Skip Navigation Links
APPLY | LOGIN | PERSONALIZE | PARENTS | PROSPECTIVE CADETS | VIRTUAL TOUR | ESPAÑOL | SEARCH
FacebookFlickrTwitterYou Tube
CADET BLOGS

cadet blogs

Aboard Eagle: Fleet Week, OpSail and Memories

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Martin Photo Our first port call after being aboard Eagle has arrived and we finally get a rest, even though it’s not really a rest because we are in New York City! My parents came up all the way from Arizona to spend some time with me and to see Eagle. We are in New York for Fleet Week but also as a part of OpSail, which happens every 4 or 5 years bringing together as many Class A sailing vessels left in the world as possible (there are only 27 left).

 

Eagle so far has been quite the experience. It is a slave ship, just like in Pirates of the Caribbean. We get woken up in the middle of the night in the midst of a storm to climb 100 feet up a slippery, waving mast to put up sails. If you don’t get to do that, then you are on deck pulling on lines tearing your freezing cold hands to pieces and slipping and sliding on the deck. It’s a blast. We can all complain about how we have to wake up for our 0400 to 0800 duty standing at the lookout with pouring rain and 50 knot gusts of wind, or we can think about it as “Who gets to do this anymore?” As cadets we find ourselves asking that question a lot, but usually it is in the form of “Who in their right mind does this?” It is challenging to wake up for those early morning duties or to try and focus on getting sign offs done for your qualifications because it is hard to see the point of doing it. Since Eagle is a training vessel, it has no other mission than to look good and to use us as slave labor to keep it looking good. It is important to learn the basics of the Coast Guard and expand our nautical knowledge and Eagle is good for that. However, for seeing the bigger picture of how am I contributing to the Coast Guard or bettering my community, I’m not, I am just getting this experience to improve my basic knowledge of the sea. It does suck sitting in the Engine Room for a week, or cleaning dishes in the scullery for a week, or even sanding and painting for a week, but it is all an experience.

 

The fun on Eagle comes from the people you are with and the friends you make and the ports you get to see. We have New York City, Norfolk next, and Baltimore to finish. New York City has been a blast with my parents. We got some free tickets to see a Broadway show because I was in uniform and we saw another show the next night. We ate too much good food that I won’t be able to forget when I am eating the Eagle chow (which actually isn’t too bad). We saw the 9/11 Memorial, which we also got to skip the lines for because of me being in uniform and I also got free transportation with the buses and subways so that was great, too. I’m not looking forward to getting back on Eagle, but I am looking forward to the memories I will make on board.

 



More about Matt.

 

Port O’Connor, Texas

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Driscoll Photo Hello to all my readers from a little fishing village on the Intercoastal Waterway (ICW) in Texas. I’m one week into my first phase summer assignment to Coast Guard Station Port O’Connor, Texas. And I’m glad to say that it’s turning out to be a lot better than I expected!

 

I stayed an extra week at the Academy for a crew regatta, namely ECACs. Staying in Chase Hall an extra week without carry-on was miserable; I would not go through it again. I think the worst part was knowing that all my friends out in the fleet were doing cool things and performing all kinds of Coast Guard missions. At ECACs, we did not do well. The crosswind was terrible, and it messed me up, both mentally and with my steering. In the petite finals, I drifted into the big, orange 500 meter buoy, and effectively stopped the boat. We recovered nicely after that, but still lost. At least I got to leave that weekend, after ECACs, for Texas. Flying to Texas was a daylong ordeal. I had three flights and two long layovers. At least US Airways bumped all uniformed personnel up to first class while flying into Houston! Finally, I arrived in the middle of nowhere to begin my five-week experience.

 

It has been a blast (so far). After checking in to my station, I got right to work. This summer, we are supposed to qualify as “communications watch-standers” and work on getting sign-offs for boat crewmember qualifications. “Communications watch-stander” (comms w/s) is a fancy way of saying you are qualified to operate the radio and respond to different scenarios on Channel 16, etc. My biggest mistake was saying “over AND out” at the end of transmissions. In the fleet, despite what you see on TV, “over and out” is a joke: “over” means that you want a response, and “out” means that you are done with the transmission. (Putting the two together cancels them out, and you look like an idiot.) Breaking in as comms w/s is really boring, because you have to get sign-offs on different qualification standards while standing four-hour watches. Even though it’s boring, you never know when you are going to get a distress call over the radio. (There have been a few close calls while I stood watch…)

 

