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CADET BLOGS

cadet blogs

First Year of Flight School

(Life as an Ensign, Class of 2012) Permanent link
Glock Photo It’s hard to believe that I reported to Naval Flight School just one year ago. My first year out of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy has gone incredibly fast. I am currently in phase III/IV of flight school and have completed IFS and API.

 

IFS is an introduction to flying in which students fly with civilian instructors in Cessnas and Pipers. We get about 25 hours of flight time and complete our FAA Private Pilot Exam at Peter Prince Airfield. It is also the last time we will fly until we report to Primary Flight Training, which is the phase I am in now.

 

After IFS, I checked into API at NAS Pensacola. This phase is six weeks and is made up of classroom instruction on several subjects such as aerodynamics, engines, navigation, and flight rules and regulations. It is an intense six weeks. In addition to heavy academics, we also have swimming almost every day where we learn to swim and tread water in full flight gear and boots. Near the end of API, we have a culminating event in which we must swim one mile non-stop in a flight suit within eighty minutes. It sounds daunting, especially to me, but the instructors work us up slowly and it ended up being a lot easier than I expected.

 

A few weeks ago I checked into Primary at NAS Whiting Field. In my opinion, this is when the real training begins. I am finishing up ground school and will be flying the T-6B within the next few weeks. The amount of information we had to read, process and internalize is mesmerizing. The textbooks and pubs are endless and there are even emergency procedure checklists that we must memorize verbatim. It’s like learning an entire semester’s worth of material in one month. All this work is, of course, worth it because in just one short year I’ll be pinning on my wings.

 

I’ll be sure to add some updates as my flying progresses. If anyone reading this wants to be a pilot, this is the way to go. The training is the best in the world and the Coast Guard has the most rewarding missions. It’s a lot of work, but it’s an amazing career.

 

 


More about George.

 

Busy Weekends at the Academy

(Academics, Just for Fun, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Miller Photo I thought after fourth-class year my life at the Academy would get a lot easier. And it sort of has if you look at all the fourth-class obligations that I no longer have to do, like taking out trash, squaring, and doing clocks. But even though it’s gotten easier, my life here hasn’t gotten less busy by any means. Between crew, clubs, military obligations, and school, I’m constantly swamped with one thing or another. On the plus side, there’s never a dull moment and because of all the activities I’m involved with there is always something to do on weekends.

 

By this, I mean homework.

 

Of course, there’s also football games—we had our annual game at MMA last weekend. The high point of the football game was probably watching the fourth class from both schools charge onto the football field while the actual game was going on. Definitely not something you see at other schools!

 

And there is actually more than homework to do at the Academy. But a few weeks ago, New London hosted an indie music festival that a few of my friends and I went to. The act that we saw was actually surprisingly good, and some of my friends were exposed to a new kind of music. This upcoming weekend is Parent’s Weekend, which means that there will be a football game to go to with my parents, and also means that my parents will be able to drive me to places other than New London so I’ll be able to see a little more than usual.

 

Academically, this semester is shaping up to be a challenging one, especially since I’m overloading on courses. But between crew and clubs, I’m able to rewind a little bit every day.

 

If you have any questions about anything, feel free to email me at Caroline.Miller1@uscga.edu!

 



More about Caroline.

 

Finals: The Missing April Submission

(Academics, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Zwenger Photo So I’m writing this one a bit late but the past week of finals was pretty harsh. Speaking of which, I had five finals this year, and although it was a really rough finals week I don’t think they could have gone any better. I started off really strong with the first three and after that my motivation dropped significantly to where I only ended up studying about three or four hours for each one where I probably should have studied a bit more. Nevertheless, I still ended up doing pretty well on all of them. The past month of school in general was pretty tough. All my classes seem to wait until the last minute to have these very large and time demanding projects, papers, and homework assigned. Even with this being the hardest semester I’ve been here for I may end up with goal GPA of 3.0 so job well done to me. Next semester, although I don’t even want to start thinking about school right now, should be a lot more interesting as I get into more major specific classes and not just the general engineering classes.

 

Summer is finally beginning as we start our different programs. I can’t really comment on those as of right now but in future posts I’ll be sure to talk about them. Two things left, if you’re going to AIM this summer, you may be seeing me soon. Also, I keep noticing more and more people either getting kicked out or voluntarily leaving our class, so it’s a little sad because some are my good friends. Anyways, if you have any questions, feel free to email me at Spencer.M.Zwenger@uscga.edu.

 

 


More about Spencer.

