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Taking Full Advantage of My Paid Vacation

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Just for Fun, Class of 2012) Permanent link
Glock Photo Before I begin, I would just like to say thank you to everyone who is reading these blogs. Now that I am working in the Admissions Office, I have met quite a few of you who have told me that you have read my blog. I am happy you are doing so and that they are assisting you in learning more about life as a cadet at the Academy! So, let’s take a moment to talk about the time afforded by the Coast Guard for vacation instead of time at the Academy.

 

Graduation was certainly an amazing week – one of the best in my life. And the best part, aside of receiving a degree and a commission, of course, is the 30 days of paid vacation time that follows. Instead of taking another volunteer service trip to Honduras (which I still want to do again soon), I decided to take advantage of the long vacation and fly to Europe.

 

I took a space-available flight through the military because they are free. I landed in Ramstein with a classmate of mine and we began our un-planned backpacking journey. Some locations we left our mark in included Frankfurt and Berlin (Germany); Prague (Czech Republic); Vienna (Austria); Belgrade (Serbia); and Rome, Naples, Milan and Fondi (Italy), where I have family. It’s impossible for me to say what my favorite locations were because they are all very unique and equally exciting. Overall though, I would say that the Italian culture is my favorite and, being a history buff, Rome was very enjoyable. I actually planned to stay for two weeks but ended up making my return flight a week later so that I could spend more time in Italy and also have time to take a flight up to Berlin for three days.

 

This trip was exactly what I needed after a long four years at the Academy. It’s a well earned vacation for the hard-working cadets who graduate. Now I am back to work and working in the CGA Admissions Office until I head down to flight school in September.

 



More about George.

 

77 Days of (Coast Guard) Summer

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Krakower Photo If I was forced to use one word to describe third class summer, it would easily be “superamazingcrazyawesome.” And even though you probably won’t find that in Webster’s dictionary, it really is the only way I can describe this summer. The people I met, the work I did, and the times I had were just amazing.

 

PHASE I – Coast Guard Station Dauphin Island, Alabama. This little island 10 miles south of the Alabamian mainland was devastated not only by Katrina in 2005, but most recently as the station most directly involved with the CG 6535 crash search and recovery. The experience there was limitless from Coast Guard-related things to food, sports, and everything in between. While there I got Communications Watchstander qualified and RBS (the 25 foot boats) Boat Crew qualified. While that was fun, the SAR cases I was a part of really made the experience. While there, Cadet Leemon and I directly helped with a shrimping vessel that caught on fire early in the morning, was doused, then caught fire again while in tow. All five people aboard were saved. Another favorite was the 3 a.m. wake up to save two people and their five kittens from a sinking vessel. While there, we probably did around ten search and rescue cases, ten boardings, and we even did helicopter ops, which due to the 6535 crash, was pretty emotional for the crew. Nevertheless, the personnel were amazing role models and great shipmates. The six weeks at Station Dauphin Island were some of the best I’ve had, and really got me excited about the Operational Coast Guard.

 

PHASE II – CGC Eagle. The “dirty bird” as it is so lovingly called was actually a great five weeks for me. Being apart of Main 2, eventually known as Tovarisch Only by fellow cadets and crew, we were working on the main mast, probably the hardest mast on Eagle. While there, we became Helm/Lookout qualified, which was awesome, because we saw some crazy things on lookout, including whales, an albino dolphin, Russian warships, and illuminated water during the night. Driving the 295 foot vessel was also a good time, especially when we were on a 35 degree heel and the boat was rocking back and forth crazyily. We also did deck seamanship, which included memorizing every pinrail on Eagle (100+) all the sail nomenclature, and totaled over 50 hours of sail stations. The most memorable going six and a half hours from 2330 at night until 0230 in the morning dousing all sails, bracing around, and raising all sails. It got us first place in a sailing race and a laterack, so it was worth it! We also did support week, DC week, and Engineering, where we got Sounding and Security Watch qualified. The port calls were great too! Boston was amazing, going to the Boston Pops, Fenway, Boston Common, and seeing my family! New London was great, with OpSail, Change of Command, and finally seeing my first swab! Halifax, Nova Scotia was also great; the town was wonderful and the people were very friendly. Overall, Eagle was a great experience, and was much better than expected!

