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cadet blogs

Learning Horizontal Running: Third Class Summer ‘Pitch Perfect’ Style

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Kukich Photo Summers at Academy, as I am sure you could guess, vary by year. After fourth class year we have two phases of summer training and a leave period. Due to shoulder surgery back in the winter I was not able to travel aboard the Eagle like the rest of my classmates, so unfortunately I do not have any thrilling stories about the high seas. I did however have the opportunity to go to Station New London for five weeks and Cutter Maple in Sitka, Alaska for six.


A typical day at the station consisted of shadowing the watch stander, typically junior enlisted personnel, and then helping the deck force clean and maintain equipment. When time allowed I worked with the Gunner's Mate and Maritime Law Enforcement Specialist on various weapons and pyro. Time spent in the armory was by far my favorite part of being at the station and it broadened my perspective of opportunities in the Coast Guard. Leaving Station New London I had a better idea of how real people used their passions and talents to accomplish a multitude of missions; an application that couldn't be learned in a classroom setting at the Academy.


On June 15th I was medically cleared to go to CGC Maple, a buoy tender in Sitka, Alaska. Prior to this summer I had never travelled west of Pennsylvania: going to Sitka was one of the most wild and amazing experiences of my life. While the cutter was in Charlie status, under repair for the engines, I was able to be a very active member of the in-port crew. I learned dozens of skills with the most prominent being basic damage control, watch standing, and skills to handling weapons. But those were the skills the Academy directly instructed us to learn, skills they felt would be the most helpful for a junior officer to understand. In my opinion however it was the mediocre, monotonous tasks that taught me about the people I want to work with, which is what I most look forward to. I learned how to pull up nonskid and put it down, how to scrape off paint and then re-paint, to dog hatches and close scuttles before going underway, to properly cut an onion, to make a gasket by hand, to start a fire pump, to test general alarms, and to climb the mast at sunset. The crew of the Maple taught me to quote the film "Pitch Perfect", to sing and dance to 'N Sync, to hike mountains and a volcano, to win the show "Chopped", to strut in a Fourth of July parade, and to play shuffleboard. Looking back at this set of skills some may seem more impressive than do others: in all, the development of this skill set allowed me to immerse myself as part of the crew and set expectations for myself as an officer candidate. It was bittersweet to leave Alaska a few days ago, but knowing that I have the opportunity to work with the best crew in the Coast Guard is motivation enough to work hard this school year.



More about Sarah.


Cadet Aviation Training Program

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Hazen Photo Cadet Aviation Training Program (CATP) was quite interesting. I was on of 19 2/c cadets on the trip. We departed the Academy at 0530 on Sunday morning and made our way down to Elizabeth City, North Carolina. We arrived around 1800 Sunday night and quickly got situated. We were greeted by LT Wyrick. He ran out and grabbed us some pizzas because everything on base was closed. The week was very relaxed. All 19 cadets got to take a ride on a C-130, a Coast Guard fixed wing aircraft. However, because of the large group, not all of us were able to get on a helicopter ride…which was very disappointing. I would have loved to see what that was like.


The two most memorable experiences I took away from CATP were the ropes course and basket hoist. E-City recently built a new aquatic facility, where they train Aviation Survival Technicians/Rescue Swimmers (ASTs). The facility was awesome! It was a 50-meter pool that had a divider down the middle. On one side of the divider was a ropes course. It was a series of about 11 ropes. The first rope went all the way down to the water. The object of the course was the climb up the first rope then get across the other ten ropes that hung roughly 15 feet in the air. I almost made it all the way across, but dropped with two ropes to left. Many of the guys I was with made it, but they were also skipping ropes, grabbing every other rope. The ASTCS who was overseeing us said that the rescue swimmers could climb up the rope, go across all 10 ropes, come back to the beginning, climb down, climb back up, and repeat the whole process again.


That same ASTCS was also in the movie The Guardian with Ashton Kutcher and Kevin Costner. ASTCS Hall was very accommodating and genuine. He is someone I hope to run into again down the road.


The basket hoist was also an unforgettable experience. We had a rescue swimmer swim us under a helicopter as the helo dropped a basket down. The rescue swimmer placed us in the basket and we were hoisted up the helo. At the top we were all given Jolly Ranchers…as a congrats, you did it…I guess?


I would love to have another opportunity to explore more about Coast Guard aviation!



More about Mary.