In addition to comms w/s, we are supposed to be working on boat crewmember qualifications as well. Here in Port O’Connor, the station’s assets include a 41-foot UTB, three 25-foot Defender-class RBS, and a 24-foot shallow-water boat. Getting underway (u/w) on these boats is a lot of fun, but also requires a lot of work. So far, I’ve seen a little bit of what these boats can do. One night, we did helicopter operations (helo ops) out on the training flats. It was cool to see how the helo dropped the basket to the boat, especially when it was pitch-black out. On another day, I went along with a boarding team to observe a high-interest vessel (HIV) boarding. The ship we boarded had recently visited a rather unfriendly country; when we boarded, we swept the vessel for any threats and checked all the crew’s passports. For safety, I stayed with the boarding officer and checked logs and passports. It was still pretty cool. My goal is to get u/w at least once a day, so I can start getting sign-offs for boat crew.

 

The next few weeks will be busy, but I’ll make sure to have lots of fun. During that time, I will be out of touch, but don’t hesitate to ask questions of anyone as 2016 gets ready for Swab Summer. For those of you lucky to get appointments, I would highly recommend running at least twice a day (especially when it is hot) and drinking lots of water. I hope you all know the mission like the back of your hand. Good luck, and see you when the Corps returns in August!!

 



More about Peter.

 

Perseverance

(Academics, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Chavarria-Aguilar Photo So, I've unfortunately learned yet another lesson the hard way, and as the end of the semester approaches ever so quickly, I am struggling to get my grades where I want them. In all honesty, this semester has been one heck of a ride with many ups and plenty of downs. I like to describe my spring finals as something of a blur, which usually happens when everything starts to run together. I just hope I did well enough to reach my own goals. There is no doubt that our academics are challenging, and it can sometimes be easy to settle for mediocrity; however, I try to maintain a high standard for myself. Unfortunately, I now have to teach myself to accept the fact that I may not have reached that standard this time around, but that everything will be okay nonetheless. I urge whoever is reading this to do the same. Learn from your failures and aim to improve next time. If you do not get an appointment, but still wish to attend the Academy, keep working for it. Your perseverance will pay off in the end.

 

On a completely different note (a much lighter one at that), the crew team did a fantastic job at the New England Championships. I'm proud of everyone, especially the novice ladies of Emerson. We had a fantastic season as the tiniest crew Coast Guard has ever witnessed; congratulations to everyone. I'm looking forward to tearing up the Thames again next season!

 

With my fourth class year nearly behind me, I have much to look forward to here. It is difficult to describe how arduous this year has been, and they often say fourth class year is the hardest. However, I sometimes get the feeling that phrase is only true in certain aspects. I guess we will have to wait and see.

 



More about Alexis.

 

April Showers and Busy Hours (Part Two)

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Sherman Photo So where does this all put me? I’ve now been in the Coast Guard for roughly ten months, the whole time living at the Academy. For about ten months I’ve been a 4/c cadet: braced up, squaring, keeping my eyes in the boat, doing clocks, knowing indoc, taking out trash, cleaning the passageways, standing watch. So, the question for me is, “so what?” Honestly, I’m having trouble thinking of something to write. (That’s a new one for me!)

 

I can definitely say that 4/c year went by extremely quickly. It’s incredible to think that it’s over, and in a few short days (after graduation), I’ll be a 3/c cadet! I’ll have full carry on, and all the duties that once fell on me will now fall to the class of 2016. We won’t be the “little ones” anymore; we’re going to be the mentors, the ones that the 4/c look to for guidance and help. It’s exciting, that’s for sure.

 

It’s fun to think about what I was doing a year ago at this time. Last May I had just finished my AP exams, and with three weeks of school left, I was basically riding it easy (class-wise); I was also tying up loose ends and prepping my successors for the clubs that I ran. I was planning summer get-togethers with friends—those one-more-time-before-I-leave-for-the-summer/Academy meetings and coffee breaks and breakfasts, lunches, and dinners that seemed to keep popping up right up until I left for Swab Summer. I was planning a graduation party with two of my friends. I was hitting the gym harder, running farther and faster, and psyching myself up for the intense summer that lay ahead—less than 50 days to go! Wow, I was really excited for Swab Summer! It seemed like the Academy came up in every conversation (much to the annoyance of my friends, I’m sure). Every day I eagerly checked the mail for any new information—the packing list, the company assignments, the R-Day agenda—anything that would bring me one step closer to the Academy. I had never been so excited to go out and buy tube socks!

