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cadet blogs

The Reality of 3c Summer

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Martin Photo Two weeks left of school doesn’t sound real, and neither does wearing red shields. It may not sound real, but there isn’t a cadet around who isn’t ready to get out of here and go on their summer assignments. I got my assignment last week and I originally put in for a buoy tender on the West Coast and I got a 270’ out of Boston, Massachusetts. I got the exact opposite of what I wanted, but I am actually happier with what I got that if I got what I asked for. I will be living in a real East Coast city and will get to see the law enforcement side of the Coast Guard. I will determine if either it is a good fit for me or decide if I should eliminate it from my options in the future. I have high hopes for Boston, but also for Eagle. I am on Eagle for six weeks before I head to Boston, and we will start in Savannah, Georgia, then go to New York City, Norfolk, and Baltimore, so I will get a really cool East Coast tour that I have never seen being from the West Coast. Eagle is going on a War of 1812 tour this summer to hit the major ports and battle sites of the war and joining the Eagle will be almost 20 tall ships in Operation Sail, which happens every couple of years bringing some of the coolest tall ships around the world together for one big sailing event. Not only are the ports cool, but this summer will be the first time we as cadets get to see the operational fleet and what work the Coast Guard really does. So six weeks on Eagle and six weeks on USCGC Spencer out of Boston and then three weeks at home, which I cannot wait for either. We are all ready for a change of pace and this summer will be a great opportunity to get a little experience under our belts too.

 

It’s hard to stay focused with only two weeks left when you know what is coming, but with our last few tests and projects due along with a week of not so fun finals, these last two weeks are the crunch time so I’m off to study Chemistry II!

 



More about Matt.

 

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to 4/c Boards

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Wu Photo You might have already heard; the words “restriction”, “privileges”, and “honor” have become common amongst the corps of cadets’ vocabulary. The class of 2014 and class of 2015 have been frowned upon because of our actions during the 4/c Boards indoctrination. There were a lot of reactions toward the incident. One reaction in particular had me question where our teamwork has gone since Swab Summer. There have been a lot of people who believe that only a few people should be punished for this cheating/honor incident, but personally I think that we, as a whole, should be punished for what could have been avoided. We fell into the mob mentality, overhearing questions, spreading possible questions that we believed were on Boards, so we should be punished as a whole. I know some people were not involved, but when one of our classmates over the summer made a mistake, we all faced the punishment with him. Over the summer, we learned to support each other and instinctively get down in push-up position with them so they do not have to suffer the consequences alone. Where did all this teamwork mentality go? By all means, I do not commend the cheating on 4/c Boards, but it was a poorly controlled environment where if you did not hear questions and answers being spread around the wardroom, you at least knew someone who had. When the punishment of restriction was announced this week there were a lot of my classmates complaining about how they did nothing wrong and should not face the consequences. During Swab Summer, I felt like when my classmates held the plank position with me for something I did wrong, I felt really guilty. I feel like we should not object to the consequences we have to face and just move forward from this incident. I am hoping both the class of 2014 and class of 2015 can come together and finish this semester strong and then go out and enjoy our summer assignments.

 

Ah…summer assignments. Just knowing that my summer assignments are just around the corner makes the end of the semester bearable. I am looking forward to being on first phase Barque Eagle and then going on CGC Mellon that might be in South America. I am really excited to have a hands-on experience and really learn from the crewmembers and learn more about the Coast Guard in general. Lastly, I cannot wait to go home and enjoy a relaxing summer with family and friends.

 

Even further into the future, I am excited to start fresh with a new company next year. I have made great friendships in Echo Company that developed from Swab Summer and into 4/c year because we did not change companies, but I am ready to be in Alfa this fall semester and meet more of my classmates along with a whole new group of upperclassmen. I also cannot wait to start the fall semester out right and set a good example for the incoming class of 2016. “Summer 2012 psyched, sir!”

 



More about Ellie.

 

A Very Busy March, Indeed

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Sherman Photo It has been a little over one month since I wrote last, and have many things taken place since then. The second two-thirds of March and the first half of April have been a whirlwind of activity—so much so that I think I may have to break this into two blogs, one for the end of March and one for the beginning of April.

 

I’ve had “Write Blog” on my to-do list since the first week of April, but since I’ve been so busy (as you’ll see), I haven’t had a chance to write (please see my disclaimer at the end of this blog). I finally made my way over to the library where I can get some peace and quiet. So, here I am, settled down in a comfy chair, about to attempt to share with you what has happened for me over the past 30+ days here at the Academy.

 

Are you ready?

 

Eco-Friendly
One Saturday toward the end of March, five other cadets, five Connecticut College (“Conn”) students, and I headed to Falkner’s Island (in Long Island Sound—you can see it on Google Maps) to assist the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in a field day of cleaning and preparing the island for the summer. We, the members of the USCGA and Conn Sustainability Clubs, have a partnership with the FWS, and this year the three groups have collaborated in a project to protect the Rosette Tern (you may remember my mentioning a beach clean up back in January). Falkner Island is a popular summering spot for the terns. FWS sends field hands to study and observe the terns during the summer, so we were prepping the island for both the birds’ and the humans’ summer stays. We cut away brush, picked up debris that Hurricane Irene (September) had deposited on the island, and restored the observation blinds. At lunchtime, we had the opportunity to climb to the top of the lighthouse on the island. Not only was this a lighthouse that I had used as an aid to navigation during my Fundamentals of Navigation practical lab, but also the Falkner Island Light is the second oldest lighthouse in Connecticut and is serviced by the Coast Guard.

 

Ethics Forum
On Friday, 23 March, the Academy hosted a day-long event called the Ethics Forum. Classes are cancelled for the day so that cadets can attend the various sessions in which military officers and other professionals present on what it means to be ethical. Having strong and upright morals and ethics ties in with the Coast Guard’s core value of respect. The day is designed to challenge cadets to examine their values and engage in discussion on how to be an ethical, morally sound officer in the military. While I do admit that I could not always follow the speakers’ arguments, the Ethics Forum was certainly a privilege and an opportunity certainly unique to the Academy. Now that I know how the Ethics Forum works, I hope that in future years I can be more active in the discussion sessions.

