All Branch Topic (ABT) Having worn several uniforms, I thought I could perhaps add something to the conversation

Jun 4, 2016
4
6
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Dentist
I am a United States Public Health Service (PHS) dental officer. I originally joined the PHS in 2003. I served five years in the Indian Health Service (IHS) in New Mexico and then Montana. Then in 2008, I transferred to the United States Coast Guard (USCG) where I work to this day.

Being a PHS officer, there are a number of agencies available that you can possibly work in: Indian Health Service (IHS); Bureau of Prisons (BOP); Coast Guard (USCG); Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Health Service Corps; Food and Drug Administration (FDA); Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA); Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); the Office of the Secretary (OS) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS); and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). You can see a breakdown of where different PHS professionals serve at the following web address: http://dcp.psc.gov/ccmis/statuscharts/REPORT_Public_Pivot.aspx (Select Agency vs. Category).

As an aside, prior to serving in the USPHS, I was a Navy dental officer from 1988 to 1996. I served at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina and at the Naval Air Station in Meridian, Mississippi. As you can see, I have seen uniform life from a number of different vantage points.

If you are interested in my thoughts on uniform life and more specifically my experiences with the IHS and the USCG please feel free to contact me.

http://www.usphs.gov
 
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drill-and-fill

7+ Year Member
Jun 3, 2011
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Hi, thank you for starting this post. I have some questions:

1. When you transferred over from USN to USCG, were you able to transfer your prior officer rank and time-in-service? I.E. did you start in the USCG as an O4 with 8 years of service?

2. What is the typical duration or length of orders for USCG? I know for USN it's typically 2-3 years but I read from somewhere that in the CG, it's around 5 years?

3. This one is sort of related to the first question but does your time in the USN count towards retirement? As in since you have 8 years of USN service, can you retire from the CG in 12 years?

Thank you.
 

vellnueve

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Dec 4, 2006
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It should be noted that USCG is just one of the various assignments you can receive as a USPHS officer.
 

Incis0r

I LOVE Dental School
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Aug 10, 2014
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I am a United States Public Health Service (PHS) dental officer. I originally joined the PHS in 2003. I served five years in the Indian Health Service (IHS) in New Mexico and then Montana. Then in 2008, I transferred to the United States Coast Guard (USCG) where I work to this day.

Being a PHS officer, there are a number of agencies available that you can possibly work in: Indian Health Service (IHS); Bureau of Prisons (BOP); Coast Guard (USCG); Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Health Service Corps; Food and Drug Administration (FDA); Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA); Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); the Office of the Secretary (OS) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS); and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). You can see a breakdown of where different PHS professionals serve at the following web address: http://dcp.psc.gov/ccmis/statuscharts/REPORT_Public_Pivot.aspx (Select Agency vs. Category).

As an aside, prior to serving in the USPHS, I was a Navy dental officer from 1988 to 1996. I served at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina and at the Naval Air Station in Meridian, Mississippi. As you can see, I have seen uniform life from a number of different vantage points.

If you are interested in my thoughts on uniform life and more specifically my experiences with the IHS and the USCG please feel free to contact me.

http://www.usphs.gov
Hello,

Thank you for making this thread.

IHS vs. USCG vs. US Navy- which experience did you enjoy more/find more fulfilling, and why?
 

USPHS Dentist

U.S. Public Health Service
2+ Year Member
Mar 6, 2016
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Dentist
So you don't get to pick? As in you could end up working in BOP or other places instead?
You get to pick which agency you want to work for. No one can force you to work for an agency you don't want to.
 
OP
U
Jun 4, 2016
4
6
Status
Dentist
Hi, thank you for starting this post. I have some questions:

1. When you transferred over from USN to USCG, were you able to transfer your prior officer rank and time-in-service? I.E. did you start in the USCG as an O4 with 8 years of service?

2. What is the typical duration or length of orders for USCG? I know for USN it's typically 2-3 years but I read from somewhere that in the CG, it's around 5 years?

