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cadet blogs

Wrapping Up the Summer

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2014) Permanent link
Townsend Photo I just completed my last summer as a cadet, and it was one of the best summers I have ever had during my time here. I did so many things that before joining the Coast Guard I never would have thought I would have the opportunity to do. I started my summer out in Marina Del Rey, California where I learned a lot about the Coast Guard and the different missions that we accomplish. The crew of the CGC Halibut helped me broaden my knowledge of the Coast Guard and discover what I want to do in the future as an officer. While on the Halibut I got to have many different experiences such as helping with drug busts and standing watch while in port. It was an amazing chance to see what happens in the fleet everyday.

 

After leaving the Halibut, I boarded the CGC Eagle. Eagle is the Coast Guard’s training vessel that all 3/c cadets go on to learn about seamanship and life on the water. As a 1/c cadet aboard Eagle, I was given the Ensign experience where I had the opportunity to lead a division, obtain qualifications, and work on extra projects that were assigned to me. I never had a moment to spare, and my classmates and I were always diligently working to make sure that by the end of the summer we were successful in all of the jobs we were given. We did have a few days during three different port calls where we could take some time off and relax. We first pulled into Bermuda, where the sand was pink and the sun was always shining. Bermuda is a beautiful island and it was a once in lifetime opportunity to visit. After we left Bermuda we travelled to Saint Pierre, France, a small island territory of France. While there we celebrated Bastille Day, which was amazing to see another country celebrate their independence and to participate in the festivities. Our last stop was Halifax, Nova Scotia where we visited the Halifax Citadel and walked around the city looking at all of the history that it had.

 

This summer has been amazing and I now have three weeks to relax and spend time with my family before I return to the Academy for my final year before I am commissioned as an officer in the Coast Guard. Time has flown by while I have been at the Academy, and this year I plan to make the most of all of the time that I have left.

 

 


More about Brianna.

 

The Taylor Family

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Wright Photo As the swabs come in, I can’t help but remember how just a year ago I was going through all the same motions. One of the experiences that sticks out to me the most, or rather the most enjoyable experience I remember from my Swab Summer was meeting my sponsor family. The whole idea was so exciting, I signed up for a family who liked doing outdoor things and one preferably with younger kids. Coming from a family being the oldest, the idea of being able to hang out with younger kids every once and awhile really appealed to me. We all got ready on the evening of July 19th, if I remember correctly, and marched down to Leamy to meet these new people who knew little to nothing about us yet were willing to invite us into their homes as their sponsor children. My sponsor family was the Taylor family. I meet Mr. Taylor, Mrs. Taylor, Ryan, and Sophie. I learned Mr. Taylor is a professor at the Academy (one that I will possibly have this upcoming year!), Ryan and Sophie are little balls of energy just like my little brothers at home, and Mrs. Taylor is the most welcoming sponsor mom ever. We got to know each other in Leamy for a few hours and Sophie decided to start making a tower of water bottles that soon had the whole ballroom’s attention. Jokingly, Mrs. Taylor rocked the table and it all came crashing down. As expected, Sophie didn’t find this too funny, but it gave me hope that this family would be a lot of fun.

 

We exchanged information and told them I would see them as the school year revved up. Since then I have gone over to my their house numerous times and Mr. Taylor is right here at the Academy if I ever need help with anything. The Sponsor Family Program helped me get through 4/c year and I’m sure they will help me get through the rest of my time here at the Academy. This past summer added two sponsor cadets to the family and I can’t wait to meet them. I look forward to spending time with them at the Taylor’s in the near future.

 

 


More about Jessica.

 

Little Escapes

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Bilodeau Profile Photo March was a tough month mentally. I had a lot going on to sort out personally, which is always challenging when you are at the Academy. Luckily, Spring Break was in March and I was able to visit my sister in Tampa and go home to Maine for a few days. I met my sister’s friends, which was a fun experience. One of her friends went to the Air Force Academy and exchanged at the Coast Guard Academy when he was a cadet, so it was fun to listen to his stories of the CGA from a different perspective.

 

I saw my cousins and grandparents in Florida, as well, and had much-needed family time! Coming back to school was not too tough, because Easter weekend was just a short distance away and at the last minute I went home to see my parents and ski one last time for the season.

 

I am doing well academically and physically. I run a lot to keep my mind free, and I have been occasionally swimming with the triathlon club. I am currently training for a half-marathon, which I am doing during leave with my dad. Another way I keep myself busy lately is by painting. I like painting because the military does not necessarily allow you to be creative, so it is a good mental escape.

 

 


More about Christina.

