Operations Specialist Logo

Welcome to the Operation Specialist (OS) School

The members desiring to become an “Operation Specialist” will spend 10 weeks at Training Center Petaluma, to learn the skills necessary to become an OS3 upon graduation. The Operations Specialist (OS) rating is the tactical command, control, and communications rating. The Operations Specialist (OS) are the eyes, ears, and voice of the Coast Guard in the Maritime Community, and the central nervous system for Coast Guard Operations.

Welcome to OS "A" school,
During the 10 week course you will learn basic Coast Guard operations, fundamentals of search and rescue, and advanced communications. All essential building blocks in becoming a key player in Coast Guard command centers at sea and on land. At OS "A" School, we strive to exceed the standards in everything we do from customs & courtesies and uniform standards to embracing the Coast Guard core values as a life style, not just words on a paper.  Thank you for choosing the OS rating and I look forward to meeting you. 

Semper Paratus
Robert J. Egbert, OSCM
OS School Chief
TRACEN Petaluma

Bauer AttriumWelcome Aboard!
So you have chosen to apply yourself to becoming an Operations Specialist (OS) in the Coast Guard!  As an OS you will play a central role in protecting the public from all maritime threats and hazards through command and control of boats, cutters, aircraft and personnel. Working from the nerve centers where all major operational plans and decisions are made, you will develop search and rescue plans to save mariners in danger, oversee maritime environmental protection and law enforcement operations, and gather and apply intelligence information while operating the most advanced tactical computer systems in the Coast Guard.

Once you have received your Orders and Welcome Aboard Email to OS “A” School, read through all of the reporting information and expectations and contact your Class Advisors assigned to you in your welcome aboard email with any unanswered questions you may have.

A School Day 1
Day 1 of the first week will be the start of the Petty Officer Indoctrination Program.  You will muster on the Horsley Hall Quarter Deck at 0700 in the uniform of the day (Tropical Blue Long with Combo cover).

See also: Reporting to TRACEN Petaluma

  OS “A” School Course Overview…..
*    Class size: 16 students per class
* "A" School duration: 10 Weeks:
* 1 week INDOC
* 6 weeks UNITS 1-3
* 3 week CAPSTONE
* "A" School convening's per fiscal year: 17

  OS “A” School Eligibility
Normal Color Vision: Required
Normal Hearing: Required
Security Clearance & U.S. Citizenship: Required
First Unit 4 Month Wait: Waived (ACN 088/18)
Obligated Service: 24 Months (see ACN 135/18)
Other Prerequisites: None

  Applying for School
Fill out and submit the A School request form to the Email listed on the CG SharePoint Online Site for Enlisted Personnel Assignments for Non-Rates:
PSC-EPM A-School Portal Page

  Curriculum Outline…..
OS "A" School Curriculum
• Restricted Areas
• Communications Security
• Inventories
• Communications Logs
• Charts and Plotting
• Maneuvering Boards
• Geographic Displays
• Communications
• Configure Communications Circuits
• Guard Frequencies, Circuit Discipline, Communications Guards
• Marine Broadcasts
• Briefing Skills
• Maritime Incidents
• Mission Communications
• Capstone (Sector Watchstanding)(Basic Shipboard)(Sea Commander)


OS “A” School Course Description

The Operations Specialist (OS) rating is the tactical command, control, and communications rating. Operations Specialists will use the technology provided on land in Sector Command Centers and underway in Combat Information Centers (CIC) to direct Coast Guard tactics, procedures, and doctrine all while ensuring efficient and professional communications. 

OS “A” School Training

OS students will learn how to operate advanced tactical systems that combine computers, radio communications, global positioning, and electronic charting with real-time target tracking for military operations, law enforcement, and search and rescue situations.

The following describes “A” school OS student instruction:

Security – Introduces students to watchstanding administrative duties. These are the tasks that are performed daily while standing the watch at a command center, a communications center, or aboard a cutter in the combat information center. Students learn about controlling access to restricted areas as well as marking, receiving, safeguarding and destroying Classified and Communication Security (COMSEC) materials.


Operation Specialist Training



Operation Specialist Training


Charts and Displays – Introduces students to the various types of graphic displays, marine charts and other charting tools they may be required to use when standing the watch, or safely navigating a ship.

Basic Communications – Introduces students to basic voice communication watchstanding rules, responsibilities, and procedures. They learn how to guard assigned voice frequencies, speak when transmitting information using different radio frequencies, and communicate with Coast Guard air and surface assets. They also learn about the various types of Marine Information Broadcasts (MIB), including when and how to transmit them to the public.



Operation Specialist Training




Operation Specialist Training


Incident Communications – Introduces students to hands-on application of Coast Guard rules and procedures for distress and maritime incident response. They apply skills and knowledge from the preceding units to become proficient in mission communications and information processing tasks. Learning how to communicate in distress and non-distress situations.

