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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.

 

Back in New York!

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Daghir Photo Hello blog followers!

 

I am emailing you from Sector New York, in good old Staten Island, preparing to wrap up my last week of work for the summer. This whole week, I have been out with the New Jersey Police Department, surveying and assessing the coastline of Staten Island to plan boom strategy for potential oil spills that may occur in the waterways of the sector’s response area. This project is really important because the plans we have now were made about 15 years ago! It’s important that the plans are updated, and not only the actual content, but also the actual way that they can be accessed. When I am finished, the plans will be available on the internet in a user-friendly capacity that will be easy to reference for the people who may be responding to a spill or anyone curious about the plan.

 

I am probably going to go to a cutter first tour when I graduate in December, but I can see myself heading in the direction of sector doing the type of work I’ve done this summer. I am interested in possibly doing oil spill response in the Arctic!

 

I finally get to go on leave on Friday and will go with my family to the beach in Chincoteague Island, Virginia. Then I will be hiking the Appalachian Trail for two weeks! This summer has been incredible and tiring but I have learned so much about oil spill response and also I have met so many people who do it professionally. The interesting thing about Coast Guard sectors is that although they are not exactly the poster-image of the Coast Guard, in terms of what you picture right away, you would be surprised by all of the things that they actually do. Any aspect of the Coast Guard missions is fully supported and often managed by a sector, and it is cool to see that Coasties here are often involved in multiple projects both within and outside of their divisions.

 

I’m not sure if I will be able to write before I depart for leave, so I hope that everyone is having a good summer!

 

-Lucy

 

Lucy.M.Daghir@uscga.edu

 

More about Lucy.

 

3/c Summer: Station Cape Disappointment and a Voyage on Eagle

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2019) Permanent link
Friedman Photo One of the best things about being a cadet is getting to go out into the fleet during the summer. Growing up in Connecticut, I had never been to the West Coast, so for the first half of my summer I decided to explore and got to go to Station Cape Disappointment in Ilwaco, Washington. I know, the name makes it sound awful but it is an exciting surf station. I went there with one other 3/c and together we got to integrate with the crew, learn a lot from them, and go out on some awesome training.

 

One training evolution we got to go on was helicopter operations; this is where you are on a small boat that the helicopter lowers the basket and litter to. Looking up and seeing a helicopter hovering 30 feet above me was something I will never forget.

 

After spending five weeks training at Station Cape D, it was back to the Academy to meet up with half of 2019 and get ready to head to Europe and get on Eagle. We boarded Eagle in London and set sail for Madeira. In Madeira, I was able to go tobogganing with my friends and explore the island; it was my favorite port call of the entire voyage. After our seemingly short stop in Madeira, Eagle set sail on the 17-day transatlantic voyage to Bermuda.

 

To navigate to Bermuda, the Class of 2019 had to rely on celestial navigation. Every night members of our class were on the fantail shooting stars with sextants in order to get a fix and determine Eagle’s location. We were not great at first, we put ourselves 180 NM off our ordered course, but we were able to get back on track and to Bermuda on time.

 

Overall 3/c summer has been a great adventure with some great people. If you have any questions feel free to email me Jill.M.Friedman@uscga.edu.

 

More about Jill.

 

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.