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cadet blogs

Springtime at the Academy

(Athletics, Just for Fun, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Engelhardt Photo The second week in March marks spring break for the Coast Guard Academy. Like other college students, cadets look forward to spring break as a time to relax and spend more time with family and friends before the second half of the spring semester begins.


Spring break festivities start a little early for 1/c cadets at the Academy, as the Thursday night before break is Billet Night. Billet Night is when 1/c cadets receive their “billet,” or ensign assignment. This assignment tells firsties where they will be living for the first year and a half of their Coast Guard career, what type of work they will be doing, and also lets them know which classmates will be going with them on their assignment. The anticipation and excitement experienced by the firsties trickles down throughout the rest of the corps, and puts everyone in high spirits before heading out on spring break.


Many of the spring sports teams travel during spring break. As part of the Lacrosse team, I left Chase Hall Thursday night (right after the firsties received there billets) en route to Palm Beach, Florida. We played two games the first weekend of the break, and although the results weren’t exactly what my teammates and I wanted, I do believe that the time spent on the bus ride to Florida and the time spent together in Palm Beach did bring us closer together as a team. Hopefully this bonding time will produce future wins as we enter the bulk of our conference game schedule, starting Friday against Central Connecticut.


After we played our two games, the team was released and players were free to do whatever they wanted for the rest of spring break. I meet my parents and girlfriend in Palm Beach, and we proceeded to drive up to Orlando to spend a couple days at Disney World. The Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) office at the Academy always has great deals for service members at various attractions, including Disney, and my family decided to use them! My girlfriend and I stayed an extra day in Disney after my parents headed home, and then spent a day in Savannah, Georgia before driving back up to our hometown in Northern Virginia.


I really enjoyed my spring break as a time I got to spend with teammates, friends, and family. After a restful week, I now feel up to taking on the second half of the semester.


More about James.


Piece Out!

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Culp Photo “Drill down, attention!” The first class cadet in charge calls out to 16 contestants. They snap their heels together and stare straight ahead, unflinching. Pieces (rifles) wait at their sides, steady against the knees. Let the games begin.


Drill Down is a competition for 4/c cadets, testing our dexterity with our pieces, indoc knowledge, and military bearing. Typically there are two cadet participants from each of the eight companies per competition, and every 4/c in the corps is supposed to compete at least once. The contest is split into three rounds. The first round, and most unique, consists of a second class cadet standing in front of you and spinning your piece. You hand it off to him, and while keeping your eyes in the boat (staring only straight ahead), you are to identify when the piece is in the position in which you handed it to the second class. During this round, the second class is asking you indoc questions. You are to answer ONLY a certain kind of question; any others (including “Are you sure about that?”) you must reply to with, “Not a part of my required indoc.” Mistakes are counted as majors and minors; a major is equal to six minors. The second and third rounds test facing movements. The second round is an analysis of the ending position after you have completed a movement (such as an About Face, Right or Left Face, Present Arms, etc.), and the third round judges your execution of the movement. After each round, some of the contestants are eliminated; the last three are deemed the winners.


Being a member of the Regimental Band who had hardly touched her piece since Swab Summer, I was very anxious and didn’t expect much from my participation in Drill Down. Surprising how quickly that went away – I actually had a fantastic time preparing and competing, and I recently took part in a second Drill Down. This one was unique in that there were eight cadets competing against eight officer candidates from the current OCS class. It was really interesting to see how the OCs interact with each other, and I learned a bit about their lives and training. Those Coastguardsmen are following the other primary path to commissioning as an officer – the Coast Guard doesn’t have a ROTC program or anything similar. So perhaps I’ll see some of those OCs I drilled with in the fleet – wouldn’t that be some neat common ground?


More about Abby.