Sector Watchstanding – Is the culmination of everything they have learned at OS “A” School. They work as an OS standing watch, using the procedures and techniques learned through previous units. Students are provided with various situations and are evaluated on their ability to perform critical watch tasks in a realistic watch environment.
Operations Specialist Afloat – The operations specialist afloat course exists to provide OS students assigned to cutters the necessary training for the safe and efficient navigation of those units. OS students undergo extensive training in obtaining and evaluating accurate and timely information for safe and efficient ship control and learn how to use a variety of devices that include maneuvering boards and chart and radar navigation as they work as a navigation team to safely control a ship.



Operation Specialist Training




Operation Specialist Training


Sea Commander – The Sea Commander Course is designed to provide Operations Specialists (E-4 to E-6) with the technical knowledge and skill necessary to perform key system control roles and functions of the Sea Commander Operator system. Sea Commander Operator Course units of instruction are organized by key navigation, track management, mission coordination, sensor operations, and communication roles and functions of the Sea Commander System Operator job specialty.

Here are some links that you may find useful:

Operation Specialist Training
If you need to verify your ribbons check direct access. Once you login, go to “View”<“Profile”<”Qualifications. First item you should see is “Honor and Awards”.

SAR FUNDAMENTALS test will be administered every Tuesday starting after Indoc. You will have multiple opportunities to pass this test with an 80% or better upon arrival. This test is a requirement to Advance and Graduate. You are strongly encouraged to start studying and take the test prior to arrival. There is a limited number of times you can take the test while at TRACEN. Study material can be found in CG Learning Management System (CG LMS), make sure you select the exact course/course number.

Course: 000431-Search and Rescue Fundamentals

Coast Guard Learning Management System

Security Clearance:
In accordance with ALCGENL 024/04, members who have requested to attend OS “A” School must have already submitted their NACLC security package to SECCEN. If you have received orders to OS “A” School and have not already submitted your security package, please inform me and your unit security manager. Please bring a copy of your SF-86 with you to “A” School. You may be required to start a SSBI before leaving “A” School and having your original SF-86 will help you complete the paperwork.

The purpose of this course is to provide training for Operations Specialist (OS) assigned to their first afloat unit. Training topics include, but are not limited to, preparation of navigation charts for Mode III navigation, maintenance of a navigation plot, calculation of set and drift, determination of course, speed and closest point of approach (CPA) of a radar target and the utilization of Maneuvering Boards. Course Code - 100085

Coast Guard Cutter near the Golden Gate Bridge

The Sea Commander Course is designed to provide Operations Specialists (E-4 to E-6) with the technical knowledge and skill necessary to perform key system control roles and functions of the Sea Commander Operator system. Sea Commander Operator Course units of instruction are organized by key navigation, track management, mission coordination, sensor operations, and communication roles and functions of the Sea Commander System Operator job specialty. Course Code - 100281


The Sector Command Center (SCC) Watchstander Course is intended for qualified and unqualified CDO (SAR and non SAR) watchstanders, Operations Unit watchstanders and Situation Unit watchstanders assigned to the Command Center of a Coast Guard Sector. E-4 through O-4 and GS-9 through GS-13 may attend. The course will provide these watchstanders with instruction on the application of laws, regulations, and policies related to the Information Management (IM), Situational Awareness (SA) and Command and Control (C2) component of all SCC mission areas. Utilizing singular and multi-mission scenarios, students will apply classroom instruction in a simulated environment by standing watch in the same 4 watch stations designated at Sector Command Centers. Employing IM, SA and C2 principles and mandates, students will correlate each watch station’s individual responsibilities to each mission area’s overall objective. Team building and CC science principles will be core topics reiterated throughout the course. Course Code - 502172

Operation Specialist Training



The Maritime Search Planning (MSP) Course is a 24-day resident course designed to train U.S. Coast Guard, Navy, and Air Force military and civilian personnel, as well as international students (civilian, officers, and enlisted) who perform Maritime Search Planning in the maritime environment. This course is also a requirement for personnel who will be directly supervising SAR watchstanders (e.g. Command Center Chiefs, Command Duty Officers, etc.) as well as Sector Response Department Heads. The majority of the course is computer based, teaching the use of the Search and Rescue Optimal Planning System (SAROPS), U.S. Coast Guard policy and skills needed to perform the functions of a SAR watchstander.  Course Code - 340440

Image of U.S. Coast Guard Addendum to the United States National Search and Rescue Supplement (NSS)



To train selected officers and Operational Specialists in the Air Direction Control of both rotary wing and fixed wing aircraft techniques and procedures; and provide the information necessary to become an Air Direction Controller. Course Code - 500256




This 5-day course provides the student with the minimum skills required to operate the Seawatch system onboard a PATFORSWA 110’ WPB, FRC, 110’, 210’, and 270’ WMEC, and 378 WHEC Coast Guard cutters. The target audience consists of the Coast Guard Officers and Operation Specialists onboard these vessels who operator the Seawatch system (and on FRCs, the junior officers, BMs, and ETs). The course consists of lecture and student exercises to provide the student with the minimum skills required to operate the Seawatch system. Course Code – 502496



To train enlisted Electronic Warfare (EW) and Cryptologic Technicians Technical (CTT) personnel in the skills required to support independent steaming, Battle Group/Battle Force operations. Course Code - 240430


