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A Look Back at March (Hogwarts Edition)

(Academics, Just for Fun, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Sandri Photo In the words of Taylor Swift and Rihanna, it’s a typical Tuesday night and there’s three more days ‘til Friday! Right now, I’m holed up in the library writing a research paper and studying for one of my six exams this week, but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel: after our last military obligation (LMO) this Friday, the corps will leave for Spring Break. I will be traveling to Peru with the Academy’s Catholic group for a service trip, and I can’t wait!


It feels like this semester has flown by. It started with the “Dark Ages” of January and February and a completely new 23-credit course load, but as the days get longer and weather gets warmer, I’m re-realizing how great the Academy can be. The beginning and end of the school year here are my favorites, probably because they surround the awesome Academy summers, and everything seems a bit shiny and exciting. Second semester went by in a heartbeat last year, and this year it’s doing the same.


So now, on to the important stuff. It’s often said that the CGA is like Hogwarts. Without further ado, here’s a list of reasons why:


  • We have a Room of Requirement, a.k.a. the class cages. Cadets can store extra belongings and unauthorized room items in the attic of Chase Hall, but there are no promises you’ll be able to find them again.
  • Our library has a restricted book section.
  • We are issued long bathrobes.
  • The corps is divided into eight companies, like the four houses, and each company has their own wing area.
  • We compete for “Honor Company,” the equivalent of the “House Cup.”
  • One of my teachers greatly resembles Professor Umbridge. Except she’s not at all evil.
  • MES majors take a Potions class. (Technically called Physical Oceanography).
  • It’s a bit like living in another hemisphere, especially for 4/c who have no social media and more required time on campus.
  • Parts of Chase Hall are constantly being renovated/constructed. You’re guaranteed to find new spaces to get lost in at least once.
  • We eat meals family-style.
  • “There are some things you can't share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them.” Times at the Academy can be crazy and rough, but your friends will see you through the best and the worst!

As always, feel free to email me at with any questions.


More about Eva.



(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Culp Photo September of 2013 was the first time I laid eyes on Ground Zero. The first major performance for the Academy’s Glee Club was a memorial service at Sherwood Island in Connecticut, just a day or two before 9/11. You could look across the water and see where the Twin Towers used to soar above the horizon, before that terrible day 14 years ago. This particular service honored the 161 Connecticut residents who perished that day. Family members and government officials reflected on the impact of 9/11, and the names of the dead were read aloud. It was one of my favorite performances of the year. It was not a rambunctious party in Germany, a dinner at a yacht club, or the National Anthem at a spirited football game; as fun as those might be, the short-lived emotional effect I feel after singing at those events pales drastically in comparison to the sensations in my heart after the choir performed for that ceremony.


9/11 has become more and more important to me in recent years, yet I can’t place my finger on any singular reason why that is. I think it’s a conglomeration of the different realizations that have slowly penetrated my mindset since I reported to the Academy – that there are enemies who want to see the United States crumble; that too many families face a perpetual battle against the grief they feel from the loss of loved ones; that protecting them from further harm is the least we can do as a nation; that my own parents or brothers could be the ones whose names are read aloud at a somber ceremony. The opportunity to be close enough to Ground Zero to have actually visited it twice certainly has helped the trauma of that day come alive to me as well. I will never cease to be grateful for having set foot on the memorial in New York City, and for rendering honors to the World Trade Center as we sailed by on Eagle last year. I only wish those people who died that day could know we were saluting their memory.


At the 9/11 Memorial Museum, there is a wall with a quote from Virgil. “No day shall erase you from the memory of time.” After having spent the last few years learning more about 9/11 and what it means to so many people and truly beginning to take its impact to heart, I can say that that quote rings true for me. I think it does for the rest of our nation as well, and the rest of the world. We are a resilient people, and while we still feel the pain of loss, we also see the power of our country and the hope of its citizens.


More about Abby.


What a Summer

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Krause Photo As the school year is approaching full swing, I can’t help but reminisce about my past summer. My whole time here I have heard that 2/c summer was the best one the Academy has to offer, and they were right! This past summer was mainly focused around growing as leaders and transitioning from the follower role we held the first two years at the Academy. I was able to have some amazing experiences and learn a lot about myself.


One highlight of my summer was Cadet Aviation Training Program (CATP). I was able to really see how awesome the aviation community is and understand the importance of their mission. A few of my highlights from that week were getting lifted into a helicopter in a rescue basket, flying both a C130 fixed wing and a H60 Dolphin, and enjoying the beautiful beaches of Pensacola.


