USMC pilot or USCG pilot?

Discussion in 'OTS/OCS/PLC' started by Blackotter, Apr 6, 2018.

  1. Blackotter

    Blackotter Member

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    I want to preface this saying that I'm a 4/C at VMI who's dreamed of being a USCG Search and Rescue pilot. I recently researched the Coast Guard's Direct Commission program for SMCs. I cannot do anything until the summer before my 1/C year. I want to fly, and the Marines offer a flight contract if I join up with them. Should I take the guarantee from the Marines or wait for the Coast Guard?
     
  2. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Super Moderator 5-Year Member

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    What exposure have you had to the USMC at VMI? What do you think of it? If you are in AROTC how do you like the field? Remember in the USMC you will be a Marine first and pilot second. What happens if something medically happens or you don’t make it thru flight school? Would you be happy as a Marine Comm or Logistics Officer? If the answer is no, then don’t go USMC.
     
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  3. Blackotter

    Blackotter Member

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    I'm in NROTC, so I see the Marines a decent amount. I did think of the Marines when I applied, and the thought really hasn't gone away. I'm also not a "warhead in the forehead" type of guy, which makes me look back at the Coast Guard, but I can also fly cargo transports in the Corps. It wouldn't kill me if something medical prevented me from being a pilot, as I have always "felt the call" to serve.
     
  4. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Super Moderator 5-Year Member

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    Have you had the chance to spend sometime with a Coast Guard? Any opportunity to work someone to have that set up to maybe spend some time with SAR guys on a weekend or this summer? I think to her a goood glimpse into that side would help you make an informed decision.
     
  5. CrewDad

    CrewDad Member

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    Blackotter. NavyHoops made a great suggestion. Get in touch with your nearest Coast Guard Aviation or recruiter to see if they can setup a training day or weekend with them. That’s the best way to get a snap shot of what it’s like in the Coast Guard.

    My DS did just that. USCGA setup an Aviation day for him to fly with an Aviation crew on UH60. They took him out for 3 Hour training flight doing landing on buildings on fields and even did auto pilot rotation. After that he spent time talking with the crew and pilots on land and spent time at the flight control tower. He gained a great experience what it maybe like to be in an Aviation crew doing search and rescue and delivering patients to hospitals.

    We also learned that some Marines, Air Force, and Army Helicopter Pilots switch into Coast Guard after their time in other service. But when they do many end up taking a rank reduction. From a Major to a Captain. Why? They said because although similar platform such as UH60 the training and mission is different so the Pilots need retraining and to get retraining they cannot do missions as Majors. So many do it by taking a pay cut and stay with Coast Guard for the remainder of their career and retire.

    So perhaps to keep things simple if you want to get a wing and serve in the Coast Guard, maybe better to start in the Coast Guard from the beginning. Because it is a smaller service and you will be given more collateral responsibilities and can command sooner than other services.

    Coast Guard is a great service. Pilots in CG have different missions vs Navy Marine Army and Air Force. Focus is Search and Rescue and Law Enforcement. Versus Combat and Combat support missions in other services.

    Start by talking to your local CG Recruiter to get you setup for an on the job experience or job shadowing.

    Enjoy!
     
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  6. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe 5-Year Member

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    Son just did his first landing on a building top, 22 story building in downtown Honolulu, said it was a rush. He said he really appreciated the seasoned Crew Chief who guided him down since he could not see the landing pad or the sides of the building from the cockpit. Bet your son had a blast on the ride along.
     
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  7. CrewDad

    CrewDad Member

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    He did indeed. But your son sounds like he piloted his landing. That’s awesome and impressive. My son was just happy to be a passenger. We enjoyed watching from the ground when they did simulated auto pilot rotation and it was just a joy. Coast Guard is a great service! We noticed many young ladies at the Academy. Looks like CG is growing female officers. Looks like about a 3rd of the class. Like to get my 14 year old daughter interested in the CG.
     
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  8. pleber16

    pleber16 USNA 2016 5-Year Member

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    You should also keep in mind what the service has to offer should you not get a flight contract. And if you do get a flight contract, if you'd be okay with something other than helos (hard to select for Marines right now). Finally, look at how long the process can take.

    For Marines, you have to go to TBS. I don't know what to timeline looks like now, but I have friends who commissioned NROTC Marine Option and had to wait 4 or more months after commissioning to even start TBS. That takes 6 months, then you head down to Pensacola and wait around to start API. That can take a few more months. You could easily be at a full year after commissioning before you even start flight school. The wait between API and Primary is longer for Marines than Navy typically, one of my friends sat around in Corpus Christi for 5 months before starting Primary. Primary takes another 6 months. The wait for Helo Advanced for Marines is sitting at 6 months right now as well. Training is an additional 6-8 months. You can easily be at 3 or more years post-commissioning before you get your wings and head to the fleet.

    As far as wait times go, the Coast Guard seems to be more in line with the Navy which is about 1-2 months between each phase. HOWEVER, there are very few CG Ensigns coming through flight training because most are sent to a boat first. The only Coasties I know who got sent to flight training right after commissioning were USCGA grads, and even then there's only a handful of them who go direct. So realize you may be going off to do other Coast Guard things for 2-3 years before you can go to flight training.
     
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  9. Blackotter

    Blackotter Member

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    My late grandfather was a CG CWO4 and served in WW2. He's the one who started to get me to really think about serving. Again I know I I need to serve but really don't know. We just had our NROTC CO COL. Coggins' retirement ceremony and said to myself that I want to be a Marine officer, but another part of me said I should go CG. I live in the DC area so I will see about getting to the CG station there this summer.
     
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