To train enlisted Electronic Warfare (EW) and Cryptologic Technicians Technical (CTT) in the duties, responsibilities, and skills required of an Electronic Warfare Watch Supervisor to support Battle Group/Battle Force operations. Emphasis will be placed on doctrines and documentation, intelligence sources, Command and Control Warfare (C2W) organization, Emission Control (EMCON), Electronic Warfare Support (ES), Electronic Attack (EA), Anti-Ship Missile Defense (ASMD), and hostile attack indications. Course Code - 501398



Attending OS C Schools
Submit Electronic Training Request via Direct Access
Coast Guard C School Link
National Search and Rescue School
Direct Access

Division Officer: LT Brosowsky, Angel 

School Chief: OSCM Egbert, Robert J.
Assistant School Chief: OSCS Warfel, David

BMC  Belchior, Ricardo
OSC Burns, Jeremy
OSC Cole, Kimberly
OSC Harrison, Darlene
OSC Inman, John
OSC Maupin, Cole
OSC Maydayag, Patrick
OSC Morris, Keith
OSC McNeal, Aaron
OSC Pierce, Sean

OS1 Baldwin, Jason
OS1 Bennett, John
OS1 Campbell, Nicholas
OS1 Copeland II, Michael
OS1 Franke, Joshua
OS1 Frounfelker, Matthew
OS1 Goodson, Timothy
OS1 Green, Jeremy
OS1 Hayes, Samantha
OS1 Lajavic, Anna
OS1 Latimer, Rebecca
OS1 Lewis, Walter
OS1 McGriff, Tranard
OS1 Nolan, Shane
OS1 Ramirez, Nickolas
OS1 Rivas, Ronald
OS1 Schimers, Ashley
OS1 Smith, Ian
OS1 Smith, Justin
OS1 Southwell, Philip
OS1 Sunderman, Amanda
OS1 Walsh, Charles
OS1 Walter, Andrew
OS1 Young, Terrence
OS1 Zack, Jonathan
BM1 Newell, Zane
OS2 Almeria, Barry

Mr. Aragon, Stephen
Mr. Cox, Alan
Mr. Skoda, Ronald

Training Center Petaluma: The Best Place to Live, Work, and Train!

TRACEN Petaluma Website
Reporting to TRACEN Petaluma
TRACEN Petaluma Intranet – CAC Card Required
Volunteer in Sonoma County
CG Exchange (CGX)
Uniform items are purchased through CGX. In order to purchase uniform items, you must create an account first then the uniform items will appear and become available for purchase.

History of Operations Specialist

The Operation Specialist (OS) rating was formed on the first of July, 2003, by order of the Commandant. The OS rating stood up as a rating that would set the ground work for the future Coast Guard. Prior to that time, the Coast Guard had two separate ratings that possessed the main skillsets that formed the OS rating. They were the Telecommunications Specialist (TC) and Radarman (RD). A few personnel from other ratings, such as Quartermaster (QM) and Boatswain’s mate (BM), were also chosen to join the newly formed rating.

Operations Specialist "A" School was fashioned in Petaluma, California, in 2003, by integrating the existing TC and RD ratings instruction under a unified OS banner. Combining these two diverse "A" School curricula was a significant challenge that was achieved through the hard work of experts from each of the legacy ratings. TC "A" School had been taught at Coast Guard Training Center Petaluma, California, since 1971 (at that time they were the Radioman (RM) rating). RD "A" School had been housed in Yorktown, Virginia, since 1988, and moved in 2003 to Petaluma, California, along with the equipment and instructors needed to stand-up the combined OS rating "A" School.

While diverse in many ways, the TC and RD ratings have always been the eyes, ears, and voice of the United States Coast Guard. Now as the OS rating, we hold true to our roots, performing functions ranging from vessel traffic control, to search and rescue, to law enforcement case execution, to intelligence operations.

Two seemingly different ratings form what is now one of the largest and fastest growing ratings in the Armed Services. With new and exciting advances in technology happening every day, the OS rating will continue to be on the cutting edge of things to come—while remembering the rich histories of those that have led the way for us.

Operations Specialist

The Operations Specialist is the tactical command, control and communications rating. They perform functions that are the eyes, ears, and voice of the United States Coast Guard, ranging from Search and Rescue operations, vessel traffic control, incident response and management, law enforcement case execution, and tactical command and control

To perform these vital operations, the OS underway operates some of the most advanced tactical computer systems available in the Coast Guard which incorporates, satellite communications, global position navigation, electronic charting systems, real-time target acquisition, tracking and identification utilizing a vast array of systems. While an OS ashore handles and coordinates operational case management functions, using state of the art system tools such as Rescue 21, SAROPS, MISLE and online government resources.

Types of Duty

The Operations Specialist is stationed throughout the Nation, including Alaska, Hawaii, Porto Rico, and Guam. An OS enhances and utilizes all skill sets aboard cutters, and applies their specialty knowledge ashore in command centers located all throughout the Coast Guard. OS often work with, and alongside policy and decision makers, members of other branches of service, and local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. An OS can expect to spend a majority of their career as a watchstander, staffing a 24/7, 365 day a year operation.