Every year Coast Guard units based out of Mississippi perform over 300 search and rescue operations from their locations at nine stations throughout the state, making use of the six cutters and 27 other boats assigned to this division. Besides directly assisting the residents and visitors of Mississippi, the Coast Guard also plays a vital role in the state’s ecosystem. Being the terminus of a major inland shipping route and a key port in the region’s oil drilling and refining industries, the Coast Guard monitors pollutant levels and coordinates oil spill cleanup when accidents occur.
Coast Guard Training and Job Requirements
Enlistees are eligible for advanced Coast Guard jobs if they have a bachelor degree. Training for these Officer-level Coast Guard careers begins with a 17-week Officer Candidate School to be followed by placement in a career that is related to the new enlistee’s field of expertise, such as the following:
- Intelligence Officer positions for those with a degree in mathematics or the sciences
- Legal Officer positions for candidates holding a law or political science degree
- Marine Biologist Officer and Toxicologist positions for those holding degrees in Chemistry, Biology, Microbiology, or Marine Biology
- A variety of engineering positions for those holding degrees in related engineering fields:
- Computer Engineering
- Network Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering
- Civil Engineering
- Software Engineering
- Systems Engineering
Major Coast Guard Operations in Mississippi
The combined efforts of all Coast Guard employees and volunteers are what make missions successful in Mississippi. Besides conducting numerous training exercises annually, recent operations have included:
- A drug smuggling interdiction operation targeted against an 80-foot sailboat seized in Mississippi Sound near Gulfport. This marked the culmination of a joint-agency operation involving the Coast Guard, the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office, and federal agencies including Customs and Border Patrol officers and Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agents, as part of the Border Enforcement Security Taskforce (BEST). Investigators found approximately 4,500 pounds of marijuana.
- Mississippi-based Coast Guard units also played an instrumental role as part of the command and response to the recent Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, the largest disaster of its kind to-date in the world.
- A Rapid Coast Guard response to reports of oil leaking from a barge that collided with a bridge near Vicksburg. Three Coast Guard specialist units were dispatched:
- CG Sector Lower Mississippi River
- CG Marine Safety Detachment Vicksburg
- CG National Strike Force
These units deployed 2,800 feet of boom while skimming vessels captured 3,900 gallons of oil-water mixture.