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cadet blogs

Back to the Grind

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Daniels Photo It seems like this summer was a flash of freedom and a different lifestyle and then just like that, BAM! we’re back to the routine we’ve had for so long. My class has already taken the fitness exam, bought books, and found new rooms amongst new companies and new people.

 

My summer experience was unsurpassed by anything I’ve done so far. I got to participate in two search and rescue cases and a fisheries enforcement case. This participation in the “real” Coast Guard showed me what the missions were all about and how applicable everything we were learning about at the Academy is. Eagle was an experience that I know none of my high school friends have or will ever have; instead of working this summer, I got the chance to sail around the Atlantic, and learn all about old sailing ships and nautical traditions.

 

People often have trouble returning to the Academy after their leave because they go back to a “normal” lifestyle for a few weeks, and to be completely honest I did briefly experience these same feelings. However, I thought about what a privilege it is to be here with all of my friends so I packed up my sea bag and trekked back. I’m definitely looking forward to this year, despite the new responsibilities of a third class. This is going to be my first chance to not be on the bottom, and I will help the fourth class in my division. The hardest thing I can imagine for my class is going to be to remember how we felt as fourth class and try to help out and pitch in where we all wished our upper class had helped.

 

Until next time!

 

More about Drew.

 

A Super Busy Summer

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Ellis Photo Hi Everyone!

 

Sorry it’s been so long since I lasted posted, but I have had a super busy summer. Here’s just a little taste at some of the things I did:

 

1. The week after finals, the Class of 2016 participated in 100th week. This marks the halfway point of our time here at the Academy. Cape May Company Commanders come to the Academy and remind us of what it feels like to be a swab and teach us ways to instruct our swabs to prepare them for the Coast Guard. At the conclusion of this week, we officially became 2/c cadets.

 

2. I also took my Rules of the Road (ROTR) test. Every 2/c has to take a weeklong course explaining the rules that ships have concerning right of way. So, it’s basically like a driving test – but for boats. For example, sailboats have right of way over powerboats. We also had to memorize all the lights that different types of boats have. At the end of this week, we took a 50 question test, that in order to pass we must earn a 90%.

 

3. After these two weeks, I participated in Summer Ocean racing again. This year, we competed in the Newport-Bermuda Race. The race took us five days to complete due to the lack of wind for the majority of the race. This was an amazing experience and I had a lot of fun.

 

4. The final thing I did this summer was cadre duty. The last three weeks of the summer I was a waterfront cadre. This consisted of me training the swabs how to sail every day. At night, I joined Foxtrot and acted as Swab Summer cadre. It was in these three weeks that I learned how to lead a group of swabs. This proved to be a lot harder than I would have imagined. We had to explain to this group of people how the Coast Guard and the Academy worked and prepare them for the school year. Being a cadre was one of the most rewarding things I have done at the Academy – being able to say that I helped train a new class that will, in four years, become CG officers.

 

This is just a small taste of what I did this summer. And now I’m ready to get back to school. This semester, I look forward to taking more of my major specific classes and well as being an MAA for Foxtrot Company. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to contact me at Kayla.M.Ellis@uscga.edu.

 

More about Kayla.

 

Hawaiian Happiness

 Permanent link
Sherman Photo This is the first of three vlogs in my “Pacific Journey to Guam” series about some of the fun adventures that I had during my summer training cruise on Coast Guard Cutter Sequoia. I began the journey in Honolulu, Hawaii, the first of three tropical paradise islands that I visited this summer. Most of these pictures are about my time on liberty; for detailed info about my work onboard the cutter, check out my weekly reflections from the past few months.

*Special thanks to artist Har Megiddo for the use of his music in this video.

Justin's video blog YouTube Icon

 


More about Justin.

 

A Whirlwind Adventure

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Krause Photo Summer has come to an end and the start to my 3/c academic year is fast approaching. Thinking back about the last few months I am amazed at the opportunities I have had. I spent first phase at Station San Francisco with another cadet. We were immediately welcomed into the crew and everyone there worked tirelessly to help us get our boat crew qualification on the 45-foot response boat medium. We were able to participate in search and rescue cases, helicopter operations, SWAT team training, and cruise ship escorts. Not only did we have a blast getting to see so many different aspects of the Coast Guards missions, but it also made me excited for my future career. It instilled in me a great respect for the expertise and dedication among the enlisted. The experience was humbling; there was so much to learn! It was also incredibly motivating as it provided real-world perspective on a variety of Coast Guard career options. On top of all of that we had so much fun exploring the eclectic city of San Francisco every weekend!