 

Eclipse Week (Let’s see how many section titles I can get to start with the letter E!)
Another special opportunity at the Academy is Eclipse Week, a week during which cadets review the Academy’s history of diversity and the importance of diversity in leadership today. I sat in on a panel discussion by Academy professors; they discussed the need for revamping course curriculum to diversify both course content—to include the study of minority groups’ contribution to society—and the manner in which professors teach and present the course information.

I must say, March was packed with great events designed to challenge cadets’ way of thinking and leadership philosophies.

 

Esprit de Corps
March 17 was the date of the 4/c Formal Dinner and Ball. This was a great night of fancy dinning, dancing, and, most importantly, seeing for the first time the class crest for the class of 2015! Oddly enough, I don’t really have much to say about the formal. It was like very similar to the winter formal last December, but this event was only for 4/c cadets. I guess I could stress the importance of the class crest, but I will say that it’s hard to properly put into words how I exactly feel about the crest. This is the crest that will go on our class rings and will be the symbol for our class after we have left the Academy. Our crest has now joined the ranks of other class crests on the wall of the ballroom in Leamy Hall. It was a great bonding moment for the class (or at least that’s how I felt) when we first saw the crest. This was something that brought our class together as a unit and this marked our recognition as another year to join the Corps of Cadets (both that of the present and those of the past). Sound kind of cheesy? What I am trying to get at is that I am proud to continue the traditions of the Coast Guard Academy. I’ve never really thought of it like this until writing this blog, but I would say that our crest could be a symbol of our class’s commitment to those traditions.

 

“Emilia at the door who we met in Act IV.” – Othello Rap by the Reduced Shakespeare Company
Emilia is a character from Shakespeare’s tragedy, Othello. The 4/c literature class had a unique opportunity to see at Yale University a production of Othello, which we had read in literature class. The production, a black-box style, was extremely well played, and I was very impressed by the students who acted in it. Not only was it fun to take a road trip to New Haven on a Friday night, I also got a chance to see my friend, Patrice, from high school. We had a chance to chat and catch up, which was very enjoyable.

 

Especially Watchful
0231. A door opens, silently, and then closes. Only a small click of the latch. Two figures move swiftly down a darkened passageway (hall). The leading person peers cautiously around the corner; upon seeing no one, the two dart forward, rushing into the ladder well (stairwell), but being especially watchful not to let the doors slam. The two stop in front of another room. The leader knocks twice and then they enter without waiting for a reply. Even given the time of night, the lights of the interior are on and there are approximately ten others in the room.

 

0247. Others arrive. After a few minutes, all the individuals inside all exit and go off in different directions. They are silent, only speaking—and then only in a whisper—when they reach their destination: a clock on the wall. Hurrying to move a chair in place, one member of these small groups climbs up and removes the clock from the wall.

 

0402. The deed is done, and all the clocks have been taken to a designated passageway. There they are spread out like checkers. The doers of this mission have returned to their racks (beds) and are sleeping once again. In the morning, there will be no 4/c alarm clocks.

 

What am I talking about? That was a very dramatic description of the “spirit mission” that we, the 4/c members of Echo company, did a few weeks ago. We woke up in the early hours of the morning and went around Chase Hall (the barracks/dorm) to take down all the clocks in the hallways. In doing this, we created a situation that gave all the 4/c cadets a good reason for not “doing clocks” in the morning. “Doing clocks” = shouting how many minutes are remaining until formation and spewing (shouting) indoc (memorized information like upcoming meal menus and movies playing at the local theater).

 

This spirit mission—something the 4/c cadets can do to raise the morale of the corps and prove our ability to work as a team—also earned us a day of wardroom carry-on, or in other words, we got to look at our food and didn’t have to square our meals.

 

Enriching Experiences
During the last week of March, I had the privilege of helping to film for an anti-bullying project sponsored by Academy cadets. The project involves creating a documentary about cadets’ experiences (past and present) with being bullied.

 

As I mentioned briefly in the previous section, I’ve been taking lots of pictures, and recently, I’ve found a new interest in filming, specifically film that could be used for some sort of documentary. Filming for this project probably spurred my excitement. In imitation of other documentaries, I filmed my friend, Josh, during his sailing practice so that what he is talking in the video, it’s not just an actionless shot of him talking to the camera. Naturally, I took a few pictures while I was down on the water (out on the coach’s boat).

 

It was a ton of fun to attend sailing practice! I attended a practice as a bean sprout (visiting prospective cadet) almost one year earlier to date—how cool!

 

Josh showed me around Jacob’s Rock (the sailing center) and talked to me about how he and the other team members got ready for practice. Then he headed out in his dinghy, I boarded the coach’s small boat, and we all headed out to the middle of the Thames River. The sun was out (but I didn’t get a sunburn; thank goodness!), and the temperature was very comfortable. I couldn’t have picked a better day to go down to sailing practice.

 

Well, that concludes March.

 

Now the “disclaimer” I promised at the beginning. I don’t want it to seem like I’m sugar coating my experiences here. I have definitely been blessed to have all these amazing opportunities, but they don’t come without a bit of a price. I definitely don’t get enough sleep, and there are some days that I don’t get all my work done. It seems like there is always something that I have to complete. While I do take breaks from time to time, there is always that nagging in the back of my mind that I have work to complete. Life here is certainly not the normal, cushy college life—but it shouldn’t be.

 

Nonetheless, this is the college track that I chose, and I do not regret my decision (how could I end on such a not-positive note?) to attend. I am proud to be here and plan to continue making the most of my cadet experience. As lot s of people here say, “Your experience is what you make it.” I stand by that; I’m going to do what I can to have the best Coast Guard Academy experience (as I already have begun to do).

 

Until I post my April blog, ciao!

 



More about Justin.

 

Spirituality at CGA

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2014) Permanent link
Capuzzi Photo Hidden among academics, athletics, military skills, community service, and other facets of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, the religious aspect is easily overshadowed. However, for many cadets, religion is just as important as all of those. The Coast Guard Academy does a great job of supporting those cadets who choose to practice religion at the Academy, as well as supporting those who choose not to.