 

Finally, after seven months, I am back home. Leave will be a great break, but I got to say, this Coastie summer was absolutely incredible. Now it’s time to relax, and wait three weeks to come back to CGA with red shields!

 



More about Samuel.

 

Heave! Ho! Then Off to Leave We Go!

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Sherman Photo Third class summer part two – USCG Barque Eagle – is coming to a close. I’m sitting on the bus that is taking us to the airport in Halifax, Nova Scotia. While I am glad to be going home, I will miss being with my classmates and (new) friends with whom I have lived for the past five weeks on Eagle. Being on board this summer was much more fulfilling than my week during Swab Summer—I knew more about shipboard living and working, and we were required to know more about how Eagle works and thus be able to do more without direct supervision from an upper-class cadet or a crew member.

 

To give you a brief overview of our travels, we reported to Eagle in Baltimore, Maryland. After a day in port, we got underway, in route to Boston, Massachusetts. Because Eagle is a training ship for cadets, we take longer than normal to get to port. Therefore, we spent twelve days underway (an entire week of which we could not see land and were approximately 300 nautical miles off shore). After five days in Boston at the OpSail 2012 and 4th of July celebrations—not to mention a visit from my mom, aunt and cousin (resident of Boston) and a special parade with the U.S. Navy’s USS ConstitutionEagle set off for a short transit to New London, Connecticut, home port of Eagle. In New London, we observed a change of command ceremony and greeted our new commanding officer, Captain Pulver. While in New London, my dad had the opportunity to visit the ship, I had dinner with my sponsor parents, and visited the Teutons’ home for some rest and relaxation. We departed from New London and began an 11-day trip to Halifax, Nova Scotia (again taking the not-so-direct route). We arrived to Halifax and began preparations to depart from Eagle so that the swabs (Class of 2016) can begin their one-week cruises.

 

So, what did we do all those days out in the middle of the ocean? Standing watches and attending lessons, we gained operational experience aboard a Coast Guard vessel. We rotated through the five departments/sections on a cutter – operations, deck, engineering, damage control, and support. Our duties included acting as lookout, helm operator, and plotter (chart/map work) while in “Ops”; doing a round of compartments to detect fire or flooding and checking the proper functioning of onboard equipment and machinery while on engineering watch; attending damage control classes with hands-on practice; helping with the preparation and serving of meals and keeping the ship clean as a member of the support team; and trimming the sails, hauling on lines, and climbing the rigging while on deck.

 

Heave! Ho! Then Off to Leave We Go! (Continued) PDF Icon  

 



More about Justin.

 

End of the Year

(Academics, Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Kekoa Photo If not for my Fundamentals of Navigation class, I would surely suffer as an officer in the Coast Guard. Luckily, my instructors have hours of meticulous work for my classmates and me. Due to the amount of plotting, charting, and graphing, my navigation homework has become a new hobby of mine. This class is great because I learn nautical knowledge, which directly applies to the fleet.

 

Anytime you can escape the crazy world of the Academy is a good time, and aside from exploring all that New London has to offer, my escape is boxing. From boxing, I have learned more about my limits and myself. I work to continuously expand them. This sport has brought many opportunities, including traveling to different states, meeting different people, and boxing in front of large crowds. Like boxing, sports at the Academy are a great way to release stress and raise morale and teamwork within the corps.

 

Walking in straight lines with rifles in long and black clothing sounds horrendous, but it is actually very rewarding. The sweat, tears, and aches of the corps' muscles are physical reminders of whom we are honoring. Despite the pain in your arms from holding your rifle, the nausea from being dehydrated, and the wet feeling in your black uniform, the best feeling is seeing the small honorees from across the field as a bead of salty sweat races in your eye.

 



More about Kody.

 

Living in Paradise

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2013) Permanent link
Ward Photo Sometimes I think I must live a blessed existence. This summer has only furthered that conviction. For the past 10 weeks, I have been living in paradise – San Juan, Puerto Rico.

 

Ask anyone stationed down here and they’ll give you a non-committal “yeah, I guess it’s alright”. Their enthusiasm leaves a little to be desired, but I suppose that’s the dual nature of living on an island. Then again, they’ll also say “Oh, it’s awesome for the first three months or so”; quite the co-inky-dink when you consider that I am attached to the unit for approximately three months.

