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Coast Guard Academy offers openings for local students

A senior U.S. Coast Guard official, in town for the 2012 Flag Day celebrations, has informed Gov. Togiola Tulafono that the Coast Guard Academy has openings for students in the territory.

Togiola used his weekend radio program to talk about this opportunity made available to the territory's graduates and explained that the Coast Guard Academy is similar to other military academies such as West Point (Army) and Annapolis (Navy) in what they offer as well as educational opportunities and scholarship programs.

Unlike West Point and Annapolis however, applications can be submitted directly to the Coast Guard Academy without needing a nomination or an appointment by a member of congress. The USCGA also provides full scholarships if the student meets the requirements, said Togiola.

“I am very supportive of the Coast Guard Academy but the final decision to enter the academy rests with each student and their parents,” said Togiola.

According to the academy’s website, the educational campus is located in New London, Connecticut and provides a four-year Bachelor of Science degree program with a full scholarship for each individual. Approximately 200 ensigns - or junior officers - are commissioned, each year, during graduation exercises in May.

Following graduation, newly commissioned ensigns report for duty aboard cutters and at sector offices in ports nationwide.

Graduates of the academy are obligated to serve five years in the U.S. Coast Guard, and many choose to stay and make a life-long career of their maritime military service. 

 The governor said one of the major goals of the government in supporting all the military branches, including the Coast Guard - whose service includes saving lives at sea and maritime security and patrols - is to ensure there are options available to local students to further their education and find a career in life.

American Samoa native, U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer First Class Poyer Samuelu II, a recipient of the 2011 Navy League Sea Service Award, told Samoa News last October that young graduates, not yet decided on which military branch to join, should look at the Coast Guard.

“The Coast Guard offers the same benefits as any other military branch. Although we are the smallest branch in the military we have just as big a job as the other branches,” said Samuelu from Hilo, Hawai’i. “It is an excellent career path.”

Togiola said information about the Coast Guard Academy is available at his office at the A.P. Lutali Executive Office in Utulei as well as at the local Coast Guard unit at Pago Plaza.  Coast Guard Academy is online:

Togiola also announced on his weekend radio show that U.S. Marine Corps officials informed him that they will soon be setting up a permanent recruiting office in the territory.