PRIOR SERVICE PROCESS
The Coast Guard invites men and women who have served in the other U.S. Armed Forces to join our ranks and continue to serve our country. You may even qualify to keep your rank. To find detailed guidance and instructions regarding the Direct Entry Petty Officer Training Course (DEPOT) click here.
These are the rules for rank (rate) retention for prior-service members enlisting in the United States Coast Guard.
General RestrictionsThe enlistment of an applicant who was discharged or released from active duty in pay grade E-3 or below must be approved by Coast Guard Recruiting Command. This is dependent on the needs of the service and is not a guarantee for enlistment.
If an applicant is enlisting or re-enlisting in the Coast Guard in pay grade E-3 or below, he or she may not have more than six years of prior active service.
If an applicant is enlisting or re-enlisting in pay grade E-4 or above, he or she may not have more than 10 years of prior active service or 14 years combined active and reserve service. This restriction does not apply to Coast Guard members re-enlisting within 24 hours of release.
Prior-service personnel will not receive a pay grade higher than that held on last separation from regular active duty. The VAST majority of prior service members wanting to come on active duty in the Coast Guard, must come in as an E-3 and be retrained. This is due in part to the diverse training Coast Guard Enlisted receive in the early years of service. Remember, you will keep you longevity pay for your total years of service.
The Open Rate List
The Open Rate List is a list of rates for which the Coast Guard has immediate openings that prior-service personnel with those skills may fill. The ORL is maintained and periodically updated by the Coast Guard Personnel Command. The ORL in effect on the date of enlistment is the official authority. Coast Guard Recruiting Command will consider good-faith applications when the rate was removed from the ORL during processing.
Prior Service (Other Branch) - Active Duty
Prior service personnel from any U.S. armed forces component may be eligible to enlist under the Open Rate List. At the time of separation from active duty, the applicant must have held the rate listed on the ORL or a comparable military occupational specialty. There must be less than five years since separation from active duty, and the applicant cannot have more than 10 years of prior active service or 14 years combined active and reserve service.If an applicant is enlisting under the Open Rate List, he or she may be enlisted in the rate authorized by the chief of the Coast Guard Command's Enlisted Personnel Management Division.
If the applicant does not hold a specialty at the time of separation that is included on the ORL, they enlist at the pay grade of E-3, regardless of the rank/rate they held at the time of separation.
Reserve Members (Other Branch) - Reserve Enlisted
If a Reserve member has a single, continuous period of six months or more of active service in pay grade E-3 or above, documented on a Report of Separation (DD-214), he/she may be enlisted as an E-3.
If a Reserve member has served less than six months active duty, but can document satisfactory service in his or her Reserve unit for more than one year, he or she may be enlisted as an E-2.
Prior Service Coast Guard Petty Officers
A former Coast Guard petty officer may be authorized their former rank with designators if his or her rate is on the Open Rate List. If his or her rate is not listed on the Open Rate List, the rank of seaman/fireman without designator may be authorized. A former Coast Guard active-duty petty officer who re-enlists as an undesignated non-rate and desires to advance in his or her former rating may submit a request to the commander of the Coast Guard Personnel Command's Advancements and Evaluations Branch, for advancement after completing six months active duty in his or her current enlistment, if considered qualified by his or her commanding officer. If advancement is authorized, the member will be placed on the Class 'A' School list of his or her former rating. When his or her name is selected to attend school, Coast Guard Personnel Command will authorize advancement to petty officer third class; the member does not actually attend Class 'A' School.
Coast Guard Reservists
In addition to the general criteria above, the following limitations apply for Coast Guard reservists: duty must be within five years of enlistment unless the applicant joined the Reserve within five years of separation. If the applicant joined the Reserve within five years of separation, then the applicant must have left active duty within eight years.
- ENLISTED RATINGS DESCRIPTIONS
- PAY AND BENEFITS
- BASIC TRAINING
- WHERE YOU CAN SERVE
- HOW TO JOIN
- PRIOR SERVICE PROCESS
- ENLISTED FAQS