Imagine A Guy Turned Down By Two USCG Recruiters
Now Teaching Coast Guard Recruits
How To Prepare For Coast Guard Basic Training!
So you want to learn more about Survive Coast Guard Boot Camp huh?
Well the story begins in early 2010. Back then military recruiters, including those from the Coast Guard, were living the good life. With the economy in shambles, hordes of well-qualified recruits were banging on their doors, wanting to join for a steady paycheck and the benefits offered by military service.
The actual “recruiting” part of the job became effortless and the people in charge became very picky. With so many qualified applicants, having so much as a speeding ticket could disqualify you from joining. This was especially true with the Coast Guard. Being the smallest of the services, the ratio of applicants to open spots in USCG Basic Training was overwhelming. This was the environment I walked into when I first expressed interest in joining the United States Coast Guard.
I met with “Joe” (pseudo-name), who received all my information like my ASVAB score (96%), social security number, etc from the Navy. I had originally wanted to join Navy Special Warfare and after trying out for and being accepted on with the SWONEC Division 3 Recruiting Squad, I was eventually cut for being unable to get my 500yd swim time down to 9 minutes. The Coast Guard was my immediate follow-up choice...but “Joe” didn’t think I was a “good fit” for the service.
He gave me every excuse in the book. He didn’t care. Everytime I would address one of his objections, he would come up with another. He eventually ended our meeting and told me to go apply to the Army. I walked out of his office that day discouraged, but I refused to give up. I REALLY wanted to join the United States Coast Guard and I would find a way to make it happen.
Since the Coast Guard recruiting office was near my house and I passed it on my way to and from work, I decided to swing by a week later to see if a different recruiter was there. To my luck - or at least I thought at the time - a friendly, blonde female recruiter named “Melanie” (pseudo-name) greeted me at the door. She asked me if I had an appointment and the reason for my visit. I, in turn, expressed my intent of joining the Coast Guard. She let me in and told me she would sit down with me for a few minutes to discuss my potential.
To be honest, as prepared as I was when meeting with “Joe” the first time, I actually wasn’t expecting to luck out and meet with someone new when I stopped by that day. “Melanie” was very nice to me, but the meeting ended the same way - I should try the Army instead.
At that point I started to seriously doubt if I would ever make it into the Coast Guard and pretty much decided to give up. A few months passed by and I found out that my entire office at work was being shut down and everyone was going to get laid off due to the economy.
I HAD TO DO SOMETHING.
There was no way that I would allow my long-time girlfriend to support me without me being able to provide for her. Joining the military popped back in my head, and the Coast Guard was still my number one - and only - choice. It had been several months since my visit with “Melanie” and “Joe” and I decided to check if they had moved on to different billets - thus giving me a chance to try my hand with a different recruiter.
With my civilian job coming to an end soon, I decided I would read, study, and prepare myself in every way possible before showing back up at the recruiter’s office. In between looking for and applying to jobs and taking care of my girlfriend, I spent countless hours reading everything I could on the United States Coast Guard.
IT FINALLY PAID OFF.
QUESTION: Guess what you'll be doing a lot of at Coast Guard Boot Camp (besides studying and exercising)?
HINT: It's not sleeping.
ANSWER: Ironing clothes! Maintaining your uniform in pristine shape is one of the many ways that your company commanders test you on your ability to maintain attention to detail. You will not only have to iron your uniforms, but you will have to de-lint them, and cut off or burn off any and all loose threads that are present. You will have uniform inspections so you need to make sure you always have at least one "inspection-ready" uniform prepared. "Inspection-ready" literally means flawless. The one you wear around all the time doesn't have to be flawless, but should appear so from a reasonable distance. The picture above is me getting one of my uniforms ready.
Coast Guard Boot Camp Annual Numbers
In January of 2011, I showed up to the recruiters office a 3rd time. I knew my 11 General Orders, my Rates and Ranks, my Coast Guard Core Values, and I was in great physical shape. A brand new Petty Officer 1st Class had just started working in the office and was very impressed by my level of dedication. Long story short - I got my contract.
Proof that if you want something bad enough and stick with it - you can achieve it. I shipped out to the Cape May Training Center in March of 2012.
If I had to use one adjective to describe me on day one of USCG Basic Training, it would be UNPREPARED. Yes, I know that sounds crazy because I had my 11 General Orders down cold. I knew all my Rates and Ranks for both Enlisted and Officer. I studied the Helmsman like a priest studies his Bible, but it wasn’t enough. The crazy thing is that half the important stuff you need to know for Coast Guard Boot Camp isn’t actually available anywhere. The Helmsman gives you the bare-bones basics, but it’s missing a LOT of critical information.
I realized that this was by design. One of the major goals of Coast Guard Boot Camp is to create an environment of artificial stress. If you showed up to USCG Basic Training knowing how to speak/respond correctly, knowing how to pass rack inspections, and knowing all the other important things I share with you in the Coast Guard Boot Camp Survival Guide, then you would be a LOT less stressed. The Company Commanders exploit the holes in your knowledge base to punish you, but if you show up knowing everything - that makes it VERY difficult for them to do so.
Coast Guard Boot Camp was a great but difficult life experience. I fought hard to be there and am proud of finishing. I’m even prouder now, knowing that I’m helping people just like me to show up ready on day one.
It's my wish that this website and the book I wrote will help you and other future Coasties show up to Cape May ready for most things that are thrown at you. It's definitely not easy, but it's worth it. Also, if you think the information on this website is useful, please consider sharing it with others. I put a LOT of time and effort into it, and the entire thing is a one-man operation. From the book itself, to the website design and all the images you see were all done by me to help you. I really appreciate and am grateful for your support.
Thanks for stopping by and learning the back story about Survive Coast Guard Boot Camp!