 

First Phase

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Miller Photo One of the best learning experiences at the Academy happens during third class summer, when we go to a Coast Guard station or cutter and the Coast Guard cutter Barque Eagle. The summer phases give cadets a chance to learn about the Coast Guard outside the Academy and experience the enlisted side of the service.

 

For my first phase of the summer, I went to Station South Padre Island, Texas. At the station, I was able to go out on small boats and participate in various missions such as Search and Rescue and Aids to Navigation. I was also able to do some parts of the Law Enforcement mission, which is the area I’d like to go into when I graduate as an officer.

 

I was also able to obtain two qualifications that will help me in the future. It took a lot of time and effort, but being able to complete the two in five short weeks gave me a huge sense of accomplishment. I was also able to go up in a helicopter and fly it. I’ve been thinking about being a pilot for a while, so I really enjoyed being able to actually see what it’s like to fly.

 

Hopefully everyone has been enjoying their summer—as usual, if you have any questions, feel free to email me at Caroline.Miller1@uscga.edu!

 

 


More about Caroline.

 

The Experience of Experiences

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Krakower Photo 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.

 

2/c Summer!

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Cardoza Photo This summer has been an absolute blast! There is so much to do with the programs that are available! This summer, I was chosen as a Swab Summer 1 Cadre. I was able to participate in the class of 2017’s R-Day and am currently finishing my third week as a cadre. This summer has provided me with so many amazing leadership opportunities. Being able to be a part of 2017’s growth and development as they grow from swabs to 4/c is unbelievable. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to lead them and see the changes from civilian and the life of an individual to a cadet that is a part of a team.

 

This summer has also given me the chance to get my pistol qualifications, and to complete my Rules of the Road test, which is essential for all personnel that are going to be navigating inland and international waterways in the near future. In the next few weeks, I am going to be heading to a Coast Guard Station in New York and will have the chance to participate in the Marine Safety Training Program that is offered there. After that, I will be coming back to the Academy and will participate in T-boats and then head off for the Coastal Sail Program. These kinds of opportunities are not able to be found anywhere else and I am so grateful for the fact that I have been able to be a part of them.

 

 


More about Samantha.

 

“You Just Hit a Bridge, Mr. Driscoll…”

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Driscoll Photo Don’t worry, I didn’t really hit anything. The closest I came to hitting anything, either on the water or on the simulator, was when my group laid down a trackline for an inbound transit of San Francisco through the central piling of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. Needless to say, that was interesting when we approached it while transiting San Francisco Bay on the simulator.

 

My cadre section spent the past week at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy (MMA), at the western entrance of the Cape Cod Canal, in Bourne, Massachusetts. Unfortunately, we could not get simulator time on the simulators here at the Coast Guard Academy; therefore, the Cadet Training Officer managed to secure us the use of MMA’s simulator and training vessel Ranger. We alternated between time on the simulator, practicing restricted waters and coastal navigation, and time aboard Ranger, practicing how to use a navigation team on a moving vessel. The time we spent in Massachusetts was well-spent—by the end of the week, we all had a better understanding of the teamwork necessary on the bridge. It was great to get out of Chase Hall, where we have to dodge swabs and AIMsters, and focus on seamanship.

 

Did I mention that MMA was in the Cape Cod area? When we weren’t busy safely piloting vessels and developing navigation briefs, we used our fifteen-passenger vans to explore the area. Each night, we went out for ice cream. In addition, we explored the various putt-putt golf, boardwalks, and bowling alleys of the area. My favorite adventure was go-karting with the program officer and the rest of my classmates. Go-karting is fierce! (We eventually were kicked out…oops…) It’ll be hard to settle back into life in Chase Hall following all the fun we had at MMA.

 

After this great week, it’ll be interesting to see where we go next in our cadre summer adventure, but I will be sure to let you know. Here’s a hint: our next two weeks are Coastal Sail Training Program, a two-week program sailing aboard the Leadership 44s throughout coastal New England. Stay tuned…

 



More about Peter.

 

You’re a Swab Until You See a Swab

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Wright Photo Sorry for no blog entries lately, this summer hasn’t been too conducive for writing blogs. The first five weeks of my summer I spent on the USCGC Eagle, the Coast Guard’s training ship and that was quite the adventure. It was definitely a lot of hard work but I learned more than I ever thought I would. We stood watches with the crew, had damage control trainings, participated in sail stations, among whatever else needed tending to on the boat. On my phase we went to Saint Martin, Aruba and Guantanamo Bay. I was fortunate to be given the experience to expand my knowledge so much over those five weeks but I do have to say I was happy to leave when it was time to go.