 

The second phase of my summer was aboard the Barque Eagle. We started in Miami and sailed up the coast through squalls and icebergs to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. One of the highlights of the six week trip was sailing past Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty to moor up in New York. Seeing these iconic sites from the deck of the Eagle was incredible. Even though the days afloat were long, our division managed to have a lot of fun while learning the different duties aboard Eagle. We saw a great diversity of aquatic wildlife such as dolphins and sea turtles, climbed the rigging, and even had a talent show. The best part of Eagle for me though was that I was able to get so much closer with my classmates. It’s true that here at the Academy your shipmates become your closest friends. We work so closely together, rely so completely on each other, and share the same goals. Long duty shifts, meals in the mess and exploring during port calls allow us to get to know and respect one another, and to truly become a team. Classmates at the Academy come from all over the country and across the globe. I realize that the remarkable opportunities to learn about the world around me aren’t limited to summer travels, they are back here at the Academy as well.

 

After this whirlwind adventure and some R&R on leave back home, I have the chance to use this amazing summer as motivation to push through the academic year. Now back at Chase and having seen my first swab, I’m excited to serve in my new role as a 3rd class to help open their eyes to the opportunities that lay ahead for them.

 

More about Gretchen.

 

A Rewarding Summer

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Pourmonir Photo So summer break is awesome. I love going to the beach and spending nights out on the town with my friends. You must be thinking that you can’t wait to go to college so that you can spend your summers just as I like to, but you must be wondering if that’s even possible. I mean going to the Coast Guard Academy means you don’t really have a summer break right? No. I thought so too, from everything I had heard, but it’s possible. This summer I was stationed at Coast Guard Station Fort Lauderdale in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. During your third class summer you either go to a small boat station, like I did, or a cutter. I got the chance to do both.

 

On the 11th of May I reported to the station. I reported late because I had a race for Men’s Varsity Crew. I was scared it would be hard to get to know everyone since I came the day after the other three cadets I was stationed with, but I was way off. Everyone was so friendly. I learned a ton. I helped to interdict 51 migrants in only four days. I spent a total of seven days on the Coast Guard Cutter Paul Clark, a fast response cutter out of Miami, Florida. In less than a week, I was allowed to stand duty as a lookout and watch the migrants. Seriously. I was responsible for the control and safety of 51 Cuban migrants. Everything from meals to bathrooms breaks I had to help control. At only 19 years old. I don’t know about you, but I considered that a huge responsibility that required a lot of trust in a person. I was humbled to be trusted with such an important task. I learned that while I did spend a ton of my summer on Fort Lauderdale’s beach and out in the city of Fort Lauderdale, it is a lot more rewarding to spend your summer learning how to serve your country and take part in some of the many missions the Coast Guard has. Interdicting migrants is one of money, but in just a few days I learned the difficulty and responsibility that every Coast Guard member accepts when they assume the duties as a member in a military service that focuses on helping others and protecting our coasts.

 

More about Keemiya.

 

Back to School For the Second-to-Last Time!!!

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Driscoll Photo It’s hard to believe that this is the second to last time I have to return to the Academy! Only the fall semester, Christmas leave, and the spring semester until the Class of 2015 graduates! It is almost impossible to believe that we graduate in 273 days; it seems like yesterday that we stood on the parade field and swore our oath of office.

 

A lot has happened in the past few days. My classmates and I assumed the duties and responsibilities of the Regimental Command on Monday. It is weird to be in charge – and more importantly, responsible for over 900 cadets. Actually, it is really unnerving. Although I have heard many times about the total transfer of responsibility and authority between commands, I’ve never understood it until now. Since our change of command, we’ve been way too busy: we haven’t even had much time to pack into our rooms! Hopefully the semester will become more controllable…

 

The first major event is the Kings Point vs. Coast Guard game. It’ll be held here in New London on 13 September. GO BEARS, BEAT KINGS POINT!!

 

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email me at Peter.M.Driscoll@uscga.edu.

 

More about Peter.

 

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.

 

Summer 2014: From the Tropics to Southeast Alaska

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Duplessis Photo I was lucky enough to travel all over the country this summer, from New London to the Caribbean, the Caribbean to Alaska, and then home for leave. I can’t describe the number of lessons I’ve learned this summer, and how amazing each of my teachers has been. It was satisfying to finally get a good look into the fleet, and it’s made me look forward to finishing up my Academy experience and moving on to my actual career in the Coast Guard.

