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cadet blogs

3/c Summer: Three Weeks of Leave

(Just for Fun, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Turner Photo It’s been a while everyone so let me break down my leave experience for 3/c summer. By far it was a great way to end my summer in preparation for the school year. It was three weeks of continuous action. Without further ado, let’s get into it.

 

The first few days were hectic. I had driving school my first few days, then on the first Monday of leave, my summer took off. My friends and I planned a trip to Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia. It was convenient that my friend lives right in the area. We were there from Monday afternoon until Thursday morning.

 

Tuesday was the day we took over Busch gardens; it was a blast. We also managed to get into the park for free. That’s a wonderful thing about the Academy; it serves as a gateway to make lifelong memories with your friends, at an affordable price. After going on all the roller coasters, we threw a mini dance party at the end. It was a great end to the day.

 

Wednesday was a much-needed relaxing day. We walked along the Virginia Beach boardwalk and then just hung out at a local mall. Another reward of going to the Academy is that you can reflect on moments like this and truly appreciate how close you can get to others. And when you have an opportunity to relax after a nonstop 11-week summer, it’s amazing.

 

Thursday was a long day. I drove from the beach back to D.C. then I linked up with my high school friends in the city. We spent the whole day hiking on Theodore Roosevelt Island, and just explored the Georgetown neighborhood. It was so nice to be able to fully reconnect with my homies. Keep in mind, this was the first few days of leave.

 

Besides hanging out with friends, I attended three different concerts during my remaining two weeks of leave. To all my new age hip-hop fans, I saw Logic, J. Cole, Playboi Carti, and Joey Bada$$. The whole atmosphere of each concert was just phenomenal. Yes, I was lucky to see most of my favorite artists in such a short time span.

 

While leave seems like a time to kick back and have a whole lot of stupid fun, it is also about the business. My parents made me finish driving school. I know it’s funny, I’m a 3/c now and still do not have my license. Stuff happens, ok?

 

Summer leave is such a good time to go out and just have a large amount of fun. There is no better feeling than hanging out with your friends under the beating sun. Even after 4/c year and the 11-week 3/c summer training period, those three weeks of leave will seem like a blessing, so enjoy every second of it. Until next time, I’m out!

 

More about Anthony.

 

More Opportunities Than Time

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Swift Photo Hey y’all! I’m Delaney Swift, a fourth class (third class, finally!) here at the good old CGA. I was born and raised in Portales, New Mexico – a little rural land-locked farm and ranch town. Coming to Connecticut has been a bit of a shock to the system for me. I traded soil, sun, big skies, and the high plains for beautiful trees and a river in my back yard. That definitely has its perks! Though my heart will always be in New Mexico, it doesn’t have a whole lot of coast to guard.

 

I have two younger brothers, Jack (15) and Noah (12), who (despite always being up to no good) are pretty much my best friends. I’m a very family-centric person, which I thought would be a challenge for me in coming to the Academy, but it turns out that my family just got bigger – it now includes a whole bunch of cadets! As a fourth class, my main hobbies were keeping my eyes in the boat, bussing around campus, and squaring my corners, but really, the highlights of my day are all the extracurricular activities offered here. As a third class, life has gotten so much better; I now spend my time working in the major I love, seeing my friends at Glee, theater, and ballroom dance, and looking out for 4/c! Growing up in a small town meant that things to do were always hard to come by, but there’s never a dull moment at the Academy – there’s always shenanigans of some sort afoot, just like home! You can never tell what the future will bring at this school – you’ll literally have more opportunities than you have time for. One thing I can tell, though, is that my final three years here are going to be the adventure of a lifetime. If you ever have any questions, or just want to talk to a cadet, shoot me an email at Delaney.L.Swift@uscga.edu.

 

More about Delaney.

 

An Amazing 3/c Summer

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Farlow Photo This summer was one for the books. The day after I finished my spring finals, I boarded USCGC Eagle for a five-week cruise with about 140 of my classmates. We started just down the street in downtown New London and had port calls in Hamilton, Bermuda; Port Canaveral, Florida; and Norfolk, Virginia. During the cruise, cadets stood watches and got qualified for Helm and Lookout and Auxiliary Engineer and after daily trainings we took a test to become Basic Damage Control qualified. Eagle was a unique experience that I will never forget and that I can share with all Academy graduates. I learned so much about being underway, but more importantly I grew closer to my classmates.

 

In Norfolk, I left the Eagle for a six-week stint at Coast Guard Station Fort Lauderdale with one other cadet. There I learned to stand communications watches from non-rates and petty officers and in about two weeks’ time I sat for a board and earned a qualification for Communications Watchstanding. This enabled me to be put in the watchstanding rotation thus enabling them to use their skills to participate in maintenance and trainings. In the process, I got real experience manning radios and interacting with Sector. I also completed the bulk of the boat crew member PQS and enjoyed time underway with the crew conducting helicopter operations and patrols. In the last few days at Station Fort Lauderdale (STAFTL), I had the opportunity to be pepper sprayed. Although it was not the highlight of my summer, I am glad to have completed it at an early stage in my Coast Guard career. With the help of STAFTL command, I had the opportunity to take part in a helicopter flight from Coast Guard Air Station Miami and participate in a dive boat inspection at Coast Guard Station Lake Worth. Both experiences allowed me to see possible career paths come graduation. My time at STAFTL was special because the command and crew took time to train me and to help me understand their missions.

