Wow, it has been quite a while since I have written one of these. A lot has happened since my last entry. At this exact moment I am sitting in an Amtrak train, my ear buds jammed in firm as I listen to a new album I just received from one of my best friends back home. This is the normal setting I am in when I start thinking I should write another blog. Summer leave expires tonight and it has been an eventful summer for sure.
Oh, where to start? Summer began with my first airplane trip (not counting any from when I was a wee youngin’) to the great state of Maryland. The first phase of my summer was to Station Annapolis, where I would be working alongside junior enlisted in various aspects of the Coast Guard. This included a lot of grunt work such as washing the boats, cleaning the station, and even leveling bricks in the front lawn. But this also included going out on the small boats nearly every day I was on duty with the crew and finally experiencing what it was like to be in the “real” Coast Guard. I even participated in helicopter operations in only my second day at the station. This consisted of a very nervous version of myself pulling onto the boat a rescue basket thrown from a Jayhawk many times. I also got to go out with the crew on many maritime events and witnessed many boardings.
Station life was great; on my free time I mostly ran in preparation for this upcoming cross country season, but I also went out a lot with cadet Hasbrook, who was also with me at the station. Since D.C. and Baltimore were short drives away, frequent trips were made there, as well as to the extremely beautiful downtown Annapolis. The Navy cadets are very fortunate in that regard.
The nice life at the station was about to end, however, when phase 2 of my summer arrived: USCGC Eagle.
Now Eagle has been a very interesting part of my cadet career thus far. The Barque Eagle is the three masted training prison, I mean vessel that most cadets are forced… I mean offered to sail on for five or six weeks of the summer. I’m just kidding about the prison part but Eagle is meant to be hard work. It was a great experience for all of us since it was the first time for many of us to be out at sea for more than a week at a time. While on the ship we all participated in sail stations, watch on deck work, engineering activities, support (which included making the food and/or cleaning the dishes) and my favorite, operations. Operations was my last week on the ship, and even though I got fairly ill that last week, it was great being up on the bridge where I could see exactly what was going on with the decisions about where the ship was going to go.
My favorite part about Eagle, besides being able to see dolphins, whales, sharks, turtles, and the sunrise and sunset in the middle of the ocean while standing upon any one of the three masts, was working alongside my best friends 24/7. Even though it has only been one year, I already have made lifelong friends, and Eagle definitely strengthened those relationships. Port calls were also amazing. We stopped at Boston, New London and Halifax, Nova Scotia. Boston was incredible; I would love to live there in the future. Canada was also a new, great experience. I would go back in a heartbeat.
And finally, the last phase of my summer was the much-anticipated summer leave. Summer leave was wonderful; I was able to finally hang out with my old high school friends and enjoy being with my family. But as I knew, three weeks would fly by, and as I have already said, I am still on this train, heading toward my 2nd year at the Academy. It’ll be another challenging year, but with all I have experienced so far, and with what is coming up in the future, I know it’ll be worth it.
More about Zachary.