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A Summer of Transformation

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2012) Permanent link   All Posts
 Michael Klakring My third Coast Guard Academy summer has officially come to a close, and they just get better and better. I have already written a couple of entries about the first half of my summer and the great success we had with the Ocean Racing program, but have not yet written about what is probably the more important part of my summer.

The beginning of this summer marked the 100th week, a week of preparation for my class, the new second-class cadets, who would be cadre just a few weeks later. The end of this summer was a realization of the transformation we made during that week. As a swab summer waterfront cadre this summer, I was quickly thrust into the most intense, important, and tiresome position in which I have ever been.

My primary role this summer was teaching the swabs how to sail through six waterfront lessons that they took throughout the summer. The first lesson taught the swabs the parts of the boat; the ultimate basics of seamanship and sailing. By the sixth and final lesson, swabs were sailing on courses in the Thames River, tacking and jibing, testing their capsize recoveries, leaving and entering the basin, and showing how much they had learned in the three weeks that my cadre section had been around. It was immediate feedback to our leadership and teaching, and very rewarding to see them all sailing by the end of the summer. And that was just my day job...

After waterfront was all finished each day, I came back to the barracks and continued my cadre experience with the swabs of Hotel Company. First of all, we by far had the best swabs, and the best cadre. We became one cohesive unit, succeeding and failing as one, relying on each other, respecting each other, and learning from each other. I never thought I could grow so attached to a group of people in such a short amount of time. I took pride in my Hotel swabs and in my cadre section, and truly enjoyed being able to provide the foundation of those individuals’ Coast Guard career.

The swabs came here as wide-eyed civilian teens and finished the summer as highly motivated and basically trained United States Coast Guard cadets. I entered this summer as a 3/c cadet, a follower/mentor, excited about yelling and running around with swabs, unaware of the challenge before me, and left as a 2/c cadet, a leader/role model, with a better appreciation of leadership, responsibility, and how it feels to change someone’s life for the better. Swab summer was just as hard, if not harder, as a cadre, but I loved every minute of it and will remember this experience for the rest of my life.

All of a sudden I have transformed into a leader in the corps. The rest of my class and I are responsible for the class of 2014, and will forever be linked to them by the experience we shared with them this summer.

More about Mick.