 

Twice a week, the Academy has scheduled command religious time. On Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings, command religious time ensures that all cadets have the opportunity to practice their religions. The center of religion is Coast Guard Memorial Chapel. The highest point in New London, the steeple of the Chapel flashes Morse Alfa, the nautical signal for safe water. During the academic year, and especially during Swab Summer, the Chapel serves as a refuge from the stress of the Academy lifestyle.

 

On Sundays, the Chapel hosts both a Catholic mass and a Protestant service. Cadets are not limited to the Chapel offerings, however. Many choose to go off base and attend services at local houses of worship. On Wednesday evenings, the Catholic and Protestant chaplains hold vespers. The Catholic chaplain even offers daily mass at 1130.

 

In addition to Cadet Memorial Chapel, there is a small chapel inside of Chase Hall, which includes a reading room with religious materials from all major faiths. When not being used for vespers, it is a great place to go for some quiet meditation.

 

There are also a wide variety of faith-based extracurriculars available to cadets. There are clubs for Catholics, Protestants, Jews, and members of the Church of Latter Day Saints. There is even a club for atheists. In addition, groups such as Officer’s Christian Fellowship offer extra opportunities for religious involvement, such as worship bands and Bible study. For music lovers, there are Catholic and Protestant choirs, and a non-denominational bell choir.

 

The great thing about religious programs at the Coast Guard Academy is that they are totally voluntary. You will never be forced to attend a religious event. The religious controversies that plague the Air Force Academy are unheard of at Coast Guard.

 

The Academy has three chaplains on staff, made up of two Protestants and a Catholic. These chaplains are not only leaders of their religious programs at the Academy, but also counselors to cadets of all faiths. With offices in Leamy Hall, the chaplains are always available to listen to problems and provide friendly advice not related to religion.

 

If you are a religious person, you will have no problem continuing the practice of your religion once you arrive at the Academy. On the other hand, if you are not, you will certainly not be forced to.

 



More about Nick.

 

Privileges, Say What?!

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Gurtler Photo As a fourth class, you learn to not take anything for granted. Everything that you have or are allowed to do, you have to earn. Now as we enter the midterms of the spring semester, us fourth class are finally getting a taste of privileges. Last week, we received the right to write on the whiteboards outside of our barracks rooms, because of 2015’s exceptional score on our first indoctrination test. The purpose of these whiteboards is to let others know where you are at all times past 1900. Prior to this privilege being granted, we had to properly format notecards to our company commander and tape them to our whiteboards. Although this seems like a small achievement, it’s one that none of the fourth class take lightly. We have worked hard to get here and equally, if not harder, to stay here. This is just one means of recognition for our endeavors. In the weeks to come, we have the opportunity to earn the privilege to play music out loud in our rooms and wardroom carry on (i.e., looking at our food while we eat, talking to each other, ability to look around), all leading up to full carry on. This is all in preparation to becoming a 3/c.

 

As I write this, I am sitting in O’Hara Airport in Chicago, waiting for my connecting flight home to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I chose to come home for spring break, because I was not entirely sure where my summer travels would lead me. This is my second time home since reporting in, and I am very excited to spend this much deserved time with my family and friends. Realizing that the worst part of going home is having to say goodbye to my family, I know I will be coming back to the Academy to all of these opportunities for privileges. It definitely makes the trip a little sweeter…

 



More about Victoria.

 

Helping Out the Community

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Min Photo On March 24th and 25th the class of 2015 went out into the community and made a difference. Over two days, 120 4/c cadets helped the community to restore the basketball court at the Thames River Federal Housing Complex. When I say restore, I mean made anew. The court could not be seen from the street or even from the complex, which is right next to it. Vines, bushes, and even trees had grown up around the court, through the fence, and there was even a tree that was in the middle of the court. It was no small feat, but we spent two days working side by side with members of the community who really put in the time and cared. In a matter of hours the hidden court was transformed and was no longer a forgotten jungle.

 

Through the hard work and coordination of our two 4/c, Zackary Wells and Lloyd Diaz, who spearheaded the project and our class advisor, LCDR Ely, the project came together and gave our class the opportunity to be a part of the community. The next step in the process is completely repaving the courts, which once the weather warms up will happen. I believe projects like this make all the difference in people’s lives, especially with all the children who worked with the cadets and knew they were doing something great. It also goes along with the humanitarian mission of our Service and is a good quality of being an ideal member of the community. The project would not have been possible without support from the Academy, Senior Chief Yoder, The Salvation Army, the Kiwanis Club, and every single member of the community who came out to labor for a good cause.

 



More about Alex.

 

‘Zat You Santa Claus?

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Gurtler Photo Christmas is fast approaching and so are finals. To say I have put 110% into this past semester would be an understatement. In high school, I earned a 3.89 GPA having taken 5 AP courses. I received my diploma proudly sporting gold chords around my neck. One of the greatest (and hardest) realizations I have had since coming here is that every one of your shipmates was equally as successful in high school as you were. Given my calculations, mind you math is my worst subject, it appears that I will probably finishing this semester with over a full point lower GPA then I had in high school. Like I said in my last blog, this place is tough but well worth the struggles. I feel that the most important lesson I learned thus far is learning how to fail. This is one lesson that I firmly believe will make me a more successful officer someday.

 

As I said, the holidays are finally upon us, and the entire corps is itching at the opportunity to go home and celebrate with their families. For me, this is the first time home since June 27th. I am really looking forward to snowmobiling with my brother, decorating the tree with my family, and attending Christmas Eve Mass in uniform. I know my father will be beyond proud. My mom and I had a good laugh the other day when she asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I responded with a digital watch, new combat boots, and black socks. This time last year I was asking for a new Dooney & Bourke purse and Lucky jeans. Obviously a lot has changed since then and I wouldn’t trade this opportunity for anything.

 



More about Victoria.

