September 22, 2018

Coast Guard Reserves – Requirements, Benefits, and How to Join

The United States Coast Guard Reserves and Auxiliary was created in 1941 and was composed of both regular and temporary reservists. Regular reservists remained on active duty throughout World War II. Temporary reservists were former members and volunteers who conducted patrols of the coast and assisted with security work in ports. The SPARs, or women’s reserves, was established in November of 1942.

Us Coast Guard Reserves

Today, the Reserve consists of approximately 8,000 members. Reservists train one weekend each month and two weeks annually. Reservists work with active duty personnel and conduct the same job duties.

Those wishing to join the USCG Reserves must be at least 17 but no older than 30 years of age. Certain prior service members may be eligible for waivers on the age restrictions. Applicants must be high school graduates, with GED recipients rarely accepted.

Applicants must be United States citizens or resident aliens and can have a maximum of two dependents. Credit and criminal background checks will be conducted, and a conviction for a felony or a misdemeanor of the second degree or higher will result in disqualification. Applicants must also be eligible for security clearance and must pass a medical exam. If not previously taken, potential reservists must also pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test.

Applications for the reserve forces are made through local Coast Guard recruiters. The recruiter can advise which specific job categories are open in the area. Once accepted, applicants must successfully complete “boot camp” or basic training before being posted to their first duty station.

All branches of the military and reserves receive identical pay, based on pay grade, status, and time in service. Certain benefits are dependent upon active duty status and have various steps based on the length of time activated. All reservists receive educational assistance under the Montgomery G. I. Bill. During training, housing and meals are provided. All reservists and their families have access to post exchanges and commissaries. Military commissaries are equivalent to civilian grocery stores, and prices are five percent over actual cost. Exchanges include stores to sell clothing and other products, convenience-type shops, and entertainment facilities. No sales tax is charged, and prices are generally less than an item would cost off-post.

If activated, reservists receive free dental, eye, and health care and will accrue two and one-half days of paid leave time per month. Active duty members are also eligible for up to $400,000 in life insurance and the opportunity to cover his or her family as well.

Enlisted Selected Reservists are eligible for a clothing maintenance allowance if drilling. They may be paid for up to 48 drills per year. The allowance ranges from $1.91 to $3.60 per drill, based on the years of service. Reserve officers may receive a uniform allowance if called to active duty for at least 90 days.

Selected Reserve members with at least 20 years of “credible” service may be eligible for retirement benefits. For retirement purposes, a credible year requires earning at least 50 retirement points. Statements are issued periodically to allow members to verify their totals.

Certain reservists are eligible for free flights on military aircraft if there is space available. Dependents may also be entitled to accompany the service member on the flight. Mission needs will always take precedent over such travel, so all passengers in transit for duty must be accommodated first.

Other benefits include the option to purchase dental and health care for dependents, access to military lodging or recreation areas, and emergency assistance programs. Certain programs vary by location and the resources available. The recruiter can answer questions detailing the benefits available in a specific area or for a specific classification.

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  1. Paul says:

    My cousin recommended this blog and she was totally right keep up the fantastic work!

  2. Mike A. says:

    Great site. A lot of useful information here. I’m sending it to some friends!

  3. Carl Schubert says:

    Don’t they offer waivers for the age requirement if you have extensive maritime experience?

    I’ve worked on a gulf shrimp boat my whole life.

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