 

In the time that I’ve been here, I’ve gotten (more than) a few beach days all around the island, I’ve explored the rainforest and climbed a mountain so high that I was walking among the clouds for a few hours. I’ve participated in local traditions and I’ve gone out in a catamaran to spend the day snorkeling and sunning myself on the most beautiful deserted island. From that measure alone I can say that this summer was a resounding success.

 

Then again, the whole point of my first class summer isn’t to spend time exploring paradise. In the periods that I have been underway with the USCGC Key Largo, I have learned more and participated in more than I had ever thought possible. In the span of a few weeks, I have experienced most of the Coast Guard missions. Throughout my summer, I have been presented with amazing opportunities – I’ve gone on inspections, flown in a helicopter, assisted in a salvage effort, and interdicted the first large sail freighter carrying migrants across the Mona Pass. From there, I have processed and helped repatriate illegal migrants, something I never in my wildest dreams thought I would do.

 

This summer has been phenomenal, and I’ll be quite sad when I bid the Key Largo and her crew a fond farewell – that is, until I see them again.

 

As always, I’m available at Alexa.C.Ward@uscga.edu.

 



More about Alexa.

 

A Very Busy Summer

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2014) Permanent link
Townsend Photo I have not been bored at all this summer and I could not be any more thankful for that. My 2/c summer has brought me so many opportunities that I had never imagined I would have, and it’s not even over yet. I started off this summer in a classroom learning the Rules of the Road for boats, which was very informative. I then went on to spending two weeks on the brand new sailing yachts, the Leadership 44’s. I learned a lot about sailing and I got to visit some amazing places in New England with some of my classmates. After spending those two weeks learning about leadership, tacking, and different points of sail I went on to T-boats which is a week on an old black hull to learn basic ship handling. This week brought many new friendships and another chance to understand what I would be doing out in the fleet. The next week I experienced something I had never done before, I got to shoot a gun. At first it was pretty difficult for me, but by the end of the week I came out as a sharpshooter and that was a surprise to me.

 

At the conclusion of all of these new experiences, something from my past returned, Swab Summer. The only difference was that I was now cadre instead of a swab. This responsibility was huge and quite different than I had anticipated. I still have one more week left as cadre but I have found out many things about my leadership techniques and styles that I can improve upon and maintain.

 

As for right now I find myself sitting next to the pool reading a book because I am on leave for the next three weeks. I look forward to returning to the Academy for my last week of cadre and the rest of my trainings, but at this moment I am just going to relax for a while.

 



More about Brianna.

 

Ancient Keeper Change of Command Ceremony

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Min Photo This summer I have been fortunate enough to spend my second phase at Station Castle Hill in Newport Rhode Island. The station has constantly been busy between search and rescue cases and logistics for numerous events such as the internationally televised America’s Cup. However, yesterday was one of the most important days of the summer. It marked the retirement of the Commanding Officer, Chief Warrant Officer Thomas Guthlein. Mr. Guthlein not only was the CO, but also the Ancient Keeper of the Coast Guard, which is designated to the senior boat forces member. Mr. Guthlein who retired with 35 years was definitely a pool of knowledge and understood all the aspects in his field. During the Change of Command, as the new CO, Mr. Roberts and Mr. Guthlein did their personnel inspection he said to me; “Remember this.” In his closing speech he talked about legacy and how he was often questioned what his would be. Mr. Guthlein’s address to all in attendance, however, was that he has no legacy. He explained how the next day the cooks would arrive make breakfast and the crew would come down and do what they have done everyday at Station Castle Hill. Mr. Guthlein’s legacy was being part of the Long Blue Line and fulfilling the needs of the service wherever he went.

 

This summer has been an amazing experience filled with incomparable opportunities and the humility and passion that a man who has done his job for 35 years is one thing I will definitely remember.

 



More about Alex.

 

Experiences on the 'Other Side of the Fence' Part I

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Chavarria-Aguilar Photo During the months of May and June, I spent a solid six weeks at a small boat station in Port Canaveral, Florida. I would like to express how much fun I had, as well as iterate the lessons I learned in the operational side of the Coast Guard. I may have mentioned in one of my previous blog entries that life at the Academy tends to be bubbled, you know, sheltered from what real life in the Coast Guard is like. Well, I can definitely say that my summer has allowed me to see what is on the other side of the fence, offering me a glimpse of what to expect in the future. This is true. While at my station assignment, I experienced a variety of different challenges that taught me things I could not learn while at the Academy. To me, it’s amazing to think that my time in Florida was a mere scratch on the surface of what life is like outside of the Academy.

