The Coast Guard and me...at 25.

thepedroid

Well-Known Member
So the thread Champcar started about loans may be getting to me. I have been putting off getting a loan, but had always planned on getting one. I may still consider getting a loan but you guys have pretty much scared the crap out of me so I gotta find a plan B.

When I was 19, I almost joined the Coast Guard and NOT joining was a HUGE mistake. I did my fair share of partying and didn't start college until I was 22. Then at 23, Jeannine and I found out that she was pregnant:panic:

Now I am almost 26 and making an decent living working 3 jobs (and not going to school anymore). I am seriously considering signing up for the Coast Guard again if it can be done having a family. Here's what I want to know (gocoastguard.com is down:confused:)

  1. What is the age limit for signing up for the USCG?
  2. What is the starting pay for HS grad in a general field?
  3. Are the bonuses and GI bill info the same as other military branches?
  4. Do you live on base or do they provide off base housing allowance?
  5. Approx how long are the average tours at sea?
  6. what are the chances of me going to war?(I don't agree with the war so I don't want to go. Flame if you wish.)

I know not to expect an aviation slot since I didn't go to the USCG Academy. I'm just looking for any info on the life of a Coastie.

thanks,

pedro
 

jwp_145

GhostRider in the Sky
This is indeed a very important decision.

I do not know ANY of the answers you seek, but I'm in the house of a Marine right now in 29Palms, and he and his wife just received an email concerning the new GI Bill. It will now provide a housing stipend of $1400 per month while you are in school using your $80K GI bill.

Much respect to you sir for even considering joining our armed forces and defending our freedoms.
 

Cazadores

Well-Known Member
So the thread Champcar started about loans may be getting to me. I have been putting off getting a loan, but had always planned on getting one. I may still consider getting a loan but you guys have pretty much scared the crap out of me so I gotta find a plan B.

When I was 19, I almost joined the Coast Guard and NOT joining was a HUGE mistake. I did my fair share of partying and didn't start college until I was 22. Then at 23, Jeannine and I found out that she was pregnant:panic:

Now I am almost 26 and making an decent living working 3 jobs (and not going to school anymore). I am seriously considering signing up for the Coast Guard again if it can be done having a family. Here's what I want to know (gocoastguard.com is down:confused:)

  1. What is the age limit for signing up for the USCG?
  2. What is the starting pay for HS grad in a general field?
  3. Are the bonuses and GI bill info the same as other military branches?
  4. Do you live on base or do they provide off base housing allowance?
  5. Approx how long are the average tours at sea?
  6. what are the chances of me going to war?(I don't agree with the war so I don't want to go. Flame if you wish.)
I know not to expect an aviation slot since I didn't go to the USCG Academy. I'm just looking for any info on the life of a Coastie.

thanks,

pedro
I looked into the SRDC program, which is the reserve commission, and you are good to go on that until age 36. I believe active enlisted you are eligible to age 29, so you are definately good there. Cape May NJ is where enlisted boot camp is, Newport RI is OCS. GI bill is the same, and they offer a CG Education bonus, I think it is like an extra 4500. a year. Bonuses change and I dont think the CG is really known for them like the Army....
The CG has High, Medium and Low endurance cutters, all of which have less endurance than a typical Navy ship, so usually sea tours are considerably shorter. Some of the low endurance cutters were doing patrols in the gulf but I think they are back now. Mostly only the TACLETs and PSUs (which are all reservists) were deployed to OIF, and served six month deployments-your likelyhood of deployment to OIF is low but possible, get used to the idea the CG is a deployable military force and its role is expanding-you may get told to go somewhere and do something you dont want to, although the CG is definately the least "controversial" if you will, of the armed forces. Unless you are TACLET-Tactical Law Enforcement Team, Port Security, Or Naval Coastal Warfare-which is mostly going to the USN now I understand, you will not likely be wearing tan BDUs.
New initiatives for the CG include a new Intelligence enlisted rate, Deepwater, which will see new bigger ships, and other pretty exciting stuff.
Anyway, try Military.com-there is a lot of info on the CG recruiting process there, or PM Airdale-he was a coastie and seemed to really enjoy it.