 

Oh, the Things You Will Do

(Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2013) Permanent link
Nolan Photo To those of you who read this blog, know that there are only six school days left. However, there are still approximately 1.8 million things I need to do between now and the time I can ship off to my summer unit in Alaska in the beginning of May. Fortunately for you, one of those things is writing you another blog entry! Unfortunately for you, I don’t have the time to write you another blog entry, so instead I bequeath unto you my to do list, so that you may perhaps see what the “day in the life of a cadet,” really is all about.

 

 


2/c Nolan’s To Do List: 

  • Write a 3 page government paper due Thursday
  • Write a 5 page Spanish paper due Monday
  • File a travel claim for conference trip
  • Send paper on Helicon Plasma to DEPS
  • Finish preparing Presentation on Helicon Plasma for Senior Symposium Day
  • Write a 7 minute speech for Spanish
  • Practice giving Helicon Plasma Speech
  • Write the Biochem Lab Report for Thursday
  • Help write a summer command philosophy
  • Make a summer rooming chart
  • Create the summer recall log
  • Naut Sci take home test
  • Waves and Tides test
  • Spanish test
  • Biochem Oceans test
  • Organize room for the COSAS walkthrough
  • Final T-Boats lab practical
  • Morning Drill Practice x 2
  • Afternoon Drill x 2
  • Prepare uniform for Ring Dance
  • Meeting with Academic Advisor
  • File and route OOD packet from yesterday
  • Organize and schedule the 3/c Boards
  • Create Boards Questions
  • Administer Boards
  • Complete group Naut Sci project and submit it
  • Fill out the Arctic Conference AAR
  • Finish “un diario” for Spanish
  • Meet with photographers for the “Day in the Life” project
  • Choir Practice
  • Distribute summer OOD list
  • Write a blog entry 

This is my short-term list: they are things that have to be completed within the next week. Thankfully as of right now I can cross the last one off the list. Hopefully with a couple of late nights, I can slowly start whittling this list down so that I can start studying for finals, packing, and preparing to leave for my first half of the summer. After that it’s just a quick jaunt back here to the Academy where I can see my fourth R-Day in a row, this time as an XO.

 

Well, now that I’ve shared the things I have to do with you, I think it’s time that I actually go ahead and do them. Have a great evening and if you have any questions at all, feel free to email me at Stephen.T.Nolan@uscga.edu.

 

Semper P,
2/c Stephen Nolan
Summer ’12 CXO

 



More about Stephen.

 

Finishing the Trip

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2012) Permanent link
Lloyd Photo Time has been moving a mile a minute here at the Academy over the past few months. It is surreal to believe that I will be done with classes in just three weeks and graduating as in officer in the world’s best Coast Guard in a little over a month.

 

Just one month ago, I was living up one of the best weeks of my life in the British Virgin Islands on my last spring break of college with several of my classmates. We rented a 47’ sailing yacht to adventure through the islands of the Caribbean. Needless to say, we did some incredible sailing and made some unforgettable memories.

 

More importantly, I finally know where I will spend the next two years of my life – flight school in Pensacola, Florida! On a night in the first week of March, the Academy staff, my classmates, and I gathered together for our Billet Night, one of the most memorable experiences of my life. The Class of 2012 will be dispersing across the country from Alaska to Guam and Hawaii to New Hampshire!

 

I have kept busy nearly every weekend with other memorable events ranging from snowboarding to concerts to our class’s final formal, Castle Dance held in Newport, Rhode Island. Although loaded with school work and training as can be expected at a military academy, this year has been awesome. It is hard to believe my time here is nearly drawing to a close. As I reflect back on my total experience over the last four years, I can honestly say that have no regrets, regardless of the challenges I faced. I have made some lifelong memories and friends, and CANNOT wait to enter the fleet to serve in America’s Coast Guard as a future aviator.

 

To any graduating high school seniors out there and future members of the Class of 2016, I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors. Semper Paratus.

 



More about Alex.

 

Rainbows and Unicorns

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Ulbricht Photo From the last time you heard from me we were waiting patiently for spring break to come. Well now that it has quickly come and gone, all we can do now is smile when we think of all the fun we had during that week. I went with a group of friends from the Academy (most of them preps from last year) down to Hollywood, Florida. We stayed at a place a minute’s walk from the beach! It was so great. I could wake up in the morning and go for a run, and not be afraid of getting cold because it was already 70 + degrees out. Coming back from spring break was tough. All we wanted was to stay in sunny Florida where all our worries of passing classes, getting through boards, and where we were being sent for our summer assignment was non-existent. This semester by far has been one of the most difficult things I have ever done. I had a rocky start to classes, which almost caused me to give up my passion of running and staying on the track team. I luckily was able to work out a plan with my coach so I could still participate in track and get the help I needed with my classes.

 

Many times throughout this semester, I have thought about leaving. Not because I don’t like it here but life would just be easier. I hate the long nights of staying up late studying for a test that I only end up failing anyway, or wanting to be home or anywhere but where you have people constantly telling you what to do and when to do it. Many people keep telling us emotionally distraught 4/c that the summer is right around the corner. More like over the cliff, and in between that is boards preparation, final exam studying and other random military obligations thrown in the mix. Welcome to the life of a military cadet!! By no means do I hate it here. The Academy gets the best of us that’s for sure, but I would not trade anything in the world for my spot here. You learn to work through the many challenges you face everyday in order to survive and make it to the next one. In the end you will be a better officer because you learned to work hard and not take anything for granted. By focusing on the little joys in life, the bigger ones just seem that much better.

 

Best of luck as you finish your senior year.

 



More about Cameo.

 

Privileges

(Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Cantrell Photo Privileges. What a great word. After ten months of squaring meals, listening to music through headphones, and writing notecards almost every time we leave our room, the fourth class were granted wardroom carry on, music out loud, and whiteboards on Wednesday. Wardroom carry on means that the fourth class are allowed to talk while they eat their food, look around, and not have to square. Basically eat normally. It seems simple, but when you get that taken away for nearly ten months it is an amazing privilege to get back. With these privileges motivating each and every one of us to push through the last two and a half weeks of school there is still much to accomplish.