 

My first part of the summer was spent on Eagle, a training ship, as a division officer for seven 3/c cadets, as well as the deck logs coordinator. Although balancing trainings, work, and qualifications was challenging, I was able to complete my required qualifications and duties as well as get a feel for what life is like for a junior officer aboard a cutter (it is busy). We traveled to San Juan, Puerto Rico; Aruba; Cozumel; and lastly to Miami. All of the ports were fantastic, and I would gladly travel to them again. The thing I really appreciate about being in the Coast Guard is that otherwise I might never have gotten the opportunity to travel to these places, especially in a five-week period or even a couple years.

 

For the second part of my summer, I flew to Sitka, Alaska, to spend six weeks aboard the CGC Maple, a 225-foot buoy tender. I had been interested in black-hulls for a while and wanted to form a better understanding of what their missions are and what life onboard is like. It was exponentially more interesting and demanding than I previously thought, and the crew was awesome. We went underway the day after I arrived to fix a discrepant navigational aid, and went on a 10-day underway trip to fix and set NOAA buoys (a bigger challenge than normal buoys because of their size and shape). Alaskan living was a different experience than I’m used to, but it was amazing nonetheless and I’d definitely go back again.

 

More about Lindsay.

 

Here Again?

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Effendi Photo On the great WIX-327 yet another summer, but this time I chose to be there. I had a lot to debate before submitting my choices for my 2/c summer cadre slate. Should I put in for CGAS cadre because I was in the program years before? Should I go for Swab Summer cadre to breakdown the incoming Class of 2018? In the end I chose Eagle, and I had plenty reason to. Eagle gives cadets the best opportunity to prepare for the future.

 

In the preparation week for Eagle cadre, we utilize simulators to prepare for navigation team assignments and give navigation briefs to officers and classmates. On Eagle we have our own division, our own watches, and our own collaterals. Also we have the benefit of giving most swabs their first ever sea-going experience, while also teaching them many skills that they will need in the future. Not to mention that Eagle will be stopping in Bourne, Massachusetts during Sailfest and Rockland, Maine during Lobsterfest, but those are just added perks. Yes, this will be my third summer in a row being on Eagle but I know that this experience will aid in my development as a leader more than any other experience offered for 2/c summer.

 

More about Ardy.

 

Phase II, Headquarters’ Perspective

(The Cadet Experience, Life as a Junior Officer, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Wu Photo After my first phase on a 210’ cutter out of St. Petersburg, I got the opportunity to go to Washington D.C. for an internship at Coast Guard headquarters. I did not know what to expect from the experience, but my six weeks in D.C. was eye-opening. A fellow classmate and I were the two cadets accepted for an internship with the finance office at headquarters. I really enjoyed the experience because it was very different from my time on a cutter. Not only was the lifestyle different since I went from having watches on the CGC Venturous to having a set work schedule, going into the office at 8 a.m. and getting off work at around 4 p.m., but we were given projects to analyze as interns and our recommendations were actually taken seriously and implemented. It was awesome seeing how we were able to contribute to the Coast Guard. More importantly, interning at headquarters was an amazing opportunity to meet other types of officers.

 

The Academy puts a huge emphasis on going on a cutter and they advertise a cutterman life more than any other career. It was interesting to learn about other career paths besides being on a boat. There were officers that came from grad school, officers that were social aids, and officers that were liaisons to other countries. It was also a privilege to help with multiple retirement ceremonies at headquarters since we got to hear about a whole career of a Coast Guard officer. All and all, the internship definitely gave me a different perspective on the Coast Guard. It was like a backstage pass to see the people providing all the support for the operational units.

 

My first phase gave me a good insight on how my ensign life will be since I will be putting in for cutters for my first tour. However, the second phase of my summer gave me a better idea of the possibilities for my future in the Coast Guard and how it does not necessarily have to be a cutterman’s life.

 

More about Ellie.

 

Only the Beginning of My Fantastic Journey

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Sakowicz Photo This summer has been the most exciting and greatest fun I ever had! Finally earning my red shields and being allowed to call myself a third class was only the beginning of my fantastic journey!

 

My summer started the day after my last final where I met the CGC Eagle on the New London docks. Nothing compares to the feeling of knowing you will spend the next five weeks learning to operate a square rig sailing vessel. Over the next five weeks I learned the 200+ pins and lines, I sat on the bowsprit at 0200 watching dolphins swim through the bioluminescence and climbed to the royals in rough seas! I learned how to navigate by the stars, turn on the main diesel engine and make baggy wrinkle. What I learned on board was amazing and the people I worked with were even better! What really made my trip was the port calls; three days in Puerto Rico, Aruba, Cozumel Mexico and a day in Miami! The new places and cultures was an eventful break from the hard work on Eagle. I really liked my time on board and hope the future sailors have as great a time as I did!

