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) ;
More about William.