Hopefully that bit of info helps.
 

pressclick

Well-Known Member
what are the chances of me going to war?(I don't agree with the war so I don't want to go. Flame if you wish.)
You should look somewhere else. Don't sign a contract with Uncle Sam if you're anything other than willing to do everything. It's Iraq you find distasteful today but it'll be something else tomorrow. You ask a lot of questions about what kind of goodies you are going to get but close with saying that if they execute a perfectly legal part of your contract and ship you to a very quiet, backwater corner of a low-intensity war, that you aint cool with that. Last time I checked, the # of coasties dealin' lead with the extremist schmucks was pretty close to zero. But how much do I get for college?!?! How much is my pay?!?!
 

Airdale

Well-Known Member
So the thread Champcar started about loans may be getting to me. I have been putting off getting a loan, but had always planned on getting one. I may still consider getting a loan but you guys have pretty much scared the crap out of me so I gotta find a plan B.

When I was 19, I almost joined the Coast Guard and NOT joining was a HUGE mistake. I did my fair share of partying and didn't start college until I was 22. Then at 23, Jeannine and I found out that she was pregnant:panic:

Now I am almost 26 and making an decent living working 3 jobs (and not going to school anymore). I am seriously considering signing up for the Coast Guard again if it can be done having a family. Here's what I want to know (gocoastguard.com is down:confused:)

  1. What is the age limit for signing up for the USCG?
  2. What is the starting pay for HS grad in a general field?
  3. Are the bonuses and GI bill info the same as other military branches?
  4. Do you live on base or do they provide off base housing allowance?
  5. Approx how long are the average tours at sea?
  6. what are the chances of me going to war?(I don't agree with the war so I don't want to go. Flame if you wish.)

I know not to expect an aviation slot since I didn't go to the USCG Academy. I'm just looking for any info on the life of a Coastie.

thanks,

pedro
Did someone call for a Coastie in this thread? :D

Joining the Coast Guard is an awesome idea! I absolutely LOVED it. So much in fact to keep on reserve status. I was inactive reserve for 2 years after my tour was up, but I recently got some orders to get back on ready reserve. I'll do my best to answer your questions, but I'm not 100% correct about some of the exact figures.

The age limit I know for a fact is 27 years old for Active duty. Get in there man! Starting pay as an E3, Non rated personal is kind of low, maybe $1500/month plus food/housing allowance. Since you have a family, you'll get put up in a pretty decent house and more than likely a few blocks from the beach. Depending on your unit, if base housing is not available, you'll receive a monthly housing allowance in addition to your pay. When I was Manasquan I was getting paid $1200/month on top of my base pay for housing. Sweeeettt!

Bonuses and GI bill are pretty much the same. You need to talk to a recruiter to get up to date info on bonuses. GI bill is paid into over a 12 month period for a total of $1200. In return you get something like $50k for school, PLUS, while on active duty, they have tuition assistance program which will pay for up to 75% of your education while you are going to school and serving your time.

Average tours at sea vary. If you are assigned a cutter, expect 1-2 weeks at sea with 1 week in port. Larger cutters may be away from the base for a month or more, while the smaller WPB's will be in port more often. Never the less, it is all mission based and those missions constantly change. There is no constant schedule. If assigned a ship, there are always ways to get off. The easiest is advance to the next rank quickly, put in your billit to get transfered and in most cases, you're on your way to where you want to go next.

Sometimes its best to get transfered to a ship because the next rank after boot camp (E3) is attainable within 6 months without much of a hassle.

I was an E5 when I left, Machinery Technician 2nd class. My first unit was the CG Cutter Mako WPB. Had fun, but that tour only lasted a few months before 9/11 happened and I was transfered out on account of needing warm bodies with guns. After 9/11 in NY, I went to Pt. Pleasant Beach, NJ. Close to home, about a 45min drive. Duty rotations were 2 on, 2 off sliding weekends. When I left as an E5, lets just say the pay was...gooooood. I won't see money like that in aviation until I'm a Captain.