 

Cadet for a Day Experience

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Stowes Photo For the prospective cadets out there, good luck with your application process! I hope the advice I gave in my last blog about the application process has been helpful. At this time, I’d like to advocate for a program I believe is the best way to see if you’ll like the Coast Guard Academy, it is called Cadet for a Day. This program offers you the opportunity to come to the Academy, meet an academic advisor in person, and spend a Thursday afternoon/night and Friday morning with a cadet.

 

So far this year, I have hosted two prospective cadets. During their visits, they got to go to my golf lesson, Leadership and Organizational Behavior class, and Physics class. Additionally, I was able to get them both to practice for the sport they want to play here at the Academy so they could meet the coaches and the cadets on the team. Both students thoroughly enjoyed their experience. During their visit, they were able to see what cadet life is like first-hand and get a sense of what we do here every day. If your still wondering if the Coast Guard Academy is right for you, sign up for the Cadet for a Day program on the website and come check out the Academy first hand!

 

During my Cadet for a Day experience, I got the feeling that I fit in. The camaraderie was great, and all of the cadets were really nice to me. I got a chance to practice with the rugby team, and I fit in well with them, too. I felt like the Academy was the best fit for me after my visit. I hadn’t been accepted yet, but visiting before I even submitted my application gave me the opportunity to write about my visit in my essays. I definitely recommend visiting the Academy if you’re not quite sure yet.

 

If you have any question about the Cadet for a Day program, or the application, please feel free to email me at Hunter.D.Stowes@uscga.edu . Good luck with those applications!

 

 


More about Hunter.

 

The Grind

(Academics, Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Frost Photo A month ago I was home on leave, enjoying the Florida sun with no obligations. Boy, what a difference a month makes. Today, I look outside my window to the drizzling, grey New England sky and can only dream of going home in just over two months. I think every time I come back to school it’s exciting to see everyone for two maybe three days, and then the routine sets in. It’s good; I like routines. I know what’s expected that way. But, personally I like to be able to remember to breathe... Some days I’m not so sure that fits in here. I think as cadets we all get into our routine and things just keep squeezing their way into any little hole of free time they can find. I suppose this is why I am here, because I like a challenge and I like being around other people who also like that. Or, maybe, I just signed that line thinking in four years I will be flying helicopters in Florida or busting drug runners in the Caribbean. Regardless, here I am currently just trying to remember to breathe.

 

It is so obvious that you can’t get through the Academy alone. I’ve known that. My friends are always there for me, as I am for them. Regardless it’s still stressful, and it only gets more so over the years. I never imagined the difference between the19-20 credit hours I had last year and the 23 I’m taking this year. It’s easy to get buried with work and let it pile up; actually it’s nearly impossible for there not to be a pile. Nevertheless, every day always ends, the work eventually gets done, and the routine goes on. One of the easiest things at this institution is getting bogged down by the present. But the second easiest thing is getting support from the Academy family. That’s what sets us apart from other colleges.

 

We all have bad days; we all get stressed out and overtired from work. The common struggles we share help us get through it together, because after 200 weeks we are going to walk across the stage. Our dreams will be reality, and we will only be there because of the people next to us. And that is why we do what we do. That is why for four years we work harder than any other college student, with schedules ten times fuller than civilian college students can conceive. So, yes this month has been challenging and full of a never ending to-do list, but as time continues we get closer to the goal. We will get through it, together, and that makes us stronger.

 

As always, feel free to ask me any questions at Christina.M.Frost@uscga.edu.

 



More about Christi.

 

September Slipping Away

(Academics, Just for Fun, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Driscoll Photo A brief note for everyone before I dive into all my homework:

 

School is quickly ramping up. I really enjoy most of my classes this semester. Sometimes, I get lost in Principles of Electronic Communications Systems—after all, when I graduate, I will only need to know how to change channels and encrypt data, right? The joking notwithstanding, it is an important class, but I get lost easily in all the calculations of bandwidth and frequency. My favorite class this semester has to be my most challenging (naturally!). I take the National Security Law seminar each week with Captain Sulmasy, a nationally recognized expert in this field of law. It’s an interesting blend of international and constitutional law. Each week, I am astounded by the complexities of the laws governing conflict, humanitarian intervention, and the treatment of terrorists. I’m not sure what my term paper will discuss yet, but I have to figure it out by next Monday! The papers, exams, and presentations just seem to be rolling in this week. On the other end of the spectrum, I look forward each week to my Nautical Science lab. We are FINALLY starting to apply the basics of charting, relative motion, and communication to scenarios we role-play in communications drills and simulations. That’s about as hands-on as it can get…

 

On the military side of the house, Chase Hall is busier than ever. Or maybe I’m just swamped? I’m in Echo Company’s Morale Division this year, and we’ve been busy getting adjusted to the beginning of the school year. We go to Dunkin Donuts for the company each Wednesday and Friday, on top of everything else we do. Sometimes, it feels like anything that is REMOTELY related to morale is given to us for action. At least my 3/c and 4/c are picking up a lot of the slack. Shout out to them: 3/c Jaime Davis and 4/c Elliot VanDeren! Speaking of them, they are organizing yet another Dunkin run for tomorrow morning—and I’d better get some sleep!