 

Perhaps what is giving me such an issue with this reflection is the fact that being a 4/c just kind of…ended. There was no big celebration, no culminating event. Basically one day I was at the Academy squaring, etc. and the next I was out in the fleet. My friends and classmates had been scattered across the country—there was not congratulating or cheering. Anticlimactic is probably the best word for it. I’m sure the excitement of seeing the new swabs/fourth class in August will be enough of a celebration—then we will officially, 100%, never-be-a-fourth-class-again, 3/c cadets!

 

One thing I learned about the Academy that I would not have been able to understand until I was actually there is that time moves so quickly there yet at the same time, it seems like ages have passed. Thinking back to first semester, or even the beginning of the second semester, the Academy seems so different. Again, this is hard to explain exactly what I mean, so I apologize for that.

 

As I hope you’ve been able to tell from my blogs, I have had a fantastic time over the past year. I can say—although it’s been said so many times before—that I’ve made many friends, learned loads of information, and had awesome opportunities. But my past year has to get more than that boring sentence. Of course, it is hard to put ten months’ worth of experiences into a few short words.

 

I also don’t have an overwhelming sense that I’ve changed (on the inside). Sure, maybe my parents and friends may see some changes, but I don’t feel like a new, different, or improved person. OK, so I now have more knowledge in areas I didn’t have before—specifically with regards to military customs and procedures—and I am more aware of certain actions (such as walking and talking on the cell phone or eating while wearing a hat). Yet there is still that “but…”. I just can’t place my finger on what follows that conjunction.

 

Swab Summer was a challenge, but I still had an unbelievably fun time! 4/c year was difficult, but I overcame the obstacles and managed to enjoy myself in the process. The past few months were certainly not all fun and games, but I am so pleased to be at the Academy. Not once have I second guessed my choice to come here (as opposed to a civilian college). Eh, so I had a few more parameters to follow than most college students, but my experiences this year—as well as the ones in my future—were (and are) absolutely worth giving up some of the “perks” of civilian college life.

 

With that I say so long. To the class of 2016, good luck! And to all the rest, have a great summer!

 



More about Justin.

 

Last Blog as a Cadet

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2012) Permanent link
Shih Photo Tonight is my last night in Chase Hall, and my last blog as a cadet. In one day my life will experience a drastic change, and I will be a commissioned officer in the United States Coast Guard. Even now, I don’t think this has sunk in, and everything feels like it is happening so quickly. The past few weeks have been filled with trainings, celebrations, and ceremonies. I have seen my swabs put on their white shields as they prepare to become cadre…it’s been a giant storm…all of it leading to the Class of 2012’s final culminating experience; graduation.

 

Truth be told, it all feels rather abrupt. After graduation we are all going our separate ways, and I might not see some of my best friends for months or even years. One of my buds is going to flight school in Pensacola, Florida, another will be an intelligence officer in Boston, Massachusetts, yet another a deck watch officer in Astoria, Oregon. I myself am going to be a Student Engineer in Alameda, California aboard the CGC Bertholf. Funny though…I won’t be in Alameda for the first five months I report in. Our cutter is going on an Arctic support mission, and will be gone for a good period of time.

 

I packed up my room completely today, and it is amazing the flood of memories I have had as I have gone through all my things. The experiences I have had at the Academy are unforgettable, and I cannot believe how much the past four years have shaped me as a person. There is too much to say at this point, and how I feel right now is difficult to put into words. Such a strong mixture of excitement, sadness, and anxiety…There are so many different people I want to thank for getting me to this point, and I am disappointed I won’t have time to let everyone know exactly and how much they have impacted me.

 

To anyone reading this final cadet blog, especially potential cadets, I would highly recommend this place to anyone who wants to have an incredible college experience. When I was a senior in high school it was between the Coast Guard Academy and UC Santa Barbara, and I am glad I picked CGA. This place is not perfect by any means, but I don’t think it is meant to be. It is meant to be a challenge, and shape young men and women who can work under pressure and stress. Sometimes I was dumbfounded with some decisions made at the Academy, but looking at back, there might be some method to the madness.

 

What the Academy has given to me is hard to describe, because it hasn’t been a joy ride. But if I think about the most emotional moments in my life, almost all of them have been during my time in the Coast Guard Academy.

 

It has been quite a journey these last four years, and I am amazed how much I have grown. There is still more growing to do though…there always is. Thanks for reading, and if anyone has any questions for me I would gladly answer them at cshih31@gmail.com.

 

Good luck to the rest of the Corp as they continue their Academy experience!

 



More about Chris.

