Students at Airline High School had the opportunity to engage with Maritime Law Enforcement Specialist First Class Clifford Marshall from the United States Coast Guard. This event helped students understand the diverse and rewarding career paths within the Coast Guard.

“I originally joined for three reasons,” he explained, “I wanted to serve my country, I sought an exciting law enforcement career, and I wanted great benefits for my family and myself.”

His decision to join the Coast Guard has shaped him into a strong leader and a well-rounded individual. Over his 12-plus years of service, Marshall has made lifelong friends and received top-notch training, continually growing both personally and professionally.

Toby Todd, the Athletic Director at Airline High School, noted that the students, ranging from grades 9-12 and including members of the baseball and softball teams, were highly engaged.

“About half of the students have family members in the military, but few knew much about the Coast Guard,” he observed.

The assembly sparked curiosity and excitement among the students, revealing new career possibilities they had not previously considered.

One of the topics Marshall addressed was the current challenge of recruiting young people into the Coast Guard. He emphasized the importance of partnerships with high schools such as the one at Airline facilitated by DistrictWON, a U.S. Coast Guard partner for marketing and local engagement.

“These partnerships are vital,” he said, “as they provide access to a large group of young men and women who are planning their future careers.”

Marshall dispelled common misconceptions about the Coast Guard.

“Many think we aren’t military, or that we make less money, or that you have to be an excellent swimmer and are always on boats for long periods. The reality is quite different,” he clarified, highlighting the diverse roles and opportunities available within the Coast Guard.

Marshall underscored the importance of integration and diversity within the Coast Guard.

“Diversity brings fresh perspectives and innovative solutions to the problems we face,” he noted. The Coast Guard values different backgrounds, using standardized training to unite all members under one mission. This diversity also enhances public engagement, as it allows the Coast Guard to connect with a broad audience more effectively.

The assembly highlighted the numerous benefits associated with joining the Coast Guard. Marshall outlined the comprehensive pay and benefits package, job security, and meaningful work that makes a tangible difference.

“The Coast Guard protects the public and often saves lives,” he said, sharing his excitement about the places he has visited and the diverse set of friends and mentors he has gained

For students contemplating their future, Marshall offered compelling advice:

“Start your career now. Begin growing your wealth and gaining both work and life experience right away.”

He emphasized the unique opportunities in the Coast Guard, from managing multi-million-dollar assets to saving lives, all while receiving competitive pay, free medical care for families, and educational benefits.

The visit from the Coast Guard had a significant impact on the students at Airline High School. It opened their eyes to the diverse career options available and the potential for personal and professional growth within the Coast Guard. Todd emphasized the importance of exposing students to different career paths, encouraging them to explore all options and ask questions.

Specialist Clifford Marshall’s visit to Airline High School was an inspiring call to action, encouraging young adults to consider a future with the Coast Guard. Through his stories and insights, he painted a picture of a rewarding career filled with opportunities for growth, service, and adventure.