 

As always, if you ever have questions, please don’t hesitate to email me at Peter.M.Driscoll@uscga.edu. Go Bears, Beat Books!

 

 


More about Peter.

 

Accomplishing Goals

(Just for Fun, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Meyers Photo So far this semester has been going great. I look back at a lot of the goals I set for myself 4/c and 3/c year and I’ve accomplished or am in the process of accomplishing almost all of them. I’m more organized when it comes to school work; I make time for myself to workout, relax, and do all my homework every day; I get work done ahead of time; and I eat healthy and work out practically every day. Starting 4/c year pretty much none of those were true.

 

The biggest thing I think I’ve accomplished is getting more involved in video making. Right before I came to the Academy, I blew some money on a nice video camera because it was something I had always wanted. I gave up my dream to become a movie director by coming to the Academy, but I still wanted to be involved in video-making as much as possible. 4/c and 3/c year, I rarely had the opportunity and when I did, my products were only just ok or weren’t something I was really interested in. This year, as word has spread about my video editing abilities, I was approached by people asking me to help them with projects or funny video ideas. I’ll jump at any opportunity I get to make movies so I made two spirit videos for the MMA football game. For those interested, they’re the P90 Swab and Regimental Linebacker videos on my YouTube page, YouTube.com/jamello29. I think the biggest thing to take away is that if you’re good at something you love, there is always a way to do it here.

 



More about James.

 

Good Afternoon, Ma’am

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Ellis Photo The first taste I had of being a third class was when I first arrived back at Chase Hall. I walked inside the building and I ran into a fourth class. Upon seeing me I was greeted “Good Afternoon, Ma’am.” Little did they know, but they turned me from a fourth class to a third class, because “You’re a swab until you see a swab.” I’ve now been back at school for a month, and I have to admit, it is so much better being a third class! I no longer have to square my corners or take the trash out or memorize indoc and just this alone has made my year so much more enjoyable. It has also given me a lot more opportunities to do my homework and spend time with my friends.

 

Now this might seem like I don’t do much of anything now, but I have a lot more added responsibilities. Firstly, I am in charge of two fourth class that I am supposed to guide throughout the semester. I have to ensure that they follow the rules and help them militarily or academically. Not only do I have this added military responsibility, but also academics have gotten harder. I no longer have the standard fourth class courses; I have classes that are major-specific, including Marine Biology and Meteorology. So far, I really enjoy all my classes, but especially these two. The labs are definitely my favorite part. Just this week, for Marine Biology, we took a field trip to a local estuary and collected fish from the marsh.

 

Even though this is just the start of my third class year, I cannot wait to continue on my journey all the way until 100th week when I am half way done my time at the Academy. I honestly can say that with spending more and more time here, my devotion continues to grow; not only for the Academy but also the Coast Guard.

 



More about Kayla.

 

First Week Back!

(Academics, Athletics, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Cardoza Photo Wow! It’s only been a week since I have been back in school and I know that this is going to be a crazy, but awesome, semester! Coming back to school straight from 2/c summer was a little bit of a difficult transition since it is a completely different mindset. My classmates and I went from experiencing so many challenges being both a leader and a follower this summer to now having to focus on academics again. Although, I know that we are not the only class, and that I am not the only cadet that is experiencing this transition. However, even though I know it will take a little bit to get back into the swing of things, it’s nice to have the entire corps back and to start classes again.

 

This semester is proving to be challenging for me in the sense that I am taking classes that pertain only to my major (aside from the required courses that the Academy has 2/c take). Since I am a Marine and Environmental Sciences major taking the biology and chemistry tracks, I am taking back to back chemistry classes as well as biology classes. I know that it will be a hard semester, but as I’ve learned over the years, all I need to do is work very hard and focus and I will be able to make it through this semester just like I have the past four.

 

Another reason why I am excited that this year has started is the fact that Women’s Rugby is back up and running (literally)! We have had so many new girls come out this year! It is a joy to see the popularity of rugby increasing throughout the corps. This season also is proving to be a challenge since I am taking on a new position. I am now the new A-Side Scrum Half. And with that position comes a lot of responsibility and hard work. It has been fun so far and I cannot wait until our first game rolls around!

 



More about Samantha.

