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Autumn in New England

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Cannon Photo Well, it's the first day of fall in New London, Connecticut. I am going to miss the warm weather, summer nights, days at the lake, and so on and so forth. But despite not being the biggest fan of colder weather, I honestly have high hopes for this upcoming autumn/winter. You might ask, "But Colton, how in the world could you find enjoyment of the bitter New England cold where you aren't right down the road from the nearest Chick-Fil-A or Waffle House?" While that is definitely a valid question, there are plenty of upsides to the changing of seasons (despite being so far from Georgia). Autumn means a couple of things: bonfires, camping, corn mazes, pumpkin patches, THANKSGIVING, state fairs (I'll take a fried order of everything you have, please), college football games (WDE), dressing more formal is considered casual...and that is just off the top of my head. Probably one of the sweetest parts of the fall up here is a large-scale obstacle course I go to in Vermont each year. Not only is it eight to ten miles of variations of crawling, running, pull ups, and carrying heavy objects, but the changing color of the trees in the Vermont mountains is unbelievable. I guess you could say things are getting pretty serious...


The summer was pretty incredible though, don't get me wrong. Whether it was sailing around New England and spending the fourth of July in Nantucket (or was it Martha's Vineyard?), or training incoming swabs (easily the best part of my Academy experience so far), it was a time of non-stop adventure. I will say though that training the swabs with Lyme Disease was an interesting experience to say the least. If I were to yell at any point, I would be completely out of energy for the rest of the day. Despite that, it may have been a blessing in disguise. Since I was unable to yell and scream nonsense like cadre tend to resort to, I was forced to actually use leadership lessons and be one of the more approachable cadre when it came to classroom time with the swabs. I may have not instilled the fear of God in them, but I do believe that taking this alternative approach allowed me to truly gain respect from many of my swabs (now freshmen!!!), and we are all able to have healthy yet professional relationships to this day. I am thankful for all of the unforgettable experiences in my journey as a cadet so far, and anticipate the many more to come.


Go Bears Baseball!


More about Colton.


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.


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.


There’s More to New London Than the Academy??!

(Just for Fun, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Kimura Photo The school year could not have come any faster. I swear I was packing up my room’s contents into my trunk only yesterday, but that happened over three months ago. Although it can feel like I never left Chase Hall, I definitely am not the 4/c (freshman) that left for summer training. After being back at the Academy for a couple weeks, the experience on the faces and in the actions of my shipmates (and mine) shows. With the extensive time put in over the summer on Eagle and at stations, I appreciate the new sense of free time as a 3/c. This gives me the leisure to seek opportunities that I enjoy.


The other weekend, I finally got a glimpse of the sights, food, and activities around the New London area. First, I discovered that Rhode Island, only about 30 minutes away, has amazing beaches; one of which Taylor Swift has a beach house on. Second, there are various campsites around; 20 minutes south is Rocky Neck Park. Third, I love fruit and came upon a website that lists the local fruit that is in season, as well as the farms growing them. I actually got to “pick my own” blueberries, which tasted quite scrumptious. Also, I took advantage of 3/c rec gear by biking to Panera with a friend. It took the same amount of time as the Libo bus, but seeing the neighborhoods and enjoying the fresh air felt much more satisfying. I look forward to doing more exploring outside the Academy, especially since I should get familiar with the area since I’ll be here for another three years.


More about Amy.


An Absolutely Remarkable Summer

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Culp Photo Well, this last summer was most certainly a whirlwind of activity! Second class summer is particularly exciting, as you do several different programs through the 11-week training term. My two favorite programs were, without a doubt, being cadre for the swabs and going to the Cadet Aviation Training Program down in Mobile, Alabama.


There is nothing more rewarding than spending three weeks with the people who are going to be your replacements once you promote out in the fleet, teaching them the skills they need and giving every minute of your time to their development. It’s exhausting, to tell the truth; not a lot of sleep is involved, and you’re on your feet almost every second of the day. But, for me, it was always worth it to see how my swabs grew together as a team. The best times for me as cadre were the times I got to simply observe them working together to accomplish a task, whether that was at the ropes course, IC sports, or a challenge in the barracks. I loved seeing their team dynamic and getting glimpses of each swab’s personality, watching them start to gel as a team. Teamwork is absolutely critical at this school; there is no way you can make it through four years of intense academics and detailed training without your friends and classmates by your side. I am so grateful to have been one of the first people to work with Golf Company’s Class of 2019, and to be in the unique position of watching their growth from when the very first entered the Coast Guard!


I did three weeks straight as cadre with the swabs then I got to end my summer with a week of flight. I travelled with seven other classmates down to the Coast Guard’s Aviation Training Center in Alabama. Lordy, was it hot there…but, in spite of that, I got some incredible exposure to a fascinating field within the Coast Guard! We visited the flight training school in Pensacola, toured the base, and of course spent hours in the air. I actually got to pilot some of the aircraft, namely a C-144 and a 65 (Dolphin helicopter)! It was certainly a rush, and definitely a game changer in my career plans. I had been on the fence about putting in for flight school, and CATP helped me realize that flying is what I want to do in the Coast Guard. I really love how the Coast Guard is so willing to throw cadets into new situations and push us to our limits – no one outside this service would ever dream of letting an untrained 20-year-old fly a plane over Mobile Bay. What a privilege, and a great model for us to follow in our careers as we travel and experience all sorts of foreign things with ensign stripes on our shoulder boards!


Second class summer was absolutely remarkable, and I’m excited to have that continue into the school year. I have a lot on my plate with clubs, company leadership, and of course my own spiritual and personal life and I know every minute I spend on those things will be repaid with an amazing year and an even more amazing career! Time to get the school year rolling!


More about Abby.