Skip Navigation Links
APPLY | BEARS DEN LOGIN | REQUEST INFORMATION | ESPAÑOL | VIDEO TOUR | SEARCH
FacebookFlickrTwitterYou Tube
CADET BLOGS

cadet blogs

Getting Qualified Aboard the USCGC Elm

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Tousignant Photo As a second semester 2/c cadet, I was nervous going into my 1/c summer because I was not sure whether I had the confidence to be a 1/c cadet and take the position as a division officer. I knew that once I became a 1/c, then graduation would be right around the corner. I had a great 2/c year and did not want to leave the Academy and go into the real world. My 1/c summer experience has abolished my recent fears and has given me the confidence to not only own my place among the corps but also look forward to becoming an ensign. I had heard that sometimes people that do well at the Academy will go out into the fleet and fail because the fleet is not based on academics or athletics. However, I learned that my work ethic is what I really need to become a good officer.

 

This past summer I had the wonderful opportunity to have an internship at Sector Key West and then went to the USCGC Elm, which is a buoy tender out of Atlantic Beach, North Carolina. At the sector I felt that I was truly a part of the division that I was in. We ate lunch together every day, and the officers that I was working with were trying to set me up for a successful second tour. The morale events always seemed to have a high turnout because the captain of the station and the master chief always made an effort to show up to them. This fostered a very positive command climate that I would have gladly worked for if I was in the fleet right now. When I initially went to the Elm, I was very nervous because I knew nothing about a buoy tender or boats in general for that matter. During my 3/c summer, I had gone to a small boat station so I had never been on a real cutter before. When I arrived on the Elm, I was unsure what my role would be. I just wanted to get as qualified as I could in six weeks.

 

The first couple weeks I was on Elm I barely left the ship because I wanted to get Inport Watchstander qualified and had to finish my 21 day packet, which included drawing the systems of the ship. I was able to finish the packet in eight days. For Inport Watchstander I did not pass my first board and had to take it again a couple days later. Even though I felt discouraged because I failed the first time, I knew my round of the ship very well and was confident going into the second oral board. I was able to get qualified within two and a half weeks and started standing the watch. I was so happy to finally start helping the crew out. My next mission was to get basic Damage Control (DC) qualified. Again I failed the first time and had to retake the test. Even though I was a little discouraged by my failures, I was able to keep pushing myself. I was standing a watch and breaking in as OOD. I was able to finish my OOD packet in five weeks. I was also able to get advanced DC qualified the last day on the ship, thanks to a very helpful and caring crew. During my time on Elm, I was given junior officer tasks that challenged me and made me feel stronger in competencies will need as an officer. Even though I wanted to get as qualified as I could, I also wanted to help the crew out in any way whether it was assisting with organization manuals or binders or standing watch. As an officer, I always want to ensure I am taking the time to make certain my people are excelling.

 

More about Jackie.

 

CATP Week

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Hosley Photo As I’m sure most of you know, here in the military we really love our acronyms, we practically speak our own language; but, this here acronym is actually one of my favorites and perfectly sums up the last week of my summer: CATP. CATP stands for Cadet Aviation Training Program. I just returned from CATP which was the last portion of my summer training and (maybe the coolest, too). For CATP, seven of my classmates and I traveled to U.S. Coast Guard Base Elizabeth City, North Carolina for a week of learning about aviation. E-City, as we call it, is home to the Aviation Technical Training School, where enlisted Coast Guard personnel go to become trained flight mechanics or rescue swimmers.

 

Touring the facilities was awesome, but the best part was flying. First we flew a C-130, a large cargo transport plane used for long range search and rescue (which I got to fly!!!). The next flight was the hoist where I got to swim out with a rescue swimmer under a hovering helicopter. Swimming out under the helo was insane! The rotor wash created waves that washed over me as I swam and the wind from the blades whipped so much ocean spray into my mouth I couldn’t see and could hardly breathe! Then I crawled in the search and rescue basket and they hoisted me up to the helicopter. After fist bumping the flight mechanic, they lowered me back down and I swam back to the boat. Definitely one of the coolest things I have ever done in my life; it was thrilling, terrifying, exciting and just completely awe inspiring. Our next flight was some practice slope landings in an H-60, the Coast Guard’s larger helicopter model. We also practiced heavy load transport where we landed and I was able to jump out and run clear of the rotor blades. Then the helicopter hovered about ten feet over the heavy load we wanted to lift and we would run up underneath and attach the load so the helo could fly up carrying the load and then come back to drop it off. Running under the helo you experience hurricane-force winds up to 180 mph so you have to run leaning over on the way there and leaning back on the way out, just trying not to fall on your face. It was an absolute blast! I can’t even begin to explain how much I learned and how much respect I have for the rescue swimmers or AST rate in the Coast Guard, as well as the whole aviation side of our service.