 

Learning Leadership

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Sherman Photo The Coast Guard Academy strives to “develop leaders of character,” which is something that we as cadets can do—develop into such leaders—in every aspect of cadet life. There are, however, special opportunities to put those leadership lessons into practice here at the Academy. One such position is the company guidon bearer. While named for the position in drill, that is, the one who carries the company’s distinguishing flag, the guidon’s role is much more important. This individual is charged with supervising the development of the underclass cadets, especially the 4/c.

 

I am the Foxtrot Company Guidon for the fall semester, so I’ve spent the past three weeks (and will spend the next fifteen weeks) working with the 4/c cadets (freshman) so that they can become accustomed to life as a cadet. I’m also the one who enforces the rules, especially the ones that apply specifically to 4/c (e.g. squaring meals, keeping one’s eyes in the boat, and knowing indoc).

 

While I would enjoy sharing with you all of the leadership lessons I’ve already learned just in these past three weeks, I don’t have the time or space to do that. Instead, I’ll share my “command philosophy,” my written statement about the values on which I will base my leadership decisions. We received training on command philosophies at the beginning of our 2/c summer; command philosophies are important parts of Coast Guard leadership. We’ll see them in the fleet, and eventually have to write them ourselves. What a better way to prepare for that than to create one while at the Academy. That’s what it’s here for, after all—to train us to become officers.

 



More about Justin.

 

Halfway There

(Just for Fun, Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Chavarria-Aguilar Photo The following link will take you to my first video blog submission, which chronicles the highlights of my 2/c summer. In a nutshell, this past summer marks the halfway point for the class of 2015. Our experiences ushered us away from the comforts of followership and into roles as true leaders. I would not trade anything for the times I had with my shipmates and I cannot wait to share many more adventures with them in the years to come.

Alexis' video blog YouTube Icon

 



More about Alexis.

 

Summer in Puerto Rico

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2014) Permanent link
Quintero Photo Finals week passed by quicker than expected, and that is because I was so focused on studying and packing up for the summer. The day after finals I flew down to Puerto Rico, which was paid for by the Coast Guard. They take care of most travel expenses and food while you travel. As soon as I got down there I spoke to the cutter’s Executive Officer, who was my point of contact. He gave me and the 3/c that was assigned on my cutter the day off because it was Mother’s Day. It was nice to spend some time with my family while I was off duty on the island.

 

After Mother’s Day it was right to work, as soon as I got on board I grabbed a paint brush and helped the enlisted out. Being the new guy on the cutter, you have to show the crew that you are willing to work hard and in return they will help you become a better officer. The day after painting, my new cutter had to move piers and the Captain assigned me to conning officer for the evolution. On a 110-foot patrol boat, the conning officer’s job is to simply drive the cutter. Since it was only my second day there and I already had to drive made me a little nervous. I had never driven a boat bigger than a 25-foot small boat, so many things went through my mind. What if I crashed the boat into the pier, or what if I am bad at ship handling? On top of my worries, the Captain looked at me and asked if I was nervous, so I answered honestly. He said to me “Good! You are supposed to be nervous”. That gave me some confidence and I moved to a different pier with no problems.

 

The next day, my cutter was recalled into a patrol because there was a Haitian vessel adrift in distress many nautical miles from St. Thomas. Quickly I learned about the speed on 110s as we were on scene within hours. At first I felt a little sick, but that all went away quickly after I got my sea legs back under me. Whenever I felt sick, I would just go lay down on my rack in aft berthing. We got the vessel water and the supplies that they needed to stay alive but could not tow them, as they were a much bigger vessel than we were.

 



More about Carlos.

 

The Back Nine

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Rossi Photo Somehow, someway two years have passed since reporting in to the Academy and it sure does not feel like it. As a 2/c cadet, I look back on all my experiences and the ones that were the most memorable were from this summer. The two trainings that stuck out the most to me were the Costal Sailing Training Program, CSTP, and my cadre experience.

 

The whole point behind 2/c summer is developing your leadership role and method. CSTP is a program where four to eight cadets with one safety officer on sailboat get the opportunity to sail each day around New England from port to port for two weeks. While sailing between various ports such as the beautiful Martha’s Vineyard and historic Nantucket, we each get to take turns being watch captain, navigator, deck hand, or cook. The point is to expose us to each perspective of leadership and understand how to lead your peers, which most would argue is the most difficult.

 

During CSTP I learned probably one of the most important lessons for being a leader; that lesson was you must be technically competent before you can lead a group. If you have no clue what you are talking about then how can the crew respect you. For me, sailing was not exactly my strong point and therefore I faced challenges in expressing what I wanted of my crew. Using rational thinking, the only way to overcome this was to use the members of the crew as resources to help me and in fact this worked out allowing us to reach out port of call safely.