 

April Showers and Busy Hours (Part One)

(Academics, Just for Fun, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Sherman Photo I really need to start writing more often because so much happens within the course of a month that it makes these blogs really long. Not to mention I probably forget to mention some things (and now that school’s out, and I am in the midst of my summer training—CGC Thunder Bay out of Rockland, Maine—it’s even harder to remember what I wanted to write. I have a few notes, so here it goes.

 

Let me first start by saying that my April blog will probably not be as detailed as my March blog (and hopefully as long). While I really enjoy writing about all the little things that enrich my personal cadet experience, I also want to stay focused on the big picture of cadet life—lessons learned, words of advice or caution, funny stories, etc.

 

I’ll give a rundown of the exciting events of April (as jam-packed as March) and then move to a reflection on 4/c year (Part Two).

 

April Fools’ Day (a Sunday) – I didn’t play any pranks or have any played on me. I’m bummed about that. On a different note, my friend, also named Justin, and I taught Sunday school (Protestant) that morning!

 

CGA Plasma Lab – This past semester I’ve been working with one of the professors—Lieutenant Commander James—on a directed study lab that involves assisting him in his experiments. I had the opportunity to present at a symposium in Gaithersburg, Virginia (near Washington, D.C.) sponsored by Directed Energy Professional Society (DEPS). My lab partner, 2/c Nolan, and I also spoke about our semester’s work at the Academy’s undergraduate research symposium that occurred following the last day of classes.

 

Wardroom carry on – We earned the privilege to look at our food and talk to one another in the wardroom (cafeteria)! It may not seem like a big deal, but after practically nine straight months of not doing so, it’s definitely a treat! Other privileges include being allowed to listen to music out loud. Again, something that seems minor, but after not doing it for a long time, it’s exciting!

 

Easter weekend – Long weekend! (We don’t have to stay over in Chase Hall). I visited my aunt and cousins in Hartford and went to a Passover Seder. On Easter Sunday, I went to services at Groton Bible Chapel and then celebrated with a fantastic dinner at Leann Strickland’s house (she is the Blog Club Advisor); I definitely felt like part of the family!* This was my first Easter (and holiday for that matter) away from home; sorry Mom, but I didn’t feel a bit homesick at all. The family atmosphere at the Academy is awesome!

*Sponsor families: Speaking of support systems, I don’t think I’ve mentioned my sponsor family or the sponsor family program! Kind of a HUGE part of cadet life I’ve neglected! So there is a program for all cadets in which they are paired with a family that lives in the area of the Academy. This family opens their home (and fridge and car) to their sponsor cadet(s), and basically acts as a home away from home. Leann is a sponsor parent, but she’s not mine (she invited me and a few other cadets because we’re bloggers). My sponsor parents are Guy and Thena, and they are great! I’ve been over to their house several times, and I definitely consider it my home away from home!

 

Forums – During the month of April there were two forums that took place at the Academy. The first was the Conference on Leadership in the Arctic. Because much of the conference took place during the school day, I was only able to watch a short bit of it—it was streamed lived! There was also a Corps-wide lecture on the first night of the conference.

 

The other forum was the Sustainability Forum sponsored by the sustainability club. Scientists and other environmental agencies attended; there was a panel discussion, keynote speaker, and, for each of the organizations, booths with information and recent project summaries.

 

Sustainability Club – While I’m on the topic of sustainability, at the end of the school year, two other cadets and I worked with the upper class club leaders for the sustainability club so that next year we could be the leaders of the club. I’m excited to be co-leading a group and to complete our first project—a promotional video!

 

New places – We received our summer assignments. I am stationed on USCGC Thunder Bay (140 foot) out of Rockland, Maine. This location was my first choice, so I’m pretty happy with the assignment. I’ll be on the T-Bay for six weeks and then will go to Eagle for another six. We will be along the East Coast, and my parents plan to come see the ship!

 

The 4/c cadets were also assigned their new companies, the companies we’ll be in for the next three years. I’m in Foxtrot. Pretty excited for next year and being a 3/c!

 

Finals and packing out – We had final exams and also had to pack out of our room for the summer. Everything had to fit into two trunks and two Tupperware bins. I was actually surprised at how easy it was to fit everything. The upper-class cadets say it only gets harder…

 

Well, there you have a not-as-short-as-I-planned description of my last month as a 4/c cadet at the Academy.

 

Check out Part Two for the reflection part of my April blog.

 



More about Justin.

