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CADET BLOGS

cadet blogs

But It Won’t Be Long, ‘Til I Get on Back Home

(Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Kukich Photo Swab Summer was rough the first time around, but it was definitely even more difficult the second round as a cadre. After many weeks of preparation, I began my cadre experience on 20 July relieving my classmates who had been Cadre 1, or trainers for the first three weeks in this circumstance. After just three days, I had lost my voice from a combination of illness and loudly trying to direct the swabs and by the fourth day had to correct behaviors of some swabs with the voice of others. A week of rest at another training program came and went while the newest members of Delta Company sailed aboard the Eagle. When I made the trip up to Maine to meet the swabs for the return, I felt just as drained as when they had left. And somehow that feeling continued, that exhaustion, that fast pace, that cyclic behavior that some people can only describe as insanity.

 

The cadre experience was not without purpose however; I learned more about my personal leadership style in those three weeks than I have my entire cadet career. As cadre, like with my peers, I discovered that I struggle with public speaking even with positional power. I found out that even though I have different interests than my classmates, most of us came to the Academy for the same reasons and have the same goals in mind. And I learned that while I might not be able to form a perfect mentor/mentee relationship with every one of the 32 swabs in Delta, if they were willing to listen and I was a persistent teacher, I could pass on the skills others had taught me.

 

There were dozens of rewarding experiences sprinkled throughout cadre summer to offset the challenges, such as running to morning calisthenics in the dark with a flood warning in effect. Just a few were opportunities like running the PFE with a swab and being able to coach her alongside another cadre and her classmates – she ran the mile and a half nearly three minutes faster than the previous time. Then reassuring a swab to step off the high dive in the pool while treading in the water below with a lifeguarding tube – he jumped three times that morning. And showing the swabs of Delta how to retire the colors, particularly dress ship flags posted on the football field, as a team they ceremoniously lowered 26 signal flags on the Coast Guard’s birthday with my guidance.

 

Some cadre considered the summer simple. Being given positional power is a great tool and can lead to very effective transformation of behaviors. But to develop the swabs and truly instill the character traits of a Coast Guard officer required personal leadership for me. As the capstone event of the summer came to a close, I had the opportunity to lead some of the last cadences with my company. I chose an Army cadence “Get on Back Home” which I had learned before coming to the Academy and then again as a swab myself. It reminded me that the cadre experience was not simple for me, but well worth the journey to travel full circle and keep pushing until I get on back home.

 

More about Sarah.

 

A Reflection on the Summer

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Mills Photo As I am packing into my new room, in my new company, I cannot help but be amazed by how fast time has gone by. It feels like I had just begun my summer training.

 

I was on a fast response cutter (FRC) for the first five weeks of my training. It was my first real taste of the operational Coast Guard and it was unforgettable. I was given the opportunity to travel to new places like Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and St. Lucia. We worked hard to get our qualifications and made new friendships with the amazing crew of the CGC Charles Sexton. The missions of the FRC include drug and migrant interdiction as well as search and rescue. I was able to be a part of two drug chases and a rescue mission of a sinking cargo vessel. Firsthand experience with the missions of the Coast Guard was a great way to apply what I have been learning at the Academy as well as to learn new skills. After five weeks, I parted ways with the Charles Sexton and headed off to spend six weeks on the CGC Eagle for more training. I had a wonderful time on Eagle while I was there. I learned valuable lessons from the crew about leadership and followership. Unfortunately, I broke my foot on Eagle and was not able to complete that training. Instead, I was sent back to the Academy to finish out my training at station New London. So this summer I was able to experience all three third class summer possibilities because I was able to go on a cutter, spend time on Eagle, and go to a station. I find myself very fortunate to have had this opportunity to experience these varying environments.

 

Once on leave, I crammed as much adventure and fun with my family as I could. I went to the zoo and also went to Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Florida and the loggerhead turtle rehabilitation center in Palm Beach, Florida. I was able to recharge being around those I love and come back to the Academy prepared for another dynamic school year.

 

More about Sydney.