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My Coast Guard
Commentary | Aug. 23, 2023

Brilliant at the basics: Full tours at first rated assignment

By AJ Pulkkinen, MyCG Writer 

The Coast Guard changed the assignment policy for junior boatswain’s mates (BM), machinery technicians (MK), marine science technician (MST), operations specialist (OS) and storekeepers (SK). Beginning in assignment year 2024, members of these ratings assigned to their first unit from A-school should expect to complete a full tour at their unit, regardless of advancement. 

In these five ratings, if you advance to PO2 at your first unit after A-school, EPM-2 will maximize all fleet-up opportunities. If there is no vacant PO2 position, you will remain in a billet-to-paygrade mismatch until you reach your tour completion date on your originally prescribed orders. If you desire to transfer or fill a critical service need assignment elsewhere, you may to submit a short tour request to PSC-EPM-2. 

“We were having BM3s advance and then transfer out of their first rated assignment without the opportunity to really put their training to use and gain experience. This failed to maximize the training investment the units made and increased the operational risk,” said BM Rating Force Master Chief Grant Heffner. “This change will ensure all new BMs have the time and opportunity to build their foundational knowledge and skills for a successful career.” 

The change increases geographic stability for members and their families, provides units greater continuity, and reduces training costs.  

“This opportunity will allow for a greater period of time for junior engineers to hone their skills, whether at stations, maintenance teams or cutters,” said MK Rating Force Master Chief Michael Huggins. “Additionally, this reduces the training load on units and provides stability for members and their families that could be impacted with multiple moves in their first enlistment.”