US Coast Guard units based in North Carolina perform a vital function in safeguarding the state’s waterways and those who use them. From 15 locations throughout the state based mostly up and down the coastline, crews are in charge of seven cutters and 74 smaller boats.
Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City is also home to a fleet of nine aircraft: four MH-60 helicopters and five HC-130J airplanes. This air base is a strategic regional resource, and includes an Aviation Technical Training Center and an Aircraft Repair and Supply Center. No matter the position, all Coast Guard jobs contribute to the ultimate goals of the organization.
Researching the initial Coast Guard requirements for enlistment is one of the first steps prospective candidates can take towards a potentially long and rewarding career.
Joining the Ranks in North Carolina
Coast Guard jobs in North Carolina are available through enlistment, a process that begins by talking to a recruiter in major cities like Raleigh or Charlotte, or in smaller rural areas. There are two primary levels of enlistment, at the basic operations-level, which includes supporting positions for aviation, ordinance, and engineering as well as officer-level positions, which start at the rank of ensign.
Coast Guard job requirements for basic enlistment include being between the ages of 17-27 and not having a significant criminal record. Once accepted, new recruits will need to complete eight weeks of basic training before being assigned to a unit for additional instruction.
Officer training for Coast Guard careers begins with 17 weeks at Officer Candidate School. However to first be eligible for officer positions a bachelor degree is required. This can be in any field, for example the current Commander of Air Station Elizabeth City has a Bachelor or Science in Forest Biology plus an MBA. Officers can clarify a career preference, and will ultimately be assigned to an occupation that matches their expertise, such as some of the following examples:
- Pilots may have a degree in Science and Aviation
- Engineering Officers can come from a background in Civil or Marine Engineering
- Medical Officers usually have a degree in the medical sciences
- Command Staff may hold degrees in the fields of Business and Management
- Coast Guard Legal Experts often hold a Law Degree
- Intelligence Officers can possess a degree in the STEM fields: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
Vital Missions in North Carolina
Response to immediate dangers, both to the environment and citizens of North Carolina, is one important service the Coast Guard provides to the state, in addition to proactive education. Recent operations include:
Every year the Coast Guard based in North Carolina conducts around 1,200 rescue operations, including long-range missions made possible by fixed-wing HC-130J aircraft. Recently the Coast Guard dispatched a rescue helicopter from Air Station Elizabeth City and a rescue boat from Station Fort Macon in response to a sailboat 32 miles south of Cape Lookout that was rapidly taking on water. All five occupants were rescued after a nearly four-hour ordeal.
On Oak Island the Coast Guard recently hosted its annual Safety Day, aimed at educating the public on emergency precautions and procedures while also highlighting partnerships across the state with regional emergency response agencies. Each year an emphasis is placed on the importance of wearing a life jacket.
Coast Guard Strike Force personnel recently teamed up with specialists from the Environmental Protection Agency to take samples and clean up the former Ore Knob mine. During this operation the Coast Guard monitored pH and air quality while also providing assistance with health and safety.