 

The other portion of my summer was the cadre experience; I had the privilege of participating in the AIM program which exposes rising high school seniors to life at the Academy. Not to boast, but my cadre section was by far the best. We worked in such a way that was enabled us to give the AIMsters the best experience possible. For the five us this is something we will never forget and we are all grateful for; it was very rewarding getting to share our stories and our lifestyles with those who aspire to have the same as ours.

 

And now here I am two weeks in to my junior year at school, waiting to finish up the back nine on my Academy career. Never thought that it would go this fast.

 



More about Michael.

 

The End to the Greatest Summer

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Bilodeau Photo The beginning of August was the end of cadre. Watching the cadet candidates finish the CGAS program was satisfying and I look forward to seeing each one of the cadet candidates back next year for Swab Summer. After cadre, my friend and shipmate Mary Hazen, and I went to Sector Long Island Sound for the Marine Safety Inspection Program. We gave up a week of our leave to experience life at sector. We saw both the response and prevention sides of sector. The first day we responded to a boat that came loose from its mooring. Then, throughout the week, we shadowed the crew while they conducted a facilities inspection and a ferry inspection. We were also granted the opportunity to go to the station and drive the small boats.

 

The weekend before CAP week, Mary and I went to New York City. We ate delicious food, visited the Central Park Zoo, went to the Today Show, and we even met Luke Bryan and took a picture with him. The trip was definitely a great way to end the summer.

 

Mid-August started CAP week, followed by the start of the academic year. My classes this semester as an Operations Research major includes: NautSci III, Computer Modeling Languages, Probability Theory, Morals and Ethics, and Network and Non-Linear Optimization. It has been a good start to the academic year; I am pleased with the material in my classes and I have great professors.

 



More about Christina.

 

In the Fleet

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2014) Permanent link
Quintero Photo In a couple of weeks the spring semester will come to a close, and although the year has moved on quickly I still can’t wait for it to be over. Since I am a second class, a couple of weeks ago I got word via email about where I will be stationed this summer. All my classmates were anxious to hear where they would be stationed and were optimistic they would get their first pick. The Coast Guard allows you to pick where you would like to be stationed and on what kind of a cutter, then, depending on availability, they assign you. Luckily, most of my classmates and I got our first choice. I was assigned to a 110-foot patrol boat down in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The reason I picked that cutter is because I knew they got a lot of action down in the Caribbean with migrant and drug interdiction. For me that is a potential future job and this summer will be a test of whether that job is for me or not. It’s good they send us out into the fleet to test our skills as future officers so that you can learn from mistakes or discover what you need to work on. Since we go to school for two long semesters sometimes it is easy to forget that you are at the Academy to eventually drive boats or fly. Going out to the fleet is a reminder of what your purpose is at the Academy, because how you do in academics or athletics does not have much bearing in the fleet.

 

But before I go out into my firstie summer I have to focus on finals, which are coming up. The way my finals schedule is set up has my departure date for Puerto Rico the day after my last final. So I need to study and pack my things up all at the same time. If I do well on the finals, then I won’t need to worry about my grades while I’m on the cutter. From my past experience in 3/c summer, the Coast Guard fleet experience is much different and at times more enjoyable than the Academy itself. That is why I am so eager to get out there. 3/c summer I was assigned to a small boat station to work on 25-foot small boats so I haven’t gotten a chance to be on a large cutter that is operational, aside from Eagle.

 



More about Carlos.

 

My Summer in a Nutshell

(Academics, Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Wu Photo Wow, it has been a while since I have written a blog! There was just so much going on since March that finally starting off the month of September, I feel able to sit down and recap on everything. So hopefully I can give any readers an insight on the academy life since my last entry in March. I have gone through a lot to say the least.

 

In April and May, I felt like a whole truckload of stress was dumped on me and I felt buried. There were finals coming up and also I had found out that my grandfather was in the hospital in critical condition. It was definitely a difficult time to focus on academics while also being concerned about the well-being of my family. However, I was able to really fall back on my Coast Guard family and they were very supportive through everything. Not only were my friends at CGA very helpful, but I found my company chief always had his door open and he was very understanding and provided many possible options for me. Through all of this, I truly appreciated being in a small and close knit service.

