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cadet blogs

An Eye-Opening Summer

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Eshleman Photo Second class summer is coming to a close. It is currently July 11th, 2016, and I have been at the Academy since school let out in May. What an adventure it has been. Every week or so the second class transition from one training program to the next. My favorite training program was a close tie between Coastal Sail and Cadet Aviation Training Program, also known as CATP.

 

Coastal Sail was a blast because I was with some of my best friends on a sailing yacht. I got to travel around the Northeast using the navigation skills I have acquired since 4/c year, and finally get to transition into the leadership, or “mentor,” role. Peer-to-peer leadership was especially eye opening. After every transit, whoever was Watch Captain (the designated leader for the day) debriefed with the entire crew about what worked, what didn’t, and the pros and deltas (changes) that needed to be made for the following day. Hearing input from the safety officer of the boat and my own classmates was very helpful for discerning what leadership traits I excelled at, and what needed improvement.

 

CATP was exciting for me because I have not had much exposure to the aviation world until this week. I got to fly an HC-144 fixed wing aircraft (with the help of qualified pilots), got hoisted by a helicopter, and toured the flight school in Pensacola, Florida. Talking to ensigns that had just graduated from the Academy that were in Mobile, Alabama awaiting the start of flight school made me really interested in going into aviation.

 

Overall, this summer has opened my eyes to many new paths available in the Coast Guard. Each day I feel more and more lucky to be here, and I am excited to see what the future holds.

 

More about Hannah.

 

Prep Week and 2/c Summer

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Hosley Photo Here I am almost in the middle of my second class summer and I truly cannot believe it! In less than five days the Coast Guard Academy Class of 2020 will report in to be trained by us, the great Class of 2018. It’s hard to imagine that 318 families have entrusted us with the health and well-being of their children, but rest assured (parents if you’re reading this), we are ready. We have studied for this, we have trained for this, we have prepared for this, and most importantly we have gone through this ourselves. Everything these swabs will learn about the military will initially come from us and our training. We are all phenomenally excited to try out our different leadership styles, work as a team, and to help 2020 to succeed during Swab Summer and the rest of their Coast Guard careers.

 

At the beginning of the summer, I spent a week learning how to maneuver the 64-foot training vessels called T-boats to and from the pier, as well as down the Thames River and under the Gold Star Bridge. While T-boats training was a blast, a much-needed three weeks of leave (vacation time) followed suit and I spent much of that time with family and friends relaxing and feeling like a normal teenager for the first time in a while. When I got back, I completed the cyber/range week of the summer training program where I learned about cyber security and got to shoot the Sig 40 pistols down in the gun range. Shooting is definitely not easy, but with great instruction and hard-set determination I was able to score a 138 qualifying as sharp shooter the first time I took the pistol test! Now, as our preparation week comes to an end, I can feel the excitement building. Our days have been packed to the brim with trainings, ceremony rehearsals, and preparing the swabs’ summer rooms. Each night we stay up late making each swab’s rack and folding their clothes into their drawers and I can’t help but to think of how drastically their lives are about to change… good luck 2020, you’re about to make the best decisions of your lives when you raise your right hand and say “I do.”

 

More about Cece.

 

I'm Halfway There

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Auzenbergs Photo I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…time truly does fly. Between spring break, Easter weekend, 3/c Formal, 2/c Ring Dance, volunteering at the Child Development Center (daycare where many faculty members bring their kids during the day), and going on field trips for my major classes in Marine and Environmental Sciences, I found myself away from the Academy most weekends of this final quarter, and many weekdays, too. Now, with the Class of 2018 having earned our first 2/c privilege of “shorts” every Saturday night, I don’t even have to be back from Saturday afternoon until Sunday night, and I took full advantage of that already!

 

Speaking of being a 2/c, this past week has been full of new uniform issues for Swab Summer; rooming lists coming out for 100th Week and then for the rest of the summer here; duty schedules floating around on email for the summer; and trying to squeeze in plans for vacations on leave and off weekends between duty and training weeks. I cannot believe the time is already here for us to earn civilian clothes privileges, shorts, and train the incoming Class of 2020 as cadre. I will be taking a back seat in the typical Chase Hall training, as I will be a waterfront cadre, but that just means I will be one of the members of the group teaching the swabs the basic skills of sailing down on the Thames River at Jacob’s Rock. I am so excited for this job, and cannot wait to spend those three weeks of summer on the docks!

 

A few more parts of 2/c summer I am excited for are Coastal Sail and Cadet Aviation Training Program (CATP). The Coastal Sail program is an opportunity for six groups of cadets to head out on 40 foot sailboats and travel through the Cape and the islands for two weeks. CATP is held at an air station in Mobile, Alabama or Elizabeth City, North Carolina and there we learn the basics of flying helicopters and perform search and rescue missions off the Gulf Coast. There are so many other great weeks planned for us this summer, and I can’t wait to get started with this milestone of our time here at the Academy! Two years went by so quickly, and now, looking back at the first half of my time here, I am more positive than ever that this is exactly where I should be.