 

My second phase was six weeks on the CGC Dauntless. The cutter'a home port is Gaveston, Texas but it was dry docked in Brooklyn for the six weeks I was on. This wasn't a tragedy for me I live only an hour away so I was able to visit my family and friends on my off days. The Dauntless was so much different that the Eagle in more ways than just sails. The dynamic of the crew and the flow of work was very smooth and everyone got their work done swiftly and efficiently. The crew took us in and put us to work and I was able to experience what it was like to be a functioning member of the Coast Guard. I made a lot of good friends on both my phases and I was able get so much out of all of these experiences; I couldn't have asked for a better summer. now it is time to take my leave before returning to the Academy for my second year. Thank you for reading!

 

More about Emily.

 

Week 10: Guam Adventures!

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Sherman Photo I think this week’s reflection is going to be short. There really wasn’t work for the crew this week, so most of my days were free aside from the one day of duty in which I broke-in as an officer of the day (OOD). I’ve been working on many small projects, which are enjoyable. It’s rewarding because I know that I’m contributing to the cutter and doing something that will last and be beneficial for the crew and officers (or at least I hope!). As I mentioned last week, I enjoy projects that make things better for those around me; this week has been great for that!

 

When I wasn’t working this week, I was exploring the island. There are some exciting hikes and interesting places to go. I’ve taken a lot of pictures of the cool landscapes, amazing views, tropical beaches, and ocean cliffs as well as some interesting wildlife (have I mentioned the dive-bombing birds yet?).

 

It’s been a relaxing week, and I still haven’t come to terms with the fact that I only have one week left onboard. Where has the time gone!? I’m looking forward to going home, but part of me doesn’t want to leave. I still have more of Guam to explore. Thankfully I have another week left to have a few more days of adventure.

 

As far as leadership and Coast Guard reflections, I can’t say that I have much to say for this week. I’ve been thinking about school a bit more (mentally preparing myself for it), and the Academy seems like such a different place from this side of the world. Honestly, the perspective has been just what I needed to refresh and ramp up for my last year! It has been incredible being in the operational Coast Guard doing work and standing watches as a professional member of the service. I hope when I face challenges at the Academy that I can remember my perspective now to remind myself that the Academy and all the craziness that goes on there isn’t the whole Coast Guard. I’m proud to serve in one of the world’s premier maritime services!

 

Well, I’ll leave off there. Not sure if I’ll write next week since I’ll be flying home about the time I usually write these reflections (and 10 reflections is a nice even number…). I can tell you now that it’s going to be a busy week as I scramble to finish all my projects, tie up other loose ends, and prepare to head home. Thanks for joining me on my Pacific journey this summer. In a few weeks, be on the lookout for a vlog with pictures and video from these past few months. Have a great rest of the summer!

 

More about Justin.

 

Looking Back on the Summer So Far

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Daghir Photo Okay, so I guess I should take a deep breath and remember all that I have done this summer. Although it seems to be a bit of a blur, I can say that it has been the busiest, most rewarding, and, yes, fun summer thus far. I started in the range, ending my first week with a sharpshooter ribbon for pistol shooting (who knew that the cheerleader could pick up a gun for the first time and shoot five points away from expert?!) Actually, to backtrack, my summer started officially at home for three weeks of leave, but it seems so distant and disconnected from my Connecticut summer that it’s easy to forget. I passed my ROTR test, Rules of the Road that is, after range (I tell my friends back home that it is like drivers ed but for boats). To pass the test, everyone needs a 90%, so the whole week is dedicated to taking practice tests and studying. Next came prep week, and as a waterfront cadre, I spent the week learning how to teach swabs how to sail and familiarizing myself with the sailboats and the small motor boats used by the cadre to corral the sailing swabbies. Now I am about to finish my week of T-boats, which is basic ship handling. We spent the week anchoring, docking, and practicing man overboard drills on unlucky life rings. Next week starts the end of my summer: coastal sail, where I will tour the coast of New England on a 44-foot sailboat with my fellow cadre.