Only a few short weeks later and I was sworn in as cadre. I was Cadre 1 this summer so I was able to oversee R-Day and the chaos that ensued when you try to convert 36 high school students into military members in mere hours. I absolutely loved my time as cadre and learned so much about what it is like to lead others and work efficiently with your peers. Another highlight of my summer was Coastal Sail Training Program (CSTP), which allowed us to practice leading our peers through holding different positions on the Leadership 44 boats. We sailed all over New England with port calls in beautiful locations such as Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, and Woods Hole. I truly felt like a rich yachter for two weeks!


I concluded my summer with two weeks of leave in Iceland with my family. It is hands down the most astoundingly beautiful place I have ever been. Prior to traveling there I had heard that 80% of Icelanders believed in elves, and after my time there I definitely join them in that belief! Looking back on this whirlwind of a summer I can’t help to think about how lucky I am to be here. The school year might be tough, but the summers at the Academy make all the hard work worth it!


More about Gretchen.


2/c Summer Recap

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Seaman Photo Hello! I realize it has been a long time since my last blog, but that just means I will have a lot to talk about on this one! I am at the beginning of my first semester of 2/c year, which means I just finished cadre summer. It was a great experience transitioning into being a leader from previous follower and mentor roles. Working with the swabs and watching them develop into 4/c was extremely valuable. The summer was also filled with parts other than being a cadre. For example, we participated in a two-week sailing program called Coastal Sail, which allowed us to sail to places in New England like Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. It was a blast learning how to sail, interact with people, and lead a crew.


Another week a group of us went to Air Station Mobile in Alabama to learn about aviation. This week was another one of my favorites. We got to fly Coast Guard helicopters and use the simulators at the air station. This week fueled my interest in aviation and solidified my desire to become a pilot. My hope is to go to an air station during my “firstie” summer to get even more exposure to aviation. That is what I have been up to for the last couple of months; I look forward to writing more about the academics during 2/c year once I get a bit farther into the semester!


More about Rachel.


Summer 2015 – Week by Week

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Glick Photo Looking back on the summer, it seems that Academy summers get better and better every year. The first one, Swab Summer, isn’t exactly fun, but you learn to make the best of it. 3/c summer is long, or at least mine was, as I was underway (on board a cutter) for 11 weeks. This summer however, I moved around every week, seeing new places, meeting new people, and learning about different Coast Guard missions every day. Here are some highlights of my summer, week by week.


100th Week: New London, Connecticut 


0400, Monday Morning: GET UP CADETS. YOU’RE LATE!
Company Commanders literally kick off 100th week by almost kicking my door down. 100th Week marks the halfway point in our cadet careers. The point of 100th Week is to pump us up for the coming summer, strengthen our class identity, and prepare us for cadre summer. The Cape May Company Commanders, or the drill instructors who train enlisted personnel, traveled to the Academy for 100th Week. They trained us for the first three days and reminded us of what it is like to be a trainee, and acclimated us to the environment of Swab Summer. The rest of the week we learned how to effectively train recruits, practiced confidence on the Stone’s Ranch Obstacle Course, and went over the basics of giving military presentations to superiors and subordinates. It was a tiring week, but it ended with a great ceremony when we became 2/c cadets.


Cadet Aviation Training Program: Mobile, Alabama and Pensacola, Florida 


0430, Saturday morning: I stumble out of my rack, and throw my sea bag on my back.
It’s time to climb into a government van to go to the Hartford airport. Groggy, tired, but excited, I finally land in Mobile, Alabama. Lieutenant Commander picks us up—the same LCDR who teaches math at the Academy flew out to be our officer in charge for the week. There were orientation and safety checks during the first few days, and before I know it, I’m in the cockpit of a helicopter. The pilot asks me if I’d like to take a shot at driving. Sure, I said. He switches controls over to my side, hundreds of feet in the air! He takes his hands off of his controls and pulls out a notebook, takes a sip of his water, trusting that I can drive the aircraft myself—on my first time flying! A rush of excitement and fear converge while I drive down the Alabama coast for almost 45 minutes. After growing up near Air Station Atlantic City and seeing helicopters fly overhead every day, I can’t believe I am now flying one. Time passes, and we visit the infamous “dunker” and aviation training center in Pensacola, Florida, which dunks aircrew candidates underwater, blindfolded, and without any air in a makeshift helicopter—what a sight! We visit the National Aviation museum, enjoy a few morale events with the aviators on the beach, play some volleyball, and fly in fixed wing aircraft on search and rescue missions at 0200 in the morning!


Summer 2015 – Week by Week (Continued) PDF;


More about William.