U.S. Coast Guard Recruit Mentorship Program
Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Shannon Kearney
June 17, 2021
As recruits undergo training at U.S. Coast Guard Training Center
Cape May, they are subjected to an intensive and rigorous training
program. They remain under constant supervision by their company
commanders and are taught required knowledge to operate in today’s
They learn seamanship, marksmanship, Coast Guard
history, rates and ranks of the service, and much more. They are
taught to follow orders, salute officers, render proper greetings,
and live by the Coast Guard’s core values of Honor, Respect, and
Devotion to Duty.
These trainings are designed to forge the
next generation of Coast Guard women and men into smartly
disciplined, physically fit, basically trained service members.
However, one crucial aspect of recruit knowledge that can’t be
memorized in a classroom is how to succeed at their first unit,
whether it be a cutter, small boat station, air station, sector, or
other specialized Coast Guard unit.
This knowledge can only be handed down by a highly-experienced
Coast Guard service member, who has gone above and beyond typical
Coast Guard standards, and who knows what it takes to have a
successful career in the Coast Guard ... a company mentor.
Top Image - Master Chief Petty of the Coast Guard Jason Vanderhaden
cheers on a recruit from boot camp company Charlie-200 as
they tackle the confidence course at U.S. Coast Guard
Training Center Cape May, NJ on September 12, 2020. Bottom
Image - U.S. Coast Guard Vice Commandant Adm. Charles Ray and Deputy Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard Master Chief Charles “Rob” Bushey mentor the recruits of Charlie and Delta 200 inside of the Ida Lewis Auditorium during their visit to U.S. Coast Guard Training Center Cape May, NJ
on February 27, 2021. (Image created by USA Patriotism! from U.S. Coast Guard photos by
Chief Petty Officer Crystalynn Kneen and Petty Officer 2nd Class Shannon Kearney)
Each mentor comes to the training center three times in the span
of eight weeks to talk with their company and answer questions. The
first visit is in week two, the second visit is in week five, and
the third and final visit is on their company’s graduation day,
where the mentor will have a front-row seat to watch the recruits
graduate and get sent out to the fleet.
In order to get
these highly-experienced Coast Guard members to mentor a recruit
company, give advice, and answer questions, Training Center Cape May
releases a message every summer to solicit volunteers to
participate, with the deadline for submission being in August.
To ensure a company mentor has had a robust career and is
capable of delivering sound advice to new recruits, volunteers have
to be E7 and above, CWO2 and above, or O3 and above.
During the training center’s mentor selection process, priority
will be given to senior enlisted personnel and officers with prior
enlisted experience. This preference is set to give recruits the
opportunity to ask relevant questions to members who have
experienced and overcome the same challenges and opportunities that
they will be facing at their first unit.
Officers with no
prior enlisted experience are still encouraged to apply, but are
encouraged to apply concurrently with an eligible enlisted member.
Mentorship is valued in professional environments all around the
world, and the Coast Guard is no exception.
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