Cutterman vs Aviator Culture/Life style

Discussion in 'Coast Guard Academy - USCGA' started by SamAca10, Dec 28, 2009.

  1. SamAca10

    SamAca10 Ensign - DWO

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    It seems that in the Coast Guard there are two distinct types of officers - those who serve at sea, and those who serve in the air. Knowing this, there is bound to be some ribbing between the two and differences in the way that a Cutterman perceives the Coast Guard and the way that an Aviator perceives the Coast Guard. Is there anyone here who could explain to me what life is like as each? Thanks! :biggrin:
     
  2. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    There are three very general communities, Sectors, Afloat and Aviation.


    Within those communities, there are subcommunities, for sectiors you have Prevention v. Response, for Afloat you have Black v. White v. Red, and for Aviation you have fixed wing v. helo.


    The Coast Guard is a sea service, meaning the focus is on the sea. That's probably not a surprise.

    While aviation is "sexy" is a good number of the videos you see are taken from aircraft, I believe the focus is on the cutter fleet, the way it's been since 1790.

    Aviation and Sector life is easier on the social life and having a family than afloat life is. That being said, there a saying that holds true, "there are more aircraft in the sea than ships in the air." The aviation communities (or as we called them on a ship, airdales) are fairly relaxed and easy going.

    Some believe "underway's the only way" but each community within the Coast Guard serves a purpose and works with the other communities to get the job done. With the exception of a pin or badge on someone's uniform, we're all wearing blue.

    While the captain of a ship has a great deal of power and responsibility, there are few in the Coast Guard who feel the reach that a Coast Guard Captain of the Port (in general, various sector commanders) feel. They have they power to close down New York or Boston (or any other port). It's a job they take seriously, and something they do well.

    In between those communities are staff tours. Many staff tours have more to do with programs and policies than a specific operational community. You won't be in a "staff" community, just stop there in between operational tours.
     
  3. SamAca10

    SamAca10 Ensign - DWO

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    Thanks LITS! I've always leaned toward aviation, but with my vision being sketchy, I wanted to check out my other options as well.

    Could you possibly explain what Red v. Black v. White means in Afloat? Also, do you know any websites/ sources of reference that I could use to look up and research all of the various ships and their crew sizes and capabilities?

    So what's a staff tour like in the Coast Guard?

    Thanks!
     
  4. BM3 MILLER

    BM3 MILLER Member

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    A red hull is a ice breaker the black hull is an aton boat and the white hull is a patrol boat.
     
  5. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Red v. White v. Black has to do with hull color.

    Red hulls are ice breakers. There are four red hulls. Three of them, POLAR SEA, POLAR STAR, and HEALY are out of Seattle, WA and the fourth, MACKINAW is on the Great Lakes. It's a very small community, with some of the largest ships. The "Polar Rollers" are both 399' and HEALY is 420'. MACKINAW is 240'. All are very wide.

    Black hulls' missions generally center on "aids to navigation". The sizes vary, but some of the main classes include 225' and 175'. The odd ball's are the 140', which are Bay class ice breaking tugs. Yes, they break ice, but they have black hulls.

    Finally, white hulls make up the bulk of the fleet and have a wide range of missions from law enforcement, homeland security operations, defense operations, search and rescue, fisheries. The main sizes that make up the white hull fleet are: 87', 110', 210', 270', 378', and 418'. There are a few odd balls as well. I was on a 210'. The bulk of the missions most people associate with the Coast Guard are done by the white hull fleet.

    The three large ice breakers out of Seattle and all of the white hulls, with the exception of the 87', 110' and Acushnet (Queen of the Fleet), have flight decks for helicopters.

    You can find pictures and information on http://www.uscg.mil/datasheet/.

    Staff tours are fairly random. Every operational specialty has a staff component somewhere....mostly at Coast Guard Headquarters. They manage the changes to the manuals that apply and the over all programs.
     
  6. BM3 MILLER

    BM3 MILLER Member

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    there are also 75' and 65' black hulls :thumb:
     
  7. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Haha, no one counts them as MAJOR ATON cutters, probably offending the crews of those cutters, as well as the crews of construction tenders.

    Of course, I never mentioned Alex Haley too, probably wouldn't make my best friend too happy to leave that out.
     
  8. BM3 MILLER

    BM3 MILLER Member

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    They are major for our economy, as they service the aids for the Mississippi river. plus oyu still get sea pay :thumb:
     
  9. capolo13

    capolo13 Member

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    what about MSST/MSRT teams? What kind of situations are they called out to respond to, and what do they do on a day to day basis if they aren't needed?
     
  10. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Hahaha, I know, I know. I appreciate them. I feel like we probably overlook anything smaller than 87' and larger than 47'.



    As for the MSST/MSRT question.....they both fall under the Deployable Operations Group (DOG). There's only one MSRT, they do stuff and I'll live it at that. The MSSTs would respond to attacks and situations, but when they aren't doing that, they're doing some Port Security Unit (PSU) type missions. MSST Seattle just returned from GTMO. They do a variety of things there, without getting into any details.
     
  11. SamAca10

    SamAca10 Ensign - DWO

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    Thanks LITS. So is it safe to assume that the deployments on one of the red hulls or one of the bigger white hulls are longer?

    What's ship life like in general from the perspective of an ensign/junior officer?
    I really haven't been able to find much information on the subject. I'm assuming that there would be more variety on the day to day things than the Navy, due to the variety of missions that the Coast Guard fulfills?

    Thanks! :thumb:
     

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