USAFA vs USCGA

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by SamAca10, Mar 8, 2010.

  1. SamAca10

    SamAca10 Ensign - DWO

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    I've applied to both schools, have been accepted (conditionally) into the CGA and waiting to hear from the AFA. I would be honored to attend either, but what are some of the advantages that one has over the other? What's life like as a Air Force officer vs a Coast Guard officer? Missions? Lifestyle? Opportunities? Flying? Any info would be good :biggrin:
     
  2. sprog

    sprog Member

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    Do you want to be in the Coast Guard or the Air Force? If you are PQ, it is easier to get a flight slot directly from USAFA, as (I think) 50% of the class gets one. I was one of the guys in the USAF who didn't fly, and was in a niche community (missiles) that did operations other than flight. Save for guys like me and those involved in space ops, most of the other non-flying career fields support, in one way or another, the flying mission. The USAF is a lot bigger than the USCG, and there are bases all over the world. That said, we have some bases in less than pristine locations (Minot...where I was, being an example). I guess the USCG has remote duty stations too (Alaska) but for the most part, those guys are near the water, which is nice.

    No one can answer the question for you. LITS is the best poster to talk to about active duty USCG, but in the end the choice has got to be based on what interests you personally. I like that the USCG always has a "real world" mission, even when not at war...that is unique to them. Really, I get the vibe that since USCG is so small, it really has to multi-task a lot of things. In the USAF, you are pretty much going to be focused on your specialty. That means, if you are a pilot, all you will do is fly and prepare to fly. If you are a missileer, all you will do is pull alerts and train to launch missiles (so that you become, in USAF parlance, a "weapon system expert"). Leadership opportunities come later when you advance in rank in the USAF if you are an operator. Interestingly, the support guys in the USAF start out with a lot of enlisted guys under them; however, because pilots run the USAF, they top out a lot sooner and do not get pristine gigs like Wing Commander. I would guess the USCG is like the Navy, in that you have to learn your weapon system (they call it earning qualifications in the Navy anyway) while still being in charge of guys. I'm not sure if that's how it works with USCG pilots, but my guess is that's how it works for the dudes on the cutters (LITS will have to elaborate).

    That's the best advice I can give. Also, the USCGA and USAFA are considerably different in terms of size and location. The end question is which branch you prefer; however, the east coast vs. mountains and 980 vs. 4000 student body is something to consider.

    best of luck
     
  3. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    If you just want to talk schools, there can't be a more major difference than their locales: the Connecticut eastern seaboard vs. the Rampart Range of Colorado. Also, USAFA is about four times the size of USCGA.

    Where do you want to be in five years? Picture yourself: what uniform are you wearing?

    Also, you might want to consider majors offered at each academy. What would you like to study?
     
  4. Islander

    Islander Member

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    Both are great options. The determing factor for my son came down to the missions of both branches. That may be something else for you to study up on and consider which mission best fits your personality.
     
  5. rkrosnar

    rkrosnar Member

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    I have a co-worker whose son first went to USCGA prep school, then to the Academy. He loves it there, but USAFA is great too. It all depends where you want to be after you leave the Academy.

    Best of Luck and Thank you for serving our country,

    God Speed,

    RGK
     
  6. PDub

    PDub Prospective

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    Don't worry so much about the school. It's an environment to educate and train you to become an officer, and at either academy there will be plenty of classmates who become very close friends. If you really want to fly as an officer, then imo USAFA will give you a better shot. USAFA will also offer a more rigorous academic load, but again, either branch of the service can give you a commision and opportunity to lead. You can't go wrong with either.
     
  7. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    You assert that based on what?
     
  8. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    I told him! :rofl:
     
  9. SamAca10

    SamAca10 Ensign - DWO

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    So what would it be like as a non-aviator in each branch?

    Either would be great; Serving the Country is an honor, and both schools are outstanding.

    Thanks guys
     
  10. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    HAHAHAHAHA!!!


    That doesn't narrow it down much. Maybe he sees himself in blue?

    I was at a school a few months ago, took me about 5 mins to realize my AF classmates at the school thought I was also AF....I didn't know half of the bases they were talking about. "Oh, I'm not Air Force" I had to say at some point.
     
  11. SamAca10

    SamAca10 Ensign - DWO

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    LOL seriously? I thought that the Coast Guard Blues had four buttons on them, and the sleeve insignia for their coats?....Haha did you go along with being AF for awhile? :shake:

    What school were you at anyway? PME?
     
  12. sprog

    sprog Member

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    I think I touched on this in earlier posts, but in the USAF, it depends on what your AFSC is. As a missileer, my routine was based on the monthly schedule (which is similar to pilots). I started out "8-0" (which is said "eight and Oh"), meaning that I had eight alerts a month with no standby alerts. That means I went out to a Launch Control Center for a 24 hour shift eight times a month. Travel to the missile site is about two hours or so from base, and the alert doesn't begin until you get to the site and sign for the alert (i.e. you accept custody of the warheads). The day you return from alert is your off day (or "O Day") even though you spend half of it on alert and in transit back to base. The day after the return day (O Day) is either a day off, or, you will have training in the simulator (Missile Procedures Trainer- MPT) or classroom (with monthly tests). If you become an instructor or evaluator, you will pull less alerts and spend more time in the Wing building on base (coming up with ways to make life more difficult for line crews:biggrin:).

    Support guys tend to have schedules that are more M-F, 0730-1630; however, this is not always the case. Security Forces work shifts (they are the Air Force's MPs), and a lot of maintenance and communications stuff (be it in support of aircraft, spacecraft, or missiles) has to be done at all hours, inclusive of weekends. If you work in contracting, finance, acquisitions, personnel, or one of the other jobs where you have to wear Blues, it is closer to the M-F deal (unless deployed). Some other AFSCs are Civil Engineering, Transportation, and Supply. Really, all of these experiences are very different, and I can't give you an all-encompassing answer as to what it's like to be a nonflyer in the USAF. Check out the USAF website for a detailed description of the AFSCs available for officers. If you have any questions about missile operations specifically, I can give further details.
     
  13. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    I'm talking about the short sleave shirts with garrison covers.

    Yes, our dress uniform has buttons on the pockets, they are brass, stripes on sleaves, blank shoulders, blue name tags and CG ribbons.
     
  14. SamAca10

    SamAca10 Ensign - DWO

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    Oh I see now. Yeah, those uniforms really do look a like. At AIM one of the guys in my company thought that a CG officer was a Captain because of the Eagle insignia on the garrison cover.
     

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