Here it is. 2248 on a Thursday night, and I’m sitting at the podium in my company wing area. Each class of cadets has a different type of duty in addition to school work and sports. I am standing as my Company Officer of the Deck. This position is used so someone is always on deck during the day, ready to respond to anything from a phone call to a fire. These nights are usually pretty late, but since I can’t focus on anymore homework and all the cadets in my company have signed “In For the Night” I have a minute to write. It’s been too long!
On March 1st, the Thursday before Spring Break, the great class of 2012 gathered in the cadet wardroom at 1645. At that time, we had a dinner and pumped each other up for what was about to happen. The air was buzzing with excitement, hope, and a little bit of fear. It was Billet Night. Every year, on the Thursday before Spring Break, representatives from most of the units in the Coast Guard assemble at the Academy to welcome, congratulate and very quickly brief the first class cadet who has been assigned to their particular unit. After the dinner in the wardroom, the senior class moves to Leamy Hall where they partake in a social hour. Beverages are available to encourage casual conversations and some to calm the nerves, and the class gets to discuss their last minute hopes and frets.
Next, everyone assembles into the ballroom. A stage is set up and the hall has been decorated like “dressed ship.” All the firsties sit and wait nervously for their turn to be called to the podium where their duty assignment for the next two years will be revealed. It is so exciting to see the groups and individuals called, to see their reactions, to join in their excitement, but it’s not so fun to pick them up after disappointments.
I was fortunate to get my first choice billet. This summer, I get to report in to the USCGC Waesche as an Engineering Officer in Training. This ship is the second of the new National Security Cutters and is home ported in Alameda, California. I am beyond excited that one of my best friends at the Academy is also getting stationed there, and that we’ll get to experience the same fun and trials of underway life.
Now, fast forward to real time. Two Thursdays later, I am sitting at this desk in the dark wing area. The lights are secured and a few voices are heard down the passageway. I have spent all day either working on homework or looking for apartments. I’m sure you can guess which activity I have spent more time and attention on tonight… : )
More about Katie.