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cadet blogs

Hawaiian Happiness

 Permanent link
Sherman Photo This is the first of three vlogs in my “Pacific Journey to Guam” series about some of the fun adventures that I had during my summer training cruise on Coast Guard Cutter Sequoia. I began the journey in Honolulu, Hawaii, the first of three tropical paradise islands that I visited this summer. Most of these pictures are about my time on liberty; for detailed info about my work onboard the cutter, check out my weekly reflections from the past few months.

*Special thanks to artist Har Megiddo for the use of his music in this video.

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A Whirlwind Adventure

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Krause Photo Summer has come to an end and the start to my 3/c academic year is fast approaching. Thinking back about the last few months I am amazed at the opportunities I have had. I spent first phase at Station San Francisco with another cadet. We were immediately welcomed into the crew and everyone there worked tirelessly to help us get our boat crew qualification on the 45-foot response boat medium. We were able to participate in search and rescue cases, helicopter operations, SWAT team training, and cruise ship escorts. Not only did we have a blast getting to see so many different aspects of the Coast Guards missions, but it also made me excited for my future career. It instilled in me a great respect for the expertise and dedication among the enlisted. The experience was humbling; there was so much to learn! It was also incredibly motivating as it provided real-world perspective on a variety of Coast Guard career options. On top of all of that we had so much fun exploring the eclectic city of San Francisco every weekend!

 

The second phase of my summer was aboard the Barque Eagle. We started in Miami and sailed up the coast through squalls and icebergs to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. One of the highlights of the six week trip was sailing past Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty to moor up in New York. Seeing these iconic sites from the deck of the Eagle was incredible. Even though the days afloat were long, our division managed to have a lot of fun while learning the different duties aboard Eagle. We saw a great diversity of aquatic wildlife such as dolphins and sea turtles, climbed the rigging, and even had a talent show. The best part of Eagle for me though was that I was able to get so much closer with my classmates. It’s true that here at the Academy your shipmates become your closest friends. We work so closely together, rely so completely on each other, and share the same goals. Long duty shifts, meals in the mess and exploring during port calls allow us to get to know and respect one another, and to truly become a team. Classmates at the Academy come from all over the country and across the globe. I realize that the remarkable opportunities to learn about the world around me aren’t limited to summer travels, they are back here at the Academy as well.

 

After this whirlwind adventure and some R&R on leave back home, I have the chance to use this amazing summer as motivation to push through the academic year. Now back at Chase and having seen my first swab, I’m excited to serve in my new role as a 3rd class to help open their eyes to the opportunities that lay ahead for them.

 

More about Gretchen.

 

A Rewarding Summer

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Pourmonir Photo So summer break is awesome. I love going to the beach and spending nights out on the town with my friends. You must be thinking that you can’t wait to go to college so that you can spend your summers just as I like to, but you must be wondering if that’s even possible. I mean going to the Coast Guard Academy means you don’t really have a summer break right? No. I thought so too, from everything I had heard, but it’s possible. This summer I was stationed at Coast Guard Station Fort Lauderdale in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. During your third class summer you either go to a small boat station, like I did, or a cutter. I got the chance to do both.

 

On the 11th of May I reported to the station. I reported late because I had a race for Men’s Varsity Crew. I was scared it would be hard to get to know everyone since I came the day after the other three cadets I was stationed with, but I was way off. Everyone was so friendly. I learned a ton. I helped to interdict 51 migrants in only four days. I spent a total of seven days on the Coast Guard Cutter Paul Clark, a fast response cutter out of Miami, Florida. In less than a week, I was allowed to stand duty as a lookout and watch the migrants. Seriously. I was responsible for the control and safety of 51 Cuban migrants. Everything from meals to bathrooms breaks I had to help control. At only 19 years old. I don’t know about you, but I considered that a huge responsibility that required a lot of trust in a person. I was humbled to be trusted with such an important task. I learned that while I did spend a ton of my summer on Fort Lauderdale’s beach and out in the city of Fort Lauderdale, it is a lot more rewarding to spend your summer learning how to serve your country and take part in some of the many missions the Coast Guard has. Interdicting migrants is one of money, but in just a few days I learned the difficulty and responsibility that every Coast Guard member accepts when they assume the duties as a member in a military service that focuses on helping others and protecting our coasts.

 

More about Keemiya.

 

Back to School For the Second-to-Last Time!!!

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Driscoll Photo It’s hard to believe that this is the second to last time I have to return to the Academy! Only the fall semester, Christmas leave, and the spring semester until the Class of 2015 graduates! It is almost impossible to believe that we graduate in 273 days; it seems like yesterday that we stood on the parade field and swore our oath of office.

 

A lot has happened in the past few days. My classmates and I assumed the duties and responsibilities of the Regimental Command on Monday. It is weird to be in charge – and more importantly, responsible for over 900 cadets. Actually, it is really unnerving. Although I have heard many times about the total transfer of responsibility and authority between commands, I’ve never understood it until now. Since our change of command, we’ve been way too busy: we haven’t even had much time to pack into our rooms! Hopefully the semester will become more controllable…

 

The first major event is the Kings Point vs. Coast Guard game. It’ll be held here in New London on 13 September. GO BEARS, BEAT KINGS POINT!!

 

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email me at Peter.M.Driscoll@uscga.edu.

 

More about Peter.

 

But It Won’t Be Long, ‘Til I Get on Back Home

(Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Kukich Photo Swab Summer was rough the first time around, but it was definitely even more difficult the second round as a cadre. After many weeks of preparation, I began my cadre experience on 20 July relieving my classmates who had been Cadre 1, or trainers for the first three weeks in this circumstance. After just three days, I had lost my voice from a combination of illness and loudly trying to direct the swabs and by the fourth day had to correct behaviors of some swabs with the voice of others. A week of rest at another training program came and went while the newest members of Delta Company sailed aboard the Eagle. When I made the trip up to Maine to meet the swabs for the return, I felt just as drained as when they had left. And somehow that feeling continued, that exhaustion, that fast pace, that cyclic behavior that some people can only describe as insanity.

 

The cadre experience was not without purpose however; I learned more about my personal leadership style in those three weeks than I have my entire cadet career. As cadre, like with my peers, I discovered that I struggle with public speaking even with positional power. I found out that even though I have different interests than my classmates, most of us came to the Academy for the same reasons and have the same goals in mind. And I learned that while I might not be able to form a perfect mentor/mentee relationship with every one of the 32 swabs in Delta, if they were willing to listen and I was a persistent teacher, I could pass on the skills others had taught me.

 

There were dozens of rewarding experiences sprinkled throughout cadre summer to offset the challenges, such as running to morning calisthenics in the dark with a flood warning in effect. Just a few were opportunities like running the PFE with a swab and being able to coach her alongside another cadre and her classmates – she ran the mile and a half nearly three minutes faster than the previous time. Then reassuring a swab to step off the high dive in the pool while treading in the water below with a lifeguarding tube – he jumped three times that morning. And showing the swabs of Delta how to retire the colors, particularly dress ship flags posted on the football field, as a team they ceremoniously lowered 26 signal flags on the Coast Guard’s birthday with my guidance.

 

Some cadre considered the summer simple. Being given positional power is a great tool and can lead to very effective transformation of behaviors. But to develop the swabs and truly instill the character traits of a Coast Guard officer required personal leadership for me. As the capstone event of the summer came to a close, I had the opportunity to lead some of the last cadences with my company. I chose an Army cadence “Get on Back Home” which I had learned before coming to the Academy and then again as a swab myself. It reminded me that the cadre experience was not simple for me, but well worth the journey to travel full circle and keep pushing until I get on back home.

 

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