 

This Saturday marks the date of the fourth class Boards, which is a test set up by the upper-class in which they test the fourth class knowledge of general Coast Guard information. Each fourth class is asked the same set of ten question relating to Coast Guard history, nautical flags, ranks and rates, distress signals, and much more and are only allowed to get two out of the ten wrong to pass. It is very nerve wracking, but I feel that the upper-class have been preparing us for this test ever since we reported in this summer and we will all do fine.

 

As I said earlier, summer is just around the corner and the “light at the end of the tunnel” is in full view. The fourth class have not found out what their summer assignments are for third class summer, but hopefully we find out in the next couple of days. I am really excited and nervous to know where I will be stationed for six weeks. With the end of the year quickly approaching we still have a lot to complete and stay focused on so that we can show the corps we are ready to take on the role of third class.

 

For anyone with last minute questions on what to pack for Swab Summer or what to expect, feel free to email me Sara.E.Cantrell@uscga.edu. We will all be leaving at the beginning of May and it will be much harder to get a reply so I would recommend sending your questions sooner rather than later. Finish the end of the school year strong!

 



More about Sara.

 

Honduras 2012

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2012) Permanent link
Glock Photo I am currently on my sixth volunteer service trip to Honduras. My first visit was exactly two years ago. It is amazing how much the village of Villa Soleada has changed and developed. When I first started, Students Helping Honduras (SHH) had already complete all 44 houses, a full-size soccer field, and had begun construction of the education center. Now, two years and six trips later, SHH has finished the education center and built an additional two children's homes, three water towers, four schools in nearby villages (with the goal of 1000 schools by 2020), a large garden for self-sustainability and income, a volunteer house for volunteers to live in (as opposed to staying at a nearby hotel), and many more projects.

 

I love returning to Villa Soleada because I am part of a family here. The children and the parents always remember me by name and I can see the excitement in their smile when I walk off the bus to greet them. I have grown especially close to one of the kids, Jorge, who I have known since my first trip here. I have not been to Villa Soleada in an entire year; I saw Jorge on Sunday and he is almost as tall as me! It is amazing coming back and seeing how the village and its people are growing.

 

It has been the hottest spring I have experienced here – about 120 degrees! Luckily, yesterday and today it has been rainy and a lot cooler out. Even though it is wet, it definitely makes working outside in the sun better. We spent Sunday mixing cement with shovels (the most fun way to mix cement!). My body is still recovering from that hard day! Our current project is building a three-roomed biligual school that will be an addition to the education center, and also building a wall around the perimiter of Villa to provide additional security to the villaje, which is in a dangerous part of Honduras. This extra security is needed especially since the childrens’ home has taken in kids from ophanages; Honduras is plagued with issues surrounding the treatment and kidnapping of orphans.

 

The week ended on a very high note. As a diverse group of college students from around the country, we certainly bonded very closely. We all share a unique experience that the vast majority of Americans have not and will not experience. With our teamwork and help from the locals, the bilingual school is now almost ready to have the roof put on, and the village wall has expanded to protect even more of the village. I cannot wait to return in June to see the progress of these projects.

 



More about George.

 

So Close!

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Krakower Photo Today we picked up our 3/c shoulder boards from the Clothing Locker. That may have been the greatest relief I have had yet at the Academy. It’s incredible how close we are to finishing! Despite remaining busy, the days continue to creep away one by one. The big challenges facing ahead of us 4/c now are Boards, coming up this Saturday, the 14th, and Challenge of the Guardsmen, which will be the Saturday after.

 

Boards are simply a test of our knowledge of all things Coast Guard. We get asked ten questions from our Running Light or Boards Supplemental Packet, totaling for about 150 pages of stuff. It will be quite stressful studying, but it will probably be a great relief once it is over. Challenge of the Guardsmen, formerly known as Challenge of the Guardian, is going to be a four and a half hour physical test with our new company mates for the next three years. I’ll get shotgunned out of Delta and into any of the other seven companies. It’s a mixed feeling to go out of Delta Company. While I do want to meet and know more of my classmates, these last nine or ten months have been nothing short of exceptional, and my fellow 4/c Delta Dawgs are greatly responsible for that, from Formal Room and Wings to Swab Summer to studying for tests, and everything in between. Granted, there will be three or four of them with me in my new company, but it certainly won’t be the same.

 

Lacrosse goes well, Idlers and Glee keep me busy, and as the academic year winds down, it is safe to say that these last two semesters have been by far the most challenging I’ve ever had. It’s amazing how much I have been able to do this year, despite the academics. Still, it’s been quite the adventure as a 4/c. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

 

2016…you’d best start getting ready for Swab Summer!

 



More about Samuel.

 

Returning from Breaks

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Bilodeau Photo Two of my good friends at the Academy, 4/c Lutton and 4/c Slife, came with me over spring break to visit my grandparents in Naples. We had a great time in the sun and at the beach. Spring break was the perfect time to relax and push off academics until returning. Following break, our spring volleyball season started. We have been practicing three days each week and we have a tournament this coming Saturday in Boston.

 

Academically, school has been going smoothly. Every week has its ups and downs. We are now studying for an oral indoctrination test that determines whether our class is granted official “carry on.” Last week we earned the privileges of listening to music out loud, writing on our whiteboards, and wardroom carry on. Wardroom carry on is a huge privilege because now we can look at our food and talk to other 4/c at our table.

 

Easter weekend I went home and saw my parents. It was frustrating coming back to the Academy because going home was a tease. I wanted to stay with my parents and sleep in my bed forever, but I knew I had to do my homework and get ready for a long week ahead. I do not look forward to the upcoming academic and military challenges but I know that 4/c year is almost over and hopefully we hear where our summer assignments are this week.

 



More about Christina.

 

Spring Break and a Half Marathon

(Athletics, Just for Fun, Class of 2014) Permanent link
Rudy Photo This month went by so quickly. I spent the first week this month on spring break with my three best friends. We went on a road trip from Vegas to Cali and it was such a nice break. The first day of leave we went to Hollywood where we randomly ran into a group of our classmates; it was so weird to see them when we weren’t expecting it. Then we went to Sea World one day and shopping on another day and drove back to Vegas where we went horseback riding and ended our spring break trip with an amazing Cirque Du Soleil show. After returning from break, I had only two weeks to get back into shape for my half marathon in Sleepy Hollow, New York. It was a struggle because I did nothing but eat and have fun over spring break. I finished the marathon in two hours and didn’t come in last, which were my two goals. I felt so accomplished to have finished my first half marathon and now I really want to do another one in the fall. I spent the rest of the month catching up on homework and studying!