 

Before this experience I had no idea if I was even interested in flight school but, after being around the helicopters all week, I truly think that being a helicopter pilot would be the coolest thing in the whole world. I mean I guess technically I’m still undecided, but don’t worry I’ll keep you updated  Go CATP and as Admiral always says, forever Go Bears!

 

More about Cece.

 

Got That Summertime Madness

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Chang Photo I’ve spent a solid fifteen minutes trying to come up with an exciting, eye-catching opening sentence for this entry. I’m supposed to write about how my summer is going so far, so I guess I’ll just get right into it before my laptop overheats. Here’s a short timeline of my summers here at the Academy:

 

2012: I come up for the AIM program, just for kicks.

2013: I come up again for CGAS, because, why not?

2014: Swab Summer. (Welp, too late to back out now.)

2015: Five weeks on the beautiful Barque Eagle, five weeks on the mystifying USCGC Mellon.

2016: Cadre summer…wow, I am getting old.

 

I was on pretty good terms with my age until I realized that I’m turning 22, while some of the swabs will still be 17. I’ll be starting a retirement plan soon. But, I digress. Cadre summer is the bridge between being a follower and leader here. It’s more than screaming at kids and doing push-ups, especially if you’re Eagle cadre. That’s right—tomorrow I’m going to be on the USCGC Barque Eagle for the third summer in a row! While it definitely wasn’t my preferred assignment, I’ve come to terms with my fate and have accepted it. On the bright side, our cadre section is made up of some amazing people and we’re definitely one of the more close-knit sections. The role as Eagle cadre is different because you’re more of a mentor than a drill instructor. We teach the swabs basic seamanship and how to interact with the crew, as well as give them a taste of what their 3/c summer will be like. It’s new, it’s an adventure in itself, and I’m actually a little more excited about it after writing this entry.

 

More about Olivia.

 

The Eagle’s “Barque” is Worse Than It’s Bite

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2019) Permanent link
King PhotoEagle was awesome. It really was. Before going, I was worried that it was going to be miserable. We were sailing across the North Atlantic, one of the wildest routes for weather. I’m glad I was wrong. I had so much fun, and did so many things, that it was one of the best adventures of my life. I’d like to share my three favorite experiences.

 

1. The Ocean Itself – The ocean is big, very big; that’s what I’ve learned. There were weeks when we didn’t see any sign of another boat. It was simply amazing feeling so small. We saw pods of dolphins, HUGE great white sharks, and a basking shark. It felt like the sea had no end. At night, it was even better—dolphins swimming in water florescent from the algae and the sky was pure stars. We saw sunrise at 3 in the morning and sunsets at 10 at night. It was very humbling.

 

2. Making Friends – I got to meet so many of my classmates on Eagle. The way Eagle is designed is that you are given opportunities to interact with people you haven’t met in other situations. I sanded, scrubbed, mess-cooked, cleaned, did damage control, shot stars, and checked oil levels with so many new people and made a lot of friends. Even when we were doing some of the less desirable jobs, it was worth it because of the team bonding.

 

3. Climbing the Royals – This had to be my absolute favorite part of the summer. The royals are one of the highest parts of the mast. Climbing them is one of the biggest goals many of the cadets have. To do so is no small task—they are 146 feet above the deck. I was fortunate to climb them six times. The first time was by far the scariest—there was an oncoming squall, the water was rough with wind, and to top it off, it was in the dark. I was so afraid, but somehow found the courage to keep going. My division was incredibly supportive, and together, we finished the job together. After that first time, I couldn’t get enough of climbing. I was able to climb in Ireland, England, and a few more times on the open ocean. I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything.

 

More about Deborah.

 

Prepare to be Unprepared

(Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Kimura Photo Swab Summer is something everyone forgets the bad from and remembers the good. When I prepared for the infamous Swab summer, I had the worst in mind coming from CGAS. The phrase “prepare for the worst, and hope for the best” does not even do justice to the training swabs go through. No matter the preparation, the simple tasks of Swab Summer often throw wrenches into visions swabs have going into it.

 

Take my summer for example; I went in physically fit; doing push-ups, rowers, flutter kicks, running, and all the other good stuff. But the day after my company got medically cleared and took the PFE, we went on a run in formation and I took a wrong step that sprained my ankle. Not thinking anything of it, I kept going. I was percolating and sprinting with my company for the rest of the morning. I kept this up until I felt a pop and pain seared throughout my ankle to the point of tears. I never could have prepared for the two nights I spent in the ward because the tear in my ligament caused my foot to swell and bruise like a balloon. Neither could I have prepared for the week following, when I tried to make up for my injury’s hindrance by moving as fast or faster than my shipmates doing change remedials, memorizing extra indoc, and putting the extra effort to show an injury would not stop me.

 

The summer will bring events one cannot prepare for in advance, whether an injury, family problems, personal revelations, or even culture shock. The best thing to do is go through it with an open mind, 100 percent effort because cadre can see right through those trying to just get by, and the company of your shipmates.

 

More about Amy.