Men and Women of the US Coast Guard


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The U.S. Coast Guard is one of five branches of the US Armed Forces, and falls under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The Coast Guard is the nation's oldest continuous seagoing service with responsibilities including Search and Rescue (SAR), Maritime Law Enforcement (MLE), Aids to Navigation (ATON), Ice Breaking, Environmental Protection, Port Security and Military Readiness. In order to accomplish these missions the Coast Guard has 38,000 active-duty men and women, 8,000 Reservists, and 35,000 Auxiliary personnel who serve in a variety of job fields ranging from operation specialists and small-boat operators and maintenance specialists to electronic technicians and aviation mechanics.

Officer Candidate Duke of Officer Candidate School Class 04-00 presents his company's guideon at the Drill-down Competition during OCS Graduation Week at the Academy in September.

USCG Officers

There are several ways to become an officer in the Coast Guard: By successfully graduating from the Coast Guard Academy, successfully completing Officer Candidate School (OCS) , or through one of several Direct Commissioning Programs The Coast Guard Academy is one of the five federal military service academies. Located in New London, CT, the Academy's mission is to produce leaders of character for service to the nation. About 300 High School graduates enroll annually, leaving four years later with a Bachelor of Science degree and commission as an Ensign. Officer Candidate School (OCS)is 17 weeks of training in New London, Conn. Studies include nautical science, law enforcement, seamanship, and leadership. Competition for entry is stiff. When you graduate, you will be commissioned as an ensign, O-1, in the Coast Guard Reserve with a three-year initial active-duty obligation.Coast Guard Academy Logo


USCG Enlisted

Without these individuals, the Coast Guard’s daily operations would grind to a halt. There are dozens of job assignments available to enlisted personnel. From safety and law enforcement to maritime patrols or aviation. The majority of your training in all of these fields will be done on the job, not in classrooms. Training is structured and taught by experienced professionals—the perfect people to learn from. Plus, you’ll get regular tests and evaluations so you can be sure your skills are the best they can be. Almost everything we teach carries over to the civilian workforce. In fact, companies prefer to hire Coast Guard people due to their combination of experience, discipline and readiness to assume responsibility.

Coast Guardmen discuss plans for conducting at sea boardings of fishing vessels taking part in the Kodiak Tanner Crab fishery.

Coast Guard Reserve

The Coast Guard Reserve is a part-time force of nearly 8,000, specially trained people who serve with the Coast Guard one weekend a month and two weeks every year. Coast Guard Reservists work directly alongside active duty Coast Guard personnel and perform the same job as active duty personnel.


Every day civilians in the Coast Guard, work together with military personnel to save lives, enforce the law, operate ports and waterways, and protect the environment. There are  over 6,000 civilian positions in over 200 different types of jobs throughout the Coast Guard. They work in over 100 locations across America. Civilians have dynamic careers with flexibility, great pay, outstanding benefits, and the satisfaction of serving our country.

NEW YORK (Aug. 30, 2004) Auxiliarist Vinnie Iannuzzelli provides transportation for Coast Guard personnel during the Republican National Convention. USCG photo by PA3 Kelly Newlin

Coast Guard Auxiliary

With nearly 30,000 members, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary actively provides safety patrols on area waterways and regularly meets with the boating public at marinas and in classrooms. We also directly assist the U.S. Coast Guard in non-law enforcement programs such as search and rescue, and marine environmental protection.All of our flotillas directly provide Boating Education Programs and Vessel Safety Checks to the boating public.

US Coast Guard Shield of Freedom Logo
Last Modified 12/24/2007