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cadet blogs

Top Five Experiences

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Engelhardt Photo Hello again.

 

As is often a common phrase now when I write my blogs, I had no intention for such a long delay between posts. If fall flew by, then winter was here and gone in a blink of the eye. As spring approaches the Academy, I wanted to take a moment and be reflective on the top five coolest things that the Coast Guard Academy has enabled me to do while I was a cadet. This place has given me so many once-in-a-lifetime experiences and that I wanted to take a quick moment to jot down just some of them.

 

5. Participate in an Inaugural Parade
The Coast Guard Academy sends a contingent every four years to march before the President in the Inaugural Parade. In 2013, I was fortunate enough to be selected for this honor, and got to drill with my piece, in downtown Washington, D.C. in front of the Commander-in-Chief. How cool is that?

 

4. Drive a Mercedes in the Military Bowl Parade
Noticing a theme here? The Military Bowl, held in Annapolis, Maryland, solicited for representatives from West Point, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard living in the capitol area to participate in the Military Bowl festivities. This event, which took place on my 22nd birthday, allowed me the privilege to drive the Mayor of Annapolis in the parade, meet Miss. America, escort Medal of Honor winners on the football field during the coin toss, and watch the game from the stadium’s luxury box. Talk about a day to remember!

 

3. Attend the U.S. Naval Academy
This is not a typo – through the Service Academy Exchange Program, which allows members of the service academies to exchange for a semester during their junior year, I was able to attend USNA in the fall of 2014. Although I am proud to say I will graduate from the Coast Guard Academy and serve in the U.S. Coast Guard, my experience at Navy allowed me to interact with peers who are going on to serve in the Marine Corps and Navy. This exposure was invaluable to me, and gave me an overall greater appreciation of not only the other naval services, but also the Coast Guard, as I learned more of the positive impacts my service has had on others.

 

2. Visit Exotic Locations on Eagle
Through my cumulative nine weeks aboard the Coast Guard Academy’s training cutter, I had the opportunity to visit three foreign nations, and five ports-of-call in the United States that I had previously never been to. Although it is hard to pick a favorite, I must say that visiting Bermuda in 2013 has certainly created a desire for me to plan a return trip.

 

1. Get My Dream Job Upon Graduation
When I reported to the Coast Guard Academy in 2012, it was hard for me to gauge how realistic of a goal it was for me to want to be a Coast Guard pilot upon graduation. However, with hard work and perseverance, it really is true that anything is possible. I am happy to report that on August 1, I will report to Pensacola, Florida for Naval Flight Training, and God willing, earn my wings in no more than two years. Although this last experience is a little bit of a cop-out, for those reading this, just know that no matter how hard the Coast Guard Academy is, the end reward, a commission in America’s finest seagoing service, is certainly worth it.

 

I hope you enjoyed my blog; it certainly has been enjoyable for me to relive the cool experiences the past four years have given me. If you have any questions, I invite you to email me at James.D.Engelhardt@uscga.edu. Until next time, Fair Winds and Following Seas, and always Go Bears!

 

More about James.

 

Goodbye 3/c Year, Hello Class of 2020

(Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Williamson Photo Just like that 3rd class year is over. It has been a year of change. I went from running track to playing rugby. I went from general education classes to major specific courses. I went from being a club member to president of Sustainability Club. I went from a follower to a role model. After everything this year I have learned two things: you have to find your own motivation and you have to embrace failure. If you can get knocked down and jump right back up, nothing will stop you.

 

While we are on the subject of motivation and failure, I would like to give a formal welcome to the Class of 2020! Your Swab Summer is rapidly approaching and I hope you are getting ready, physically and mentally. It is going to be tough (especially with the great Class of 2018 training you), but I am confident you will come out as a strong and unified class. After I swore in on my R-Day, my dad told me something that has stuck with me to this day: this summer may stink, and it may be difficult but in the end when you look back on your life, this summer will be one of your greatest memories. You should try to embrace every moment and appreciate what you are a part of.

 

Other than that, I can give you basic advice. 1. Make sure someone sends you food weekly. That is all I asked for in my letters home. 2. Write letters. Bring stamps and paper! You are going to want to write home. 3. Bring a picture of your family and friends. Remember who you are doing this for. Just seeing their faces helps. 4. Don’t quote me on this but, don’t worry about the socks. Just get a pack of socks that you actually want to wear (for me that would be Nike mid-calves). It is one little personal thing you can get away with.

 

If you have seen the new Coast Guard movie “The Finest Hours” (if not, I would watch it before Swab Summer), there was an actor in it playing Coast Guardsman Mel Gouthro. He was the one who was too sick to go out in the boat with the rest of the team. I met him before Swab Summer and he is a great man with a lot of good advice. The most impactful thing he said to me before I went off was: “When you get there, look to the left and look to the right. The guy next to you is doing it, so there is no reason you can’t do it, too. And hundreds of people before you have done it, so there is no reason you can’t do it. Never willingly let anyone be better than you. Always make them earn it.”

 

So, once again 2020, good luck. I am going to be a waterfront cadre. If you remember me and tell me you read my blog, I might have a small prize for you. Go 2018, Go 2020, and Go Bears!

 

More about Cody.