Videos: Today's Military
    Coast Guard

    Why the Coast Guard?(03:34)

    Seaman Recruit Anthony Lawing, a recent college graduate, explains why he chose the Coast Guard as a career option and what it was like talking to recruiters.

    Talking to a recruiter does not mean you are obligated to join the Coast Guard. Recruiters are there to help individuals choose a career path and figure out if the Coast Guard is a good fit, and parents are encouraged to join their child if they wish.

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Seaman Recruit Anthony Lawing: My name is Anthony Lawing. I'm a new recruit in the United States Coast Guard. I ship out in a week's time — June 23, 2009. I'm a recent graduate of UNC Charlotte. A lot of mixed emotions. I'm excited, a little nervous, don't know what to expect. But I'm certainly looking forward to it. I always love a challenge, so I'm looking forward to that challenge, and I know there's nothing I can't get through and do, so I'm pretty sure I'll do okay.

I'm not going to say I did any specific training for boot camp, but I love to exercise and train and work out, so I kind of ramped it up a little bit so I could be ready. I don't know what to expect when I get to boot camp, but I feel like I'll be ready.

Probably the discipline part. It's not so much that I'm undisciplined. It's just that it's a different type of discipline, and you have to be, you know, on point with it, and so that's probably it. Certain idiosyncrasies that I'm used to doing and I'm probably going to have to curb.

Well, actually, I'd already seen this office, wasn't really interested in it, didn't know what it was. Kind of learnt about it, did a little research on it and it seemed like something I really wanted to do. Put myself through school, and from that point the sky's the limit. And so I decided I wanted to join the United States Coast Guard.

Growing up in poverty and seeing — a kind of an urban environment — seeing the kind of things I've seen, just kind of made me want to make a difference. Just something about the United States Coast Guard when I researched it, it just seemed like something I wanted to do. I know it's an opportunity you do with civilians. You get a chance to help people, and that's something that I really take pride in, helping people without reciprocation, and the United States Coast Guard is the perfect opportunity for me to do that.

You know, the Internet is always a helpful tool. I did a lot of searching on the Internet, and I came in and actually talked to the guys in the office and they gave me a lot of insight. These guys, they're real helpful. Come to find out, they're very nice guys, and you know, I mean, you got to take that with a grain of salt because they're trying to recruit you. But they seemed very genuine in their approach. All the research that I did, actually, nobody had anything bad to say about the Coast Guard. So coming to the office just kind of solidified it for me.

With my family, they all would've been supportive with whatever I did. It's been my experience that not many people actually know what the Coast Guard is or know about it. So I kind of had to explain it to them. They know it's not like a regular Service under the Department of Defense. I told them that I do more civilian search and rescue things of that nature, boating laws. And once I explained it to them, they was all for it. They're real proud of me.

I would think for me personally I wouldn't have joined the Coast Guard if I planned to make a career out of it. I feel like it's really the thing for me. It's the way I want to go with my life. I do want to eventually go back to school and get a master's degree, and the GI Bill seems like that's the perfect opportunity for me to do that.

Hi. I'm Anthony Lawing, in the Charlotte office of the United States Coast Guard. Come follow me as I go through eight weeks of boot camp. I'll see you next week.