If I was forced to use one word to describe third class summer, it would easily be “superamazingcrazyawesome.” And even though you probably won’t find that in Webster’s dictionary, it really is the only way I can describe this summer. The people I met, the work I did, and the times I had were just amazing.
PHASE I – Coast Guard Station Dauphin Island, Alabama. This little island 10 miles south of the Alabamian mainland was devastated not only by Katrina in 2005, but most recently as the station most directly involved with the CG 6535 crash search and recovery. The experience there was limitless from Coast Guard-related things to food, sports, and everything in between. While there I got Communications Watchstander qualified and RBS (the 25 foot boats) Boat Crew qualified. While that was fun, the SAR cases I was a part of really made the experience. While there, Cadet Leemon and I directly helped with a shrimping vessel that caught on fire early in the morning, was doused, then caught fire again while in tow. All five people aboard were saved. Another favorite was the 3 a.m. wake up to save two people and their five kittens from a sinking vessel. While there, we probably did around ten search and rescue cases, ten boardings, and we even did helicopter ops, which due to the 6535 crash, was pretty emotional for the crew. Nevertheless, the personnel were amazing role models and great shipmates. The six weeks at Station Dauphin Island were some of the best I’ve had, and really got me excited about the Operational Coast Guard.
PHASE II – CGC Eagle. The “dirty bird” as it is so lovingly called was actually a great five weeks for me. Being apart of Main 2, eventually known as Tovarisch Only by fellow cadets and crew, we were working on the main mast, probably the hardest mast on Eagle. While there, we became Helm/Lookout qualified, which was awesome, because we saw some crazy things on lookout, including whales, an albino dolphin, Russian warships, and illuminated water during the night. Driving the 295 foot vessel was also a good time, especially when we were on a 35 degree heel and the boat was rocking back and forth crazyily. We also did deck seamanship, which included memorizing every pinrail on Eagle (100+) all the sail nomenclature, and totaled over 50 hours of sail stations. The most memorable going six and a half hours from 2330 at night until 0230 in the morning dousing all sails, bracing around, and raising all sails. It got us first place in a sailing race and a laterack, so it was worth it! We also did support week, DC week, and Engineering, where we got Sounding and Security Watch qualified. The port calls were great too! Boston was amazing, going to the Boston Pops, Fenway, Boston Common, and seeing my family! New London was great, with OpSail, Change of Command, and finally seeing my first swab! Halifax, Nova Scotia was also great; the town was wonderful and the people were very friendly. Overall, Eagle was a great experience, and was much better than expected!
Finally, after seven months, I am back home. Leave will be a great break, but I got to say, this Coastie summer was absolutely incredible. Now it’s time to relax, and wait three weeks to come back to CGA with red shields!
More about Samuel.