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So Wait, What Happens After Graduation????

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Life as a Junior Officer, Class of 2012) Permanent link
White Photo Hello again! So, it has been a while…I am sorry for that. What can I say? After graduating from the Academy, there is little a junior officer writes that is not in standard, memorandum format. So, bear with me as I get back into this whole “free-form” blog writing thing.

 

Over the two years since graduation for the great (est?) Class of 2012, I have completed a lot of fulfilling and wild adventures. I am sure that many of my classmates have humbled me in that regard; but they can write their own blogs bragging of their grandiose exploits. As some of you know, I got an assignment onboard CGC Cypress, a 225-foot buoy tender home-ported in Pensacola, Florida. When I first crossed the brow as a “butter bar,” I was greeted with a CG-standard scratchy blanket, a stateroom slightly larger than my body, and a “hey” from 50 perfect strangers. Now, as I prepare to depart with an additional gold bar, I will leave with the same scratchy CG-standard blanket, a slightly larger stateroom, and 50 of the best friends and people I could have hoped to have sailed with. Along the way, I got to do some cool stuff…

 

……So Wait, What Happens After Graduation???? (Continued) PDF 

 

 


More about Nathan.

 

My Tour on Bertholf

(Life as a Junior Officer, Class of 2012) Permanent link
Shih Photo It’s been about a year since I last wrote, but after someone on my ship discovered my blogs and kindly posted them all throughout the cutter, it reminded me that I should give an update on how my first tour is going. Suppo, I hope you’re reading this and playing the Rocky theme song while you do.

 

I can’t believe it’s been almost two years since I graduated and my swabs are about to become ensigns. I hope they have a great rest of their senior year…but the ones coming to the ship should probably get here as soon as possible.

 

Anyway, last patrol was pretty long, five months, but we did great as a ship and busted a bunch drugs. We had a quick in-port period and then we went up to Portland, Oregon for a dry dock. The ship was taken out of the water and put up on blocks, which was pretty cool to see. Oregon has great food, beer, and friendly people…not a bad place to be. I also was finally able to take a little bit of leave and visit the East Coast and see friends I hadn’t see for almost a year and a half. Jacksonville, Pensacola, Charleston, Boston, and New York – it was pretty sweet. After that it was all about preparing for Command Assessment for Readiness and Training (CART), which I won’t really go into but it’s not very fun and involves a lot of paperwork, inventory, and procurement requests. I’m glad that’s done. Luckily right after that, our ship got to go underway and conduct HELOSTAN (which is essentially ensuring we are ready to take on helicopters onboard our ship). HELOSTAN wasn’t as bad as CART…but now we have Tailored Ship’s Training Availability (TSTA), which is run by the same guys who did CART. TSTA is comprised of drills, drills, drills…shouldn’t be too bad…hopefully. From there it will be another patrol. However, there will be lots of San Diego time, which is always a good thing.

 

As my tour on Bertholf comes to a close I have a lot of mixed feelings. It definitely was rough at times as there is a lot of work and a lot to learn, but I did experience a great deal and met a lot of awesome people. The people were definitely my favorite part of the job. For those who decide to put in for a WMSL (Legend-class maritime security cutter), just know it’s a lot of days away from home port. Between patrols, school, and dry dock I would say I was only actually in Alameda seven months out of the 24. Lots of experience…not so much time in my own bed. But, if you want the most exposure possible to Coast Guard missions, put in for the Island.

 

If I am being honest, I don’t think I’ve had a more difficult period of time in my life than sailing on Bertholf (it could totally be a 1st tour thing I guess…but being a 4/c was much easier ). It’s been a roller coaster ride with a lot of different things, but when I step back I can see if this was the hardest I’ve had it, then I have it pretty good. I will say the Coast Guard has given me a lot, and I am grateful for it. This gig is a pretty good deal.

 

So my next job is on the Island by the way, three years working in Alameda, and living in the city. I’m pretty excited, working in the Command Center as a Law Enforcement Duty Officer (LEDO). It was #5 on my list this time I think, which is a big step up from #38 (or whatever it was last time). As always, let me know if you have any questions. Christen.C.Shih@uscg.mil. Take care!

 

 


More about Chris.

 

A Few Flights Under My Wing

(Life as an Ensign, Class of 2012) Permanent link
Glock Photo Spring break is almost here! Oh, wait... flight school students don't get a spring break! But that's fine, because instead of going on vacation, i'll be flying high in the T6-B completing my first solo flight in it and beginning my aerobatics phase of Primary Flight Training.

 

I have to admit, Primary is really hard work and demands a lot of time, patience, and drive. Luckily, that's is exactly what the CGA helped me develop. If I tried to go through flight school out of a normal college, I really don't think I would make it through the program. The T6-B is a lot of fun to fly. We call it the Ferrari of the sky. And they are just a few years old which helps with maintenance!

 

I'm currently in the Contact Phase of flight training. We focus on the fundamentals of flying, emergency procedures, flying by visual flight rules, and studying the systems of the aircraft. As I said, it is a lot to learn. This phase is a fire hose of information. But it all pays off when you have that moment when everything "clicks" and you can enjoy the training flights. After all, that's what we're all here for - to fly military aircraft!

 

I'll post another blog once I complete my Contact Solo and begin Aero. Stay tuned!

 



More about George.