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In the Finest Tradition of Procrastination!

(Academics, Athletics, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Driscoll Photo To all my blog readers, I apologize for my lengthy absence from the cadet blog pages. I’ve decided that I will finally sit down and let you all know what I have been doing. In the finest tradition of procrastination, I am using this blog post as an excuse to not write a paper or take an online test!

 

March was a very busy month. For some reason, the spring semester here flies by in the blink of an eye. Coast Guard Crew traveled to Clemson, South Carolina for a week of training. We drove down, instead of flying this year; the passenger-side mirror fell off in a toll booth outside Baltimore, and we ended up adding five hours to our trip, waiting at a service station for repairs! Spring break only got better from there: we practiced twice daily, and sometimes three times a day. The water was calm, the weather was warm but not hot, and the rowing was great. At the end of the week, we came back to dreary New London to put what we had practiced into action on the racecourse.

 

The week after we returned to the Academy, I left for Italy. I received the opportunity to represent the Coast Guard Academy at the International Institute of Humanitarian Law’s Competition for Military Academies in San Remo, Italy! As the only second-class on the team, it was a great honor to work with the firsties and be the face of the Coast Guard to teams from other military academies from around the world. The competition revolved around a simulated conference, where mixed teams (my team consisted of a German air force cadet, a Swiss army captain, and myself.) worked through different scenarios and provided advice to a “commander” about the law of armed conflict. My favorite part of the week was meeting all sorts of new friends and exploring San Remo with them; now I have contacts throughout Europe, Nigeria, and India if I ever vacation there! San Remo had great food, warm temperatures, and lots of sunshine. Of course, when we returned to New London, Connecticut it had none of these things.

 

My flight from Italy landed in Boston at 2215 last Friday, and we got back to Chase Hall at 0230. I woke up at 0600 for our first regatta against Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. Unfortunately, Wesleyan won by fifteen seconds. That won’t be happening again! We are practicing twice as intensely to make sure we race well and rank at the top of our league. As Coach says, “The days when Coast Guard was the whipping boy of our league are over.” Now we have to show everyone that!

 

There is so much more happening this semester. Ring Dance is coming up quickly: it is the last weekend of April. I don’t know if I can wait until the end of the month to get my class ring! It’ll be a great bonding moment as a class—the end is in sight! We are also competing at the Dad Vail Regatta in Philadelphia in early May. This will be the first time we have competed there since the 1970s, and I can’t wait to show the rowing community how resurgent we are! Then there is summer training coming…but that is best left for another post!

 

If you want to help me procrastinate more, please email me at Peter.M.Driscoll@uscga.edu with your questions, comments, or concerns. Have a great Coast Guard day, readers!

 

More about Peter.

 

1/c Summer: Internships and Underway

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Kloo Photo As great as the school year is, a huge part of our education comes during our summers. Each class has a specific summer plan designed to build leadership skills and introduce them into the operational Coast Guard. 4/c summer is Swab Summer, an introduction and boot camp program for incoming cadets. 3/c is your first experience in the fleet where you work as a non-rated enlisted member. 2/c summer you act as a cadre training the incoming cadets as well as practicing your leadership skills on T-boats and the new L-44’s. Finally 1/c summer is back out to the fleet. It allows you to “shop” for a job that you will enjoy as an ensign, as well as getting you familiar with life as a junior officer.

 

This summer I am going to CGC Willow, which is a 225-foot buoy tender home ported out of Newport, Rhode Island. I am excited to work with the ship’s officers and crew to see what life is like on a black hull, and see if it is something that I want to do once I graduate. The second part of my summer is in Seward, Alaska as an intern at the Alaska Sea Life Center. Here, I will be working with injured seals that need rehabilitation. Once again, I have been lucky to receive an amazing opportunity. This rounds out my summer so that I not only receive professional military training, but also a fantastic academic experience.

 

I am looking forward to the rest of the semester, and to see what the summer brings. Spring semester always flies, especially with spring training for rowing. After the summer is over, I will be a 1/c cadet and only one year from graduation.

 

More about Alex.

 

April and the Living’s…Relatively Hard

(Academics, Athletics, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Krakower Photo I feel terrible that I haven’t been able to post in so long, but to put it lightly, my workload has been absolutely insane as of late. Papers are flying in everywhere, nautical charts need to be prepped, tests and quizzes are being taken, and presentations are being given. On top of that, so much more has been added to the ever-increasing workload that a cadet will entertain here.

 

On an extremely happy note, I am pleased to say that I got accepted to the Jewish Institute for National Student Affairs (JINSA) Military Program over my firstie (!!!!!!!!) summer, meaning that I get to go to Israel for three weeks and work with the Israeli Defense Forces as well as learn of the history and culture of Israel and its relationship with Palestine. I’ve always wanted to go to Israel due to my deep interest in the subject matter and its potential for leadership and military knowledge. That’s going to be an incredible three weeks.

 

For the other 8/9 weeks of my summer, I will be aboard the USCGC Seahawk out of Panama City, Florida. It is an 87-foot patrol boat, with an entirely enlisted crew. To say I’m not nervous would be a lie, as this will be the first time I’m onboard a REAL coast guard cutter (Sorry Eagle, but you’re not!) and I plan on getting some serious knowledge and leadership experience in. On a fun note, one of my swabs and now-4/c in my company will be coming with me, so that will be quite a good time switching from the role of a 2/c to 4/c relationship into the role of a 1/c to 3/c one. Nevertheless, it should be a great time.

