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cadet blogs

A Big Decision

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Zwenger Photo Well, lunch is about in 15 minutes so I’ll try and explain to you everything that has been going on in my mind. Two posts ago I talked about how great of a time I had at my station and three posts ago I talked about Eagle. What I didn’t mention was that since the beginning of the summer I was really starting to question what I was doing in the Coast Guard and if the Academy was the place for me. I think some of these problems began when I would talk to my friends at “regular college” and they would always say how much fun they were having. As you can see from my previous posts that was not always the case for me. Regardless, over break I sat down and talked to my parents and basically told them that I was leaving the Academy, however, I would go back just to finish out the semester. In my mind this was not a rash decision because I had been thinking about it all summer, but if I put myself in their shoes I can see how they would be a bit confused. Also when I was home I had people that I was comfortable talking to and knew they would give me an unbiased opinion, as opposed to my friends here who would tell me to stay.

So fast forward to when I get back to the Academy and for two weeks I kept all my thoughts and emotions to myself so they were building up inside me. Until I was about to snap about three days ago and had to Skype my friend Zach King (who I’ve known since preschool) and talked AT him for about 40 minutes. After a lot of venting and hearing what he had to say and some more thinking I decided to stay. This place gets 15 times better after your freshman year because you have your group of friends that you hang out with and you don’t have to put up with all stuff freshman have to do. I’ll talk more about what it’s like to be a sophomore later. Time to go! That’s all. Email me with questions.

 



More about Spencer.

 

Station Ponce De Leon Inlet Part 2

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Meyers PhotoWeek 4: More training, and more fun on liberty this week. I learn to love this place more and more each day. While the work we do each day can be challenging, it’s rewarding at the end of each work day to know what you’ve accomplished on your own and what you’ve learned. Something I like about this station is how they organize their sports/PT. On Monday mornings, the whole crew goes for a run. On Wednesdays, the crew plays a sport like volleyball or ultimate Frisbee, and on Friday, the crew is allowed to do whatever they want. What struck me was that most of the crew, while they could have gone off and done their own thing stuck back at the station and all played Ultimate Frisbee. To me that shows how much of a team they really are.

 

Week 5: Not only have I gotten to know the crew here, but I’ve learned a lot about my shipmates at the Academy. 3/c Zwenger, 3/c Westland, and 3/c Palenzuela are all great people that I look forward to spending time with at the Academy. 3/c Zwenger and I are probably the two closest to each other as we’ve been through the most together. We both biked 20 miles to Daytona to watch a NASCAR race one weekend and then 20 miles back and spend most of our weekend liberty together. The amount of time all of us spend together studying for the ROTR test and doing assorted tasks have allowed us get to know one another almost like family. We all came in here with some comprehensive goals and we’re all well on our way to accomplishing them.

 

Week 6: I really don’t want to leave Station Ponce. I’ve come to really like all the people here and I love the work I do every day. If it were up to me, I’d go on my 3 weeks of leave and just go back to Ponce as a junior enlisted member and move up the ranks, but that’s not going to happen. Coming in, I had quite a few goals and for all of them I at least made progress. I got my pepper spray letter, Sharpshooter in rifle (3 points from Expert), Marksman in pistol, Comms qualified, and a good deal of boat crew signed off. I filmed all the footage I’ll need to edit a Station video when I get back the Academy, and I got to take the ROTR test. Unfortunately neither me nor my shipmates passed, but we all came close and I’d like to take it again during the school year. As for the online courses, I touched the basics in both courses and learned quite a bit about both programming and systems in signals. This should better prepare me for the difficult academic year ahead for me. I’ve learned a lot, both about the enlisted members life and what their jobs are. I’ve also come to appreciate the hard work that the members at this station put in every single day. I hope that when I get into the fleet the people who work for me will be just as good and just as hard working. One major thing I’d like to take away from this experience is a leadership lesson: You may be granted authority, but you must earn respect. When I become an officer, I will do my best to be the hardest worker on the boat, to set a good example, and do everything in my power to help my enlisted members. They will be there for me as long as I’m there for them.

 



More about James.

 

Station Ponce De Leon Inlet Part 1

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Meyers PhotoWeek 1: The first week here has been great. It’s a nice change from Eagle in terms of the type of work we do and the setup for learning. Of course there’s still a long line of signoffs to get, just like there was on Eagle, but it seems the station is more concerned with giving us hands-on experience than signing our sheets. I’ve gotten the opportunity to meet all the regular crew members and I can honestly say that they all are great people and I would enjoy working with them in the future. By the time I leave, I want to be Comms qualified, get as much boat experience as possible, make a promotional video for the station, take (and hopefully pass) the ROTR test, get pepper sprayed, become Pistol and Rifle qualified, complete an online programming course as well as a system and signals course, and most importantly learn all I can about the enlisted members.

 

Week 2: This week I’ve gotten to explore the town a little bit and see the area of responsibility both on the boat and on liberty. It’s a very small town where basically everyone knows each other and has a lot of older people who are living here in retirement communities (Minorca being the biggest right next to the station). The community here is very centered on beach and water life, which is significant to us because it’s our responsibility to protect the people here. 3/c Zwenger and I went on liberty together and while we were out, we stopped at the local surf shop. He bought a shirt and ended up not liking it, so attempted to return it without a receipt. At first the store manager refused because it was normally against store policy, but when he realized we were the cadets who were in early that week, he changed his mind and gave 3/c Zwenger a refund no problem. It’s great to know that the Coast Guard is appreciated by the locals.

 

Week 3: At this point in the summer training, life has become very routine and we’ve all gotten into the flow of things. I regularly stand watch in the Comms office and go out on the boats as often as possible. This week I had the unique opportunity of going out on the 47’ to train in surf conditions. There had been a large storm that had recently passed through, leaving approximately 8’-10’ waves to practice in. The feeling of going out in the conditions we did made me realize that I can’t wait to get out in the fleet and experience them for myself. While I will never be a 47’ CO, I know I’ll have the opportunity to fight through challenging environments in order to accomplish a mission. This is something that makes me want to become an officer.

 



More about James.