 

In June, my grandfather passed away. It was a blessing in disguise that 2/c summer was packed with a lot of things that kept my mind preoccupied. My family and I also knew that my grandfather would not have wanted us to stop living our lives. For 2/c summer, you apply for a cadre role you would prefer and with that cadre role is a specific summer schedule. My summer started off at the range where I was able to qualify as a sharpshooter with Sig Sauer P229 DAK. It was the first time I have ever shot a gun and it was very stress relieving. The next week for me was ROTR week which consisted of long days in a classroom studying Rules of the Road. At the end of the week, we took an exam with 50 multiple choice requiring a 90% to pass. It was hard to remember all the specifics and I did not pass the first time since I got 88, but I was given the opportunity to retake the exam later in the summer and I pulled off the bare minimum of a 90. After ROTR week, my cadre section had leave and I was able to go home and help out the family. After leave, I had T-boat week, which was very educational. Half the time was spent in the simulation room and the other half was spent on the T-boats down at waterfront where we had hands-on experience in communicating with each other, mooring, anchoring, man-overboard procedures, and driving the boat. It was good to practice and become familiar with how to maneuver a boat. After a week working with T-Boats, it was prep week for Swab Summer. I could not believe how time flew; it felt like yesterday when I was a swab reporting in to the Coast Guard Academy. Prep week was a lot of work and a lot of trainings. However, we were under the good guidance of a well-organized summer regimental staff and although we felt like we were not prepared for the incoming class of 2017, we were ready. We had a run through of R-Day and then a full day at Stonington as a class, while back at CGA there was an open house for the class of 2017 and their parents.

 

My Summer in a Nutshell (Continued) PDF Icon  

 



More about Ellie.

 

First Semester 2/c Year

(Academics, Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Meyers Photo Summer is over now and the school year has begun. While my experiences over the summer were absolutely amazing and unforgettable, I feel ready to start work again for Electrical Engineering. I can already feel how the strenuous semester I had last spring has prepared me for this year. What I mean by that is that while I’ve been conditioned to do so much work, now it doesn’t even seem like a lot of work, I’m just used to it. I have what I would have considered a heavy homework load last year and still have plenty of free time for myself. Between the summer programs like Coastal Sail Training Program (CSTP), a tough semester last year, and being a Swab Summer cadre, I’ve learned a lot of time management skills that have shown in how I do my work during the school year.

 

Another huge thing to note is that the longer I am here, the less I want to leave this place. 4/c year was pretty rough, there’s no way around it, but I stuck through and made it to 3/c year. Being a 3/c presented its own challenges, but was clearly better than being a 4/c. Now that I have some responsibility in the corps, I feel much more at home. Being a 2/c means that you’ve stepped up from just doing your job, to making sure that others are doing theirs as well. From follower, to role model, to mentor and eventually to leader, the Academy gets better year by year and I’m sure the fleet will be even better!

 



More about James.

 

A Great Start

(Academics, Athletics, Just for Fun, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Cantrell Photo It has been a great start to the school year! We are in the second week of classes and everything so far has been great. I absolutely love my major and my professors (civilian and military). After cadre summer ended we had CAP week, which is a week full of meetings, the PFE, and getting class schedules. Some people dread CAP week, but I don’t think it is bad because you are finished at 1600 with no homework. The weekend after CAP week, I went to the Kenny Chesney No Shoes Nation concert in Massachusetts with a bunch of friends. He played some really great songs and I had a blast with my friends. With the weekend coming to an end it was time to start classes. The first week of classes was hectic, but not too bad. The first day was introductions and then we got right into work. I wasn’t overwhelmed because I know how everything works now. These past two years have taught me time management. My schedule is set up nicely so I have free periods during the day to do some homework or workout. I am taking all major-specific classes, which will help my grades and interest a lot. I like all of my classes and find them interesting. After the first week of classes I went to my friend’s lake house on Lake Ontario for a fun filled Labor Day weekend. The corps got Monday off and had a long, so we left Friday afternoon and started the six-hour drive to the lake. The long weekend was really fun and relaxing. I loved hanging out on the beach and swimming.

 

September is jammed pack with activities every weekend so it should fly by and be fun! The Secretaries Cup is away next weekend so the corps will get on buses and drive down to New York for the day. I love the MMA game because we see so much spirit and morale around school. I am participating in the Warrior Dash this month, which will be a new experience, but I am excited for it. I have never done something like this so I don’t really know what to expect, but I’m going with the swimming and diving team so it will be a blast! The last weekend of the month is Parents’ Weekend and even though my parents aren’t coming up I am still really excited for it. A bunch of my friends parents will be up here so I will be able to hang out with them. If you are starting the application process, good luck! As always you can email me with questions: Sara.E.Cantrell@uscga.edu.

 



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Summer Experiences

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2013) Permanent link
Lukasik Photo “Like moral responsibility, discipline is a word with more than one meaning. Sometimes discipline is used to mean punishment, but the real meaning of discipline can be described by the words ‘right attitude’…”

 

I’ve held that passage somewhere in the back of my mind since Swab Summer. The Coast Guardsman’s Manual page 212 was a cadre favorite, and we certainly spent enough time holding the book out at arm’s length until our shoulders burned like mad to drill it firmly into our heads. I hadn’t consciously recalled it for the past three years; I never thought I would actually use “discipline” in that context.