 

From Eagle I headed back to the Academy for some summer courses. I’m taking Organizational Behavior and Leadership as well as Calculus II. So as you can tell, it’s a summer packed full of fun. But it really is great to get these courses over with this summer and with only three hours of class a day, I get to experience what it’s like to be a “normal college kid” :P. We have more free time on our hands than we are used to so me and my classmates at summer school try and stay as productive as possible with studying and working out. I would be lying if I said a few TV shows didn’t slip their way in there. Coming back to the Academy as a 3/c was definitely a different feeling; especially with seeing 2017 report in. I saw a swab! It’s interesting to view swab summer from a third person point of view; there is a lot going on that I had no clue took place behind the scenes last year. And don’t worry 2017 parents, your swabs are being taken care of, they are working hard.

 

So I am here until July 26th and then head off for some much needed leave. I can’t go without mentioning that I’ll be attending the Oshkosh Air show in Wisconsin during my first week of leave! I missed last year because of swab summer and am just itching for some aviation excitement! I hope everyone is having a great summer!

 



More about Jessica.

 

An Amazing Summer

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Hirst Photo So far this has been an amazing summer! I spent the first five weeks on Eagle, which was such a cool experience. It was really neat to look out at the horizon and realize that we were the only ship within miles. Besides the sailing experience, the port calls were unbelievable. We went to St. Martin, Aruba, Guantanamo Bay, and St. Pete. At times it seemed like it was a paid vacation. Eagle also really connected me with my classmates. I was sad to leave everyone after the five weeks as we all split off to go to our new units.

 

Now, I’m at station Humboldt Bay, California. The station life is one we’ll never get again, but so far it’s been great. The crew here is awesome and is very supportive. I’m excited to see what the next five weeks here hold! The Coast Guard Academy summers are so much better than anything a summer back home could offer.

 



More about Townshend.

 

Interning at the Marine Safety Center

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2014) Permanent link
Capuzzi Photo This entry was co-authored by Michael Caballero.

 

For the first phase of the Summer 2013 training period, I along with my classmate Max Caballero, participated in an academic internship at the Marine Safety Center (MSC) at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C. The MSC is where a lot of the Coast Guard Academy’s Naval Architecture graduates end up at some point in their careers. The staff engineers at the MSC review plans submitted by commercial vessel designers and evaluate them based upon the Code of Federal Regulations. In addition, the MSC is home to the Coast Guard’s Salvage Engineering Response Team (SERT), a team of engineers that provide technical assistance to local Coast Guard officials and on-scene supervision at the sites of marine casualties.

 

Prior to leaving for the MSC, Max and I attended the Western Rivers Orientation Course (WROC), a collaborative training event between the River School and the Coast Guard. At the WROC, we learned about the Western River system, which includes the Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Illinois, and Mobile rivers, among other waterways. The River School instructor, a retired Coast Guard officer, talked about maritime commerce on the rivers, which consists mainly of towboats and barges. The Coast Guard instructor, a captain from the District Eight waterways staff, talked about the Coast Guard missions on the waterways and the close interaction with the Army Corps of Engineers. The goal of the program was to educate future Coast Guard officers on the riverine mission, which is typically overshadowed by the coastal mission. It was very informative.

 

After the conclusion of the WROC, we headed down I-95 to American University in D.C., where we would be staying for the next five weeks. We checked into our dorm, which was actually smaller than the rooms at the Academy. The next day, we began our excursion to Coast Guard Headquarters, which was not an easy journey. It began with a twenty-minute walk to the Metro station. We caught the red line subway, took it to Gallery Place, where we switched to the green/yellow line, which we took to L’Enfant Plaza. Once there, we hopped on a shuttle bus to take us to the MSC. It only took an hour and a half to get to work.

 

Interning at the Marine Safety Center (Continued) PDF Icon  

 



More about Nick.

 

Five Thoughts for the Great Class of 2015!

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Driscoll Photo So, tomorrow is R-Day. As we rode the bus back to the Academy from our class picnic today, it hit me how nervous I am: and I’m not even a Swab Summer cadre! Therefore, I think it’s appropriate to remember that our cadre, 2013, prepared us well for this next adventure. Here’s how:

 

Teamwork: They really weren’t kidding when they told us the first day that we would succeed or fail as a team. So far, we’ve had our rough patches, but as a class, we have come together as a team to get where we are today. And tomorrow, my classmates will demonstrate that to the families and swabs of the Class of 2017.

