May 4th indicated the last day of academics of my 3/c year in 2012 and the transition into being a 2/c for cadre summer. I heard from most upper class that the third summer at the Academy was the most fun and important, because it is the transformation from being a follower to a leader. Being a “prep cadet,” I had been at the bottom for three years, so I was ready to move on to a leadership role. Right as the summer started, I was in jeopardy of losing the opportunity to be an officer in the Coast Guard due to my academic problems.
I received a letter of disenrollment for failing two classes, second semester my 3/c year. It’s a horrible feeling knowing that after three years of hard work your Coast Guard career could be over. After hearing the news, I quickly turned to help by interacting with the Academy staff closest to me. They did a great job of steering me in the right direction and helping with the appeal process. When a cadet is disenrolled he or she has a couple of days to present an argument of why they should be retained. Upon review, my appeal was approved and I was given another chance. The reason I’m writing this story is to let people know that it is possible to fail and get back up again. If you actually want to be here and are willing to put in the work, you may be given a second chance. When you get close to almost losing something you dream about, it makes you work a lot harder.
The Cape May Company Commanders came to train us for the first week of cadre summer. It was a unique experience to be taught by professionals, how to be a cadre, in preparation for Swab Summer. I don’t want to get into the details of the 100th week training, because I wouldn’t want to spoil your fun. 100th week ended with a ceremony promoting us to 2/c, which was followed by a week at the shooting range. The staff at the range, which is located in Chase Hall, is excellent at teaching cadets to excel at shooting a pistol. The entire class of 2014 attained their basic pistol shooting qualification. A week later we got out of the range and back into the classroom for a Rules of the Road (ROTR) class. ROTR is the mariners equivalent to a civilian taking the written portion of the driving test. At the end of that week, we took a test to qualify. That test is much harder than the drivers test.
After spending three weeks of leave at home I returned full of energy and motivation to train swabs. After a week of doing trainings, relating to safety and rules regarding Swab Summer, R-Day came around. It was cool not to be the one at the bottom anymore and being told what to do. I was a Waterfront Cadre, which meant that during the day I would train the swabs to sail and on the evenings help train them back at the barracks. I was never a sailor, but I learned enough the week before Swab Summer started to teach swabs. When you watch swabs get out on the river in their boats not knowing what their doing, then at the end bringing it together is a good feeling. After three weeks the second set of Waterfront Cadre relieved us.
Having wrapped up Swab Summer, I moved on to my next assignment, which was on the 26 foot sailboats, the Colgates. Our culminating event that week was sailing to Fishers Island, and that’s when I realized sailing is a lot of fun. I had the opportunity to attend two different conferences for naval officers. The first being in New Orleans, Louisiana for the National Naval Officers Association (NNOA) and the second in San Diego, California for the Association of Naval Services Officers (ANSO). I met a lot of officers from the Coast Guard, Navy and Marine Corps. They acted as mentors and gave me advice on how to be successful as an officer.
More about Carlos.