Seamen Logan Holt, left, and Daniel Piscoya pose outside of U.S. Coast Guard Station Juneau on Friday, Aug. 9, 2019. Both are taking advantage of the Coast Guard’s College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative program and have recently returned from basic training. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Seamen Logan Holt, left, and Daniel Piscoya pose outside of U.S. Coast Guard Station Juneau on Friday, Aug. 9, 2019. Both are taking advantage of the Coast Guard’s College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative program and have recently returned from basic training. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

First two Alaskans in Coast Guard commissioning program return home

Program offers college tuition for future officers after they attend boot camp

Logan Holt and Daniel Piscoya are the first Alaskans to go through the Coast Guard’s College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative.

The scholarship program offers college students two years of tuition for attending boot camp. After graduating college, students are commissioned as officers.

“I signed up for this program because it’s such a great opportunity. It’s not every day you get to enlist in a service and have officer candidate school guaranteed,” said Piscoya, who moved to Juneau for college. “I like that idea. You get the perspective of being enlisted before going to OCS.”

Most branches of the armed forces will send enlisted recruits to boot camps and officer candidates to various commissioning programs, but no other program sends candidates to both, said Chief Petty Officer Colin Rankin, a recruiter for the U.S. Coast Guard.

“Having to go to boot camp is a great benefit,” Rankin said. “It definitely builds leadership skills, and it builds confidence.”

Coast Guard boot camp is eight weeks long and takes place in Cape May, New Jersey. The idea of boot camp is to take raw recruits and teach them to think as members of the larger whole, Rankin said. The training also covers the basics of discipline, history of the service, ranks, swimming, physical fitness, firefighting and seamanship.

“It was the most fun experience I never want to do again,” Piscoya said.

“It was really hot,” added Holt, who is from Juneau.

Both Piscoya and Holt are no strangers to the water. Piscoya is a member of the Nome Eskimo Community and Holt has worked as a fisherman. Rankin said their experiences put them above and beyond regular officer candidates, who come from all walks of life.

“I believe that spending time on the water and being familiar with it definitely helps,” Holt said. “I think having a good idea how the maritime community works is beneficial.”

Piscoya, with his family background, comes at it from a different direction.

“I think that part of my culture as an Inukiak is linked to being at home on the water,” Piscoya said.

Both future officers are ready to go where the Coast Guard sends them next and are currently assigned to Coast Guard Station Juneau, where they’re learning the basics of watchstanding. Piscoya will attend the 17-week officer candidate school in New London, Connecticut, in several months. Holt will spend the next two years in Alaska, finishing a degree in business management from the University of Alaska Southeast, before attending OCS himself.

After that, both intend to return to Alaska as they can.

“Alaska’s my home,” Piscoya said. “I’m probably going to spend a good deal of time away from Alaska, but I’m planning on coming back.”


• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 523-2271 or mlockett@juneauempire.com.


More in News

Jasmine Chavez, a crew member aboard the Quantum of the Seas cruise ship, waves to her family during a cell phone conversation after disembarking from the ship at Marine Park on May 10. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Ships in port for the week of June 15

Here’s what to expect this week.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Thursday, June 13, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Bill Thomas, a former Republican state representative from Haines, announced Friday he is dropping out of the race for the District 3 House seat this fall. (U.S. Sustainability Alliance photo)
Bill Thomas drops out of District 3 House race, says there isn’t time for fishing and campaigning

Haines Republican cites rough start to commercial season; incumbent Andi Story now unopposed.

U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola, D-Alaska, speaks at the Alaska Democratic Party’s state convention on May 18 at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Peltola among few Democrats to vote for annual defense bill loaded with GOP ‘culture war’ amendments

Alaska congresswoman expresses confidence “poison pills” will be removed from final legislation.

A celebratory sign stands outside Goldbelt Inc.’s new building during the Alaska Native Regional Corporation’s 50th-anniversary celebration on Jan. 4. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Medical company sues Goldbelt for at least $30M in contract dispute involving COVID-19 vaccine needles

Company says it was stuck with massive stock of useless needles due to improper specs from Goldbelt.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Wednesday, June 12, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

A yearling black bear waits for its mother to return. Most likely she won’t. This time of year juvenile bears are separated, sometimes forcibly, by their mothers as families break up during mating season. (Photo courtesy K. McGuire)
Bearing witness: Young bears get the boot from mom

With mating season for adults underway, juveniles seek out easy food sources in neighborhoods.

A chart shows COVID-19 pathogen levels at the Mendenhall wastewater treatment plant during the past three months. (Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Wastewater Surveillance System)
Juneau seeing another increase in COVID-19 cases, but a scarcity of self-test kits

SEARHC, Juneau Drug have limited kits; other locations expect more by Saturday.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks to reporters during a news conference Feb. 7. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Gov. Dunleavy picks second ex-talk radio host for lucrative fish job after first rejected

Rick Green will serve at least through Legislature’s next confirmation votes in the spring of 2025.

Most Read