It has been a long two years! I have been a part of so many things, which now I have time to write about. Since my first post (and only post), I have survived 4/c year, sailed around the world (almost), weathered the engineering academics of 3/c year, and taken part in the life-changing 11-week cadre summer. This summer was a time of growth and maturity for the Swabs of 2016, but more importantly, our Great Class of 2014. We experienced a new aspect of the Coast Guard each week and got a taste of various paths we could pursue in the future. I visualize the summer in three categories: Classroom Learning, Coast Guard Application, and Leadership Development.
Classroom Learning involved a week of Rules of the Road (ROTR), which is driver’s ed for the ocean. I had this class right after my three weeks of leave, so I was well rested and able to really take in all of the information. As a follow up to the classroom material, all of the 2/c either participated in the two week Coastal Sail program on the new Leadership 44’s or sailed around the Thames for a week on the Colgates. I sailed on the Colgates, which was really interesting because we got to explore the river and everything around the Academy’s waterfront. We used our ROTR knowledge to properly navigate our way past ferries and passing traffic all the way to Fisher’s Island for a day trip.
Coast Guard Application was a larger portion of the summer, including a trip to the Elizabeth City CG Air Station for the Cadet Aviation Training Program or CATP, a week on T-boats, and a week of pistol range. Elizabeth City (although a 17 hour drive away) was so amazing! The aviation community in the Coast Guard is so different from ship life. The pilots were all so very proud of everything they had accomplished and were eager to get us excited. We all got to be hoisted into a helicopter from the water as a training exercise for the rescue swimmers. It was difficult leaving after having so much fun at work! T-boats was a lot of fun as well. We got to apply everything we had ever learned on a boat and drive around (a bit recklessly, might I add) and try not to hit anything. We went over many standard procedures throughout the Coast Guard so we will know what to do when we go to our next units. There were eight cadets and one LT on board and we had such a great time. Range week was also a highlight for me. I had never really shot a gun before, but the staff down at the range was great. I qualified my first round as Sharpshooter! 100% of 2014 qualified, which has only happened one other time at the Academy.
The Leadership Development phase of the summer was definitely the most gratifying, humbling, and rewarding time of my life. Believe me when I say it was a privilege to be a Foxtrot cadre. All 28 of my swabs had an immense impact on my life and I thank each and every one of them for it. As much as they learned these past two months, the cadre learned even more and we couldn't have done it without them. Although I was definitely the cadre that yelled the most, I absolutely respected and cared for every swab because they made the same decision I did two years ago. To any Foxtrot parents reading, it was an honor to work with your son or daughter and I hope to someday work with them in the fleet. I didn’t know what it was like to be truly responsible for someone else until July 8th. It was so easy to forget to brush my own teeth even though I yelled down the hall every night for them to brush theirs…
It is absolutely true that 2/c summer is the best summer of your Academy career. It is amazing to see where I have been in these past two years, but it is crazier to see where I will go.
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