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The United States Coast Guard

The United States Coast Guard began service in 1789 when the U.S. Congress established the Lighthouse Service to guide ships safely into harbors and to keep an eye on them to make sure taxes on goods that were being imported and exported were collected.

Although the smallest of the military services with about 35,000 enlisted personnel and officers, the Coast Guard plays a very big role in the defense and security of the United States.

The Coast Guard of today has a mission to protect American coastlines and inland waterways, enforce customs laws, do search and rescue, prevent drug and other illegal smuggling operations and maintain and service light houses.

Since 9/11, the Coast Guard has become the prime protector of American shipping yards, ports, bridges, and other coastal and inland assets.

Not only does the Coast Guard escort ships in and out of ports, but it also flies air patrols, answers maritime distress emergencies, and conduct port security patrols.

It is responds to oil spill incidents, conducts air quality tests, help protect endangered species, and is on hand during major storms and floods.

The enlistment process for the Coast Guard is basically in line with the other branches of service. Recruits must be at least 17 years old and not over 28, score at least the minimum required on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, and be in good physical condition.

Regular enlistment in the Coast Guard is for two, three, four, or six years and recruits may enlist up to twelve months prior to beginning active military duty.

All Coast Guard recruits take their training at Cape May, New Jersey for approximately eight weeks. During this period, they are taught discipline, customs, the history of the Coast Guard, and physical fitness.

The Coast Guard offers Education Assistance Programs, Tuition Assistance Programs and a Physicians Assistance Program for for those who are currently serving.

Like all the other branches of the U.S. military, the Coast Guard is an equal opportunity employer for women.

Like the other branches of service, the Coast Guard gives 30 days paid leave (vacation) per year.

It gives full medical, dental, eye care and hospitalization coverage to enlistees, their spouses and their dependent children.

Commissary privileges are given and many free legal services are available for personal matters.

For more information on the United States Coast Guard, contact your local Coast Guard recruiting station.

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