Marine Veteran Now With Coast Guard
by U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Mikaela McGee
September 25, 2023
U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Preston Haigh makes an instant impression. He exudes a timeless look with traditional American tattoos brandished across his body, some of which he drew and designed himself. But Haigh doesn’t just bring a classic look, he brings a unique perspective to the Engineering Department aboard Coast Guard Cutter Forward (WMEC 911), which is homeported in Portsmouth, Virginia.
Haigh joined the Coast Guard in 2021 after spending four years in the Marine Corps. Aside from his title as a Coast Guardsman, he still proudly claims the title of Marine. Attaining the rank of corporal, he previously served as an infantry rifleman assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California. Haigh has deployed around the world.
August 27, 2023 - U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Preston Haigh aboard U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Forward (WMEC 911) while underway in the Atlantic Ocean. Haigh joined the Coast Guard in 2021 after four years in the Marines, and still proudly claims the title of Marine, as well as Coastguardsman. (Image created by USA Patriotism! from U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Mikaela McGee.)
He has since turned his sights to learning a trade skill with the Coast Guard. After serving aboard his first Coast Guard unit – the Coast Guard Cutter Terrapin, an 87-foot patrol boat based in Bellingham, Washington, where he helped conduct law enforcement, fisheries, and search and rescue missions ... Haigh decided to attend electrician’s mate technical training in Yorktown, Virginia.
Today, the advanced skills he has learned from technical training allow him to maintain complex electrical systems onboard the cutter Forward, where he also applies the structure, integrity, and discipline he learned in the Marines. Both make Haigh an example to his shipmates and subordinates.
“I’m definitely driven by trying to be better,” said Haigh. “How I am as a husband, a coworker, and a friend … I have an overall positive impact on people. There is already too much negativity in the world.”
After he completes his enlistment, Haigh plans to move his family to Montana where he hopes to apply the electrical skills he has learned from the service into the civilian sector.
“I fell in love with Montana,” said Haigh. “It’s very wild and open. I plan on doing electrical work, farming, and possibly seasonal work as a wildland firefighter.”
In preparation for job searching, Haigh plans to utilize the United Services Military Apprenticeship Program (USMAP) by logging and converting his work hours as an electrician’s mate toward obtaining his Journeyworker Card, a certificate issued by the U.S. Department of Labor, which certifies the equivalent level of civilian work experience from military service.
“There are so many opportunities available, especially with USMAP,” added Haigh. “I can work on my apprenticeship while I’m in the service, logging my hours.”
Members of the Sea-Services may be eligible to earn their journeyman-level apprenticeship with USMAP.
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