I was a boarding officer, 47' Motorlife boat engineer and big time SAR dawg. I loved Search and Rescue. Something about battling 20' seas in 50kt winds to rescue people from a sinking boat 15 miles offshore...that'll get your blood pumping!

If you're seriously thinking about the Coast Guard, than you'll love it. Granted there will be times where you hate it. Trust me. Scrapping barnacles from bouys sucks. But the great thing about the Coast Guard is that you can't bitch. Because if you don't like what you're doing, get motived and advance to the next higher rank. And keep doing so until you make the Coast Guard what you want it to be. I went from a deck scubbing, chippin paint, toilet scrubbin deck hand to an Engineering Supervisor, duty section leader and Officer of the day in my time. It was the best time of my life, most fun I've ever had for sure.
 

Airdale

Well-Known Member
You should look somewhere else. Don't sign a contract with Uncle Sam if you're anything other than willing to do everything. It's Iraq you find distasteful today but it'll be something else tomorrow. You ask a lot of questions about what kind of goodies you are going to get but close with saying that if they execute a perfectly legal part of your contract and ship you to a very quiet, backwater corner of a low-intensity war, that you aint cool with that. Last time I checked, the # of coasties dealin' lead with the extremist schmucks was pretty close to zero. But how much do I get for college?!?! How much is my pay?!?!
I forgot to comment on this. You definitely have to remember that the Coast Guard IS the military, despite what many Marines, Navy and Army Soldiers might think. ;) Therefore you sign a legally binding, they will come and get you contract. No joke. Coasties typically don't get deployments overseas, but the CG has had and still has a few WPB's in service off the coast of the middle east in support of our Navy and Marine brothers and sisters. They don't step foot on land much, but the WPB's are constantly on ready guard to defend the Navy ships. One Coast Guardsmen was killed a few years ago when a terrorist dingy filled with explosives and machine gun firing a-holes attempted to attack a Navy ship. The CG intercepted and destroyed the boat, but not before one of the gunners on the WPB was hit.

The chances of you having to go fight a war are slim...but don't think they aren't there. And while there are many benefits that the Coast Guard provides, its your service to your Country and to its people that matter most. I loved my job there and I gave everyday 110% because lives depended on it. The Coast Guard will change your life and change who you are, but most certainly for the better. Its a big commitment though.
 

meritflyer

Well-Known Member
I forgot to comment on this. You definitely have to remember that the Coast Guard IS the military, despite what many Marines, Navy and Army Soldiers might think. ;) Therefore you sign a legally binding, they will come and get you contract. No joke. Coasties typically don't get deployments overseas, but the CG has had and still has a few WPB's in service off the coast of the middle east in support of our Navy and Marine brothers and sisters. They don't step foot on land much, but the WPB's are constantly on ready guard to defend the Navy ships. One Coast Guardsmen was killed a few years ago when a terrorist dingy filled with explosives and machine gun firing a-holes attempted to attack a Navy ship. The CG intercepted and destroyed the boat, but not before one of the gunners on the WPB was hit.

The chances of you having to go fight a war are slim...but don't think they aren't there. And while there are many benefits that the Coast Guard provides, its your service to your Country and to its people that matter most. I loved my job there and I gave everyday 110% because lives depended on it. The Coast Guard will change your life and change who you are, but most certainly for the better. Its a big commitment though.
Well said...
 

MikeFavinger

Hubschrauber Flieger
I forgot to comment on this. You definitely have to remember that the Coast Guard IS the military, despite what many Marines, Navy and Army Soldiers might think. ;) Therefore you sign a legally binding, they will come and get you contract. No joke. Coasties typically don't get deployments overseas, but the CG has had and still has a few WPB's in service off the coast of the middle east in support of our Navy and Marine brothers and sisters.
:yeahthat:

Was surprised one day to run into two coasties guarding a vehicle gate in Kuwait one day. They didn't look happy.
 

