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Coast Guard Pilots

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Do any of the Coast Guard pilots on here have any advice as to the most reliable means of securing a position in that career?

I was hoping to finish my private pilot training and get my license, then get my Bachelor's and join the Coast Guard as a pilot. Would this be an effective way to become a CG pilot or is there a better way to go about things? I realize my question is quite vague- any advice would be greatly appreciated.



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Keep focused with your eyes on the prize; however, understand that the GC may (will) have you fill a billet that meets their needs first, and that may not necessarily be congruent with your desires. You will be expected to be a leader first and go where needed. Everything being equal, I strongly suggest that you evaluate and apply with the attitude that you will serve the country - via CG - with the task that they assign you. Apply for the flight with the Blue 21 or in OCS, and if you are awarded a position, it will be that much more rewarding after commissioning and you earn your butter bars. In the event that the Blue21 is not available or OCS class is not provided flight slots or you find out that you have some disqualifying factor, what will you reaction be? You could be assigned to a MSO in Florida or HQ in DC or some other station that has little contact with aviation. Will you be happy? And remember that you can continue to apply for flight through your career (unless DQ'd for some reason). Once wings are earned, you will likely have many collateral duties (1st, 2nd 3rd responsibilities, etc.) with flights sometimes constant or infrequent depending on station, tempo and other ranking personalities. Budget too.


Strongly suggest you make contact with an air station, meet with a couple of Officers/CG Aviators and discuss your ambitions. Get a tour, ask about the good, bad & ugly from their perspective. Then ask to meet one of the JOs (Junior Officers) & schedule time to ask their thoughts...this is valuable because they would have gone through the process more recently and can recall the trials & gauntlet pretty quickly. Ask about the application process, interview boards and any other advice, and their other duties. You might also want to consider looking/joining the CG Aux to get a a better understanding of the missions and participate. You will also have a unique opportunity to gain knowledge, network and gain valuable CONTACTS when you apply...you could get BQ'd and, if nearby, get watchstander qualified at an air station and be around the ones you desire to become.


Contact dolphindriver here at VR (if he doesn't respond to this first)...up in Port Angeles drivin' miss daisy (or other lucky soul) in the '65s. Do a search under "My Assitant" in "My Controls" & PM.


Good luck & Semper Paratus.



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If your school meets the Blue 21 requirements (25% minority or more) that is your best bet to secure a flight slot. However that program is closing up so it is off again, on again. Besides, it is harder to get into OCS than it is to get into flight school. Once you get into OCS, you will compete against other classmates for any flight positions that become available. If you don't get selected, you will go to a unit doing any array of interesting jobs. You can then apply to flight school boards about twice a year for four years until you make LT.


Now, to your question. You will, of course, need your Bachelor's degree. Do well in school while doing that which means getting great grades. Your private pilot's license will help you when competing for flight training but won't necessarily help you in the selection process. What will help you is being able to stand out from other candidates. The best way is to be able to provide leadership examples. If you just go to school and don't work, engage in school activities, or play sports, you will have a really tough time trying to say you are a good leader since you won't have any experience to draw on.


When you get to the OCS interview board, act professionally. I have had people come in and slouch in their chairs, mumble, and look like they just came from the club. None of which endears you to the board especially questions of what leadership challenges were faced have been answered with statements along the line of "Its all kind of a blur but I am a very strong leader." Have definite answers.


Good luck.

Edited by dolphindriver
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  • 2 weeks later...

Wow thanks for the great advice guys.

From what I have personally observed, when a person has talent for something and a real passion for that same thing, they usually produce excellent results when putting forth their full effort. For me, that combination applies to helicopters and motorcycles. There's something about both of these machines that just makes me connect. It's odd to type that, but I'm sure I'm not the only person on this board that feels that way about flying.

Having said that, I believe that when you mix talent and a passion for doing the best you can into a career, everyone involved will benefit. At this point in my life I feel like where ever I can do the most technical and most frequent flying is where I would be able to serve my country most effectively.

Bearing that in mind, are there any pilot positions that come to mind to you guys that offer both steady flight time and the chance to constantly increase your abilities?


I'm pretty sure I just described what happens to good people when they die haha


Well thanks again for your informative replies, I appreciate your advice


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I was CG enlisted, and lucky enough to get to fly quite a bit, even as a non-aviation coastie. All the pilots I ever flew with were extremely professional and knowledgeable. Probably true of all services, but that's from my limited experience. You'll get to perform a variety of missions, and often go flying in weather that most other helicopter pilots wouldn't even consider flying in. One thing I noticed, probably the majority of pilots I happened to meet were ex Army pilots that joined via the direct commission program.


I'm pretty sure the Army is the only service to "guarantee" a helicopter slot, assuming completion of all the training. So not sure if that program is still around or how competitive it is, but may be an option. If you do go through OCS for the CG, be prepared to be a military officer serving afloat or in any other capacity until you are able to apply to flight school and get selected. I remember a JO I worked for who had planned on flying all along, and it was probably a couple years before he left for flight school. But if that happens just do your best at whatever it is your assigned to, even if it's not your passion, and make sure your squared away.


You probably knew all that already, but maybe it helps. I also recommend, if it's feasible, to get out and try to talk to a CG pilot or JO and get a better feel of the career. That's what I did before I enlisted and the aircrew/pilots were always willing to take a minute to talk to me and answer any questions I had. Even riding in the back was enough fun for me to decide helicopter flying was all I wanted to do. So I'm going through civilian helicopter training right now. Good luck with it if that's the route you go. I've always been a believer in you can accomplish anything if you want it enough and work for it, regardless of a lot of the feedback you get from others. Semper Paratus

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