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USCGC (insert name)! Part Deux!

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2012) Permanent link   All Posts
Bohdon Wowtschuk Hello Shipmates! Due to high demand and tremendous guilt placed on me by my editor, I’ve decided to release the second and final blog entry recapping my time on a real live operational cutter this past summer.

When I left off we were just pulling into Bocas Del Toro, Panama after two straight weeks on patrol. Here’s a quick rundown of the status of the patrol coming into port. The port call provided another great opportunity to get some rest and organize our qualifications packets. After four day and three nights on the tiny, secluded, girl laden, tropical paradise, we were all a bit anxious to get back on the boat.

For the next week we continued patrolling the waters off the coast of Nicaragua. I stopped standing watch down in the engine room, and focused all my efforts on breaking-in OOD (officer of the day) up on the bridge. I was standing a 1-in-4 watch rotation. So, I had two, 4 hour watches every day. By this time, I was pretty much done with all of my required sign-offs, and I was able to enjoy the underway experience. Therefore, when I wasn’t sleeping I was up on the bridge helping to steer the cutter from waypoint to waypoint, and often back to the original waypoint. It was an extremely rewarding experience, knowing I was helping accomplish the Coast Guard mission.

Out of the several boarding’s we completed during my month on the cutter, two stick out in my mind. For the first one, I was actually up on the bridge when we decided to chase and board an American flagged yacht. I didn’t participate in the actual boarding, but I talked to the Boarding Officer (BO) afterwards, and according to him the yacht was being operated by an elderly homosexual couple and a pet cat. They offered the boarding team freshly baked cupcakes.

For the second boarding, we actually chased down another American flagged pleasure craft (thinking it was smuggling narcotics). SPOILER ALERT! There were no narcotics onboard. However, the boat was being operated by three Hungarian men, and a nineteen year old Ecuadorian woman. In addition, according to the BO, the stateroom was strewn with inappropriate material and alcohol. True Story.

On the way to New Hampshire, we stopped for quick port calls in Florida and Northern Jersey. As we were leaving Jersey (and New York Harbor), there was some sort of oil leak in the engine room, and I was actually on the Bridge conning (telling a seaman where to steer) the ship at the time. I’ll be honest I had no idea what to do, and I was immediately relieved by the OOD. We set general emergency and yada yada yada, it worked itself out.

We got to Portsmouth in the evening of the next day and sat in the harbor because Coast Guard cutters rarely ever attempt to come into port during twilight hours. When we finally pulled into the cutters homeport, everyone was a bit disappointed to know that they would have to wait another two months before getting underway again. I spent my next three weeks in Portsmouth before I flew out to Hong Kong. I wish I could say I used those three weeks to study the cutter, work hard on qualifications, and soak up as much knowledge as possible about the operational Coast Guard…I really wish I could.

Fun Fact: Active Military receive a 50% discount at the Nike Employee Store…WINNING.

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