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Upcoming Events – They Just Keep Coming!

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2013) Permanent link

Jessica Ward I am capable of reflection – I do it monthly on this blog – and I would write about what’s gone on in the past few weeks if it seemed more pertinent at this point in time. But I’m naturally more of a forward-thinker, and at the CGA, October is a time that certainly invites looking ahead (though, perhaps you could say that for every month here!) There’s a lot to look forward to, and less that most of us would like to look back upon. The end of September and the beginning of this month have been a bit of a slog – Formal Room and Wing, a Personnel Inspection, an extra heavy load of tests and papers, even mid-terms…people have been worn pretty thin. But, it’s analogous to weathering a storm: we’ve been surrounded by all the wind and torrential downpour and chaos for what’s seemed like forever, and suddenly, we’ve broken into the clear. Everything good that’s upcoming is laid out before us – and it looks fantastic!

Here’s the run-down of the excitement:

Columbus Day Long this weekend has everyone’s spirits soaring. Plans are across the board – people going home, visiting different cities, trying to squeeze in one last beach trip before the cold weather hits. For my part, I’m off to New York City with some of my best friends, though a little piece of my heart will be back here in Connecticut. Women’s rugby has their fourth game of the season this Saturday in Stonington – even if I’m not playing this season, I have to give a shout out to my teammates!
 

 

Next week, Glee Club will attend our biggest event of the year – the Coast Guard Foundation Dinner in New York City. It was pretty mind-blowing last year as a 4/c…the majority of the “important” people in the Coast Guard all packed into one super-fancy hotel ballroom, and us, the CGA choir, going to sing for them. It’s a great time though and this year, I’m lucky enough to be part of the extended-stay group. The Fairwinds need a 2nd alto to stand in for their performance the next evening – so that means an overnight stay in NYC, and missing classes all day Friday. Jackpot!

 

But for those back at the Academy that Friday, it won’t be just any school day. Next weekend is Parent’s Weekend, which means hundreds of CGA family members at school and classes, extra band and Glee performances, departmental style drill, the Parents’ Weekend football game, and more overnight liberty for the corps.

 

The period after Parents’ Weekend marks two enlivening occasions: that end of drill season, and the beginning of the “holiday” season. Yes. That means no more 0655 drill practice every Monday and Friday, no more 1600 Reg Reviews on Friday afternoons when everyone just wants to go out on libo or sleep. It’s a glorious thing. And the end of October, as Halloween approaches, is always a fun time. There’s Aviation Day, room decorating, the Corps costume contest, the Halloween dinner and Trick or Treat on the Hill all in those last couple of weeks of the month. Rarely do we get to “play” so much at the Academy – it’s a nice treat.

 

And to top all that off, on October 30th, I run the Marine Corps Marathon with the Running Club. Training “crunch time” is already in full swing…

That’s the gist of it – the activities just keep coming and coming, it seems! Hopefully there will be plenty of interesting material for me to report on in the next month. Until then, I’m just contentedly looking forward.

 

Three Day Weekends

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2014) Permanent link
Jessie LukasikThis past weekend was a great break from the Academy. Three day weekends are generally like that. Saturday was Head of the Housatonic for crew. The 1V and the V4 both took first place, which was really exciting and rewarding. We’re going to be really good this year and I’m looking forward to Head of the Charles in two weeks. (For those of you who don’t know Head of the Charles is the biggest crew regatta in the world and it is held in Boston each year.) It’s a ton of fun to see rowers from all over and of all ages. Crew is generally a tall person’s sport so events like this make the 6’1” me feel at home.

The rest of the weekend I spent at the Teuton’s home. They are the leaders of Officer Christian Fellowship at the Academy and held a retreat at their home for those of us who couldn’t go to the main one in White Silver Springs due to sports/duty conflicts. I was hoping to sleep outside in a hammock again, but I always remembered when I was too tired to set it all up. It was a lot of fun to chill at their home though. Each time I tried to get work done it seems I ended up falling asleep, but I still managed to be somewhat productive and watch a few movies. Normally after breaks like this the idea of school isn’t all that exciting, but Parent’s Weekend is coming Friday so another break will quickly be here.

