted to the water. I plan to hire a swim instructor to work on my stroke just a bit. Unfortunately, I rolled my ankle pretty good and am just now getting to where I can jog again.

    How old is your son, if you don't mind me asking? I know Joe son is a little older than most AST 'A' schoolers...much like myself at 26yrs old.

    uscg_nickg,

    If you'd like, shoot me a private message and I will tell you what I'm doing in order to prepare myself. Most of it is based off of the AST Airman Syllabus workouts. Keep in mind, several current ASTs and AST Airman mentors will tell you NOT to try to do exactly what they teach you in the Airman Program due to the fact that you are not currently being instructed. Without proper instruction, you will likely do exercises incorrectly and form bad habits which take longer to break.

    You said you were waiting on a ship date - I assume this is for boot camp. If so, during week 4 you will likely have an AST1 come and speak with your company. They will show you a brief video of the training and then ask who is interested. If people are interested, they will come back later in training (week 8) and allow you to try a shortened version of the PT In-Test to see if you have what it takes just to get to school. Unfortunately, they didn't get to come back during my 8th week due to scheduling/something came up. However, I know they were there for the 3 companies prior to mine, and several after...so I'm pretty sure it is routine. Also, don't fret if you don't pass the in-test at basic training. It isn't anything they hold against you , just a scale to show you where you stand and to show the AST instructors the state of their future students.

    Good luck!
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    15 Jan 2010 02:38 PM
    USCGforMe,

    Yes, my son did stand duty and spend the night at the airstation (Los Angeles) during his stint there. Since he wasn't a rescue swimmer his duties were to help in anyway necessary if a SAR case came in. One time he told me he helped the flight mechs push out the aircraft. I don't know his rotation, but we spoke often on the phone and it was something line every 4 or 5 days (don't quote me). I believe part of the training along with the workout schedule is to still become familiar with the goings on at the airstation and its aircraft.

    We actually got the idea to hire a swim coach from a friend of mine who is a triathlete. The coach would watch you swim and make suggestions on technique, he only did it for a couple of sessions (<$100), but for him it made a world of difference. Like with any coaching he had to religiously get in the pool and apply what he learned.

    My son also rolled his ankle when he first got to his cutter during a pick-up game of basketball. His ankle was purple/black/blue, he was lucky he didn't break it. It eventually healed, but he thought twice every time someone put together a basketball game. He loves the sport, he played it all throughout high school. With any injury make sure you allow it to heal and do whatever the Doc says about physical therapy. During his stay at the airstation he had an issue with his hip flexors which caused him to say a little longer.

    My son was the youngest of the graduating class he is 21, from enlistment to AST3 was 2 years 8 months. I don't remember what the age of the other students was, but if I had to guess the average was either 24 or 25.

    Good luck to the both of you.

    Richard
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    USCGforMe

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    15 Jan 2010 09:27 PM
    Richard,

    Thank you kindly for the info. ASTs have a 2 part syllabus to complete...but all airman have the Airman Syllabus. The AST Part II adds the physical portion. You are correct that we still have to know how to work at an Air Station.

    In regards to my career path - the AMT list just got closed, so I WONT be going AMT. I'll be putting my name on the AST list here soon!

    Time to get in the pool!
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    31 Jan 2010 11:56 PM
    Hi! Do any of you guys know a AST I could get in touch with to ask about training? Especially a female AST? I'm 27 and am enlisting in the Coast Guard. I'll be happy doing whatever's needed, but I have dreamed of being a rescue swimmer ever since I learned that job existed.

    I am starting to train for bootcamp. I know I have a lot to pass thru before I can even think about applying to AST school. But, does anyone know someone who could realistically tell me what kind of shape/training I'd have to be in before going to AST school? So I can have it as a goal in my mind while I train ;)

    Especially how much running/push ups/arm strength work I'd need. I am strong swimmer (I can swim 1.5 miles right now), love the water, used to be a lifeguard, have some wilderness medical training/experience, graduated college and love working hard. I am also a woman and am 5'4".
    The swimming stuff doesn't worry as much. But the running, and especially the upper body strength stuff intimidates me ;-)

    Thanks so much for any advice you can throw my way!
    Becca
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    02 Feb 2010 03:18 AM
    dolphinwings said...
    Hi! Do any of you guys know a AST I could get in touch with to ask about training? Especially a female AST? I'm 27 and am enlisting in the Coast Guard.
    Getting in touch with a female AST can be tough as there are only a few. I do know that as of early January there were two in San Diego. One is a recruiter, and the other is at the Air Station. If you call the recruiting office, I am sure you can get on line with one of them. Regarding your age...there are several ASTs who went through at that age, or even older. So, don't let people tell you otherwise. I'm not even to 'A' school yet and people always tell me I'm too old...I'm your age.
    dolphinwings said...
    I'll be happy doing whatever's needed, but I have dreamed of being a rescue swimmer ever since I learned that job existed.
    I feel pretty much the same as you. However, once I started swimming and trying to meet the standards I took a step back and re-evaluated...not because I didn't want to be an AST, but because I needed to make sure I wanted it bad enough. I decided I did in fact want it bad enough, and then rolled my ankle really bad and slowed my prep. Doh!
    The one thing I hear from ASTs more than anything regarding training is "You have to want it. You have to refuse to fail." In other words, the tools are given to you but the task is difficult - but if you refuse to fail, you have no other option than to succeed. That's been told to me by more than one AST.
    dolphinwings said...
    I am starting to train for bootcamp. I know I have a lot to pass thru before I can even think about applying to AST school. But, does anyone know someone who could realistically tell me what kind of shape/training I'd have to be in before going to AST school? So I can have it as a goal in my mind while I train ;)

