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

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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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ebee

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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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ebee

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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.
MalUser is Offline
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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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mkelly

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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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ebee

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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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ebee

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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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Vi121

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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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