I’m Ensign Alex Cardenas United States Coast
Guard maritime safety and security team Los Angeles Long Beach. What convinced me to join
the CSPI program were the benefits–no other program allowed me to go to school for free
while at the same time receiving a salary, z3, in the military. I also got my books paid
for. How the CSPI program works is after your first two years of college you go to boot
camp in Cape May, NJ for 8 weeks. Once you come back from boot camp you finish your last
two years of college, graduate with a bachelors, that’s when you go to OCS. While in the CSPI
program I was able to visit surrounding units of the San Diego area. I went to small boat
stations, air stations, and cutters. It let me get a feel for what I wanted to pursue
in the Coast Guard. Right now I’m the waterside security division officer for maritime safety
and security Los Angeles Long Beach. I’m in charge of six small boats and over 25 personnel.
The small boats that we have here at the unit are 25 foot RBS’, they perform multi-missions.
It’s awesome being on a small boat with my crew. Long Beach harbor is one of the largest
ports in the United States and largest on the west coast. It definitely does take a
lot of teamwork–you’re constantly in communication not only with members of your boat crew but
with members of the local sector. Some of the crew members at the maritime safety and
security team are the finest in the Coast Guard–everyone from the coxswain to the boat
crew. I can count on them to get the job done. For any college student considering the CSPI
program I would highly encourage you to submit a package as soon as possible and keep pursuing
it because it’s definitely a great experience.