Can You Quit

Coast Guard Boot Camp?

Can You Quit

Coast Guard

Boot Camp?

The Scoop On Quitting USCG Basic Training

The Scoop

On Quitting

USCG

Basic Training

No Easy Way Out

If you’ve recently been sworn into the USCG and have a ship date or will be receiving one soon, then you might feel both excited and a little nervous. Some of you might feel more nervous than others and may even be wondering to yourself “can I quit Coast Guard Boot Camp?” or “what happens if I quit Coast Guard Boot Camp?”.


The simple answer is that it is possible, but it’s far from easy to actually do.


In Chapter 18 of the Coast Guard Boot Camp Survival Guide I talk about the goal differences between the basic training schools of the regular military branches versus those of the special forces branches. Most people know that getting into any special forces training school is significantly more difficult than joining the regular enlisted version of the same military branch. However, what many are surprised to find out (if they don’t know already) is that it’s way easier to quit those special forces training programs than it is to quit regular boot camp.


One of the most well-known special forces units is the elite Navy SEALs, who literally have a bell that any recruit can simply walk up to – no questions asked – and tap out of training. They even have an acronym for it – D.O.R. – which means “drop on request”.


You might be wondering if a bell or a similar D.O.R. policy exists in Coast Guard Boot Camp that will allow you to simply quit if the going gets too tough.


The answer is “no”.

It Comes Down To The Goals

Let’s revisit what I was saying about the goals of specials forces programs versus regular enlisted personnel training. This will help you understand why it’s not easy to quit Coast Guard Boot Camp.


With the special forces programs, one of their initial goals is to “weed out the weak”. Those programs, at least in their first phases, are not interested in making you stronger. They want to see who already showed up strong and who has the will to push through some of the most insanely difficult circumstances that a human can be put through. The people who are in charge of those programs care about the recruits under their command, but they are not there to hand-hold anybody. If you’re not cut out for it then they don’t want you there.


In contrast, the regular basic training programs, which Coast Guard Boot Camp falls under, want to see every capable recruit graduate. This includes providing some hand-holding – even though it may not feel like hand-holding when you’re going through it. However, despite their intensity and difficulty, the various disciplinary programs that exist within Coast Guard Basic Training are there to build you up into a fully squared away recruit. They are there to bridge the gap between where you are, and where you need to be in order to successfully graduate.


If your Company Commanders are punishing you, that punishment isn’t (in most cases) designed to punish you for the sake of it. Its purpose is to strengthen your weaknesses – whether individual or as a unit.


I repeat, your Company Commanders want to see you graduate and they will do everything they can to make sure that they bring you to a level that is acceptable for graduation.

It’s Almost As Hard To Quit As It Is To Join

Keeping that previous sentence in mind, it’s not hard to realize that quitting Coast Guard Boot Camp runs opposite to the Company Commanders’ goal of getting you to graduation. They are not trying to “weed out the weak” among your company. They want to make the weak stronger.


This means if you express a desire to quit Coast Guard Boot Camp, you will essentially be displaying a weakness. Their response will be to strengthen that weakness rather than letting you lean into it as the special forces programs do.


In a practical sense, they aren’t going to simply say “okay, no problem”. This is even more true if they see any sort of potential in you. If you’re honestly not a great fit for the Coast Guard or at least give them that perception, then it will be easier for you to quit. Even then though, they aren’t going to be happy about your decision and they aren’t going to make it easy.


You can expect to be put through lots of obstacles on your quest to quit Coast Guard Boot Camp. The idea is to disincentivize you from quitting. In other words, they will want to make quitting even more uncomfortable than not quitting, so that you’ll push through and complete training.

What Happens If You Quit Coast Guard Boot Camp

What Happens If You

Quit Coast Guard Boot Camp

If you are able to jump through all of the hurdles that they will inevitably make you go through, then you will most likely be separated from the Coast Guard with what is called an uncharacterized discharge. You’ve probably heard of “honorable discharge” and “dishonorable discharge”. Those are often portrayed in various military movies and mentioned in the public discourse, but an uncharacterized discharge is neither of those.


In short, it’s considered an entry level separation (ELS) because the enlisted individual has served less than 180 days. It’s neither good nor bad, because not enough time has passed to evaluate the individual’s conduct and performance.


If you are interested in learning more about the various types military discharges, then check out this website that does a great job at explaining them.


What’s written above does not constitute a guarantee that this is what happens if you quit Coast Guard Boot Camp, it’s just a likely, possible scenario. Ultimately, your situation is going to be unique to you. However, if you are on this website and you’ve either already been sworn in or thinking about joining, then I would encourage you to get quitting out of your mind. Focus on preparing yourself to the greatest degree possible and show up ready to dominate on day one.


Semper Paratus!

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Please note that although I’ve done my best to provide the most accurate answer possible to this question, I cannot fully guarantee its accuracy because at any given moment, some aspect of Coast Guard Boot Camp or the Coast Guard in general could change. For this reason, please remember that the most up-to-date, accurate information will come from a Coast Guard recruiter and / or other official USCG personnel. Always listen to what they have to say over what you find on any website, including this one.

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Show Up With The Knowledge

Of A Week 08 Recruit

Show Up

With The Knowledge

Of A Week 08 Recruit

Survive Coast Guard Boot Camp (C) 2013 – 2023

Survive Coast Guard Boot Camp (C) 2013 – 2022