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CADET BLOGS

cadet blogs

Alaska Here I Come!

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Eshleman Photo We started April off with the excitement of switching back to Tropical Blue uniforms from Standard Dress Bravos. The weather is finally getting warmer and I felt the sun on my face for the first time in ages. April marks a lot of exciting things for fourth class. We just received wardroom “carry-on” so we do not have to square our meals anymore. Everyone in the Class of 2018 has passed boards, so full carry-on is hopefully on its way. It is crazy that fourth class year is almost over. This summer I am headed to Ketchikan, Alaska for five weeks at a small boat station, then on to Eagle for six weeks after that. I am excited to get fleet experience. Alaska is surprisingly not as cold as one may think in the summer. Ketchikan is in the 60s during the day. It is also the salmon capital of the world and surrounded by a national forest, so in my free time I would love to go hiking, fishing, etc.

 

Right now I am focusing on finishing out the year strong with the last round of tests/finals approaching. This semester has been insanely busy between playing water polo, Glee Club, military obligations, and a heavy workload. When I think back to how far I have come since R-Day ten months ago, the amount I have learned and accomplished shocks me. I am super excited for this summer and my next few years at the CGA. As always, feel free to email me with any questions! Hannah.M.Eshleman@uscga.edu 

 

More about Hannah.

 

The Skier

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Culp Photo As I shuffled my way back up to the rope tow that would drag me to the top of the hill at the base of the beautiful Alps, two words resounded in my head: this stinks. I had a pair of skis strapped to my feet for the first time during the Glee Club trip to Germany and could not for the life of me figure out why this sport is so popular here at the Academy. I was getting increasingly frustrated as the lesson went on and I was unable to successfully stop or turn on my left leg (yes, only my left). Then, eventually, everything began falling into place, and while I was far from being accomplished, I could at least make it down the hill without plowing over any children or the instructor in the process. That’s when it occurred to me – going through the Academy follows the same pattern as my ski lesson that morning. When you first sign up, it’s such an exciting opportunity! You get your gear and make plans for when you’ll report to the slopes, eagerly awaiting your training. Then, you finally meet up with your instructor and suddenly all that confidence you had goes away. Your skis feel awkward on your feet, you are tired from dragging yourself up that silly hill over and over and you fall. Constantly. And sometimes, you have to rely on someone to help you stand back up. Even after you’ve been taught the basics, you continue to have issues with actually executing the skills and keeping up with the people around you. You feel like you are falling farther and farther behind; then, things start to come together. You start figuring out where you are going wrong, and with patience, you fix those areas. Before you know it, you are zipping down that hill like you’ve been on those skis forever, and by golly, you might even be able to teach someone else the skills you’ve learned.

 

That’s pretty much the journey from Swab Summer to the school year in a nutshell. And frankly, a lot of it is tough. Chances are you’ll fall down MANY times, no matter how confident you are at the beginning, particularly during a grueling Swab Summer. It is then that your shipmates will pull you back up and that you will in turn lend them your hand when they fall. Then together, you will move on to the more advanced slopes, with even more turns and steeper hills, and even more chances to fall. The good thing about that is the increased number of opportunities to recover and learn.

 

As a rising 2/c, I am thrilled to be in the part of the ski story when I get to put those blasted mechanisms of gravity-related mockery on someone else’s feet and guide them down the slope. I only hope they don’t fall quite as often as I did over the summer! To the future cadets of the Academy, and especially to my swabs, the Class of 2019, I wish you the best of luck as you start gathering your gear for a long day in the snow.

 

More about Abby.

 

What’s Coming Up

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Ritchie Photo Second semester is an exciting time for cadets. As the snow melts and days grow longer, things start to come together in Chase Hall. We find out what we will be doing for our summer training programs: 1/c are given their billets, 2/c get their class rings, 3/c prepare to become cadre, and 4/c earn carry-on. On April 6, we will switch to our short-sleeve uniforms. It is a sign that we are close to the end of the school year.