 

3c Year: Sparknotes Edition

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2014) Permanent link
Yin PhotoCharacter List
Me
My family and friends
LCDR Andrea Parker: Dept. of Management, Asst. Professor

 

Analysis of Major Characters
Without the help from my family, friends, and mentors I would not have been able to get through 3/c year successfully. I want to thank them for supporting me through my journey here and encouraging me to keep chugging along. Without my friends at the Academy, I would probably go crazy! They are the ones I laugh with, struggle with, and vent with when I am having a bad day. One individual who has helped me immensely this year is LCDR Andrea Parker, my former Leadership and Organizational Behavior instructor. I initially sought her out for help academically and personally because of her outgoing personality and humbleness but now she is a mentor and like a second mom to me. I can go to her for anything and know that she will listen and follow up with me the next week to see if things are going better. She is a great officer who cares for cadets’ well being and learning.

 

Important Quotations Explained
“Be yourself
Be humble
Be accountable
Be courageous
Be the change you want to see in the world”
                                     - Chris Howard, President, Hampden-Sydney College

During Eclipse Week, a weeklong event that brings officers and community members to the Academy to discuss cultural diversity at the Academy and in the fleet, Mr. Howard spoke about “Leadership and Character”. His speech topic is not uncommon to the Academy family considering that the Academy’s mission centers on the core of “building leaders of character”, but his words have been engrained into my day-to-day life. The 5 “be’s” to being a good leader starts from within. One must know who they are and what they believe in before they try to influence someone else.

 

Summary and Analysis
Nine months ago I was comparing my schedule with my roommate to see if we had any of the same classes (unfortunately we did not), and now I’m studying for my last 3 finals of 3/c year! It’s funny how the days are slow but the weeks are fast. Looking back at how much I have grown this past year is incredible. I have not only conquered difficult engineering classes I thought I was going to fail in the beginning of the semester, but I have also nurtured growing friendships with my classmates. I have gotten closer with my friends by going on long weekends with them and even painting pride rock. 3/c year is especially difficult because it is a year of transition. Often we feel like the “forgotten” class because the 3/c role is not as defined as the other class’s roles. The spotlight is no longer on you as it was 4/c year and we’re not the leaders of the Corps like the firsties. However, 3/c year is the beginning of the leadership journey, as you are no longer defined as a “follower” but as a “role model”.

Looking forward to 2/c summer I am excited to put on white shields, but with “great power comes great responsibility” (Spiderman says it best). As cadre, I will have the opportunity to develop and teach the next generation who has the potential of culturally changing the Academy. Come to think of it, this is a daunting feat but with the help of the firsties in charge and my fellow classmates, we will be able to conquer 2/c summer together!

 

Quiz
Just kidding! :)

 

Suggestions for Further Reading
Stay tuned for another blog entry this summer! Thanks for reading and to those who have accepted their appointments to the Class of 2016, best of luck!

 



More about Carol.

 

Looking Forward

(Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Hoburg Photo It’s about 1600 on 02 May 2012 and what do you know, having just finished my last final exam, I am academically done with 4/c year. Wow! I can’t believe it’s over; time has gone by so fast. No doubt has it been a long journey but it has been more than worth it. Everything I have learned and the friendships I have developed are more than worth the numerous challenges that I faced this year. Now that I am done with school, I have to begin packing everything out of my room and preparing for my summer training assignment. This summer I got assigned to six weeks at Coast Guard Station Sandy Hook, New Jersey. I got co-located with some really good friends so I am very excited for the assignment. After six weeks there I will spend six weeks aboard USCGC Eagle where we will be sailing from Baltimore, Maryland making our final destination in Halifax where I will disembark and head home for three weeks of leave. It sure is going to be an amazing summer.

 

But looking forward from our summer, I am really excited to move on to the next stage in my cadet career. 3/c year is a huge improvement from 4/c year as far as standard of living is concerned. We also have a pretty significant change as far as our role in the corps. Our primary job as 3/c is to guide and mentor the incoming 4/c of the class of 2016. Wow, I can’t believe it. If you are an incoming member of 2016 or a parent of one, I want to assure you that my classmates and I are extremely well prepared and excited to mentor you in the coming year. We have all worked really hard to prepare ourselves to guide you through the challenges that you will face your 4/c year and we will continue to work hard to make your 4/c year the best experience possible. It’s going to be challenging but really that’s the only way to improve. Feel free to email me if you have any questions going into R-Day or about anything Academy-related. Shoot, I’ll even tell you what my favorite food is if you really want to know. Adam.J.Hoburg@uscga.edu.

 

“The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man be perfected without trials.”
- Danish Proverb

 



More about Adam.

