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cadet blogs

Honing My Leadership Skills

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Sakowicz Photo As I return from leave and start CAP Week for my third time, I have been spending time reflecting and remembering my 2/c summer. My classmates and I did so many amazing and thrilling things that not only created lasting memories, but also helped me hone my leadership skills in preparation for this year.

 

I started off the summer with 100th Week when Cape May company commanders came and instructed us in the art of discipline and leadership. We learned a lot about mental stress and alternating styles of teaching to get our AIMsters or swabs to learn what we are trying to teach them. After that a group of us went to a week of Rules of the Road, or ROTR, and in that class we learned the rules of boat driving and how to react to dangerous situations. The test we took at the end of the week is not only a graduation requirement, but is the first step in learning how to drive cutters in the Coast Guard. Following ROTR a group of my classmates and I went onto the Academy’s T-boats to practice and learn basic ship handling skills. I was able to command the vessel and pull into and out of a dock, work through a man overboard drill and anchor in the Thames River. That week really helped me develop my command confidence that I would be using for the rest of the summer.

 

Range Week followed ROTR and I was able to get pistol qualified. It was really difficult to get used to the pistol, but once I did I really enjoyed the time we spent practicing and taking the test. Coastal Sail started the Monday after range, and it was definitely the best experience I’ve had in my time here at the Academy. My group was awesome and everyday was filled with hours of intense sailing. My group ended up using the least amount of engine hours because we were so determined to sail during every hour we could. I was able to explore awesome places like Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, Newport, and Cuttyhunk. Every day someone else was in charge of commanding the yacht, and trying to command in 20-knot winds and 5-foot seas is an experience in and of itself.

 

I traveled to Sector New York in Staten Island for the marine safety training program (MSTP). Two of my classmates and I spent the week inspecting foreign cargo vessels, sailing shuttles, and the Staten Island ferry. We also explored NYC and Staten Island while learning about the sector side of the Coast Guard. We drove back to start the AIM preparatory week when the AIM cadre cleaned and prepared for the 2015 AIM year.

 

Being AIM cadre was the best decision I could have made. Introducing high school seniors to the Coast Guard Academy and displaying bits of swab summer and the school year gave me the opportunity to become a leader and develop myself. I had AIMsters coming up to me after graduation on Fridays thanking me for changing their lives and making them want to come the Academy even more. After those three amazing weeks, I felt responsible and well developed in leadership and extremely prepared to lead in the corps for the upcoming year.

 

More about Emily.

 

Former Cadet Blogger – A Return on Investment

(Life as a Junior Officer) Permanent link
Wowtschuk Photo Howdy, shipmates! The relationship I have with my editor can be compared with some of the great duos throughout history. She has been the grill to my Foreman, the Nike to my Lemieux, the steroids to my Armstrong, and now, by pressuring me out of retirement for one last “Blog of the Century,” she has become the Pacquiao to my Mayweather. And, like “Money,” I hope to, once again, become TBBE (The Best Blogger Ever) through solid fundamentals, impeccable style, and timely hugs.

 

Let me start by bringing everyone up to speed on what I have accomplished so far as a commissioned officer in the United States Coast Guard (this will be brief). In a nutshell, I moved to the PNW, went to the Arctic Ocean three consecutive summers, moved to Texas, grew a beard, and am currently maximizing the U.S. Government’s return on investment in my education. In the hopes of imparting some valuable insights about life after the Coast Guard University, I am going to share my experience during each of these chapters of my life.

 

I begin my journey in the PNW, or Pacific Northwest for all you out-of-touch, non-organic eating, macro-beer drinking, mainstream entertainment enjoying, melanin sufficient southeasterners. Moving to Seattle? The first thing I recommend doing is reject the corporate mainstream fashion value of the lames, and start cultivating your own individual style. This involves wearing a working class hat, having thick rimmed glasses (bonus if you actually need them to see), growing facial hair popular in the 19th century, sporting a t-shirt with some sort of anti-establishment message, and rocking multi-colored socks. As a general rule of thumb, wear clothing only popular prior to 1992, because you don’t want to stand out. Once you have learned to march to the beat of your own drum, and fully embraced hipster “counter culture,” you can begin to appreciate all the PNW has to offer.

 

The Arctic Ocean is an incredibly fragile ecosystem, virtually untouched by civilization, and contains some of the most endangered animals known to man. Fortunately, the polar bear does not fall into this last category. Polar bears are some of the most incredible animals alive but they are not endangered (seriously, look it up). They were so common, that when sighted I would invariably think “oh cool, ANOTHER polar bear...let me know when it turns into a narwhal”.

 

Texas is the opposite of Seattle in just about every way imaginable. Upon entering the state, I was issued a hand gun, a Texas state flag, and a copy of George Strait’s Greatest Hits. I did not realize people actually wore cowboy outfits as a serious fashion decision. As a native New Yorker, it has been a slow, and at times, painful adjustment to the Texas culture. If you remember nothing else, remember to shape your cowboy hat. It will save you an embarrassing night at the local dance club.

 

Finally, as a Coast Guard representative at a top engineering research institution, I hold myself to the highest of standards. I understand my role as a graduate student, and embrace the notion that my job is to work hard and learn as much as possible. The Coast Guard is investing in me and I must return the investment in full. This involves avoiding the many distractions present at a major university, or pitfalls as I like to call them. Here are a list of pitfalls that I am regularly challenged with: waking up whenever I want, discounted menu options until 11 p.m. at local dining establishments, SEC Division I college football games, interacting with young women who are more interested in the social aspects of college than the educational ones, traveling, and, of course, the most dangerous pitfall of all, not adhering to the Coast Guard uniform and grooming standards.

 

I think this “Blog of the Century,” lived up to its hype, much like the “Fight of the Century,” did. I will leave you with these wise words from the greatest boxer of our generation, Floyd “Money” Mayweather: "I am the best. There is nobody better than me.”

 

Fun Fact: I am allergic to apples.

 

More about Bo.