 

Life at a small boat station is unique. Instead of being underway for weeks or months, station crewmembers only go underway for hours at a time. Station Port Canaveral has three different types of boats, including the 24’ Special Purpose Craft Shallow Water (SPC-SW) boat, the 25’ Response Boat-Small (RB-S), and the 45’ Response Boat-Medium (RB-M).

 

While at my station my primary role mimicked that of junior enlisted personnel. I was put on a duty rotation, just as every other member of the station, and worked in the galley as mess cook at least once a week. Acting as a junior enlisted was much like being a swab. You are the lowest in the chain of command, and your jobs usually consist of cleaning or station maintenance. For example, the first time that I was mess cook, the power went out and I had to wash most of the breakfast dishes by hand. I enjoy hands-on work, but cleaning like that tends to get old over time. That experience taught me to truly appreciate the work that junior enlisted do. If anything, I believe this appreciation is one of the most important things cadets should understand during their 3/c summer.

 

I also had multiple opportunities to help with public relations while at Station Port Canaveral. On one occasion, I went with two petty officers and another cadet to the Palm Bay Veteran Appreciation function. Another time, the station helped support a Recycled Boat Regatta at the park. We raced boats out of recycled material and a lot of people came up with some fairly clever designs. I also participated in a few change of command ceremonies, as usher or color guard. My two favorite color guard events involved a Purple Heart ceremony on Memorial Day and a funeral flag-folding ceremony for a member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary.

 

Although most of these experiences have nothing to do with saving someone’s life, or busting drug-runners, I feel that they are equally rewarding in their own way. Again, lessons can be taught in a variety of ways. You’d be surprised, trust me.

 



More about Alexis.

 

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.

 

What a Year

(Academics, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Ulbricht Photo One of the hardest years of our lives is almost finished. Any first year at a new school or work is going to be difficult, but more so for first year Academy cadets. Many of my shipmates have struggled academically, including myself. Some people have been proactive and worked hard to improve grades, while others just sit back and hope for the best. I personally have never been one to just sit back and watch things turn bad, knowing there is something I can do to make it better. I like to finish something, satisfied that I put forth more effort than I needed to. I feel that once finals are over, I will be satisfied that I had an overall successful 4/c year. Yes, I struggled a lot of the time when it came to academics, many people do 4/c year. But once you know you are struggling, it’s what you do afterward that matters the most. Many of my teachers have told me that they like that I come in for help, and they applaud me for taking the initiative to do that. If there is advice that I can give to incoming cadets it’s to get help. Set up study sessions with your friends, keep up on your homework, and stop by for assistance from your teachers. They notice that you are trying, and in the end will work in your favor.

 

Looking back on the past 10 months, this year has been quite the journey. At times I wish I could go back to Swab Summer, because at least I was getting a full 8 hours of sleep, was exercising all the time and didn’t have to do any math! In the grand scheme of things Swab Summer was not hard. Granted we did not think of that when we were going through it, but once you begin the academic year you may want to go back to Swab Summer. As a class I feel that we have had an emotional and mental rollercoaster the past couple months. Our grades were not up to par, resulting in many of us having to attend after school study sessions to improve them. This caused us to miss out on sporting events and other activities we could have been doing. We had a little mishap with our indoctrination board, and as a result of that we were not granted carry-on. After having to square a full year, it was disheartening to hear that our hard work was for nothing. If you can make it through 4/c year at the Academy, you have the strength mentally and physically to accomplish anything.

 

I’m looking forward to the challenges of the summer as I tackle the experience of Coast Guard life at a small boat station in Portsmouth Harbor, New Hampshire, and academics during summer school.

 



More about Cameo.

 

The First Few Weeks Underway

(Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2012) Permanent link
Shih Photo Hey! This Ensign Shih coming to you from Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. I have been on board CGC Bertholf for the past week and a half, and have to say I’ve been having a pretty good time. I reported in on June 19th, and the next day left San Francisco Bay to join RIMPAC 2012 in Hawaii (If you want to know more about RIMPAC…it’s in the Battleship movie).

 

Right now I am serving my first billet in the Coast Guard as a student engineer, and would definitely say I feel a bit like a fish out of water. Engineering is not my element (I majored in Management at the Academy), but the way I see it I am getting to learn about some extremely cool systems on a brand new boat, and am getting paid to go to extra hands-on engineering school!