 

This summer, however, I experienced a peculiar sort of déjà vu. I stood on the fantail of a Coast Guard fast response cutter (FRC), holding a blanket spread out at arm’s length, pinning it to the deck by my boots. At our speed of advance of 28 knots, plus a headwind, the blanket acted as a giant kite, and I strained to keep my arms straight and hold it up. On the other side of the makeshift barrier was a female Cuban migrant attempting to take a sea shower on deck after several days at sea. For security reasons, we couldn’t let migrants inside the hull of the ship, so the blanket I held up was her only source of privacy. If I dropped it, I’d have left her exposed in front of all the crew members and migrants living and working on deck. As my muscles started to burn, I reflexively recited page 212 in my head… “The real meaning of discipline can be described by the words ‘right attitude’…” and I realized that however strange the situation seemed, and however much difficulty I was having, I really didn’t mind this job at all.

 

I split my five-week 1/c summer tour between the USCGC William Flores, an FRC then operating out of Key West, and the USCGC Sitkinak, a 110-foot patrol boat based out of Miami. On both cutters, we spent the majority of our patrols engaged in migrant interdiction. Between the two units, more than 70 migrants crossed our decks in that five-week period.

 

I was fascinated by the AMIO process, but surprised at first that it held little of the “glamour” or “action” that people like to talk about. Most of our time was not spent chasing non-complaint vessels, or suppressing riots, or pulling drowning victims out of the water. Most of our time was spent with administrative work and ensuring that basic, sanitary living conditions were maintained for our guests while they were onboard: identifying individuals, finding out where they came from, translating, providing them food, showers, clean clothing.

 

Summer Experiences (Continued) PDF Icon  

 



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Summer Break Mode

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Corcoran Photo Waxed floors, laundry rooms overflowing, the sound of “Good morning, ma’am,” and the ever-present smell of Lysol wipes are currently my surroundings – time to begin the 2013 fall semester at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.

 

Although I am physically here, my mind, however, is not. I’m still in summer break mode. The summer of 2013 has been, I’d say, the best summer of my life. Although a summer full of training, sweating in the Caribbean, and driving small boats may not be appeasing to everyone, but I had a blast!

 

I began my summer spending five weeks aboard USCGC Barque Eagle. We spent a lot of our time learning basic damage control such as putting out fires and stopping floods. Additionally, we stood four-hour watches every day that consisted of learning about the engine room; steering the boat and standing lookout; climbing up the rigging and furling sails; and using nautical charts. We had four amazing port calls during our phase which included Saint Maarten, Aruba, Guantanamo Bay, and St. Petersburg, Florida. I had a great time during these five weeks and was so grateful for the opportunity the Coast Guard had given me to visit these beautiful places.

 

The next six weeks of my summer I spent in Coast Guard Station Coos Bay located in Charleston, Oregon. This half of my summer went super quick, but was so busy and exciting! During our time at this small boat station, we had the opportunity to become qualified on the 29-foot "response boat small" or RBS, which took a lot of work but was so worth it in the end. In addition we got communications room qualified, OC pepper sprayed, flew in a Coast Guard helicopter, spent a day aboard the 110-foot USCGC Orcas driving the boat and taking bearings, went hiking on beautiful Oregon trails, and got to do some rescue swimming stuff in case we ever had to pick up someone who was in the water.

 

I got to spend my last three weeks at home in Pennsylvania enjoying leave. However, I did get to make a trip to Disney World for a week which was the highlight of my summer. :) Despite all of the fun I had this summer, I’m ready to begin another year at the Coast Guard Academy, which thankfully this year does not entail squaring around the building and greeting every person I see. If you have any questions, feel free to email me as always! Samantha.E.Corcoran@uscga.edu 

 



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Salty Sailor of the Coastal Waters off New England

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Driscoll Photo “On the fore! On the main! On the mizzen! Set all sail in order and unison. Brace the yards two points on a starboard tack!”

 

“Lower and upper gear, let fall!” “Sheet home!”

 

Unlike my classmates, who had the swabs or AIMsters sounding off in their ears all summer, I served as a 2/c Eagle cadre. Eagle gave me a great opportunity to train and mentor the Class of 2017, in a more relaxed environment. However, just because it was different doesn’t mean it was easier.

