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Promotions and Reflections

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2013) Permanent link   All Posts
 Stephen Nolan Although I fear that this journal entry will be one of many expressing the same event, emotions, and uplifting spirits I nevertheless feel compelled to share with you the almost unimaginable joy that I felt today. It is with great pride that I am able to tell you that at 1245 on the eighteenth day of May, I became a third class cadet at the United States Coast Guard Academy. Words do not exist that can competently express how monumental a moment this is for all of us who have undergone this metamorphosis.

After the ceremony a few of my friends and I were talking, and we came to the unanimous decision that we had never worked harder for anything in our lives. And to be quite honest, that’s what makes it such a worthwhile achievement. Having placed so much time and energy into all the menial tasks that make up the life of a fourth class, having dedicated our lives for nearly a year to taking out trash, mopping decks, standing reg-rio, yelling at clocks morning and afternoon, bussing, squaring and always cleaning; it feels good to know all that is behind us, and perhaps most importantly, that soon we will no longer be at the bottom of the totem pole.

The ceremony was simple, yet somehow fitting. Our cadre received their blue shields from the young officers and senior enlisted members of the USCG Barque Eagle, and our division officers in turn frocked us temporarily leaving us with a single red shield and a single green shield. The irony of this didn’t escape me: We started out that first day of Swab Summer ten months ago with a little blue book and I ended my fourth class year with a few moments of having running light shields. We all got a kick out of it and many photos will soon be floating around Facebook, of happy cadets receiving their first promotion. We then had a choice of who we would ask to pin our second shield on us, many chose friends who had helped them survive the year, some chose crew members who they had become close to, and some chose a second upperclassmen. I was one of the latter, and asked my former Guidon to officially promote me to a third class cadet. It seemed only right that the 2/c who had exerted so much control over my life for the first half of my 4/c year to personally hand me over the reigns to my own existence once again.

So here I sit, about fifty miles from Colombia, green shields in my pocket, and red shields shining brightly from my uniform, and I honestly can’t think of a time I’ve been happier with my life. I know now that every decision that I have made thus far has lead me to this moment of time; the moment when I finally realized that I made the right choice in coming to the Academy. I can say now with 100% certainty that I was meant to be here, and that this is my home, and my life. I urge you now, as ever, to seriously consider coming to the Academy, to experience the joys and achievements, as well as the struggles and the pain that make them worthwhile.

As always:
Semper P.
4/c Stephen Nolan
Stephen.T.Nolan@uscga.edu

More about Stephen.