Coast Guard Food Service Workers

Enlisting in the United States Coast Guard is a bright new career step for many young people. One of the choices for possible jobs after boot camp is as a Food Service Specialist. Food Service Specialists are trained in a variety of cooking and serving tasks, including food management, menu selection, and food preparation and cooking, accounting skills, and other tasks.

Being in Food Service, the individual FS trainee will receive a great deal of information on equipment usage, recipe conversions, baking, purchasing and storage of food and supplies, as well as other food related tasks. FS personnel receive training and instruction on food preparation, serving, and other tasks as they relate to food, food service, even issues that relate to catering. FS personnel are found in every duty station where Coast Guard personnel are stationed around the world.

Following basic training, food service personnel often attend Class A school training in Petaluma, California. Food Service workers serve on every Coast Guard ship, vessel and cutter from the smallest harbor tugs to the huge oceangoing icebreakers. Training in Class A school is both classroom and on the job. Training is ongoing throughout the career, and later opportunities for advanced training are often available. Classes, seminars, even training at Class C schools are possible. There is an annual award program that recognizes excellence in the Coast Guard Food service realm. The FS of the year program also awards two weeks of fine dining culinary training at different Culinary Arts Schools around the country. Training received can be transferred and used toward Executive Chef certification.

Applicants should be hard working, and possess good hygiene habits. They should have the ability to interpret and understand procedures and instructions for food handling. Having a good basic math skill set is also encouraged, for purposes of successful recipe conversion. Overall good cleanliness habits, and personal honesty is also important.


People who possess experience or training in culinary arts, or civilian food service areas have a great advantage. Skills learned and honed in Food service specialty positions with the Coast Guard service is directly transferable to the private and civilian sector.

As a person rises in rank and position, Food Service Chiefs, and senior Non commissioned officers often are responsible for entire kitchens, or dining hall facilities, depending on the location and number of patrons. Authority and supervisory experience is possible as one advances up in rank.

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