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What Else Could CGA Stand For?

(Just for Fun, Class of 2015) Permanent link   All Posts
 Justin Sherman It’s been about two and a half weeks since returning to the Academy from Winter Leave. So much has happened in these past 18 days, and I’d say that we’re all back into the swing of things—or rather that we’ve established a new rhythm with our new classes, new divisions, and new uniforms (Winter Dress Blues!)

When I began thinking about what I was going to write for this month, I considered doing one focused on the acronym CGA. Here at the Academy and in the Coast Guard acronyms are extremely common. Some of our Academy-specific uniform items (e.g. running suits, rec gear) display ‘CGA.’ So I was wondering, besides Coast Guard Academy, what else could CGA represent?

Where did I get this idea? The story behind my nonsense: I participate in the activities of the Academy’s Officers’ Christian Fellowship group. Cadets who send emails with OCF information usually end their emails with:
“PTL Pass The Lettuce
Praise The Lord.”

A friend of mine, 4/c Josh Payne, and I decided it would be fun to find other three-word phrases for ‘PTL.’ (It’s a great challenge!)

This game/challenge we had led me to the idea of finding phrases for CGA. Sadly, we couldn’t think of as many CGA’s (I received help from Josh) as we could PTL’s. Nevertheless, I’ll share the CGA’s that we did create and explain the meaning behind each one (there are few that are somewhat of a stretch).

Clocks: Good Alarm
Every morning before the breakfast meal formation and every afternoon before the lunch meal formation, 4/c cadets (“fourth class”—used as a noun) have to do what is called a Clock Orderly, or Clocks for short. At ten minutes to go until the formation, there is a fourth class at each clock in Chase Hall (the barracks), and that individual must shout, “Sir/Ma’am,* there are now ten minutes to go until this morning/afternoon’s meal formation. This morning’s/afternoon’s meal formation will be held at fair/fowl weather parade. The uniform for this morning’s/afternoon’s meal formation is _____.” *Based on gender of Company Commander (first class cadet). Taken from the Running Light (the little blue book that the swabs hold in what seems to be every picture of them).

Back to Clocks. At seven minutes to go (and every thirty seconds following that until four minutes—“three minutes and sixty seconds”—to go), the fourth class again announce how many minutes remain, location of the formation, and the uniform for the formation. In the approximately twenty to fifteen seconds that remain until the next thirty-second mark, fourth class have to recite the daily indoc: the menu for the next three meals, the movies playing at the local movie theater, sports news (what teams the Academy is challenging for that upcoming week), and the number of days to go until important dates, such as long/holiday weekends, leave periods, and graduation.

Cafeteria Grub: Aramark
The company that makes the food in the cafeteria—called the Wardroom—is named Aramark.
A special shout out and thank you to my friend back home, Shelby Shafer, for helping me find the word “grub” as a replacement for “food.”

Colors; Give Attention
At 0800 (8 a.m.) and at sunset every evening the Academy observes Colors, the raising and lowering, respectively of the flags (National Ensign and the Coast Guard Ensign). Whoever is outside and on base (on Academy grounds) must stand at attention (and salute, if a member of the military) while Colors “goes-off” (the verb we use).

Can’t Give Attitude and Can’t Give “At-Ease”
Attitude – This is for the 4/c cadets. As the lowest-ranking cadets, we must be respectful to all upper-class cadets. Also, there are many little restrictions on the actions of fourth class. For example, when walking in the halls of Chase, we must remain in the center of the hall and “square” (sharply pivot) each corner. As fourth class, we have to accept these “duties” and not complain or question why we must do such things. “At-Ease” – This is for our mentors, the 3/c cadets. When they come into our room (well, actually when any upper class comes into a fourth class’s room), we call “Attention on Deck” and have to stand at attention. Second and first class cadets can tell us to relax (or carry-on)—in other words, be at ease. Third class, however, cannot give us this command.

I guess this is a good place to give another shout-out. This one is for one of the third class in my company that is somewhat of a mentor for me this semester. This 3/c cadet is Ms. Marie Navetta who is the Quarter Watch Stander (QWS) for the period that I am on Company Orderlies (cleaning the wing area). 3/c Navetta basically supervises my cleaning and goes around the wing area checking for cleanliness and orderliness.

Corners Gratefully Arced
As I mentioned above we have to square corners (along with many other things that I won’t get into here). Occasionally we are granted modified carry-on, which means that we do not have to square our corners (again, along with a few other privileges).

Clubs, Groups, and Athletics
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Besides school, we have many extracurricular activities here at the Academy. Ask me about them!

Companies Get Awards
At the end of each semester, each company (subsection of the Corps of Cadets) is recognized for certain achievements including most hours of community service, highest average GPA, best score in military assessments such as Formal Room and Wing or Drill. The most prestigious of these recognitions is Honor Company, the company that has the best overall performance throughout all areas of academics, athletics, and military. If a company earns Honor Company, each member of that company is authorized to take a long weekend (leave Friday afternoon/evening and return Sunday afternoon/evening). Other awards include Late Racks (permission to sleep in for a day).

Courtesy Graces All
We have courtesy and etiquette trainings so that we can learn to be respectable, presentable, and professional officers.

I could keep going, but this entry has become rather long. I’ve decided that I will end the next few blog entries with one or two CGAs (just like cadets close the OCF emails) and provide an explanation, if necessary.

Until next month! Happy winter. Go snow! Go snow days! (We can only hope.)

More about Justin.