Airdale

Well-Known Member
:yeahthat:

Was surprised one day to run into two coasties guarding a vehicle gate in Kuwait one day. They didn't look happy.
I wouldn't be either...Coasties don't like the desert! :laff:

I almost got deployed on a 110' WPB to Iraq, but because I served in NY from 9/12 to 10/1, it was considered a war zone and I got passed up. Which I was kinda pissed about because when you get deployed over there, you get your years salary tax free, plus a couple grand extra a month in hazard pay, separation pay etc. I wanted that paycheck!! :laff:
 

thepedroid

Well-Known Member
You should look somewhere else. Don't sign a contract with Uncle Sam if you're anything other than willing to do everything. It's Iraq you find distasteful today but it'll be something else tomorrow.
I understand the stakes at signing on the dotted line. If they told me to go to war I would have to...wouldn't I? I'm not the type of person to complain about things that are out of your control (see signature). It is nice to know the odds though.

You ask a lot of questions about what kind of goodies you are going to get but close with saying that if they execute a perfectly legal part of your contract and ship you to a very quiet, backwater corner of a low-intensity war, that you aint cool with that. Last time I checked, the # of coasties dealin' lead with the extremist schmucks was pretty close to zero. But how much do I get for college?!?! How much is my pay?!?!
I guess you are right. I should just speak with a recruiter because they will only tell me about the goodies and none of the bad stuff that comes with the gig. I do plan on speaking with a recruiter next week to hear about all the "up to this much" goodies they will offer me. Thanks for the input though :).
 

thepedroid

Well-Known Member
Thanks Airdale! That was exactly was I was looking for. I know it is a big commitment and if I do enlist I will try to make the most of it (for myself and my country). Do you think it would be an issue getting the better housing allowance if I am not married?
 

blee256

Well-Known Member
I almost got deployed on a 110' WPB to Iraq, but because I served in NY from 9/12 to 10/1, it was considered a war zone and I got passed up. Which I was kinda pissed about because when you get deployed over there, you get your years salary tax free, plus a couple grand extra a month in hazard pay, separation pay etc. I wanted that paycheck!! :laff:
I was supposed to get deployed to the desert, but things changed and now they are sending me elsewhere....but "a couple grand extra a month..." is bit exaggerated. Hostile fire pay is only 225, plus 100 for hardship pay, and i think seperation pay is around 200-250.

but yes the CTZE is great, plus while u are over there, I assume you have very little to pay for unless, you want to buy a PS3 at the BX and stuff. haha
 

MikeFavinger

Hubschrauber Flieger
I was supposed to get deployed to the desert, but things changed and now they are sending me elsewhere....but "a couple grand extra a month..." is bit exaggerated. Hostile fire pay is only 225, plus 100 for hardship pay, and i think seperation pay is around 200-250.

but yes the CTZE is great, plus while u are over there, I assume you have very little to pay for unless, you want to buy a PS3 at the BX and stuff. haha
The CZTE is by far the biggest monetary benefit of being deployed. For me that alone was an almost an extra $1000/mo.
 

MikeFavinger

Hubschrauber Flieger
I was an OE-3.

The CZTE is the great equalizer. The other fixed special pays are great, don't get me wrong. But $225 in hostile fire pay is a lot different to an E-1 than it is to an O-6. Since the tax exclusion is based on earnings it equals up the benefits.
 

ETAV8R

Well-Known Member
When I joined the Corps in 93 my original goal was to be a coastie. The waiting list was two years at that time. I wanted something more immediate and for various reasons I became a Marine. Know yourself and judge from that what branch of the service you will fit best with. I was 21 at the time. At 25 you are even more set in your ways. After getting glasses while in the corps my goal of becoming a naval aviator was a null point.

The coasties mission is a very good one and I'm sure you will become better for it. Remember as others have said that you are signing to serve your country. There are coasties out there who wear Vietnam service ribbons. There were a few who were "in country" back then. You may be deployed somewhere hostile.

I suggest you also look long term, possibly becoming an officer after attaining your college degree. A second branch to check out is Air National Guard. Both my parents were career officers in the airguard and both loved it. They still love it. The retirement bene's are fairly good.
Guage your short term and long term goals.
 

thepedroid

Well-Known Member
At this point I am mostly considering it for short term but who knows? It may end up being my calling and I may stay longer (if I even join). I'm going to call the recruiter here in Phoenix Monday morning and see what they have to offer.
 
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