 

After leaving Florida, I headed home to Dallas for three weeks of summer leave. I drove to Chattanooga with my younger sister to watch her play in nationals, visited my cousins in Colorado, and spent time with my family and friends at home. I will carry my experiences and lessons from Eagle and STAFTL for the rest of my career. I could not have asked for a better summer or better people to meet and work with. The Coast Guard is truly amazing.

 

More about Francesca.

 

Ensign Life, So Far

(Life as a Junior Officer, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Glick Photo Well, it’s been awhile since I wrote one of these, and I thought it would be good to write again. I’m two months into my ensign tour and I am learning a lot. Being underway is both monotonous and exciting. In a way, it reminds me of Swab Summer in 2013, without the yelling. Instead of memorizing the mission and swab indoc, I am memorizing navigation and sailing rules, the CO's standing orders, and I am constantly quizzing myself while my boss quizzes me, too. Here though, it isn't just about memorizing text, it's also about applying it to your job. In a way, it is a lot like Swab Summer - your focus and attitude determine your reality. You can be bewildered or overwhelmed, or you can choose to focus and do your best. There is little room for error, but learning how to not make the same mistake twice is just as important, and recognizing that making mistakes is a part of learning, which is important, too. The standards are high, but I am sure I will live up to them in the coming months. I have a good pair of chief petty officers who are looking out for me, and the crew is great. We towed a few disabled vessels that almost got swept up in the Gulf Stream, and I earned my first qualifications as Inport Watch Stander, recertified on Damage Control, and soon I should have my Inport Officer of the Deck qualification as well. Hopefully in the next few months I will be ready to take my board for Underway OOD, wish me luck!

 

More about William.

 

Singing at the Academy

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Just for Fun, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Eshleman Photo I love the fall. I love the excitement of going back to school, the leaves changing color in Connecticut, and the transition into colder weather. My favorite thing about autumn though, is getting back into singing after being away from the group for the summer. As my profile says, I am involved in multiple singing groups at the Coast Guard Academy. One of these is called Fairwinds, which is a group of 12 girls that practice weekly and do acapella songs. Each year we strive to learn new music. We vary from Michael Jackson to doo wop to Johnny Cash. We then get to perform at various local restaurants, ceremonies, banquets, and more. Traveling with a small group of people (we also commonly perform with the guys’ group the Idlers as well) really creates a close-knit circle. This niche I have found at CGA has made the school feel like home. It gives me something to look forward to every week when we get to sing for an hour or two. It takes my mind off any anxieties I may be having about tests, military inspections, etc., AND the best part is that you get to travel. What young person doesn’t want that? This year is my last year in Fairwinds before graduating, and I intend to make it as great of a time as possible.

 

More about Hannah.

 

Back to School and After-School Activities

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Just for Fun, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Hosley Photo I can’t believe this is my first blog back at school for my last year at the Academy! It’s crazy how time flies! So here we are back at school for another exciting and challenging year at the CGA. I had heard that some people were interested in some of my other extracurricular activities here at school (which are a blast!), so here is a little bit about what the CGA has to offer outside of everyday cadet life.

 

This semester, I happen to be the Executive Officer of Golf Company. It is an honor to be in charge (along with my Company Commander) of leading and guiding a company of 124 other cadets. On top of being XO, I am also captain of the varsity women’s lacrosse team. As a lacrosse player and a captain, I am very busy organizing team events, practices, and team bonding time. As a varsity athlete much of my time is spent at practice every afternoon and at away games on the weekends. Some of our games are around two hours away but the time spent with my team on the bus is priceless. It is an amazing and humbling opportunity to be able to test out my leadership skills while playing the sport that I love.

 

When I’m not playing lacrosse or working on company logistics, you can find me at Yoga Club, Women’s Leadership Council, with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes organization (FCA), or Asian Pacific American Council (APAC). I know it probably seems like it is impossible for me to do all of these things, and sometimes it seems like it is, but the beauty of being here at the CGA is that everyone understands the limits on our time and thus clubs are very flexible with scheduled events (unlike varsity sports obligations which are mandatory). When the clubs are hosting big events, club members can sign up to attend if their schedule allows. For Yoga Club, we have the unique opportunity to travel off-base to Mystic Yoga Shala for hot yoga once a week. If I’m too busy with homework I’ll skip out on yoga, but otherwise the classes are a great stress reliever and a hard workout. For Women’s Leadership Council, we do a mentoring program and have other fun events that I choose to attend based on whether or not my schedule allows. FCA is great also because we have lunch excusals every couple of weeks, so it doesn’t take any time out of my day, but instead I get to eat lunch with my fellow classmates and athletes. It is a great time to relax, reflect, and discuss our faith. Lastly, being a part of APAC is really fun as well! The council usually does big events with delicious food, like Dim Sum Sundays at a local restaurant. Overall, the Academy has a ton of unique and fun extracurricular activities to offer and I only do just a few. If you have any other specific questions, please don’t hesitate to ask! Cecelia.K.Hosley@uscga.edu

 

More about Cece.