 

More about Gabrielle.

 

For What it’s Worth: Advice to the Class of 2020

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2019) Permanent link
Fenster Photo So in about a month, you’ll be reporting in for the beginning of your 200-week Academy experience. I’ll be the first to tell you that I wasn’t the best swab to come through this place—in fact, far from it. However, I can tell you now (from the other side) that it will definitely be worth it. However, those weeks will be some of the most difficult you have ever endured. So I’ve got some advice for you:

 

1. Remember that it’s all temporary. There will be pain, and you’ll be stressed, and you’ll be uncomfortable. And when it’s happening, you’ll doubt yourself, and you’ll doubt your shipmates, and you’ll doubt your cadre. But when that happens, it’s important to keep in mind that you are here for a reason, your shipmates are too and will always have your back, and that your cadre have been trained and are training you to become members of the Corps of Cadets. Besides, they’re secretly rooting for you to succeed, and everyone else is as well.

 

2. Remember that this is only a small, small part of your Academy experience. For a part of my Swab Summer, I really wanted to quit. I’m not ashamed by the fact because I know I wasn’t the only one who felt that way—I’m pretty sure that nearly everyone will feel that way at some point or another. But the sagest piece of advice that I ever got came from an old friend, who told me that the only time you’ll ever regret something is when you don’t see something to completion. And I can assure you that with Swab Summer that is absolutely applicable. It is seven short weeks, and it will be over before you know it.

 

3. Stay true to yourself. Swab Summer is designed to transition you from a civilian to a cadet in the United States Coast Guard, and your cadre will make sure that happens. But you will not be successful if you don’t maintain your individuality. While you will become part of a team with your shipmates who going through the summer with you, remember that it’s ok to be yourself every once in a while. When you can, laugh a little bit. Recognize the positive things that happen every once in a while. And above all, remember that you’re still you.

 

Enjoy the last month you have before your report in. It’s going to be a difficult summer, but a rewarding one. As always, if you have any questions about how you can prepare for the summer or how you can approach the summer, feel free to contact me at Colin.D.Fenster@uscga.edu.

 

Semper P and Go Bears,
Colin

 

More about Colin.

 

A Light at the End of the Tunnel

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Schroeder Photo I cannot believe it; the last week of my undergraduate studies is finally here. It is the last Monday, and on Wednesday we wrap up classes. Next week is finals and after that I have pre-graduation things to take care of, and in less than a month I will be packing out of Chase Hall and putting the Academy in my rear view mirror.

 

A lot has changed over the past four years; I have grown immensely as a person, a leader, a daughter, a sister and a friend and I have started to become someone I am proud of. On May 18th, I will graduate with a Bachelors of Science in Marine and Environmental Sciences, and receive a commission as an ensign in the world’s best Coast Guard.

 

With all of the stress that goes along with being a cadet at a service academy, dealing with all the academic and military and athletic obligations, I sometimes forget just how fortunate I am to be here and how excited I am to be a Coast Guard officer. My time here at the Academy has been memorable; I’ve made a ton of lifelong friends and have learned a lot. I didn’t believe everyone when they told me it would go by fast but it has. All my hard work has paid off and I must say it was worth it. On June 22nd, I report in to my first unit, the USCGC Mohawk in Key West, Florida. Not only do I get to live in Key West for the next two years, I also get the chance to travel the Caribbean, Central America and South America with my 270 foot cutter. I will be serving as Weapons Officer onboard and I can’t wait to meet the crew and get started on all the learning and responsibilities I will be undertaking.

 

As I am getting ready to leave the Academy I’ve done a lot of self reflection. Although the Academy can be very trying at times, it is important to remember that if you are given the opportunity to come to a military academy you are one of the few lucky American citizens. Over the past four years, I have had so many experiences my high school classmates could only dream of. I’ve sailed the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Alaska. I’ve spent my summers in South Florida, North Carolina, Bermuda, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Alaska and Cape Cod. I’ve been a part of a nationally ranked college rugby team. I’ve made lifelong friends and received a top notch education. Throughout all this, I’ve kept in mind that the “light at the end of the tunnel” is graduation and becoming a Coast Guard officer. Now that the light is finally in sight, I can’t believe it. I’m nervous and excited, but I’m also extremely fortunate in that I’m graduating college debt free with a job lined up for at least the next five years. If you are thinking about coming to the Academy, just keep in mind that all the hard work and sacrifices you will put in over four years all pay off in the end.

 

More about Jade.