Those serving from US Coast Guard bases in Alaska will find plenty of action by land, sea, and air. The Coast Guard operates eight bases throughout the large state tasked with everything from defense operations to maritime patrols and environmental clean ups. 17 aircraft, 52 boats, and 14 cutters are stationed throughout these eight bases to carry out missions, which to-date includes 1,156 search-and-rescue operations. With a budget last year of over $75 million, Alaska’s Coast Guard installations support a wide variety of jobs under a number of classifications
Preparing for Coast Guard Jobs in Alaska
There are five job classifications in the respected ranks of the most northerly-based Coast Guard in the country:
- Coast Guard Auxiliary
- Coast Guard Reserve
- Coast Guard Officers
- Coast Guard Enlisted
- Coast Guard Civilian
The Coast Guard Auxiliary is an all-volunteer force where candidates can gain valuable experience if they are not yet 17 years of age or want to have some initial exposure before pursuing a more advanced Coast Guard career. Alaska Coast Guard requirements mandate that enlistees must be between the ages of 17-27, in good shape, and have a good moral personal history.
Civilians and Coast Guard Officers are often required to have professional bachelor degrees in their fields of expertise. Reservists can either enter at the officer level if they have a bachelor degree or at a lower skill and pay level if they do not possess any higher education.
Officer-level US Coast Guard job requirements in Alaska stipulate a bachelor’s degree in an area pertinent to the job a candidate is being considered for. These include:
- Public Health
- Environmental Science
- Criminal Investigations
- IT and Computer Science
Alaska Coast Guard Training
Coast Guard auxiliary and civilians are the only branches whose members are not required to complete an academy or boot camp-style training for Coast Guard careers in Alaska. For everyone else the initial training requirements are as follows:
- Reservists with high school diplomas will attend basic training held at Cape May, New Jersey over the course of eight weeks
- Reservists with prior service or applicable professional experience may be eligible for the Coast Guard’s Direct Entry Petty Officer Training Course (DEPOT) in Cape May, New Jersey over the course of three weeks
- Reserve Officers attend the Reserve Officer Candidate Indoctrination (ROCI) course at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut over the course of three weeks
- Officers attend a 17-week Officer Candidate School in New London, Connecticut
- Enlistees will attend an eight-week basic training at Camp May, New Jersey
Significant Coast Guard Actions in Alaska
Every year the Alaska Coast Guard participates in dramatic search-and-rescue operations for hikers lost in the state’s vast wilderness and seagoing vessels that are caught in storms, disabled, or need medical evacuation assistance. Communications officers recently received a distress call from an Italian-flagged merchant vessel requesting a medevac for one of its crew who had fallen 75 feet. Logistics officers directed a Jayhawk medium-range helicopter escorted by a Kodiak HC-130 Hercules airplane to the ship’s coordinates where a successful evacuation was performed.
In one of the largest cleanup operations in history, Coast Guard engineers, health experts, and environmental scientists played an instrumental role in directing the response to the Exxon Valdez oil spill disaster. Coast Guard vessels surrounded the oil slick with booms, managed logistical operations, and developed strategies to minimize damages in what would turn out to be a monumental task.
Alaska’s Coast Guard heroes of tomorrow can begin their path towards a rewarding and challenging career by obtaining the necessary qualifications now. Alaska Coast Guard facilities are located in:
- Saint Paul
- Dutch Harbor