 



More about Megan.

 

Stress and Stress Relief

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Subramanian Photo Today, Fourth Class cadets received wardroom carry-on! Now, the great class of 2015 is allowed to look at their meal as they eat, as well as being able to socialize with their classmates. It is only the first step of privileges for us, signaling the final stretch of an exhilarating year! It’s difficult to believe that exactly eight months ago, we were finishing up Swab Summer, with famous Sea Trials.

 

Boards are next weekend. Boards, the final indoctrination test for fourth class, are meant to prepare us for service in the operational Coast Guard during the summer. We still have not received word of our assignment for this summer, but everyone is anxiously waiting. With schoolwork and military obligations, I find myself stressed. I skip daily workouts sometimes in order to catch up on work. For example, I did not attend a pick-up basketball game Monday because of extra Chemistry studying. Luckily, I did very well on the test Tuesday morning, and I got right back on track that afternoon in working out.

 

At the Academy, there are three stars that cadets can earn to place on their uniform with excellent grades, outstanding military performance, or strong athletic skills. For the first semester, I earned the gold star for my grades. With the star, a cadet earns a long weekend (leave Friday evening and return Sunday night). I visited friends from high school at Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut. It was my first time visiting a civilian school since joining the Coast Guard last June. While I enjoyed spending time with my friends and having fun, I do not regret my decision at the Academy. The open gyms, open fields, and plenty of things to do are equal. I have the opportunity to be in a small class, where my classmates are my best friends. I can go to my instructors, who know me by my first name and always want to help out in academics.

 

I plan on attending plenty of softball and baseball games this spring, as the weather gets nicer. I got to see the softball team beat Roger Williams University 12-5, in a forfeit game. I also saw the men’s baseball team lose a heartbreaker by one run to Wheaton College. I will keep you all posted for upcoming games that I attend!

 



More about Kevin.

 

4c Boards

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Meyers Photo 4/c Boards are coming up soon. This means a few things. For one, we are going to start earning back privileges. It won’t be long before we can eat our food without squaring it, get to play music out loud, get Facebook back, and eventually get full carry-on. The other thing it means is studying studying studying. We essentially have to know all the indoc we learned over Swab Summer, all the indoc we learned first semester, and everything we learned this semester. On top of that, “The Mission,” which we’ve all had memorized from day one has to be recited with two upper class screaming in your ear.

 

The mission part doesn’t sound that hard, it’s not like I don’t have the mission permanently ingrained into my memory, but it’s surprisingly hard when you try it. One person could be screaming at you in one ear (which is actually easier to deal with) and the other could be whispering in the other. Sometimes somebody will say the mission with you, but go at a different pace or say different words to try and mess you up.

 

As far as the indoc goes, we’ve had “benchmark” tests on everything we’ve needed to know, and for the most part our class has done pretty well on them. It gives me hope that our class as a whole will do well when the official boards roll around. I’m pretty sure if 90% or more of our class passes boards, we officially get fully carry-on (don’t have to square) and are basically 3/c at that point. The craziest part of all of this is that fourth class year is coming to a close. It honestly seems like yesterday that Swab Summer started. So if you’re a future swab reading this, don’t worry, time flies.

 



More about James.

 

Billet Night!

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2012) Permanent link
Glock Photo Billet Night was one of the best days I have had at the Academy. I spent the entire day (and really entire prior month) being extremely nervous about where I was going. I have always wanted to go to flight school, and I was not sure if I would be selected for it or not.

 

Billet Night is a tradition when the graduating class is told what units they are being assigned to for the next two years. The process takes about two hours, and, of course, my name was not called until the very end. There were four groups of six called for flight school, and my group was called at the very end of the night. The wait was very stressful, but it was worth it when I heard my name called for flight school! My excitement at the moment cannot be explained with words – I could barely breathe.

 

I am excited to finally be able to start looking at places to live. Although, I first need to find a place to live near the Academy because I will be working in Admissions during the summer prior to reporting to flight training. There are too many of us to go through flight training all at once, so our admittance is staggered. I am happy with my assignment because it will be nice to have some time away from schooling.

 



More about George.

 

Sleeping

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Meyers Photo At this point in the year, the workload really starts to pile up. With boards coming up (a test of ALL our 4/c knowledge), classes coming to a close, and other obligations, the amount spent each day just relaxing starts to decrease. Don’t get me wrong, most days I don’t mind being busy, in fact, usually if I’m busy one day, it means I’ve done more than one day’s work and I can relax the next day. Unfortunately, that only works if you manage your time well. There are really two options to getting everything that needs to be done finished.

 

The first option would be to put everything off until the last minute, rushing to get it done then. I’ve tried doing work this way and all it leads to is an irregular sleep pattern, lower quality work, and a need for caffeine. By letting my workload and due dates dictate when and how I do my work, it actually adds stress to my day, and when I do this for multiple days, the lack of sleep can really add up.

 

The second option would be to plan ahead and use your free time wisely. Instead of totally relaxing every weekend and not doing any work, setting aside even a couple hours on a Sunday to do work to get ahead for the week can make a major impact on the rest of your week. One of my teachers put it this way. “Every weekend is a challenge. You can choose to get ahead, or let yourself get behind.” And this is true. You would think that giving up your few liberty hours to do homework would be awful, but in the long run, you’ll have more free time during the week. That way you can enjoy both your weekends and your weekdays.

 



More about James.

 

D.C.

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2012) Permanent link
Glock Photo I took a multi-day trip to D.C. with a group of Government majors. We sat in on many presentations and took several tours, including the Capital, Senate, House, original Supreme Court, and more. We also went to the DEA and the Intelligence University where I want to go for graduate school. In addition, we went to the State Department and receieved a tour of the reception rooms where Presidents and Secretaries have hosted guests for decades. This room, I learned, contains the original George Washington painting that is depicted on the one dollar bill. I also saw the original Treaty of Paris and stood in the same room that Hillary Clinton gave a speech in just a few hours later.

