Coast Guard Humanitarian Assignments

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When you join the military, Coast Guard included, even though it is part of Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense, you know going in that you will be stationed at a place where the branch of service needs you. You may even have to deploy for long periods of time overseas and not in the continental United States. As a member of the military, you know this before you sign on the dotted line at the recruiter's office. However, sometimes there are circumstances that require a service member to be close to home.

Military service includes duty involving forced, prolonged absences that can challenge Coast Guard families. Occasionally, situations arise when the member's presence is essential to alleviate a hardship the family has encountered other Coast Guard members do not normally encounter. Emergency leave often is sufficient to alleviate the hardship or emergency. However, if the situation is dire enough, special consideration can be made to help the member. For instance, the type of requests that are approved for Special Assignment are the following:

  • Terminal illness of a family member
  • Sexual abuse of the member, member's spouse or child
  • Issues involving a serious financial impact such as the loss of property through fire or natural disaster.
  • In each situation, the Coast Guard Personnel department considers the merit of change of assignment for the individual, also while considering the mission.

Usually, this special consideration is given for people in the Coast Guardsman life such as a spouse, child, father, mother, father- or mother-in-law, stepparent or person in loco parentis (who have been documented to have taken the place of a parent). However, if another person within your immediate family not on the list requires assistance, you can still request the program as it really depends on the situation of siblings, even though not specifically listed.

Humanitarian Assignment

A Humanitarian Assignment (HUMS) is a special assignment authorized to alleviate a hardship so severe an emergency leave cannot fully resolve it. As a rule, all HUMS are at no cost to the government. However, in some very limited, unusual cases, the Service may decide the overall situation warrants the Service's funding a permanent change of station (PCS) transfer. If so, the member will transfer under regular PCS orders under other sections of the Coast Guard Personnel Manual.

Commander, (CGPC-epm) normally authorizes no-cost TAD (Temporary Duty) orders for a maximum of six months for a HUMS because the situation involved is usually temporary. In some cases, if the hardship continues after six months, Commander, (CGPC-epm) may authorize no-cost PCS orders for up to two years for humanitarian reasons. If it appears the member will not be available for unlimited reassignment on completing the HUMS, Commander, (CGPC-epm) considers the hardship a permanent situation and normally will initiate discharge by reason of hardship.


These are the criteria for requesting a HUMS:

  • The member has encountered a severe hardship other Coast Guard members normally do not.
  • The hardship has arisen or deteriorated excessively since the member entered his or her current enlistment and the cause is beyond the member's control.
  • The problem affects the Service member's immediate family, i.e., husband, wife, son, daughter, step-child, parent, step-parent, or other person acting in loco parentis, or any bona fide dependents. Normally, this definition does not include in-laws unless they are bona fide dependents, but selected cases may be considered individually.
  • No other relatives capable of providing the necessary assistance are nearby.
  • The member's presence is essential to alleviate the hardship.

In addition to meeting these criteria, a Service-need normally must exist before a permanent change of station will be authorized; i.e., the receiving unit should have a current or projected billet vacancy. It is important to note consideration for authorizing temporary permissive travel is based on the merits of the hardship alone but consideration for authorizing PCS permissive travel is based on both the merits of the hardship and the needs of the Coast Guard.

Non-Rated Personnel

These additional restrictions apply to non-rated members:

The Service normally will not authorize PCS HUMS for non-rated personnel. Commander, (CGPC-epm) may authorize an individual TAD HUMS for a maximum of six months for non-rated personnel. Generally, if the member's hardship cannot or does not abate within six months, the member may request either to return to his or her permanent unit or a discharge by reason of hardship.

Non-rated members serving on HUMS must first present clear documentation the hardship situation is completely resolved and they are available for worldwide assignment in accordance with Service needs before Commander (CGPC-epm) will permit them to attend "A" School training.

For complete information about the Coast Guard Humanitarian Assignments Program, see COMDTINST M1000.6A, Coast Guard Personnel Manual, paragraph 4.B.11.

Video on HUMS