3. This one is sort of related to the first question but does your time in the USN count towards retirement? As in since you have 8 years of USN service, can you retire from the CG in 12 years?

Thank you.
1. Yes, Koreano, all of my time transferred over. I have 7 years, 3months in the USN; 5 years in the IHS; and 8 years in the USCG for a grand total of 20 years and 3 months service time. Furthermore, when I entered the Public Health Service, I started at the same rank that I left the Navy as: Lieutenant Commander (LCDR).

2. Yes, you are correct. Orders are typically 5 years if you are stationed in the lower forty-eight; three years if stationed in Alaska or Puerto Rico. One exception, Juneau, Alaska is four years (if my source is correct).

3. Exactly, as I mentioned earlier, all of my time adds up. So, using rounded numbers I have 7 years Navy time and 13 years Public Health Service time for a total of 20 years. I could actually retire now but I do not want to.

Hope that helps, Koreano. Feel free to ask more questions.
 
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OP
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Jun 4, 2016
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Dentist
So you don't get to pick? As in you could end up working in BOP or other places instead?
Koreano, when you apply to become an officer in the Public Health Service (PHS), your application is agency specific. I listed the different agency in my introduction. Once you are a PHS officer and in your chosen agency, if after sometime working in your agency, you decide that you would like to move to a different agency you are free to do so as long as there is a position available and you are qualified for it.

Using myself as an example, I initially applied to the Indian Health Service (IHS). After working in it for about four years, I decided to make a change and contacted the Coast Guard (USCG) dental recruiter in August 2007. I was offered a position in January 2008 and transferred in June 2008 to Cape May, New Jersey. I do not know how typical my story is but it is not uncommon for people to transfer between agencies. I know myself others that have done this.

One more example is a Captain who was stationed at Cape May while I was there. He had transferred from the IHS to the USCG and after a few years at Cape May, he transferred back to the IHS.

On the subject of qualifications, I know, casually, a young lady who is an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). She has a dental degree, a Masters in Public Health, and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). If her position came open, I do not think that I would every stand a chance in getting it. Kind of an extreme case, but I think it makes the point about qualifications.

Hope that helps.
 
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OP
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Jun 4, 2016
4
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Dentist
Hello,

Thank you for making this thread.

IHS vs. USCG vs. US Navy- which experience did you enjoy more/find more fulfilling, and why?
That is a good question and I think the answer largely depends on your personal point-of-view. I have enjoyed all of my experiences in uniform. There are enjoyable and unenjoyable aspects to all positions held regardless of the organization. There is no perfect job. I do not think that that is a shocking reality.

That said I most value my time in the Navy and the Coast Guard. Primarily, because it goes to the heart of who I am: I believe that working in the defense of your country is one of the most important jobs that someone can do.

I always look forward to packing my bags. Whether I am serving one of the three branches of the military are one of the many agencies of the Public Health Service. Plain and simple, it is an adventure. I am kind of a rolling stone by nature.

I joined the Navy in 1988 and I fully expected at some point to be onboard a ship, but that just never happened. In 1989, I was preparing to be in charge of the dental care of a marine battalion when I was attached to a Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). If memory properly service me, I would have been on the USS Saipan, but then Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. To make a long story short, I found myself in the middle of the desert. To this day I have little idea as to where I was. I ended up outside of Kuwait City, but the dots in between are somewhat a mystery. That was one heck of an adventure.

If you are interested in adventure like that and you are single, or at the very least married without children and a spouse that does not mind separation, then the Navy, Army or Air Force may be your calling. When I was looking to go back into uniform with a wife and three kids that is what I was looking to do. I was talking to the Army.

I chose the PHS strictly on the merits of career progression. But now that I am in it I am happy for my decision. I get to work in the defense of my country, move around, and I am never separated from my family. Well, at least not for long periods of time.

I hope that helps. I am sorry for the long lag in answering your post. I will just say that I ran into some difficulties at my end. I hope that I can promise more prompt answers in the future.