 

My first week aboard Eagle, I served as the cadet-in-charge (CIC). When I signed up for it, I imagined it to be some sort of glorious leadership opportunity. However, it was rather gritty at times—as the CIC, I was the lightning rod for when swabs or 2/c cadre got in trouble. I still wish the swabs knew when to salute officers before they came aboard. Nonetheless, I had a great time interacting with both my classmates and the wardroom. In those seven days alone, I learned more about peer leadership than I could’ve all summer! Reflecting on that experience, I need to work more on how to communicate with peers when tasking them. Delegation is awkward, especially when you’re tasking a classmate with something that you could do yourself… On the brighter side, I finally stood a qualified Quartermaster of the Watch (QMOW) on the bridge. It was a great feeling to finally be able to put all my training and hard work from last summer into practice.

 

As much fun as I had the first week, I had as much, if not more, fun the second week. My division was the best—enough said! They were funny and very eager to learn as much as they could about life underway. When their faces lit up while I took them climbing in the rigging, or watching the whales and the sunrise on the 0400-0800 watch, I knew that I’d chosen my cadre experience well. Those moments made the entire trip worth it for me! I loved mentoring them, and plan on checking up on them during the school year.

 

This year, the Eagle cadre only sailed for two weeks, which meant that we had a week left of cadre when we returned. Poor planning made our return to Chase Hall, and attempted integration with the active Swab Summer cadre, awkward. Nonetheless, I made the most of my assignment: introducing the swabs to basic shiphandling on the Academy’s training boats (T-boats). These old harbor tugs are cadet-proof—something I proved when I conned (instructed a swab at the helm and throttle) one into the pier three times in a row! Despite that small mishap, I am now a T-boat master. I can’t wait for T-boats lab during Nautical Science III this semester. Speaking of this semester, things are off to a running start…I’ve got to get some work done. Email me at Peter.M.Driscoll@uscga.edu with any questions or comments you might have.

 



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Summer Highlights

(Academics, Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Carani Photo Half a dozen times this summer, I sat down at my computer intending to write an entry to post on the cadet blog, however, each time something would come up in my summer that would distract me from finishing. Now that the school year is here, I have finally found some time to gather my thoughts, and reflect upon this past season!

 

The summer going into 2/c year is always one that cadets look forward too because of the opportunity to be cadre at some point in the summer. And being cadre certainly was one of the highlights of my summer. This summer, I had the privilege of being AIM cadre, and work with seniors in high school – training, guiding, and mentoring them through a one-week program at the Academy. Working with the high school men and women was a rewarding and challenging experience, as each of the three weeks we had a different group of students to work with. I learned a lot about myself as a leader and had a great time working with the students! I would definitely encourage you to apply to the AIM program if you are seriously interested about attending the Academy; it will be a great experience and will help you decide whether or not you want to come here!

 

Although the three weeks as cadre were great, there were many other programs this summer which were equally as beneficial to me as I continued to grow as a leader. The highlight for me this summer, and the experience that I will never forget was the American Service Academies Program (ASAP). This was a 16-day program where four cadets and midshipmen from West Point, Annapolis, the Air Force Academy, and two cadets from the Coast Guard Academy (myself and fellow blogger 2/c Peter Driscoll!) spend time in Washington D.C., New York City, and Poland learning about the Holocaust. The program was led by Shiri Sandler, an amazing woman who works for the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City (the sponsor the program). We spent that time studying the moral and ethical implications of the Holocaust in extreme depth, and attempted to apply what we learned to our lives as future military officers. Countless hours were spent in reflection and thought as we struggled with tough questions, and trying to find an answer to the “why” behind what occurred. The program was emotionally overwhelming and intellectually challenging, but I wouldn’t trade the experience and the memories for anything. After taking part in a program like that, my perspective on things changed in life, and that is something that will always stick with me.

 

Besides the intellectual benefits from the program, I also had the opportunity to meet some incredibly smart, passionate, dedicated, and just fun future officers from the other military academies. It was a great opportunity to network and meet other people, some of which will continue to be friends for a long time!

 

Despite how fantastic my summer experience was, I was definitely ready for a break when July 27th rolled around. I got to go home to Illinois for three weeks and I packed in a lot of fun and made a lot of memories in that short amount of time! I got to spend a lot of time with my girlfriend of six years, Maureen, which was such a blessing because she is spending the next semester of her college education studying abroad! So although I’m going to miss her a lot because I won’t see her for four months, I know that she is going to be having a once in a lifetime experience so I am incredibly excited for her!

 

Now I am back at the Academy, starting classes on Monday, and I am ready for the new challenges and experiences that await me this semester! Thanks for reading, and have a great school year yourself whoever is reading this!

 

Also, I think I have shared this Bible verse before, but it is one of my personal favorites that I feel God speak to me through:

 

Psalm 55:22 – “Cast your burden on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never permit the righteous to be moved.” 

 



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