Coast Guard: It’s Not for Everyone

There is a scene in the movie The Guardian, where after their helicopter crashes into the ocean, the pilot tells the crew, “not to worry, their shipmates will find them. The Coast Guard always finds who they’re looking for.”  And the United States Coast Guard usually does find who they set out to look for.

When the revelation that Bowe Bergdahl had attended Cape May’s Coast Guard boot camp in 2006, but left early, Time magazine wrote about it in their blog section. Mark Thompson’s article “seems” to imply that the Coast Guard might be an inferior branch of the military when compared to the Army. At least that’s the take away of many readers I’ve spoken with about the story.

Thompson’s article says: “The fact raises questions on a third front that has nothing to do with how Bergdahl came to be captured by the Taliban, or how much the Obama Administration did to win his freedom May 31 in an exchange for five senior Taliban leaders: why did the Army let a failed Coast Guardsman join its ranks?

Now it might just be me, but it seems that Time or Thompson, are implying that the Army should not have even looked at Bergdahl if the Coast Guard cast him aside. Not just that he wasn’t good enough for the Coast Guard, but why should the Army even consider anyone who applied to the Coast Guard in the first place.


When the kids come through Cape May, at TRACEN, the Training Center of the enlisted corp of the US Coast Guard they are put through a rigorous eight weeks of basic training. The center’s motto of “It’s not just eight weeks,” encourages the recruits to prepare in advance for the physical training they will receive. They will  receive a lot of training.

The acceptance rate of recruit enlistment rivals that of many Ivy league schools. The Coast Guard training program matches up against any other branch of the military in the United States. The Coast Guard trains in the business of saving lives at sea.

The level of dedication to saving lives, and the mental crispness of the shipmates when they graduate is superior quality. It’s not really clear in Mark Thompson’s article in Time, what position he is taking. Public perception, of any branch of the military, let alone the Coast Guard, must remain untarnished in my opinion.

Personally, anyone bad mouthing the Coast Guard is unacceptable.

For an extensive look into a typical lifesaving trip of a Coast Guard crew, check out Bill Springer’s Blog on rescue swimmers.








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  1. June 25, 2014 / 7:56 am

    John, I did not read the Bergdahl/Coast Guard story that way. To me, I simply felt that once you fail out of one service – not just move on from a service, but actually fail out – then it’s clear that you are not cut out for military service. I would have felt the same if it was reversed, and Bergdahl had failed out of basic training and then applied to the Coast Guard.

    • June 25, 2014 / 8:01 am

      Thanks Mark, I just felt that the writer wasn’t clear. In a Coast Guard group page there were many other similar impressions. It could be left up to the reader to decide. This was just my take.

  2. June 25, 2014 / 9:54 am

    I agree the writer could have been clearer.