 

Government is the perfect major for me. I love having the oportunity to take trips like this, and there are not many colleges that afford the same unique opportunities (many of the special tours and presentations require a secret clearance).

 



More about George.

 

Three and a Half More Weeks

(Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Cardoza Photo It’s hard to piece together this year. It had its ups and it had its downs. Now that we only have a few more weeks left, Boards, finals, Challenge of the Guardian, Summer Assignments, everything is weighing us down heavily and we are all just ready for it to be over. Last night we had the Poetry Slam, where a poem from every class was read by its writer in a face off with all the other class’s poems, and it made me realize how much our class relies on each other. This year truly did bring us together closer as a class. Seeing everybody stand up and cheer for almost every poem that was presented while still maintaining our professionalism and respect for all the other performers was pretty nice to see. We all have each other’s backs no matter what we go through, and I have seen that develop throughout this year and it has been such a great experience to be a part of that! We see the end in sight and its gotten to the point where we are all motivating each other to keep going, to just finish out 4/c year. It’s been hard but only a few more weeks and then we will finally be done.

 



More about Samantha.

 

First Race of the Season!

(Athletics, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Driscoll Photo I know that I have written about almost every aspect of my life in my last few posts, but this one will be exclusively about crew. Yesterday, 31MAR2012, we had our first race of the spring season against Wesleyan University. We woke up around 0600 (on a Saturday when we could’ve slept in all day because there was no morning formation!) to ride the bus for an hour to Middletown, Connecticut. It was pretty wet and cold also, but I was so nervous I barely noticed.

 

I coxed two races: the Men’s Novice 4 and the Men’s Novice 8. (A four and an eight are just that: a boat with four rowers or eight rowers). A 2K is intense. We won in the four, but lost by two boat lengths in the eight, unfortunately. However, we know what we need to work on for the next race, after Easter. I wish I could put exactly how I feel about crew into words, but it’s almost impossible! If you come here, you’ll have to try it for yourself.

 

The two highlights of my day were getting the Wesleyan cox’s shirt and being told my 4/c Luke Carani (my stroke seat) that I did really well, and helped him push through the last 1000 meters of the race. It is a crew tradition that the winning team gets the t-shirts from the losing team, and vice versa. Now 4/c Bryce Monaco, 4/c Alex Kloo, 3/c Ben McKeathen, Luke, and I all have one win under our belt! I really want to win more! Hearing Luke tell me that I did a good job motivating him to finish his third race of the day (poor him!) paid off for all the work I’ve put into this season. From here, it’ll only get better…

 

Our next race is two weeks away. So, the cycle starts all over again! As always, email me at Peter.M.Driscoll@uscga.edu if you need anything.

 



More about Peter.

 

What About Weekends?

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Just for Fun, Class of 2014) Permanent link
Nelson Photo I always tell people, “This semester has been a blur. It’s gone by so fast!” And that never ceases to be true, however, I would say more realistically, “The days are long, and the weeks are short.” What I mean by that is, our daily schedules are so full of activities and classes that by the end of the day, I am often shocked that what I did that morning didn’t happen two mornings ago. For me this craziness can be overwhelming at times, and the weekends are definitely the time for me to relax from the previous week. This is where my sponsor family comes in.

 

I would highly, highly recommend signing up for a sponsor family for those of you interested in attending the Coast Guard Academy. It is like your family away from home. I have had mine since the end of Swab Summer, and they have been truly a blessing to spend time with. This past weekend, I got to spend the night with them on Friday and part of the day on Saturday, and it was nice to live in a normal home doing normal home things for a few hours. And also it was great to hear about someone else’s life outside of the Academy. For example, my sponsor brother got drafted for Little League baseball, and my sponsor sister has a dance recital that I am going to try to go to. For me having that type of tie to the outside world is really important and is something I think we cadets can forget about.

 

Another thing that I like to do on the weekends is go with friends to someplace away from the Academy grounds. For example, a few weekends ago, I went with a bunch of friends to their sponsor family’s house, and we hiked the woods behind the house for a few hours and watched movies in their basement. While these seem like trivial things to get so excited about, it is very important to keep up with normal life, even when academics and military obligations seem to be the brunt of the work.

 

The last thing is to keep up with any religious practices/church that you normally attend. I often see my friends and other cadets not going to church because they feel too bogged down by homework and other things. Academics are hard and demanding, but at the end of the day, what you pour your time into is what you value most. Learning can be fun and rewarding, but I cannot say that I value it above God, family and friends. This balance has been a tough one to learn, and I am by no means perfect at it. However, for those incoming swabs and even parents of them, make sure you work to keep up with those parts of your “civilian” life that you want to take with you, such as religion, family, and friends.

 



More about Jessica.

 

Hvala Belgrade

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2012) Permanent link
Wowtschuk Photo Hello Shipmates! I am writing this blog from the middle of an eleven hour trip back from Belgrade. Since, I know none of you know what that is, I will save you a Google search and tell you it is the capitol of Serbia. No not Siberia…Serbia…they are different places. Serbia is a country in the Balkans region of Europe (South East Europe), not in Russia (like my credit card company thought). We actually went to war there thirteen years ago…Who Knew?! (Some of the bombed out buildings still aren’t fixed).

 

Anyway, I went there to participate in a Model United Nations Conference, along with two other cadets from the Academy. We were three of only about ten Americans at the conference and we were the only ones who actually flew all the way from the States (the rest go to school in Europe). All of the other participants were from Europe, and the vast majority of the 270 total students at the conference were Serbian.

 

I’m not going to talk about the actual conference, but about the people I met while I was there. It is the people of Serbia and the people I worked with at the conference that made it an incredible experience. I would almost use the term life changing, but that’s pretty heavy. During my five days in Belgrade, I made some closer friends than I’ve made in the past four years at school.

