“I always wanted to get involved in helping people
and be part of a team and organization,” Williamson said.
The recent boot camp graduate has some advice for
future recruits who come to Cape May.
“Be ready. Definitely do not come in here as a couch
potato,” Williamson said.
“Our missions require us to ensure we are physically fit.
Over time, we have drifted away from that, and we are getting ready to change that curriculum to incorporate physical fitness into recruit training,” said Capt. Carie Thomas,
commanding officer at Training Center Cape May.
The Coast Guard has the second shortest boot camp,
with the Air Force’s — seven weeks — being the only
one shorter. However, that will soon change soon, as the
Air Force plans to extend its boot camp to 10 weeks.
In an attempt to reach more potential, Web-savvy
recruits like Williamson, the Coast Guard continues to
try to keep up with new communication technologies.
The service revamped its outdated recruiting Web site
in January, and thus far feedback has been positive.
“We are trying to get more interactive,” Vanderplas
Since the site launched, it has averaged nearly 150,000
visitors per month.
Other media outlets also are getting added attention. The Coast Guard, like the other service branches, has a public affairs office in Hollywood, Calif., to
capitalize on potential film or television exposure for
The Coast Guard-focused movie “The Guardian,”
released in 2006, starring Kevin Costner and Ashton
Kutcher, remains an important recruiting tool.
The Coast Guard’s recruiting efforts and methods
will be tested if provisions in its fiscal 2009 budget
request are retained.
The $9.35 billion budget request, a 7 percent rise
over the $9.04 billion budget for 2008, specifies that
the service can seek an additional 1,700 new recruits
per year beginning in 2009, an increase of more than
40 percent from its current numbers.
Vanderplas said he was confident the Coast Guard
could meet those numbers, should the provision
remain when the budget is approved, but said it would
need more recruiters to make it possible. ■