 

And Away We Go!

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Krakower Photo And finally, the end of the academic year! Granted, this one ended…differently than I had expected, but nevertheless, it is over. I’ve found out my Summer Assignment (Station Dauphin Island, Alabama, Eagle Phase 2) and my new company (Echo!). We will officially be getting our 3/c rank and shoulder boards when the Firsties graduate, which is May 16. Some stations do ceremonies; I’m hoping mine does one. It’d be really cool for that to happen, to get recognized for the hardest year of my life.

 

Looking back on my 10+ months in the Coast Guard, it’s been the roller coaster I had expected it to be. From formals to drill to lacrosse to Idlers, and everything in between, it’s just been a wild ride. Coming back next year without having to do any of the odd tasks of bracing up, squaring meals, well, that will be just great! However, it’s important to note that the role of the 3/c is to mentor the 4/c, so I’ll be sure to just that.

 

To members of 2016: Stay strong during Swab Summer! It’s a tough, mentally and physically challenging seven weeks, but I promise, you’ll get through it. One day at a time. Good Luck!

 



More about Samuel.

 

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Cantrell Photo Well, I never thought this day would come and yet here it is. The last day of school my fourth class year! I have reached the light at the end of the tunnel! It is a great feeling to have all of the weight pulled off of your shoulders even though it will be dumped back on in a few months. Although I still have finals and fourth class duties, classes are over for the cadets. This is a bittersweet time at the Academy; I am really excited to have accomplished the rigors of my first year, but I know that I will be leaving my best friends for fifteen weeks. I never thought I could miss someone so much, but this year and this semester I have made so many best friends that it will be hard to be apart for so long.

 

This summer I got Station Charleston, South Carolina, which I am REALLY excited about! I am going with another fourth class girl and I know we are going to have a lot of fun. At the station, I hope to obtain as many qualifications I can, but I am most excited to get out into the fleet and see our missions underway. After six weeks in South Carolina, I will be on the Eagle for six weeks departing from Baltimore, Maryland and arriving in Halifax, Nova Scotia with three stops along the way. This is Eagle’s 2012 schedule to let everyone know when and where the Eagle will be in port. If you live close by it would be a great opportunity for you to come aboard and get a tour of the ship. There is a lot of history behind Eagle but it is currently the Coast Guards’ cadet training vessel. After Eagle, I get three weeks of leave where I will be soaking up all the sun I can get in Florida before coming back to the Academy in mid-August. I know this summer is going to be filled with experiences and fun and I cannot wait to go!

 

I believe this will be my last post until August (unless I find time at my station) so, to the class of 2016, I wish you all the best with Swab Summer. Remember that you would not have been chosen if they didn’t believe you have what it takes to get through. The class of 2015 went through it last summer and in one VERY FAST year you will be on your way to a summer assignment. Stay strong, make lots of friendships, and most of all believe in yourself and know that every cadet before you and after you will go through the same thing. If you have any last minute questions do not be shy to email me! I had lots of questions when I was packing and I recommend that if you’re not sure what to bring you should ask because you don’t want to be find out you were wrong when you get here (trust me…it won’t be pretty). Good luck and I will see everyone in August!

 



More about Sara.

 

New Semester: Rising and Falling as a Team

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2014) Permanent link
Lukasik Photo It’s been a rough semester for the Class of 2014. Second semester is always a bit of a slog, what with the Dark Ages hitting in full force until March, schoolwork piling up beyond reason, and the training calendar filling up faster than we can keep track of. But Spring 2012 has dealt my class an atypically harsh blow – a test of our ability to maintain our standards of integrity, leadership, and resolve through hard times. It’s a test we’ve clearly struggled to pass, with grave results.

 

As the semester dawned back in January, we returned to school to see a number of our classmates sent home from CGA permanently for misconduct; namely the use of synthetic marijuana. It was sharp blow right at the heart of our class’s spirit. Around that same time last year, we were going through Mock Boards, readying ourselves for real 4/c Boards, going through 101st Night, and beginning to earn the first of our privileges. That same time last year was a time of coming together, of triumph and pride for 2014. We were positive beyond any doubt that we were the best class the Academy had ever seen…but that confidence, rather than deteriorating into arrogance, only fueled our work ethic and forward momentum. This year seems an ironic turnaround, and heartbreak. As we watched our classmates depart in January, the Class of 2014 was struck with uncertainty and doubt. We know we are bound to the Core Values, the Cadet Regulations, and all the other codes of conduct that guide us through our Academy training; thus, we know that our classmates who committed grievous conduct offenses legitimately had to be disenrolled. Yet, looking at the people we had to lose from “Team 2014,” it’s hard not to think, “But…they’re such good people! They made a mistake, but they still could have become fantastic officers in the long run…

