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Life on the Other Side

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2012) Permanent link   All Posts
 Katie Priesing Hi everyone! It’s been awhile, and I apologize. This semester I am on exchange at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. I decided to apply for the Service Academy Exchange Program before I even finished Swab Summer. One of my cadre told us she was not going to be at CGA for my class’s first semester, but that she would still be available via email. She said she was going to Navy for a semester. This caught my attention because I wanted to know what it was like at Navy. I was offered an appointment to both Navy and Coast Guard as a senior in high school, and to this day the decision to go to the Coast Guard Academy is the biggest decision I have ever had to make. I spent the last two and a half years at Coast Guard content but always wondering if I made the right choice. Well, after five semesters at Coast Guard and now thirteen weeks at Navy, I can finally say I know I have made the right decision.

I have had a great – phenomenal – time at the Naval Academy. I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. I have two of the best roommates I could have ever asked for, I was put in the best company in the entire brigade, and I’ve joined and toured with the Naval Academy Women’s Glee Club. This spring break we went to New Mexico and Texas, and while we were in Houston, we just happened to sing at President George H.W. Bush’s church. We got to meet him and Mrs. Barbara Bush after our performance. Since coming on exchange, I have experienced a Navy Dining-Out, slept in the (in)famous Bancroft Hall, and toured the West Wing of the White House. I have met some of the future officers of our Navy and Marine Corps. I know I am going to look back at this semester and laugh when I think about all the fun I have had and talk to the amazing people I have met.

Although the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard are all military services, there are very fundamental differences. The Coast Guard is the only branch of the military that is not in the Department of Defense. As an organization that falls under the Department of Homeland Security, Coast Guard has multiple maritime missions. I’m not going to write about them because they’re easy to find through Google or Wikipedia, but this semester at Navy has made me appreciate those missions so much. It’s like that song “Big Yellow Taxi”: “Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.” Luckily, I will be going back to the Coast Guard Academy next semester and I look forward to using what I’ve learned here at Navy to get through my last (!) year at the USCGA. If you have any questions about either Academy, please feel free to email and ask. Fair warning: I will probably be a little biased, but that’s just because the Coast Guard is the best! Take care!

More about Katie.