As I sit back just a few short hours after the cadre switch, I never would have thought I would be as exhausted, as proud, and as stunned as I am right now. Swab Summer was an unbelievable experience from the eyes of the cadre. There are very few ways to describe it, other than fast-paced, physically and mentally challenging, difficult, and rest-less. The night of June 30, I struggled to sleep because of how excited I was to receive my swabs the next morning. Tonight, I plan on sleeping until 1600 tomorrow.
I guess I’ll just touch on a few of the important points, since I could probably write a short novel on the entire experience. Being Waterfront Cadre, we get to relax down at Windy Groves (since Jacob’s Rock is OOC) with the Swabs. The first time the swabs were down there, just finally talking to them, especially Echo Company, like a normal person made things so much more personal. I got to learn about all of my swabs, and being able to finally joke around with them and provide a lighter side of myself to them felt good. That being said, the other Waterfront cadre and I learned quickly how to flip the switch back on in Chase rather quickly. Waterfront was the BOMB. Easily the best cadre section.
At first, I wasn’t sure just how much I was going to yell, and I had assumed it wouldn’t be too much. Incorrect. I’ll put it bluntly – Swabs are incompetent. That is nothing against them; it’s just that they struggle with the simplest of tasks because they’re being completely changed from civilians into military members. I yelled a lot. Unfortunately (or fortunately), the best way to get a swab to move and do the right thing is either by motivating them, or screaming at them. Cadre 1 didn’t start motivating until about two weeks in, so it was nuts to see the amount we yelled.
As a cadre, you have to be better than all of your swabs at physical fitness. It’s one way to quickly earn a swab’s respect. Another way to earn that respect is to make sure you always have a reason behind everything. Echo Company made sure, for the most part, there was a rational reason behind every action we had our swabs take. In the Coast Guardsman’s manual, when doing poorly, the swabs will read from the discipline part, which includes the line, “…they respect their leaders, and believe they are getting a square deal from them.” If we weren’t giving a square deal, we stepped back and took another look.
That being said, our cadre section was so fluent and moved so seamlessly that we never could have predicted how good we would do. All being from Echo, we knew each other, but didn’t “know” each other. It was great really meeting my section and learning about our leadership styles. We worked well together, and everyone had their own story and thoughts to give to the swabs and ourselves.
There’s so much more I could write about the experience and I probably will later. But for now, rest is the number 1 thing on my list right now, and I need it. Cadre 1 > Cadre 2, Waterfront > Swab Summer, Echo > All other companies. Go Cadre, “Instruct” Swabs!
More about Sam.