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cadet blogs

A Summer Summary

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018, Civil Engineering) Permanent link
Haerr Photo Hi, future cadets!


I’m here to give you a little insight on the four Academy summer experiences. Each summer you will be integrated into the fleet in a different way.


The first summer will be your Swab Summer experience, which provides you the opportunity to gain basic indoctrination knowledge in a high intensity environment. This summer will give you confidence in the skill sets that you already have and attention to the skill sets that still need developing. You’ll be amazed by how much you can do and learn with the help of your shipmates who become like family by the end of it.


The second summer we call “3/c summer” and it is broken into five week and six week programs. One half is spent with half of your classmates on the USCGC Barque Eagle, which is the only commissioned tall ship in the U.S. military. It allows you to experience sailing at on incredible scale, obtain basic qualifications in engineering or deck, and gain basic damage control training. The other half is unique to each of your classmates. You will either go to an active cutter or small boat station in order to learn from the fleet while practicing your military courtesies. I went to the small boat station Ponce de Leon Inlet in New Smyrna, Florida. There I learned an incredible amount from the boatswain mates and machinery technicians about splicing lines, chart work, boat checks, and boat driving, all while participating in search and rescue (SAR) cases in the Jacksonville area.


The third summer is called “2/c summer” or commonly referred to as “cadre summer.” It is by far one of the most dynamic summers you will have at the Academy. During this time, you will be with your class the entire summer, which allows you to further create an unbreakable bond with many of your already established friends. You will start with having an intense week being trained by the Cape May Command Cadre on how to be a cadre yourself, and by the end of the week you will say the oath with your class to recommit to two more years at the Academy and five year payback service. You will also gain a basic pistol qualification, test on Rules of the Road (ROTR) course, drive and practice drills on training boats (T-Boats), experience the Cadet Aviation Training Program (CATP), and have a two-week sailing experience on 44-foot yachts (Coastal Sail). Then, what everyone looks forward to is the three-week cadre experience in support of the Swab Summer, CGAS, or AIM programs. You will transition from a role model to a mentor this summer and realize how far you’ve come when you are giving basic indoctrination to the incoming classes.


The last summer is referred to as “firstie summer.” This is another unique experience based on what you think is your preference is for your first billet after graduation and getting your commission. You have the opportunity to have an 11-week cutter experience, air station experience, or internship with the NSA, Army Corps of Engineers, and other government facilities to utilize the knowledge you have gained within your major. This summer is a lot about learning the different career opportunities in the Coast Guard that you didn’t even know existed. For instance, I learned more about becoming a Coast Guard lawyer, physician assistant, and worked within the Intelligence community, as well as experienced the typical Coast Guard associated jobs on cutters, sectors, and air stations. This summer, I had a five-week internship for my major in Civil Engineering at the Training Center (TRACEN) in Petaluma, California. After being selected for this program, my classmate, Jackie, and I worked on developing a drainage design project for three locations on base and, at the end, we presented our proposal to the command to be implemented. It was a great experience to build upon all that we have been learning about civil engineering these past three years. The last six weeks we were on board the CGC Waesche in Alameda, California. On this 418-foot national security cutter, we learned about how to interact with junior and senior officers, the chiefs, and junior enlisted, as well as gained knowledge and qualifications by being integrated in engineering and deck watch schedules.


As you can see, no summer will be like the other and no cadet will have the same summer experience as you do, but that’s what makes it all the more fun. By the end, you’ll be wishing you got to experience it all over again in order to make that informed decision about where you want to be first stationed come Billet Night.


Good luck with your future endeavors, and please feel free to reach out to me with any other questions.
-1/c Kathryn (Kat) Haerr
USCGA Class of 2018


More about Kathryn.