 

They really throw you into the fire when you first report in, and I would say a very important thing I was able to take from the Academy was trained initiative. On board, there is no one who can hold an Ensigns hand, because everyone is so busy. People are often more than happy to help, but you must seek out that help, because it’s not just going to come to you. I wish I could say I have been doing a lot of cool things the past week, but I really haven’t. My life right now is relief memos and drawings of the ship systems. Drawing…I would compare to SED at the Academy, it just does not click in my head. Lucky for me however, I have had a ton of help from the Chief’s Mess and the crew (who are great!), and after 26 painful drawings I only have two left. While I may not be doing cool things, the crew definitely has. I have been able to observe most of them, and participate in a few exercises. I don’t know if I am suppose to talk about what we have been doing, so I will just leave that to your imagination.

 

I can’t say I particularly enjoy being underway, but I definitely don’t hate it like I thought I might. I know many young JOs start their careers underway, and as my Captain says it is important part of our service’s history and there is a reason young men and women have been doing it for decades. Who knows? I may end up being a cutterman yet. Only time will tell. I have to say though, that if you want to work out underway, a National Security Cutter is the way to go. The gym on Bertholf is about the size of the Chase Hall gym at the Academy, and has just about everything one would need to stay in shape underway. Granted, there is rarely time to work out underway (I skip dinner to do so), always something to do…always more quals to chase.

 

I need to get back to my drawings, but I hope that all the swabs and cadre are having a great summer. It’s strange to think they people I yelled at two years ago are doing the yelling now. One of my old cadre is actually on my boat…

 

As always if you have any questions about fleet life (my limited experience) or the Academy feel free to contact me, I will do my best to answer!

 

Christen.C.Shih@uscg.mil 

 



More about Chris.

 

Eagle Pros and Cons

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Zwenger Photo Just finished my phase of Eagle and now I’m off to Station Ponce de Leon and I’ll tell y’all how that goes in my next post. So, Eagle, also known as the slave ship to many. It has its ups and downs just as everything does in this world. So I’ll start off with the good. Before Eagle I knew very few people in my class and now I’ve met the majority of my classmates and made some great new friends. That is probably the best thing that Eagle does – helps, no makes you meet new classmates. However, as you can probably imagine, some people, after living with them for this long can get on each other’s nerves, so it ends up being a non-bonding session in those cases. Second good, the port calls are fun, until you end up having to wear trops on even the hottest days. So port calls go from “extremely fun” to “fun” because we couldn’t wear civilian clothes. Third good, climbing on Eagle in the middle of squalls (big storms) is pretty exhilarating.

 

Now the bad: the long work days. For three out of the five weeks, you have a schedule like this: Monday, 6 hour work day; Tuesday, 6 hour work day; Wednesday, 12 hour work day. This vicious cycle repeats every three days. Not fun. That is probably the biggest negative. Overall Eagle wasn’t terrible but it definitely was not the most fun thing I’ve ever done. Interesting? Definitely. I learned a lot about the Coast Guard and what all the different enlisted rates do, and we got to sail on America’s Tall Ship. Oh yeah! The new swabs report in in one week. Pretty exciting. That’s all.

 



More about Spencer.

 

Loss of Privileges and Respect

(Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Zwenger Photo So sorry for missing the past couple of posts but the end of school is super busy. This entry will include some of May because that is when our finals are. So at the end of this year we had fourth class boards, an indoctrination test where we are tests over massive amounts of material including information about cutters, damage control knowledge, Coast Guard History, Academy history, etc. In the previous years, this process went pretty smoothly and there was no issue of cheating, however, this year was different. Some say you can solely blame the class of 2015, some say it was the whole corps, I will not give my opinion. As a result of this cheating, the corps of cadets lost privileges that we would have otherwise gained by the end of the year. For us it was full carry on. A lot of people complain about this because they “didn’t think it was our fault,” but regardless our class lost a lot of respect and now we have to word hard to gain it back. That’s all we can do for now.

 

Other than boards, finals are another concern among us at the Academy. At this point in the game, I’ve lost a lot of motivation to study because we’ve just finished up a daunting year militarily. Despite this, I pushed through and studied only to finish the semester off with a GPA just shy of 3.0. That’s all.

 



More about Spencer.