Long County High School recently hosted a teamwork and leadership assembly featuring Storekeeper Second Class Andrew Barile from the U.S. Coast Guard. The event was a part of the Coast Guard’s outreach efforts to inform and engage young students about the rewarding career opportunities within the Coast Guard.

“I chose the Coast Guard because it allowed me to utilize my skills in finance while being part of something greater than myself,” Barile explained.

Barile shared his compelling journey with the students, detailing his role as a Storekeeper, specifically a purchasing agent. He is currently assigned as a Recruiting Office Administrative Assistant (ROAA) in Savannah, Georgia, where he assists recruiters in expediting applicant packages and enhancing outreach efforts. Unlike other branches, the Coast Guard’s focus on humanitarian missions, such as working with various organizations involved in shipping ports, rescue operations, and safety, particularly appealed to him.

“I get up in the morning knowing that my work has a tremendous effect beyond just this organization,” he said.

Reggie Wilkes, the Athletic Director at Long County High School, shared his positive impressions of the assembly. Students from various teams and extracurricular activities attended the event.

“The students really enjoyed learning about the various options they have after graduation,” Wilkes remarked.

Barile addressed the current challenges in recruiting young people into the Coast Guard and the value the school partnerships, facilitated by DistrictWON, a U.S. Coast Guard partner for marketing and local engagement, bring to the table. He noted that competition over a small pool of qualified applicants is intense.

“By attending high schools and talking to young students, we can paint a bigger picture of what we do and why it’s worth the hard work,” Barile emphasized.

He debunked several misconceptions about the Coast Guard, including the belief that it is primarily a military organization focused on combat. He also addressed concerns about boot camp and work-life balance, explaining that while training is rigorous, the Coast Guard offers a balanced and fulfilling career.

Diversity and integration are crucial to the Coast Guard’s success. Barile highlighted how working together towards a common goal, despite different backgrounds, strengthens the organization.

“Integration and diversity dissolve all other issues and show that working in synchrony can accomplish significant missions,” he said.

Barile discussed the myriad benefits of joining the Coast Guard, from excellent pay and benefits to job security and meaningful work. He emphasized the personal and professional growth opportunities, noting that the skills and relationships developed in the Coast Guard can greatly enhance one’s civilian career prospects.

“The people you meet and the experiences you gain are invaluable,” Barile added.

Barile went on, whether students decide to attend college, start a business, or re-enlist, the Coast Guard provides a strong foundation for their future endeavors.

Wilkes added, the assembly had a significant impact on the students, especially those from military families stationed near Fort Stewart. Many students were surprised by the diverse roles and responsibilities of the Coast Guard, sparking excitement and curiosity.

“It was important for our students to hear about different career options and the potential for leadership development,” Wilkes said.

For those students with doubts about joining the Coast Guard, Wilkes encouraged them to reach out to recruiters or Coast Guard members for more information and to make informed decisions.