“I enjoy leadership positions and taking on responsibility, so boatswain’s mate was the perfect fit.”
While most of Philip Kiley’s college classmates were enjoying their last few, worry-free years before entering “the real world,” Kiley yearned for responsibility. The leader within him, already evident from his roles in student government and as a collegiate track star, needed a place to grow and develop. He knew the Military was the answer; he just didn’t know which branch.
“My mom helped me tremendously… She’s great at researching things, so she would always be on the computer.”
Philip credits his mother with helping him choose the Coast Guard. She spent hours online, viewing message boards and finding out everything she could about being a Coast Guard reservist. At the end of his junior year at Wheaton College in Massachusetts, Philip went down to the recruiting office in Providence, R.I. His mom went with him.
“As boot camp progresses, they build you up. You gain confidence in yourself. You gain confidence in your shipmates and your company.”
At Basic Training at Cape May, N.J., Philip’s track and field training came through for him. By the time he emerged, boot camp had boosted his self-confidence to a new level. He now felt fully prepared to handle the job he had set his sights on: boatswain’s mate. A very versatile role, the boatswain’s mate can perform almost any task connected with deck maintenance, small boat operations or navigation. He or she also supervises all personnel on a ship’s deck force and can take the helm of the ship.
Fortunately for Philip, there was an opening for a boatswain’s mate at a Port Security Unit 301 on Cape Cod.
“I had heard about the PSUs before. They sound like a lot of fun. You get a lot of great training, a lot of action.”
Unlike other reserve units, port security units perform 60 drills a year instead of 48. Philip thrived on the extra training. He also signed up for a week at the Coast Guard Academy’s Leadership and Management School, where he further honed his skills as a leader and unit manager.
“You know being a small Service, every member is important to get the mission done. You get a lot of responsibility put on you at a young age.”
Looking forward, Philip intends to put his leadership training to good use as he considers his next career move. He’s looking at Officer Candidate School, as well as potential opportunities in the intelligence field or law enforcement. One thing is for sure; no matter where his career path takes him, the leadership lessons he’s already learned in the Coast Guard will serve him well.