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Old 12-17-2008, 05:43 AM   #1
goodbyebluesky82
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Default anyone with coast guard or reserves experience?

Strange topic, but I would love some info "straight from the horse's mouth" as some would say, about serving in the coast guard.

Did you/do you enjoy it?

Whats the atmosphere like? among enlistees and officers? On base? on cutters at sea?

Was it worth any of the stuff you had to give up; being away from family/children, lack of freedom?

How long were you in it and why did you leave?

Lastly, did anyone support a wife/family during the time they were in or were they like bachelors at sea/base?

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Old 12-17-2008, 08:18 AM   #2
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Enlisted June 3, 1979. Out June 4 1983. Spent 4 years on cutters, made E-5 in three years and loved doing what we did. THe whole 'military' thing I wasn't too crazy about but it was a very different world back then.

I say go for it, it will certainly give you a new perspective on the world

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Old 12-17-2008, 08:42 AM   #3
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Just so you know, you have to do 20 years to get retirement benefits. So if you're doing anything less you're just signing yourself up to a low paying job for a minimum of 4 years, so you better make sure you're gonna enjoy doing it. It might be a good idea to check out the Coast Guard Auxiliary first to make sure you'll like it.

Also, make sure you make it under their weight requirements

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Old 12-17-2008, 02:12 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by holden View Post
Just so you know, you have to do 20 years to get retirement benefits. So if you're doing anything less you're just signing yourself up to a low paying job for a minimum of 4 years, so you better make sure you're gonna enjoy doing it. It might be a good idea to check out the Coast Guard Auxiliary first to make sure you'll like it.

Also, make sure you make it under their weight requirements
I wouldnt say its a low paying job. I just got out of the navy as an E-5 and my base pay combined with BAH and sea pay was pretty good. Granted, I was single though.I lived in upper middle class apartments in VA Beach and lived like a king. If you are like out of a job and working at mcdonalds or retail, I would join. Even if you get out, you wont regret it.
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Old 12-17-2008, 04:08 PM   #5
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I wanted to enlist in the Coast Guard after my first enlistment in the Army was up but the recruiter wanted me to go back to E-4 and of course complete their basic training. I had no problem with the basic training but I recently made E-5 and was still young, dumb, and full of..... well you know the rest of the story. Anyways I didn't do it which I now regret!

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Old 12-17-2008, 04:24 PM   #6
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Just so you know, you have to do 20 years to get retirement benefits. So if you're doing anything less you're just signing yourself up to a low paying job for a minimum of 4 years, so you better make sure you're gonna enjoy doing it. It might be a good idea to check out the Coast Guard Auxiliary first to make sure you'll like it.

Also, make sure you make it under their weight requirements
It looks like at my 71 inches, the range is like 209-229 pounds. Not suprising. The marine corps allows 227 pounds at 72 inches. I have some weight to lose, and have already started on that. I've dropped in weight significantly before through exercise and nutrition so its very do-able. I've already cut back on homebrew intake, only a few bottles a week tops.

I'm not sure I want to make a career out of it, but you never know. Lots of people become lifelong military guys even though they never planned. I just turned 26 so I only have a year left for them to accept me. I want to give it a try, and I like the fact its not combat-oriented and wouldn't have me carrying an m16 in a desert somewhere (not that theres anything wrong with that). Its ultimately keeping our waters safe, guarding the coasts, rescuing people, and whatnot. I can get down with that. Pretty noble and all. I've always lived on the east coast, and can do the reserves later if I decide to leave.

More than anything, I'm bothered that I've never really challenged myself like I want to. Didn't go to college. I've been working full time ever since high school, got married and had a kid, bought a house. I've survived, but I've felt pretty frustrated in most of the jobs I've been in.
My marriage is pretty shipwrecked at this point though(I think), and I need to think about myself from this point, while still providing for my son, which would be hard to do while trying to support myself at the same ol' stuff I've been doing the last few years, and feeling trapped. I mean, I'm looking at having to either rent rooms out in my house after she leaves to maintain things on my own, or move back to FL and crash in a friend's house to not be ridiculously broke.

Oh, and I should mention I had a pretty good SAT score in high school so would very likely score well on the ASVAB. I would have had a free ride to college if my GPA was better, but I goofed off a lot.
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Old 12-17-2008, 04:57 PM   #7
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I would do it dude. But dont forget, you might be carrying an M16 around all day in below freezing ice storms too.

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Old 12-17-2008, 05:02 PM   #8
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I say go for it. The worst case is you spend 4 years doing something that you don't fully enjoy and get out. Best case, you find a career you love and you stick around until they kick you out.

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Old 12-17-2008, 05:20 PM   #9
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and dont forget, the coastguard deploys aswell, not as much as the navy or as long (I believe) but they do deploy.

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Old 12-17-2008, 06:50 PM   #10
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I would do it dude. But dont forget, you might be carrying an M16 around all day in below freezing ice storms too.
Really? I mean I'm not some pacifist whose against it, I just shudder at some of the stories of some guys who have been to Irag; marching around in full gear and shooting at stuff, watching out for roadside bombs, checking their shoes for scorpions and looking out for killer spiders in the latrine. And those guys wanted to go back! (for re-enlistment $$ though)

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and dont forget, the coastguard deploys aswell, not as much as the navy or as long (I believe) but they do deploy.
Yeah I knew they go places, and knew I would have to expect being on a boat for months at a time whether its along our own coast or somebody else's. I have no delusions about just hanging out at a base in the states year round. I would love for someone to PM me if they feel generous enough to fill me in on what its like living on one of their boats.

How easy is it to use your vacation time they give you to travel to see family/friends, etc? You get any kind of reduced airfare to fly, or have the freedom to just hop in a car and leave base when its your vacation time?

If the ex stayes here in central NC, it would only be a few/several hour drive from almost anywhere on the NC/SC/GA coast, and I could still come and see my son. 4 years is a chunk of time in a kids childhood so I need an idea of my ability to see him during that time.

We are talking at the moment about the idea of her staying in my house and quasi-renting it from me while I pay the mortgage. So when I get out (if I leave after 4 years) I still have a house and some equity. With the (modest)money I make while in there I can become debt-free, help support my son, and save since I'll have little to no expenses right?
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