 

Of course, like the troopers we are, our class took the hit, mourned our losses, and quickly began to heal and try to move on. The Class Council took great initiative in reviving class morale and involvement by spearheading a project to make our 3/c Formal unforgettable. And the results were fantastic. 2014ers not only conducted themselves excellently and showed that we truly were “a Class with class” but also kept the evening full of energy and good-spirited fun. From the formal recognition and thanking of CAPT O’Connor at the dinner, to the inclusion of the Conn College Class Council in the evening, to the welcoming of guests from outside, to the innovation and creativity that went into planning the event as a whole, 3/c Formal seemed to prove once and for all: the Class of 2014 really had its head and its heart in the right place.

 

And then, April rolled around. Then, 4/c Boards rolled around…

 

As 3/c, our role in the 4/c Indoctrination Boards process is to train the 4/c to ensure that they have adequate knowledge to pass their 10-question, oral indoc examination at the end of the semester. The Classes of 2014 and 2015 had been working well together since early in the semester to prepare, with 3/c quizzing and reviewing with the 4/c in their divisions regularly, and some cadets even taking initiative to run group study sessions the night before Mock Boards or indoc quizzes. All seemed to be going smoothly. Both Classes went into the first round of Boards on April 14th excited and confident…

 

But then, scandal broke out. Someone got caught cheating on Boards. In fact…a lot of people got caught cheating on Boards.

 

At first, word got out that the cheating was primarily within the Class of 2015. Rumors started going around…that one of the 4/c who had already taken their Board went down to the wardroom to “tip off” their classmates who still waited for their exams. Allegedly a note card of the questions and answers on the exam was passed around. We of the Class of 2014 were struck with sympathy for the majority of the 4/c, who would undoubtedly suffer and lose the results of their hard work due to the mistakes of a few of their classmates. But then further developments to the story came to light…the cheating wasn’t limited to the 4/c. The Class of 2014 had aided them. A number of 3/c, having already accompanied their division 4/c through Boards, also returned to the wardroom to “quiz” other 4/c on the precise questions they would be asked in their Board. The sympathy we, as 3/c, had felt turned to shame. We were implicated in the cheating scandal as well. We too were the guilty party.

 

It’s seemingly unthinkable that an incidence of cheating could be this widespread at CGA – isn’t Honor supposed to be one of our Core Values? While we all recognize that it was not the majority of either 2014 or 2015 that was involved – in fact, it was a distinct minority of each class that even so much as bore witness to the occurrence – that these select few were able to cause such a disturbance in the development of our classes was both disheartening and disturbing. It shows a failure of teamwork. It shows a failure of integrity. It shows a failure of leadership. At the same time last year that we experienced our greatest triumph – the completion of Challenge of the Guardian and the winning of full carry-on as a class – we now face three weeks of restriction as a class in retribution for our serious breach of the honor code. And more daunting than the punishment, we face a new challenge – how do we address this lapse in the Class of 2014’s progress? How do we come together again as a team to correct this mistake?

 

What I think we must recognize, first off, is that a single failure of teamwork, a single failure of integrity, and even a single failure of leadership by no means represents in insurmountable failure overall. We must address each shortcoming as an isolated incident – one that we can reflect upon, learn from, use as an example in the future, but not one that we should carry with us as a burden throughout our cadet careers. The incident represents a failure – but we, as a class, are not a failure. Perhaps our confidence coming out of our 4/c year was just a bit too high – we have learned, through this semester, that we are not beyond reproach. We are not angels, or automatons, or saints, or machines – we are humans (still fairly young humans at that), and if we let our guard down, we will make mistakes. Our confidence – our overconfidence? – has been shaken, toppled even. It’s time to build it back up on a stronger foundation than we originally laid down, a foundation of experience, wisdom, prudence, and uprightness.

 

As we go into 2/c Summer, I think that the Class of 2014 is, in a peculiar way, uniquely prepared for the leadership challenges we will face as cadre. We know what it is like, and what it takes, to succeed as a team; yet, we also know what it is like, and how deceptively easy it can be, to fail as a team. We can use that knowledge and pass it on to the Class of 2016 so that hopefully they can experience the same glory of our triumphs without the woes of our failures. I know the Class of 2014 is up to the job. We’ve risen as a team, we’ve fallen as a team, time and again. It’s time to rise once more – and this time, for good.