 

It may seem that I left out the bit about Swab Summer (my memoir of a waterfront 1 cadre) but I have to admit that I missed a month of my summer training due to medical reasons and so my cadre experience and flight experience week were both casualties. The worst feeling was that my cadre section was doing things, training, having fun with each other at school. I guess one good thing about missing so much of my summer is that I realized how much I loved my school, my friends, and my adventures! It seemed to get real for me, missing out, how much I really wanted to be in the Coast Guard. And I think that when I had this revelation, many other of my classmates had opposite ones. Several of my classmates have left. It’s hard to see them leave but now is the time that we start tasting leadership, responsibility, and are expected to uphold the standards. Sorry that I have been a bit long-winded, but I just wanted to say that starting my third year here (as a 2/c), I am very excited to lead my peers and shipmates, to be on boats, and to make the world a better place through the Coast Guard even more so than I was the day I arrived on R-Day.

 

More about Lucy.

 

Expect the Unexpected

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Glick Photo Back in late April when 2017 was briefed by the Cadet Training Branch, we received handbooks on what we should expect for 3/c summer. There was the expected: conduct standards, some sign-offs, and a template on evaluation for the end of the summer. But this summer's turn of events has been unexpected. Following Eagle, my unit was switched last minute to another cutter close to home. Today I passed my Repair Party Electrician (RPE) board (oral examination). On Eagle, we learned Damage Control basics, that is, how to control fire, flooding, and general emergencies in a maritime environment. I was never exposed to firefighting or emergency response growing up, but learning the basics on Eagle piqued my interest. When I came aboard my summer unit after Eagle, I made it my goal to obtain the advanced qualification. After completing that qualification early, I flipped to the back of the book to see what was left: Repair Electrician. I knew nothing about electricity before I got on this boat, and admittedly I was a bit intimidated by something I knew nothing about. Luckily, my unit is preparing for Tailored Ship's Training and Availability (TSTA), which measures (on an annual basis) each unit's knowledge, efficiency, and strategy in responding to a wide variety of emergencies, from an engine room fire to a man overboard pickup. There's been a drill almost every day, and the cadets were given the opportunity to participate in each one. I started to learn more and more about setting up casualty power systems from the emergency diesel generator, how to electrically and mechanically isolate a space, and the principles behind power generation. I found myself studying something I never thought I would be interested in, and the Electrician's Mate Chief on board and other electrician's mates took the time out of their day to go over the qualification. I surprised myself and passed the board, and now I'm RPE-qualified. Who'd a thunk I would be interested in electricity?

 

This summer has exposed me to different parts of the Coast Guard, interacting with different people from different backgrounds, from Operation Specialists to Food Service Specialists. There are many different personalities, both good and bad. That was unexpected. Nearly everybody at the Academy behaves in a uniform manner, and strictly adheres to the honor concept. There are people in the fleet who do not do this, to my surprise, and even people who don't like cadets for no reason. The Coast Guard is like any other organization: there are really good people and there is the handful of not so good people. In their defense, we sometimes get in the way and there's times where we can't help out, but we mean well. Luckily, this is only a small fraction of people in the "real" Coast Guard. Most people are welcoming and curious, and receptive to having cadets aboard their unit, especially the command. The other 3/c cadets and I attended a wardroom outing with all of the officers in Charleston, and there was some great conversation. Charleston was one of my favorite port calls; another surprise. Having visited Aruba, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Baltimore's Inner Harbor, Charleston had the most to do, some of the friendliest people, and the best weather. Admittedly, Aruba was a close runner-up. Another shocker, my girlfriend surprised me by showing up to the base I just pulled into! I am excited for leave in a few days, and I plan on going to Busch Gardens in Virginia, seeing old (and new) friends, reading, and working out. The biannual Physical Fitness Examination is coming up soon, so most cadets are ramping up their workouts to get their best score. But in a few more days and I would be home enjoying leave!

 

Finally home, I find myself bored. I saw all of my friends from high school, and while we laughed like old times, we all have different interests. For many of my friends, they are almost done or halfway through college. They are coming to terms with finding jobs in a year or so, and it seems like we have all grown up. Being home for me now is somewhat boring, I no longer get the same satisfaction from the stuff I did in high school. At 20, the boardwalk is familiar like the back of my hand, and there isn’t much else to do in South Jersey. Today I went up to Philadelphia to find something to do, and I will be leaving for Busch Gardens in a week. I am, however, looking forward to seeing the Statue of Liberty over leave, as it’s something I’ve never done before. I spent a night in Chase Hall after flying into Providence Airport, and it was strange being back. I felt a sense of ownership, and I guess that is natural when you are allowed to look around and not have to square around the hallways. Leave won’t last forever—I need to order books soon…

 

I’ve also finally sent in some pictures. Check them out! 

 

More about William.