 

All for Clubs and Clubs for All

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Just for Fun, Class of 2019) Permanent link
Friedman Photo The summer is starting to wind down and Cadets are getting ready to head back to the Academy for the start of the academic year. The week before classes start is Cadet Administrative Processing or CAP week, when cadets set up their class schedules, get books, move into their new rooms, take the PFE, and any other tasks the Academy needs us to complete before the school year starts. As part of CAP week, there’s the annual Cadet Activities Fair when the whole corps goes down to lower field for a cook-out lunch and clubs set up tables to let everyone learn more about the club and sign up if they’re interested. I’m in Women’s Leadership Council, Culinary Club, Diversity Peer Educators, Cadet Activities Council, Class of 2019 Formal Committee, (obviously) Blog Club and others I’m forgetting right now.

 

One of the other clubs that I’m in is the Women’s Rugby Team. We’re a club sport because we compete under USA Rugby instead of the NCAA. We’re a division II team and went to the final four last season. It may sound intimidating, like you have to have played since you were six years old to be on the team, but this is the farthest thing from the truth. Anyone who wants to play is welcome. In high school, I played volleyball and swam but I decided to change it up when I got to the Academy so I started playing rugby and I love it. The team is super close and welcoming. We practice Monday through Thursday during sports period and lift in the morning before the military training period on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We have our games on Saturday mornings at a field the Coast Guard Foundation owns off base. After our games we have a cook out with the other team and get back to the Academy shortly after liberty is granted. It’s a great way to get off base, meet new people, and create a positive representation of the Coast Guard for people who may not know a lot about our service.

 

I am also the president of the Jewish Hillel on campus. The club has lunch together every other week and the wardroom does a great job of catering it. They make challah, matzah ball soup, and other traditional foods. The lunches and club is not just for Jewish cadets, most of the club members are not Jewish; they come to learn more about Jewish heritage and their shipmates who are Jewish. In addition to the lunches we organize outreach events. Last semester alone, we hosted a visit from members of the Israeli Defense forces; a Passover Seder; a Holocaust remembrance lunch, which over 100 cadets attended; and more.

 

While the Academy is a very stringent and regulated place, there is also the opportunity to express yourself and explore your interests. You just have to take the initiative to join the club related to your interests, or create it yourself. Last year alone the Diversity Peer Educators, German American Council, Archery Club, and Field Hockey Team were created.

 

If you have any questions, about clubs or anything else, feel free to email me at Jill.M.Friedman@uscga.edu.

 

More about Jill.

 

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
Kathryn.M.Haerr@uscga.edu
USCGA Class of 2018

 

More about Kathryn.

 

A Summer Blog from the Last Frontier

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018, Marine and Environmental Sciences) Permanent link
Hosley Photo Greetings from Sitka, Alaska, the most beautiful (and rainiest) place on Earth! I know it’s been a little while since my last blog, but this summer has been a whirlwind of exciting travel and new experiences. This past spring I arrived to my first unit, the great Coast Guard Cutter Douglas Munro in Kodiak, Alaska. Kodiak was very cold, very rugged, and very beautiful. Life on the cutter was a unique and interesting experience. The cutter is a 378 foot high endurance cutter that patrols the Bearing Sea and over to Japan. While on board we got to live the junior officer life, helping out with the cutter’s Change of Command ceremony, morale events, preparations to get underway, and much, much more.

 

After Kodiak, I flew to southeast Alaska to a tiny island town called Sitka for the second half of my summer program. Here in Sitka, I live at the Coast Guard Air Station and work at the Sitka Sound Science Center through an internship provided to me through my major at the Academy (Marine and Environmental Sciences). At the Science Center, myself and the other Academy intern, are working on various research projects, while getting involved in the local community and volunteering at other center’s camps and events. Our time here in Sitka so far has been a blast! Our primary research here has been conducting shellfish surveys for the local tribe in an area crucial for subsistence clamming. We are very excited to be wrapping up this work and have put together a wonderful presentation on the Academy and our time here in Sitka, as well as the results from our surveys and the rest of our research to present to the community tonight at the public library.

 

I have gone hiking, kayaking, fishing, paddle boarding, sightseeing, and much more during my time here at the internship. I have seen the most beautiful mountains, sunsets, and wildlife such as eagles, bears and whales! Alaska is such an incredible and amazing place (with the best fresh fish available anywhere) and I would highly recommend visiting! If you are at all interested in the Science Center or the internship you can find us online on Facebook, Instagram or at our website: www.SitkaScience.org :)

 

More about Cece.