 



More about Jessie.

 

Where For Art Thou, Summer?

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Gurtler Photo The school year has come and gone so quickly, I am left wondering where it went. As of twenty minutes ago, I am officially done with classes for the 2011-2012 academic school year. Although this is a tremendous load off of my chest, I still have four finals next week. My mom keeps telling me to be that “Little Engine that could” and keep chugging along. All I can respond is with a sarcastic, “Aye Aye, Mom.”

 

On another note, I have a summer ahead of me that is sure to be exciting and full of new experiences. I am beyond thrilled by the opportunity to venture out into the fleet. I have been assigned to go underway on USCGC Eagle for the first six weeks of summer, Station Oak Island, North Carolina for the following six, and then home to Wisconsin for the final five. My friends and teammates joke that I might actually get a tan while living near the beach this summer!

 

Additionally, the 4/c were informed which company we will be in for our remaining three years here. I was fortunate enough to be placed in Hotel Company. Hotel is responsible for morale and community service within the Corps of Cadets. Although as excited as I am to experience a new company, nothing can compare to how thrilled I am to no longer be a 4/c! Yay!

 



More about Victoria.

 

Spring Fun

(Academics, Athletics, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Chavarria-Aguilar Photo With the “Dark Ages” behind me I am eagerly counting down the weeks until our spring semester concludes. But first, I’ve got to explain just how amazing this past month has been. For Spring Leave, I went with the crew team to train in Deland, Florida. Although the majority of our time was spent rowing, it was great to finally soak up some warm weather and take a break from academics. I have many fond memories from our trip, as well as a strong sense of camaraderie with the team. That is one of the main reasons I love rowing; it is, in my opinion, the only sport that truly epitomizes teamwork. Now, with a week’s worth of hard work and training under our belts, I am looking forward to what we can do in our upcoming races.

 

On another note, my classmates and I got to celebrate at our 4/c Spring Formal on March 17th, which happens be St. Patrick’s Day and my birthday. Boy did we have a ball (no pun intended). After enjoying a scrumptious filet mignon dinner, my shipmates and I strolled down to Leamy Hall for the unveiling of our class crest. As a part of the 2015 class crest committee, I had the opportunity to contribute to the design of the crest. It was a once in a lifetime experience, working with my shipmates and professional artists to create something unique to our class. I wouldn’t change a thing about our crest, and I believe the feeling is mutual throughout 2015.

 

Before I conclude, I would like to mention that my academics this semester have been just as challenging, if not more so, than the those from fall. Participating in a varsity sport and managing 21 credit hours of work is not an easy task. With this in mind I had to make my final decision about what major I want to pursue – Mechanical Engineering. Although the task ahead seems daunting, I know for a fact that it is doable. Remember, it’s all in your state of mind. If you want something bad enough, say… an appointment the CGA, then you will get it. Good luck to those applying, and please, if you ever have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me.

 



More about Alexis.

 

When Everything Does Not Go Well

(Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Driscoll Photo I know that I’ve written a lot of positive blogs about how great life here is at the Academy, but sometimes life has downsides. One of the downsides is that when things hit the fan, they hit the fan in spectacular fashion… The past few weeks have been rough for the fourth-class as we settle into the final push to the end of the semester.

 

Boards has been a rough process. We had several indoctrination exams leading to Boards on the weekend of 14APR2012. Some we did well on, and others not. What we learned as a class from these exams is the need to stick together…and we have. Boards itself was a fiasco. Right now, they are conducting investigations into what exactly went wrong, and how bad the damage is, but rest assured that it is bad. Our class’ reputation has been forever tarnished by all the cheating. But we are coming together as a class in this time of trial and tribulation, which is the silver lining in the whole mess. Furthermore, the Classes of 2016, 2017, and 2018 won’t have the opportunity to mess up the way 2014 and we did, because we will work to make sure this never happens again. Right now, we are being punished harshly, but sooner we will make leaps forward.

 

Speaking of leaps forward, we received our summer assignments the other day! I am going to Texas for six weeks, followed by Eagle for five weeks. I’m really excited, even with all the confusion about summer assignments. It’ll be a fun summer—hopefully I will get a lot of quals. I know this sounds crazy, but my goal is to get pepper-sprayed and qualify on pistol and rifle while in Texas. I’ll let you know how it goes.

 

2016, sit ready. You are going to have a great summer and a good school year! Good luck! As always, email me at Peter.M.Driscoll@uscga.edu with any questions.

 



More about Peter.