 

Lacrosse has struggled a bit as of late. We’re 1-3 on the season, and after starting out ranked 6th in the nation, we moved down to 21st. Such is life. We have a game on Wednesday against Southern Connecticut State, so hopefully all will go according to plan and we can continue our winning ways.

 

Well, that’s about all I have time for, as a presentation on the Myth of Sisyphus is calling my name. Not really, but I have to do it anyway.

 

More about Sam.

 

From Coast Guard to Army and Back

(Athletics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Kloo Photo Last semester I had the opportunity to go to the U.S. Military Academy (USMA) as part of the Service Academy Exchange Program (SAEP). It was an amazing experience that I will never forget. The people there were fantastic. My two roommates were extremely accommodating, explaining everything from how to get haircuts to traditions for football games. The Army crew team is an amazing group of guys who welcomed me with open arms and ergs. It was my pleasure to compete with them. All of my instructors were extremely knowledgeable and more than willing to help when I had a question. Obviously West Point is different than the Coast Guard Academy and I wanted to highlight the differences between two factors: academics and cadet leadership.

 

Going to another service academy is a once in a lifetime opportunity and something that I couldn’t pass up. It was also great for putting my time at CGA in perspective. In general, I found the academics at USMA to be less rigorous than at CGA, in particular, the lab periods were extremely limited due to West Point’s schedule. Additionally, classes at USMA meet for an average of 2.5 hours a week for a 3-credit class whereas Coast Guard classes meet 3 hours per week, meaning that there is less class time per week. At USMA, this means slightly lighter class loads but a longer semester in order to meet the required class time. Due to their size though, West Point offers a much larger selection of classes and majors than CGA does.

 

On a military and leadership note, I think that West Point has a more cadet run chain of command. The brigade staff at West Point truly runs the Corps of Cadets. As a second class cadet (they call it a cadet sergeant) you are in charge of four to six underclassmen. The equivalent level of responsibility at Coast Guard is reserved for seniors, instead of juniors. This exposes cadets to command earlier in their career. Because USMA is so much larger than CGA, the companies and their company commanders have much more autonomy than at CGA. The USMA Corps of Cadets is a great unit and I was proud to be a part, even if only for a semester.

 

I was extremely grateful for this unique opportunity. I was able to see how the Army does things, and I was hopefully able to improve my personal leadership ability and bring something valuable back to the Coast Guard Academy.

 

More about Alex.

 

READ ME READ ME READ ME!!!!!!

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Zwenger Photo Jeez, where did time go?! I have already made it to nearly the end of my second semester second class year, and with about one month to go I have so much to look forward to in the next month and the summer to come. Coming up in the next month we have Ring Dance, finals, summer assignments, and the Derby. I will reflect on some of these things in the months to come but as for now I’ll tell you a little about each. Ring Dance is the second class formal in which the great Class of 2015 finally receives our class rings that we ordered months ago. There are a couple of traditions that go along with it, however, and I am not familiar with them right now, so I’ll have to tell you about them later. Finals are pretty self-explanatory; we take them at the end of every semester and this set is just another step closer to graduating (*knock on wood* - I am fairly superstitious about it). When I say the Derby I am talking about the Kentucky Derby, and for those that don’t know what I am talking about it is proclaimed as “the best two minutes in sports.” Look it up and educate yourself about it. I will be going home to Louisville, Kentucky (the best city in the U.S.) and attending this event!

 

Now onto the summer! This summer I will be going to two different Coast Guard units to learn and absorb as much information as I can to help prepare myself for my future career in the fleet (*knock on wood* - once again, superstitious). For the first six weeks of my summer, I will be headed to Port Angeles, Washington to be spending my time on CGC Active, a 210-foot cutter. I will be taking a look at the engineering side of the cutter and will hopefully grab some qualifications while I am at it. Although this was not my first choice for the summer, I am getting sent to the west coast, which I am pretty stoked about. I was hoping for more of a 378 or 418-foot cutter, however, I have a few friends going there so I can just get their insight on how it went. For the second half of my summer (the last five weeks, that is) I will be going to KODIAK, ALASKA. YES! I could not be any more excited about this. On top of that, I will be working underneath the facilities engineer to gain some knowledge of how civil engineering is implemented in the Coast Guard. This is a civil engineering internship, which is another reason why I am so stoked to go; civil engineering really has become a passion of mine since I started to get into my core classes last semester and this semester. Additionally, this is why I became the president of civil engineering here at the Academy.

 

Finally, I will most likely not be going home for summer leave. I plan to spend three weeks backpacking through Europe with a friend. He has not decided if he is going to stay the entire three weeks, so if he leaves early I may come back to spend a little time at home or just continue the adventure by myself. Really that is about all I have planned for the next couple months but I will continue to update you on how things are going.

 

If you have any questions, like seriously any questions at all, please please please feel free to email me. And if you have any suggestions of what to do in Port Angeles or Kodiak this summer I’d be down to hear those as well. Here’s the email address: Spencer.M.Zwenger@USCGA.edu.

 

More about Spencer.