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My Coast Guard
Commentary | March 5, 2021

Calling all enlisted writers

By MyCG Staff

The Naval Institute's Enlisted Prize Essay Contest is open to enlisted personnel: active duty, reservists, and retired from any of the nation's sea services. It provides enlisted members an opportunity to identify areas to make the naval profession stronger. 

Write on a topic that makes the naval profession stronger. No subject is too large or too small. For example: identify opportunities to better use enlisted professionals' talents, share leadership best practices, improve tactical doctrine, identify unfair rules or policies, provide useful advice or rating knowledge to Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen, or help first-tour ensigns and/or second lieutenants do their jobs more effectively.

Open to all persons eligible for membership (including existing members) in the Institute (to include U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Coast Guard). The essay must be original and not published or being considered for publication elsewhere.


  • Length: 1,500 words maximum, excluding notes and sources. 
  • Submission Deadline: March 31, 2021 


  • First prize - $3,000. 
  • Second prize - $2,000. 
  • Third prize - $1,000.  

Submit your essay as a word document online directly to the U.S. Naval Institute (USNI). Include the word count on the title page, but do not include your name on the title page or within the essay. Applicants must ensure entries conform to Chapter 6, sections (A) through (C) of the Coast Guard External Affairs Manual, COMDTINST M5700.13 (series). Essays must be original and not previously published or being considered for publication elsewhere.

The U.S. Coast Guard plays no role in selecting the winning essays. The Proceedings staff members will evaluate every essay and screen the top essays to a special Essay Selection Committee of at least six members who will include two members of the Naval Institute's Editorial Board and four subject matter experts. All essays are judged in the blind; the Proceedings staff members and judges will not know the authors of the essays. 

Located at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, USNI is a private, non-profit, non-partisan organization, has provided an open forum for honest debate, informed discussion, and professional development for members of the Naval Services since 1873. The vision and mission of the USNI is to give a voice to those who seek the finest Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard by providing an independent forum for those who dare to read, think, speak, and write to advance the professional, literary, and scientific understanding of sea power and other issues critical to global security. USNI is known for its flagship magazine, Proceedings, and a variety of historical and professional books.

Other Essay Contests and Writing Opportunities.

USNI hosts essay contests throughout the year on a variety of topics including: Coast Guard, Cyber, Enlisted Perspectives, Innovation & Risk, International Navies, Leadership, Marine Corps, Naval History, Naval Intelligence, Naval Mine Warfare, and Naval Postgraduate School Foundation/USNI. For details see visit the USNI essay contest website.

Authors can also submit articles for publication in Proceedings or Naval History magazines, USNI Today (online), and USNI’s Blog (online). For details visit their website.

For more information, email Lt. Cmdr. Karen Love Kutkiewicz, USNI Executive Fellow, or call (202) 460-3399.