    Especially how much running/push ups/arm strength work I'd need. I am strong swimmer (I can swim 1.5 miles right now), love the water, used to be a lifeguard, have some wilderness medical training/experience, graduated college and love working hard. I am also a woman and am 5'4".
    The swimming stuff doesn't worry as much. But the running, and especially the upper body strength stuff intimidates me ;-)
    There is an Airman Syllabus for those who are going to attend AST air school. Basically, before you go to 'A' school you will be transferred from your first unit to an Air Station. At this Air Station, you will be prepped for 'A' school. There is an 'In Test', and an 'Out Test'.

    The 'In Test' consists of the following:
    Push-ups - 32
    Sit-ups - 40
    Pull-ups - 3
    Chin-Ups - 3
    1.5 mile run - under 13:00
    500yd swim (crawl) - under 12:00
    Underwater Laps - 4x25yd w/90sec rest between
    Brick Swim w/tread (sprint on surface for 15yds using crawl/freestyle to a submerged brick in deep end of pool. Retrieve the brick, bring it above the water and lock your elbows, drop the brick and tread water for 2 minutes.)
    You have 1hr to complete the above, no more than 2-min rest between each exercise, pushups and situps must be completed in under 2min each.
     
    The following test is given during the first week. If you cannot pass the above by then, you will be trained and re-tested in week 5. If you still can't pass, you will be removed from the Airman Program. 
    There are multiple assessments during the Airman Program to make sure you are on par with the requirements. They are there to help you pass, and don't want to see you fail. Keep this in mind...everyone wants you to succeed, not fail. It takes a lot of time and effort for them to train you, so the last thing they want to do is see you go to 'A' School only to drop out.
    dolphinwings said...
    Thanks so much for any advice you can throw my way!
    Becca
    Hopefully this gives you a good idea. I am not there yet, but I've been preparing. I intend on getting on the A school list soon. There is a few members here with sons who have made it through the 'A' school. One of them is Sunny717 and the other is ProudUSCGPop. Both of them have been very helpful to me during my decision making. You may want to send them a private message, I'm sure they'd be glad to help if they don't chime in on this post.

    Good luck to you! Let me know if I can help any more.
    <!-- Edit -->

    Last Edited : 2/2/2010 4:39:47 AM GMT

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    02 Feb 2010 02:59 PM
    I am assuming that there are vision requirements for this rating. Any one know what they are?
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    02 Feb 2010 04:11 PM
    Hey USCGforme,

    That was so helpful. Thank you!! Really nice to be able to see the numbers on a page ... have a reality to what dreaming up. Gonna start focusing on bootcamp now ;-)

    I hope your ankle heals up ... there's this homeopathic cream called "Arnica" that always helped me a little with injuries. And, once it heals, spell the alphabet with your feet. Sounds really corny, but helped me stop twisting my ankles.

    And I definitely know what you mean about pausing to make sure you want it. I just did that with deciding to join the coast guards to begin with. Took me a while, but meant I believed my decision once I made it. There's Irish saying about, "a good beginning is half the work".

    Good luck!! Keep me posted if you get a chance!
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    02 Feb 2010 10:49 PM
    dolphinwings,

    No problem. I sure wish I could find the info prior to enlisting...it would've been helpful to start training a long time ago!

    Regarding my ankle, it's 95% now. I'm back to swimming, racquetball, basketball, etc. I can still feel it if I really stretch it to the side, but not bad.

    Check your private message box.

    Take care, and good luck.
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    02 Feb 2010 10:53 PM
    jchristine23 said...
    I am assuming that there are vision requirements for this rating. Any one know what they are?
    I believe they are 20/200, correctable to 20/20, and normal color. You also have to pass a depth perception test. This is all given to you during your flight physical. You can probably get more definite requirements from your recruiter or chain of command if you are already in.

    Here is a basic requirements sheet for each rate's 'A' school.


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    03 Feb 2010 01:33 PM
    jchristine23 said...
    I am assuming that there are vision requirements for this rating. Any one know what they are?
    I believe its 20/20. No Lasik proceedure in the past. PRK proceedure must be done by military Mds in Bethesda.
    My son had contacts 700 and 600. PRK = 20/20.
    Now he's a happy AST in Kodiak.