 

This winter has been long and cold, so it is especially exciting to hear about our summer assignments. Each year, cadets have 11 weeks of training and three weeks of leave. Whereas the other summers include only one or two five to seven week training experiences, 2/c summer is composed of several one to three week training experiences.

 

The first week of my summer training, I will be going through 100th week. This marks my class being halfway through our time as cadets. Chiefs come up to the Academy from Cape May to act as our cadre, remind us of Swab Summer and train us to become cadre. After that, I’ll have three weeks of leave to go home and see my family. The next weeks are comprised of T-boat training, Rules of the Road, range week (shooting), and air station training, each for one week; coastal sail on the other hand is two weeks. At the end of the summer, I will serve as cadre for the Class of 2019. I will have one week of prep and then three weeks on Eagle. I requested to be Eagle cadre because I want the swabs to enjoy their first time sailing on America’s tall ship. I loved Eagle over Swab Summer. It gave me an appreciation of all the sailors who have come before me and the history and culture of sailing. I am looking forward to teaching others what I’ve learned.

 

Throughout the summer, I plan to update my blog with stories from each of these training programs. As always, if you have any questions, please email me at Sarah.R.Ritchie@uscga.edu.

 

More about Sarah.

 

Aaand… We’re Back

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Chang Photo Unfortunately, I could not stay in Orlando forever. Universal Studios, the beach and Disney World had become my home away from home from my home away from home. (Try to figure that one out). And while I dearly miss the Florida sun, palm trees and Mickey and Minnie, the time to come back North had come. I guess all good things must come to an end but there are good things to come here, too.

 

We found out our 3/c summer assignments and I was lucky enough to be put on the first phase of Eagle, where we’ll make our way down to the Bahamas and end in Staten Island, New York. And it’ll only get better from there. Along with six other 4/c and two 2/c, I’ll be on the Coast Guard Cutter Mellon, coming from Japan and making its way back to its home port, Seattle, Washington. Out of the nine of us going, four are bilingual. We have two Korean-speakers, a Japanese speaker and myself, speaking Mandarin. Being able to sail on completely different coasts and go overseas is something I never would have thought I’d be able to do so early on in my Coast Guard career. It’s going to be a good summer.

 

More about Olivia.

 

Service Academies Exchange Program

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Ritchie Photo Each fall semester, the Coast Guard Academy participates in an exchange program with the Air Force Academy, Naval Academy and West Point. (The Merchant Marine Academy is not able to participate due to their trimester (as opposed to semester) program.) Officers at each academy negotiate how many cadets to exchange; it is usually two to five per academy. The opportunity to participate in this semester-long exchange program is provided to cadets going into their 2/c (junior) year. It involves an application process during which you provide your GPA, PFE score, military score, and a paragraph explaining why you’re interested in being on exchange. They look for people who are well-rounded and can represent the Academy well. The connections these students will make with other cadets and midshipmen could become vital in joint service operations in the future.

 

I have been interested in this exchange program since my first semester here. One of my 2/c was an Army cadet on exchange here at the Coast Guard Academy. In spring semester of 4/c year, I started talking to Coast Guard cadets who had gone on exchange in the fall, asking them what they thought of the program and what their experience was like. They all said it was a great opportunity to see something different, make new friends and enjoy a big-school environment for a little bit. They all said, “Apply if you can,” so when the application came out at the beginning of the semester, I did. I should also mention that I was talking to one of my best friends about it and we decided to both put Navy as our top pick. Since her family lives about 20 minutes away from the Naval Academy, I’d have a sponsor family.

 

About a month and a half later, the list was released. Originally, I got West Point but I was also first alternate for the Naval Academy. At the time, the Air Force Academy and West Point were each taking five cadets and the Naval Academy was only taking two. Just last week, I found out that they decided to exchange one more with Navy, and I got it! I am so excited for this opportunity and can’t wait to share more about this experience with you next semester!

 

More about Sarah.