My Sector Experience

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2012) Permanent link

1/c George GlockI had many great experiences at Sector Long Island Sound in New Haven for the second half of my 1/c training summer. I participated in several inspections with industry and port partners, specifically with yacht club vessels which transport people between the shore and their yachts. This was a great opportunity to develop my professionalism in the business world in working with industry and port partners. I learned what was required of these vessels and their masters; steps taken to fix any arising issues during the inspection; how to properly inform the master of the vessel of the issue; and how to resolve it to satisfy the requirements of the inspection.

 

It was an amazing opportunity to participate in the boarding of an oil tanker with a team from the Sector's response department and members from the station. After motoring to the tanker, we all climbed up the jacob's ladder to the main deck. The team I went with went to the bridge with the captain and completed a check of the crew's passports. I was able to directly participate in this evolution and I observed how the rest of the crew interacts with the crew of the ship we are boarding.

 

I joined the gunner mates (GMs) and several petty officers from the station on a trip to the range. I qualified in both basic pistol and rifle and observed other various courses required for personnel to participate in boardings. I continued my training with the GMs during the week at station and spent time in the armory.

 

Even though I have always wanted to be a pilot, I am also very interested in working in Coast Guard Intelligence. I worked with the intel officers on sign-offs and independently completed a Field Intelligence Report (FIR). I enjoyed completing the FIR; I researched the reports made, put together the information, did some background research on the people and AORs involved, and produced a finished copy of the FIR which LT Felix reviewed and then submitted as an official FIR, which the CAPT at sector also read.

 

On Monday, I joined three Marine Safety Technicians on a trip to Guilford, Connecticut to re-inspect a beach for tar balls, followed by a trip to an oil spill on I-95 where a truck carrying fuel got caught on fire and leaked burning fuel down a storm drain and into a marina under the bridge.

 

I enjoyed spending six weeks at the sector and learning what the Coast Guard does outside of the cutter fleet. I also enjoyed the free time I had after work every day. It's a great career working for the Coast Guard and fulfilling the amazing missions it supports.

Honduras

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2012) Permanent link
1/c George GlockFor leave this summer, I decided to take another week to return to Honduras. This was my fifth week-long visit to the Latin American country for some volunteering. I spent three days in the Santa Barbara Mountains north of San Pedro Sula helping paint the interior of a newly constructed library. I had such a good time up there because some local guys came to help us (myself, Mark Zanowicz who is another Academy blogger, and Bobby, the owner of Volunteer Honduras). The locals who helped us were my age so it was a lot of fun working with them and talking with them all day long. It's amazing how similar they are to me. Yeri, a 21-year-old, and I are now both very good friends and will be staying in touch from now on. I love making friends with Hondurans, they are some of the nicest people I have ever met.

Early in the week we went on a half day hike up the Santa Barbara Mountain with an older British gentleman named Malcolm. He is extremely knowledgeable in many environmental subjects, especially birds. It was an amazing (and dangerous) hike several thousand feet in elevation and I took some amazing photographs. 

Later in the week we also visited a cave that goes so far into the earth that tourists wishing to complete the entire tour must use oxygen tanks. Unfortunately, we were on the way to a waterfall and did not have shoes, so we were able to complete only the first hour of the cave tour, but it was still very amazing. The waterfall afterwards was also breathtaking. We jumped in the freezing cold river (the water is cold because it comes from a nearby mountain) and swam through the waterfall to a cave behind it. It is the first waterfall I have been to that is “safe” enough to swim through – others I have had to swim around to get behind the waterfall. I even jumped through the waterfall from a cave behind it, though it violently pushed me into the river. Still, it was very adventurous and fun. 

Even though we don't get too many long vacations here at the Academy, it's important to do something worthwhile with that little time we are given. When you're here, try something new. Go to another country, and begin to see the world. It's incredible how much there is out there.