    AST3 Coastie. Dad & Mom and Sunny

    Sunny
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    12 Feb 2010 01:37 AM
    Is anyone else currently on the Ast a school list thats a part of this forum? I am near the end of the list, should be updated soon. hit me up if you are


    "The only easy day was yesterday"

    "The only easy day was yesterday"
    USCGforMeUser is Offline
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    15 Feb 2010 01:22 AM
    disciple,
    I was finishing my paperwork for my XPO on the same day I crushed my hand at work. :-(

    Needless to say I'm waiting to see if I will recover before I get on the list. Lots of nerve damage and 5 pins in my thumb may prevent me from being an AST...but I doubt it! I just want time to heal and re-gain strength before I get on that list.
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    15 Feb 2010 02:31 AM
    totally thats a bummer!


    "The only easy day was yesterday"

    "The only easy day was yesterday"
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    23 Feb 2010 02:41 AM
    Can anyone tell us how long it takes before you know when you will be going to an Airman program? Our son is #22 on the A list stationed on the Morgenthau in Alameda. He is prepared and we couldn't be prouder.
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    27 Feb 2010 03:44 AM
    does anyone know where i can find the ast airman syllabus...I have been searching all over for it and can not..i am told you need a coast guard email..which i have...any information on the syllabus would be appreciated...
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    27 Feb 2010 06:39 AM
    so i have a question. im not sold on any certain rate yet but AST does have my attention. my question is..... is there a MINIMUM weight or height limit. I am a guy. im 5'5, 135 pounds. now far from a tiny shrimpy kid. i bench press over 190 and can do over 25 pull ups and all the physical test stuff. so me myself feel capable to be an ast and i hardly ever work out so with a little lifting and fitness i can excel more. but is there a requirement. i mean i feel like there would be. but all i can find are maximums and not minimums. any help would be great.


    -JOHN-
    -Shipping April 13th, 2010-

    -JOHN-
    -Shipping April 13th, 2010-
    USCGforMeUser is Offline
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    04 Mar 2010 03:20 PM
    I've met an AST who was smaller than you. He was also a remedial swimmer in basic training...

    There are physical strength and stamina requirements, but size isnt a factor if you are capable. Dont let that deter you.
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    12 Mar 2010 11:50 AM
    Is there an age limit to this job in the USCG? Say you sign the dotted line at age 24. You enter & pass boot camp at age 25. You reach your station apply to A-School, and get through at the age of 27. Is that going to be old?
    <!-- Edit -->

    Last Edited : 3/12/2010 1:06:47 PM GMT

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    12 Mar 2010 12:46 PM
    WCSU1987 said...
    Is there an age limit to this job in the USCG? Say you sign the dotted line at age 24. You enter & pass boot camp at age 25. You reach your station apply to A-School, and get through at the age of 27. Is that going to be old?
    Nope, that's not too old, that's primetime! (just kidding cause that will be my age).

    There have been people in there 30's and 40's who have passed AST school.

    Take a look at "Brotherhood of the Fin" and "So Others May Live". Both of those are great books about ASTs, their histories, and some of their great rescues.
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    13 Mar 2010 01:36 AM
    "There have been people in there 30's and 40's who have passed AST school."

    I'm not so sure anyone in their 40's have ever gone through AST school and late 30s is pushing it.


    Life is hard. It's even harder when you're stupid.

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    15 Mar 2010 12:27 PM
    I'm going off of a book based on the initial AST training that was in Florida with the Navy. Everyone said the school was also much harder then, but who knows.

    I recall a few prior ASM's who were forced to lateral over that were well into their 30s and one was even in his 40's if I recall correctly.

    I will read into it again and try to get names.
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    Cooch

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    15 Mar 2010 12:36 PM
    That book may be referencing Shipboard Rescue Swimmer school. That's just my guess.


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    USCGforMe

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    15 Mar 2010 12:58 PM
    Cooch said...
    That book may be referencing Shipboard Rescue Swimmer school. That's just my guess.
    I'll verify it, but it was written by a retired ASM/AST Jerry Hoover. It's a great read whether you're into the AST rate or not. A lot of good rescue stories, and overall history of the rating.
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    disciplecore

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    12 Apr 2010 11:25 PM
    Can anyone tell us how long it takes before you know when you will be going to an Airman program? Our son is #22 on the A list stationed on the Morgenthau in Alameda. He is prepared and we couldn't be prouder

    He doesnt have his flight physical done so he wont get orders until that gets cleared up, thats what i was told.


    "The only easy day was yesterday"

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    PasoJack

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    16 Apr 2010 01:47 AM
    disciplecore said...
    Can anyone tell us how long it takes before you know when you will be going to an Airman program? Our son is #22 on the A list stationed on the Morgenthau in Alameda. He is prepared and we couldn't be prouder

    He doesnt have his flight physical done so he wont get orders until that gets cleared up, thats what i was told.


    Well the new list came out today and still #22! He does have his flight physical completed, it just hasn't been recorded.
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    disciplecore

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    18 Apr 2010 11:35 AM
    I would think he would have orders any day he will be in the June 29th airman program class more than likely http://www.uscg.mil/epm/ao/AirmanProgram.asp


    "The only easy day was yesterday"

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