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cadet blogs

There's Only More to Come

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Haerr Photo Hey, y’all!

 

It’s been a while, and sad to say it, but it’s the nature of the beast here at the Academy! Cadets get so wrapped up in all of our academic, sports, and military obligations, but our shipmates will remind us to take a breather and to keep on laughing and smiling.

 

Since my last entry in February (Yikes! It’s been a long time!), I went through 4/c Boards, earned my 3/c red shields, experienced the best of 3/c summer, and now am into the academic school year of fall 2015!

 

4/c Boards was an awesome experience. Yes, it’s scary and frustrating, but I have never been so proud to work so hard to learn the most I could about the Coast Guard. I have found that the upperclassmen are really rooting for us to excel so that we can join them out in the fleet. During spring break, we as a corps experienced a tragic loss when our two Georgian international shipmates passed away in a fatal car accident. RADM Stosz, our superintendent at the time, brought all of us together as a family to mourn our loss and to inspire continual strength in moving forward. It was an incredible feeling to share our memories and what we have learned from the wise lives of our two lost shipmates.

 

After spring finals concluded, I went straight into my 3/c summer assignment: Coast Guard Small Boat Station Ponce de Leon Inlet in New Smyrna Beach, Florida for five weeks and then the USCGC Barque Eagle for six weeks. The small boat station was the best opportunity to learn from the enlisted crew. They taught me about successful leadership styles and how to apply them in the real fleet. I got the opportunity to contribute to the station as I had earned my Communications and Watch Stander Qualification, went through Boarding Team Member week, got OC pepper sprayed qualified, and worked toward a Boat Crew Qualification by power washing the 45s and 24s and doing routine boat checks. I witnessed and contributed to a couple of high profile search and rescue cases as well. Those five weeks re-established the passion and reasons I had for joining the Coast Guard, and I honestly never felt more blessed with such an incredible opportunity to serve.

 

Once the five weeks had passed, I went back to the Academy for a night, only to wake up at 0400 the next morning to board the Barque Eagle in Staten Island, New York. The six weeks on Eagle were long and exhausting, but also rewarding. I earned my Helm and Lookout, Auxiliary Watch, and Damage Control qualifications. I got many opportunities to test my fears as I climbed up to the royals and also hauled on lines in the middle of the night when tropical storms were brewing. We also had amazing port calls: Staten Island, Philadelphia, Bermuda, Portland, and Boston! During these port calls we were given a couple of days with our classmates to explore and visit these tourist destinations.

 

At the end of these six weeks, we concluded our 3/c summer with three weeks of summer leave. I went home to Texas and had a blast catching up with friends and family and sharing my incredible taste of Coastie life with them.

 

Now, 3/c year has finally begun and it’s off to another school year soon to be filled with even more precious memories. This fall, I am again a cheerleader for our mighty Bears football team. I am also embarking on the Civil Engineering pathway, taking some major-specific classes. It’s been quite a year, a lot has changed and a lot has been learned, and there's only more to come!

 

More about Kathryn.

 

9/11

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Culp Photo September of 2013 was the first time I laid eyes on Ground Zero. The first major performance for the Academy’s Glee Club was a memorial service at Sherwood Island in Connecticut, just a day or two before 9/11. You could look across the water and see where the Twin Towers used to soar above the horizon, before that terrible day 14 years ago. This particular service honored the 161 Connecticut residents who perished that day. Family members and government officials reflected on the impact of 9/11, and the names of the dead were read aloud. It was one of my favorite performances of the year. It was not a rambunctious party in Germany, a dinner at a yacht club, or the National Anthem at a spirited football game; as fun as those might be, the short-lived emotional effect I feel after singing at those events pales drastically in comparison to the sensations in my heart after the choir performed for that ceremony.

 

9/11 has become more and more important to me in recent years, yet I can’t place my finger on any singular reason why that is. I think it’s a conglomeration of the different realizations that have slowly penetrated my mindset since I reported to the Academy – that there are enemies who want to see the United States crumble; that too many families face a perpetual battle against the grief they feel from the loss of loved ones; that protecting them from further harm is the least we can do as a nation; that my own parents or brothers could be the ones whose names are read aloud at a somber ceremony. The opportunity to be close enough to Ground Zero to have actually visited it twice certainly has helped the trauma of that day come alive to me as well. I will never cease to be grateful for having set foot on the memorial in New York City, and for rendering honors to the World Trade Center as we sailed by on Eagle last year. I only wish those people who died that day could know we were saluting their memory.

 

At the 9/11 Memorial Museum, there is a wall with a quote from Virgil. “No day shall erase you from the memory of time.” After having spent the last few years learning more about 9/11 and what it means to so many people and truly beginning to take its impact to heart, I can say that that quote rings true for me. I think it does for the rest of our nation as well, and the rest of the world. We are a resilient people, and while we still feel the pain of loss, we also see the power of our country and the hope of its citizens.

 

More about Abby.