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Why Join

The Coast Guard’s only dedicated surge force—the Reserve—is a contingency-based workforce that is trained locally and deployed globally, providing ready and responsive personnel to meet mission requirements within the prioritized focus areas of defense operations; ports, waterways, and coastal security; incident response and management; and mission support.


As a Coast Guard Reservist, you’ll work side by side with full-time service members. No matter what mission, your assignment will typically have you train two days a month and two weeks a year at a base near your home to maintain your certifications and readiness. Opportunities exist to volunteer for shorter and longer-term activations to support a range of Coast Guard missions with planned operations or contingency response. 


The Coast Guard Reserve includes both enlisted and officer members in a diversity of ratings and officer specialties. If your education or experience aligns with one, you may qualify to join at an advanced pay grade or be eligible to apply for a direct commission program. Otherwise, the Coast Guard will provide the specialty training to prepare you for your assignment.


In addition to the pay and retirement plan, other benefits of service are anything but part-time. A generous healthcare plan and veteran’s status are always on.

Port Security Units

Among the most intense assignments are the Reserve-exclusive Port Security Units (PSUs). The rare Coast Guard unit to wear green camouflage, PSUs are dedicated rapid-response expeditionary forces. They provide response to natural disasters and security to forward-deployed ports and bases around the world. Learn more about PSUs.