 

Professionalism: Joining the Coast Guard isn’t a walk in the park. The Coast Guard means business, and my classmates and I will demonstrate that to 2017 throughout the course of the next two years we have with them here at the Academy. These boys and girls who will swear-in tomorrow will be the professional men and women who replace us at our first billets two years after we leave them.

 

Friendship: My classmates are my closest friends. It’s scary to think how if things had gone differently, and I had chosen to attend UNC-Chapel Hill instead, I would not have known these great people the way I do.

 

Family: Even more important than the friendships you make over Swab Summer is the sense of family. I can trust everyone here to be willing to do anything for me, and I for them. Throughout this summer, my classmates and I get to introduce our swabs to the Coast Guard family.

 

And finally, class pride: The Great Class of 2015 is the best class. While we have had those rough patches, we’ve developed character as a class. Our class balances professionalism with personal enjoyment, and knows better than any other how to “flip the switch.” We’ve spent two years waiting and preparing for this, working each and every day to make it to tomorrow: R-Day.

 

Good luck to all my classmates in the Greatest Class of 2015! Welcome to the (To Be Great) Class of 2017!

 



More about Peter.

 

Swab Summer Prep

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Duplessis Photo You might think that swabs are the only ones nervous and excited for Swab Summer, but that’s not the case. The cadre have been going through what is called Prep Week in order to get rooms, uniforms, and gear ready for the swabs. We also practice for R-Day (Reporting-In Day). Not only do we vigorously clean all of the swab rooms (sometimes running into some chemical problems, which were quickly taken care of), we also run through their morning routine including calisthenics, the obstacle course, and IT (intensive training) sessions. Everything the swabs do, we will have to do as well.

 

I’ve already finished range week (becoming pistol qualified) and ROTR week (the dreaded Rules Of The Road week where we study for a test we must pass with at least a 90%), and I have completed my three weeks of leave. Although I had a great time on leave, I can honestly say that this week has made me extremely excited about receiving the incoming swabs. Going through practice for the first day made all of the cadre realize that we have a lot of responsibility, and it is going to be tough. At the same time, we also realized we have the power to show the swabs what the Coast Guard and the Academy are really about. We will be their first impression of the Coast Guard.

 

After three weeks of being a cadre for Swab Summer, I will finish off with T-boats, coastal sail (sailing program), and CATP (aviation program). So far this has been my favorite summer at the Academy, and I have a feeling it will continue to be this awesome. I have heard that the second half of your Academy experience is exponentially better than the first two years, and being a second class is staying true to that statement so far!

 



More about Lindsay.

 

Re-Introduction

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
2/c Justin Sherman re-introduces himself as a video blogger. He compares what has changed from his first, written biography for his cadet blog profile: What has changed? How has he developed? Justin is still excited to be at the Academy and loveSherman Photos every moment of it. Ask him about it — he loves answering emails. Justin.P.Sherman@uscga.edu.

 

Go Bears! Go Academy! Go Coast Guard!

Justin's video blogYouTube Icon 

 

 




More about Justin.

 

Happy Summer!!!

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Daghir Photo I am currently writing you from good old USCGA summer school! I am taking summer classes so that I can be a Marine and Environmental Science major. I have to catch up my math by taking Calculus II and in addition, I get to take Organizational Behavior and Leadership to get that out of the way and open up my schedule a bit down the road. Summer school is pretty fun because we don’t have a lot going on. We were joking and saying that it was the most real college experience we were going to get because we can leave every weekend and we only have two or three classes a day. Our first week down, I can say that this phase of my summer is going to move really fast, much like the first half when I was on Eagle!!!

 

Eagle was a lot of fun and I learned a lot on my five week cruise from NewLo to St. Martin, to Aruba, and Guantanamo Bay, finally ending in St. Pete, Florida. I was Basic Damage Control qualified, as well as Soundings and Security and Helm and Lookout qualified. We learned how to navigate using only the sun and the stars, and we became very familiar with the fire fighting systems onboard the ship, in addition to learning the pinrail and the sails used to make Eagle go. We saw flying fish and dolphins, sharks, and even three whales on our journey. My favorite port call had to be St. Martin; not only was it the first port call after a long two weeks under sail, but I also participated in a community service project where we painted a school for undocumented children, and later that day a group of us went and exploring and later cliff jumping! All of the other port calls were cool but this was my most memorable.

 

As for the rest of the summer, I have to finish summer school and then we get three weeks of leave before school starts. Being back has been really nice because the weather is perfect and there are not very many people here. Also, the class of 2016 can wear rec gear which makes liberty so much more fun! I am excited to see the swabs come in and to see all of the new second class be cadre!

 

Talk to you later!
-3/c Lucy Daghir :)

 



More about Lucy.