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cadet blogs

Back to School and Billet List

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Life as a Junior Officer, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Hosley Photo Well, here we are back at school for my very last semester at the CGA! I really can’t believe it, my time here feels like it has gone by so fast and yet I have seen and accomplished so many things! The most exciting part about this semester thus far was putting in my billet list, also called a dream sheet. This is a list of all of the places and platforms (or different types of vessels/boats/jobs) that you are interested in applying for your first tour. The initial step is to look at the shopping list. This is a published list of all the jobs in the Coast Guard that are available for the newly graduating ensigns (like me!!). Once this list is published we get to go through the options and make our own list, in preferential order, based on what we would like to do our first tour.

 

For me personally, my list was a lot of fun to make and a lot of tough decisions. I was born and raised right here in New England, but throughout my time at the Academy, I have had some incredible and unique opportunities to travel and through those experiences I was able to make my list. I have traveled to, and seen more of this world and more of our beautiful country in the last four years than I ever even imagined for my entire life! Anyway, I used those wonderful experiences to craft my list. My first choice is Seattle, Washington on the Coast Guard’s polar icebreakers! Second on my list is the black hull or buoy tending vessels in District’s 17 and 14 (that’s Alaska and Hawaii, pretty far from home for me)! I know that no matter what I end up getting it will be quite the adventure. I am so excited to find out and I can hardly wait. Stay tuned for my March blog because I will know on March 8th, our Billet Night, which will be live-streamed this year!

 

Aside from the excitement of billets, life at the Academy is pretty much back to normal. This semester I have my very own division consisting of cadets from each class. We are in charge of the common rooms in our company and regimental recycling. All of the members of my division are outstanding cadets and I am so beyond excited to be able to work closely with them this semester to improve the recycling program at the Academy. So, that is what is going on now here at school, but be sure to check back in after Billet Night!

 

More about Cece.

 

2018: A Monumental Year

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Eshleman Photo 2018. The year is finally upon us. For most, it will be another year full of escapades marked with happiness, sorrow, and more. For a small group of people though, this is a monumental year because it leads to the end of our time as cadets as well as the beginning of a new adventure. Assignment requests, “billet lists,” were due this previous Friday. Submitting my “job application” felt dreamlike. As cadets, you imagine the day that you will get the list of possible locations from Coast Guard detailers and rank your career choices. When I got the list, the options were overflowing. My eyes jumped from job to job, and it took me weeks to finally put them in order of preference because, honestly, every billet seemed intriguing. When the mouse finally clicked submit I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders. The choice was out of my hands and the waiting game had begun.

 

While waiting, I’ve started the unstoppable reminiscing regarding my time here. The Academy has taught me immeasurable lessons throughout these past four years. I’ve watched myself and every other classmate grow and change from the struggle of late nights and the overwhelming number of opportunities available to us at this institution. I would not trade it for anything. People always ask me if I stayed at University of Colorado would I have wanted to, especially when it’s a late night or mentally taxing week, but I always have the same response. Never. I think this Academy prepares you as best as it possibly can for challenges that await you upon your first assignment. Whether it is learning how to problem solve, pushing yourself to excel in your weak spots, encouraging and uplifting others, or mentoring those around you, the connections and opportunities I have experienced here are unlike any other place I have ever been in my life, and I am truly grateful for that.

 

More about Hannah.

 

The AIM Experience

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Holland Photo I am 1/c Taylor Holland and I served as the Battalion AIM Officer for the summer of 2017. If you are reading this and considering applying for the summer of 2018 AIM program, do it. AIM is the only service academy program that accurately depicts what the summer would be like as a swab if you were to be appointed to the United States Coast Guard Academy. AIM stands for Academy Introductory Mission, and that is our goal; to introduce you to what we are as a Coast Guard. Over the course of a week, you will have one to two days of simulated Swab Summer as well as a full day of Coast Guard unit tours including helicopters, small boats, training vessels, and a patrol boat. You will have the opportunity to learn about all of our academic majors, as well as how to choose a major if you do not come to the Coast Guard Academy. We will not push you to apply to the Academy but will show you the opportunities that exist if you do apply, which include academics, athletics, camaraderie, and an exceptional career after graduation. It truly is a beneficial experience for all who come, regardless of if you apply after the end of your week experience.