 

My new favorite person in the world is a Serbia girl; I’ll call her Novi Sad. She is in the running for the most awesome person I have ever met. Extremely nice, incredibly cool, funny, down to earth, oh and did I mention beautiful. She made sitting in four hour straight committee sessions tolerable and sometimes even fun. She did everything in her power to help me…uh, make female acquaintances. I wish there was a way to repay her for her covert reconnaissance missions into gathering relationship statuses. I can’t even begin to thank her for all she did, I will never forget it.

 

I met a girl with the most beautiful name in the world, jet black hair, and gorgeous crystal blue eyes. Don’t worry, I told her. Дякую!

 

I ran into my ex-girlfriend at the conference too…well not exactly, but I did befriend a girl who looks just like her….except a lot prettier and not nearly as manipulative. (Note: the following is the best pick-up line I’ve ever used) “Hey, do you mind if I take a picture with you? You look just like a friend of mine.” It worked…sort of. Regardless, I couldn’t help but get lost in her deep round hazel eyes every time I spoke with her…an absolutely amazing girl.

 

I showed another girl a thing or two about American dancing, and rocked out to old school 90s hip-hop in a secret underground club. Apparently Wu-Tang is forever in Serbia.

 

I spent my last day walking around Belgrade on a spectacular day with literally the hottest girl I have ever met, AND also one of the sweetest. I don’t think I stopped smiling for six straight hours. This girl, who not only has supermodel good looks (she made it to the finals of a supermodel completion in Serbia. In Serbia! Where you see the most gorgeous girl you’ve ever seen every ten minutes), but she also still wanted to talk to me after I told her she was gorgeous…which being from NY, completely blew my mind.

 

In conclusion….I need to go back.

 

Fun Fact: It is not easy to spend $200 in Belgrade in six days…even if you try.

 



More about Bo.

 

The Final Stretch

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Martin Photo Wait… final stretch of 4/c year? I don’t believe it. But it’s true! Coming back from Spring Break and leaving family and friends behind was not my favorite, but, seeing the Chapel spire as you cross the bridge over the Thames, you realize that you are in the last stretch of the worst year and after this, it all gets better! Just one quarter left, yet we all know it will be the worst quarter. Cumulative finals, final papers and reports, presentations and oh… Boards. If you don’t know, Boards are the 4/c oral test to make sure that every 4/c knows basic sea knowledge, history and customs to be a functioning member of the operational Coast Guard on our summer assignments. It's what all the 4/c are stressing about and it will keep stressing us until about April 15th. Once we pass Boards, we have Challenge of the Guardsman, which is a version of Sea Trials that is meant to be our “cumulative event” of being a 4/c and transitioning into the small leadership position of a 3/c. We have a lot on our plates, yet we keep looking toward the finish line, well the break point, for we are never truly finished.

 

End of March and beginning of April is a pretty exciting time around here: the firsties find out where they will be stationed for their first assignment, 4/c start earning privileges like playing music out loud or wardroom carry on, and the corps is doing a lot of events. Last Friday we had the Ethics Forum, which is on a Friday where all the cadets go to sessions on ethics instead of classes. It is really good information on how to be an ethical leader in stressful and challenging situations. I went to three sessions, one by a retired Army Major General, one by a reservist Marine Corps Corporal working at Lockhead Martin, and one by a Navy Captain and distinguished pilot. All of their themes were the same, all with different sea stories, war stories, or business stories that tied it all together. With all of their experience, they wanted us to take away that being a moral and ethical leader is essential for the success of the organization, the unit, and the individual. It was a great day meeting and hearing from people that most others wouldn't be able to hear from. We also have Eclipse Week coming up which is a week dedicated to learning about the benefits of having a diverse organization. A lot of people complain about having to go to these trainings, but its one of those things that sets us apart from civilian schools in that who gets to hear from these amazing speakers in a small environment and learn how to be leaders from the best leaders.

 

Just four more weeks of classes! I’m so ready to get underway.

 



More about Matt.

 

Mjolnir

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Kekoa Photo I’m not sure what it feels like to be hit with Mjolnir, Thor’s war hammer, but if I had to take a guess, I’d say it feels like something similar to what us freshmen are feeling now.

 

The first semester, for the most part, was still a transition phase for the fourth class into the corps of cadets. All we had to worry about was staying on top of our academics, sports, extracurricular activities, military obligations, and remaining sane; the latter being most difficult. However, this semester, on top of the previously mentioned, freshmen are preparing for a test to earn our place among the ranks of the upper class. This test is known as “Boards.”

 

The dreaded B-word is an indoctrination test, consisting of 10 questions, 8 of which must be answered correctly. The questions are drawn from any and all required Coast Guard or military-related knowledge, so studying adequately is crucial. A board of upper class cadets will test you and the 3/C (sophomores) will serve as your guides during this process.

 

As a class, certain privileges will be given if boards are passed. Simple things such as looking at our food or relaxing in the hallway are at stake so there is added pressure that we all pass this beast the first time.

 

It is almost time for summer and as Jets linebacker, Bart Scott, once said, “Can’t Wait!”

 

Aloha.

 



More about Kody.

 

Looking Back

(Academics, Just for Fun, Class of 2014) Permanent link
Townsend Photo These last few months of school have been flying by, which brings joy to me because I am always looking forward to the future. However, sometimes I love to look back at everything that I have done and experienced, and I at some moments I am truly surprised by all that I have done. For instance, I never imagined in high school that I would be enrolled in the classes I am taking right now. I thought that AP Calculus was impossible in high school, and now I am taking Differential Equations; though I owe my success to all of my teachers that spend extra time with me whenever I struggle with topics. My life isn’t only academics though; I have been taking time out of my busy schedule to have fun, too.

 

Just in my recent past I went on spring break with my three best friends to Southern California and Nevada. It was an amazing event because I have only been to the West Coast twice, and it is great to spend time over there because it is such a different lifestyle. We did so much on spring break that I was exhausted when I returned to school. It was one of the best weeks of my life though, and I would not change anything about it if I were to do it again. The academic portion of the Academy can become very gruesome, but with the help of my friends and going out on trips like this, there is no doubt in my mind that I can make it through.

 



More about Brianna.