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cadet blogs

Incredible Experiences Underway

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Daghir Photo Hello! Good morning from South America. Hanna and I are more than halfway done with our time on the USCGC Thetis, which is crazy to think about. We have been underway for over a month, more than four weeks of living in a 250-foot space. We have been extremely operational this patrol in terms of the crew (not necessarily Hanna and me). However, we have been required to and are expected to rise to multiple occasions, participating in complex evolutions that require a lot of coordination on the bridge. Hanna and I are still breaking in underway Officer of the Deck (OOD), which means that we spend eight hours each day on the bridge, learning how to drive the ship and respond to any issues that an old ship like the mother Thetis is likely to encounter.

 

We have had a very exciting cruise and in the past weeks, we have experienced some things that I'm sure will make some of our classmates envious. In addition to the action of an Eastern Pacific patrol, we had a swim call where the entire crew was invited to jump off of the flight deck into the big blue Pacific! I tried to do a flip but ended up landing much less than gracefully. The entire crew busted out laughing and when I emerged; I also struggled to harness my laughter. (I was pretty sore the next day.) I was amazed by the clarity of the water and the temperature was refreshing; all in all probably my favorite day to date. After we swam around the cutter for two hours, Hanna and I had barely dried off before we were told to put on boat crew helmets! We got to ride in our small boat, an experience that was exhilarating and fun. As the boat bounced from wave to wave with a surprising amount of speed, I thought about how cool it would be to be a boarding officer and ride it for real! Hanna and I were soaked by a wave as we climbed off of the little boat, grasping the Jacob’s ladder as we scrambled back onto the Thetis. Later that night, I started to break in as Helicopter Control Officer (HCO). The job is not terribly complicated but it's important because it orchestrates the communications needed to operate our helo. I enjoyed speaking into the three different radios and look forward to my next session.

 

Hanna and I moved up to a stateroom when the new ensigns came on board. THE NEW ENSIGNS ARE HERE! They met us at our port call and it was so good to see our friends from the Academy, still smiling from graduation, but they were quickly a little stressed because it’s overwhelming for sure. I was so happy to see them come aboard. It is amazing to think that, at this point, Hanna and I can actually help someone else with getting to know the boat. We are just excited to change things up. Living in the stateroom is a complete 180 from female crew berthing. It’s a lot quieter, a lot less crowded and, honestly, it's boring. The women on board took us in like one of their own, and we had shared quite a few nights of gossip, laughter, and silliness that is only natural when 12 women are living in a small area. We had a lot of fun down there, and we learned that if you open yourself up, and expose your inner goof (mine isn't very "inner"), people have an easier time relating to you and mutual respect is almost certain. I know that the enlisted-officer boundary is one to be maintained but living with someone for a month will bring you together, especially underway, especially on the Thetis.

 

I am having a whirlwind of a summer. I have been lucky enough to get email from friends and family, which really brightens my days.  I learned that for my down time next year underway, I really need to buy some sort of iPad or tablet thing and load it with music and media because I only have an album of Taylor Swift’s (1989) that I know literally every word to, and probably half of the ship has her songs stuck in their heads. (I LOVE TAYLOR SO IT'S OKAY). I am excited to go home because I haven’t been home since Christmas, and my sister and I really need to reunite because I miss her terribly. She is one of my frequent emailers. Her one liners are my favorite; one specifically, "I got my nails done today, it was great!" Thanks for that.