 

When I was a senior in high school, I applied for AIM and did not get in; however, when I reported in for my Swab Summer, many of my classmates who had gone through the program already knew each other and had a general idea of what to expect for their Academy experience. As the Battalion AIM Officer, I was tasked with running the complete AIM program from start to finish with 42 trusted 2/c cadre. Over the course of three weeks, I saw 600 AIMsters transform from individuals into teams, and I saw them become inspired to join our Coast Guard family and inspired to better themselves. We are the smallest armed service, but that means that we know each other, and look out for our own. I'm four months away from the end of my Academy career, and while here I have made my best friends and had the best times of my life. If you're considering the service academies and want a real taste of what it would be like to attend one, start your journey a year early and come to AIM.

 

More about Taylor.

 

Division Leadership in the Corps

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Eshleman Photo For this particular post I want to explain a little bit about my division here at the United States Coast Guard Academy. Within the Corps of Cadets, there are eight companies, all of whom reside in Chase Hall, the barracks for the corps. Within these eight companies there is a command staff made up of a company officer, company chief, and a cadet command staff. There are then division officers in each company that are all 1/c (senior) cadets. Each division has its own specific purpose and collateral tasks that they must take charge of throughout the semester. While there is a 1/c cadet that leads the division, there are also juniors, sophomores, and freshman assigned to each division. I am part of the inaugural room standards division, and I have two 2/c, two 3/c, and two 4/c cadets assigned to it with me. Our collateral is taking care of dayrooms and recycling, but our main focus this semester has been updating the regulations on room standards since they are slightly outdated.

 

Being a division leader has been a wonderful experience. I am fortunate to have very hardworking, talented individuals within my division that always challenge me to do my best seeing as they set such high examples themselves. You may think that as a division “leader” you are the one doing most of the teaching. While this is true, you do typically provide general oversight and knowledge into how the corps is run since you have been at this institution the longest. Something that surprised me about this semester is that I have received and learned more from my division than vice versa. Getting to know each of their individual personalities and seeing the family bond we have formed throughout the semester is inspiring and motivates me every day to set a good example. I don’t know where else in the United States you can find such a bond between people from a wide range of backgrounds, ages, and personalities that come together to accomplish a mission. I am hoping that this division bond I have here at the Academy will carry out next year when I am assigned a division in the fleet.

 

More about Hannah.

 

Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Just for Fun, Class of 2019) Permanent link
Friedman Photo The semester is flying by; midterms have come and gone and women’s rugby is the undefeated conference champions getting ready for the postseason. With things moving so quickly, a seemingly never-ending discussion of next steps has started. While this makes me excited for the future, I also took time to reflect on some of the places I have been able to go while at the Academy.

 

During my 3/c summer I spent five weeks at Station Cape Disappointment on the Washington/Oregon line. I got to explore Astoria and Portland, Oregon, which is a stark difference from the hustle and bustle of the northeast. I then flew halfway across the world and got on USCGC Eagle in London, sailing it to Madeira, trans-Atlantic to Bermuda, and disembarking in Norfolk, Virginia. I never would have gone to Madeira if it had not been for the Academy and I am so thankful I was able to go; it was an amazing port call and I would love to go back if I could. Also, that year the rugby team made it to the final four so I went to South Carolina for the tournament and was able to take in the Charleston Christmas parade with some of my teammates in between games.

 

I spent a week at Sector Baltimore during my 2/c summer working with their marine inspectors. I took my time off of work to explore Annapolis, Baltimore, and went to my first MLB game. I spent two weeks that summer sailing around the best ports in New England from Martha’s Vineyard, Hyannis, to Block Island. I used some of my leave during the summer to go to Madrid and explore Spanish culture. Recently, I was able to go on a tour of the National Security Agency and learn about the interdependence of their mission, the U.S. military’s mission, and the Coast Guard’s strategic goals. I’m also scheduled to go to a conference in New Orleans next semester to help create an inclusion and diversity action plan for the Academy.

 

These are just some of the places I have been able to visit and be afforded distinct experiences. If you asked me my senior year of high school where I would go in the next three years, I never would have produced this list or come anywhere close. When you make the choice to come to the Academy, yes you are signing up for a different life with some hardships and sacrifices, but your time at the Academy and in the Coast Guard is what you make of it. If you stick out your 4/c year, the opportunities you have will continue to build, giving you experiences and adventures you cannot imagine now and with some of your best friends.

 

If you have any questions feel free to email me at Jill.M.Friedman@uscga.edu.

 

More about Jill.