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Quite A Busy Summer

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2014) Permanent link
Nelson Photo Once again I am finding myself stumped by how fast this summer has flown by! It seems like only yesterday, I was blogging about my plans for the summer and how excited I was…now the summer is over half way done! In the past month, I have grown in my nautical skills, traveled to Japan, trained to be a cadre, and had probably my best cadet summer yet.

 

The first two weeks, I spent learning the Rules of the Road (ROTR)…by road I mean the sea and river “roads”… and then I spent a week on a tugboat learning how to operate the boat and act as the conning officer for anchoring, man-overboard, and mooring drills. ROTR training was an intensive, one-week class of straight driving rules and regulations, and I am not going to lie, it was very dry content. It definitely brought back flashbacks from the school year. Despite this, I was glad to learn the rules so that I can not only pass the exam but also serve as a competent officer on a cutter someday. Tugboat training, on the other hand, was one of my favorite weeks of the summer. We spent each of the days either working in the boat simulator or on the tugboat. I got to drive the boat multiple times and act as the conning officer for multiple maneuvering exercises.

 

Next was Prep Week for Swab Summer. We went to many trainings and practiced speeches and such for the swabs. Because I am cadre 2, I got to act as a swab for my classmates to practice with, which was fun. We also spent hours and hours preparing the swab rooms, getting them all set for the incoming Delta swabs. Then on Sunday – the day before R-day – we vacated the campus for a few hours while the parents and incoming swabs toured Chase Hall. Instead of hanging around, we had a huge cadre-wide BBQ for a few hours.

 

While I would love to give some sort of a report on how R-day went, I left very early that morning to catch a plane to Japan. I have been at the Japanese Coast Guard Academy for the past week for their International Exchange Program. I went with my classmate, Scotty Kenney, and it was an absolute blast!

 

Next I have a fairly low-key week in the range. As a member of the Combat Arms Team, I am already qualified in pistol, but I will be helping my classmates get qualified as well. After completing that week of training, I will be taking over as cadre for the Delta Swabs. I am very excited.

 

Being cadre is honestly what drew me to the Academy, not because I wanted to yell at people but because of the incredible leadership experience. As an AIMster three years ago, I saw the incredible poise and self-control of my cadre and knew that I wanted to become a leader like them. Now, I am standing in their shoes and it is a little daunting, but I am confident in my training, my team, and my God, who has heard and is going to hear so many prayers as I seek to be the best leader I can be. One of the points from the trainings we had during Prep Week was that we need to conduct ourselves in such a way that at the end of the summer we can look the family members of our swabs in the eyes and say that we did our best for their brother, sister, son, or daughter. I would like the family members of my swabs to be confident that I led their child or sibling to the best of my ability, and that is a large part of my focus as I am preparing to take over. Go Bears and God bless!

 



More about Jessica.

 

Beautiful Japan

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2014) Permanent link
Nelson Photo Konichiwa! I am writing you from a plane somewhere between Toronto, Canada and Tokyo, Japan. Why you may ask? This past week I was able to participate in the Japan Coast Guard Academy’s International Exchange Program. It was a one-week program that included cadets from JCGA (Japan Coast Guard Academy), KMU (Korean Maritime University) and CCGC (Canadian Coast Guard College) and the USCGA. During the week, we toured their campus, sat in on a special lecture, participated in their sports time, and lived in their dormitories. It was one of the best and most rewarding experiences of my Coast Guard cadet career! It was wonderful to meet and make friends with the Japanese, Korean, and Canadian cadets, and thanks to Facebook and email, I plan to stay in touch and grow my relationships with all of them. I cannot truly describe the kindness and professionalism displayed by the Japanese cadets that hosted us. They were respectful, self-discipline, warm-hearted, and at times, extremely funny! They were also very patient with us in regard to the very large language barrier.

 

One of my favorite experiences during the week was when my four roommates took me out sightseeing. The sights were absolutely beautiful (I took so many pictures), but the coolest part was that we all wore the traditional Japanese dress, Yukata. It was awesome to dress up with them and walk around in their cultural wear. Additionally, they had me try every type of Japanese food imaginable, and by the end of the week, I was wielding my chopsticks like a champ. My favorite was probably Ramen (not to be confused with the Kroger 15 cent “ramen”) and Korean BBQ, but there were really only a few dishes that I can say I would not eat again. I could probably spend a whole blog talking about the food, but I would just recommend you go and try it yourself. :)

 

While it may seem like the Coast Guard sent me to Japan for a super awesome vacation, I really felt like the trip was much, much more than that. The purpose of the trip was for each of the different countries represented to meet and learn about each other. The hope is that this sort of program will help grow the friendly relationship between the Coast Guards of Japan, Korea, Canada and the U.S., which work together on a daily basis. From my perspective, this purpose was definitely achieved. It was very eye-opening to see the different cultures that I will be working with and to learn how they operate and think. I hope to work alongside many of the Japanese, Korean, and Canadian cadets in the future, when we are officers in our respective Coast Guards.

 

It is programs like this that I think help build and nourish a peaceful relationship with our neighboring cultures. I will definitely take advantage of any opportunity to return to the Japan Coast Guard Academy or other exchange programs in the future. One exciting note is that USCGA is going to host four of the JCGA cadets that we met this past week, so the exchange goes both ways. Thank you, Coast Guard Academy, for allowing me this wonderful experience! As always, feel free to contact me with questions about this program or any other questions. Go Bears and God Bless.

 

More about Jessica.