I started off my summer with three weeks of leave. At the end of the last semester, I was in immense need of some time to myself. I had a great visit with family and friends, and returned to the Academy reenergized and refreshed.
To start off my summer training experience, I went to CATP (Cadet Aviation Training Program) in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. While I was there I learned a lot about the aviation side of the Coast Guard, and got to do some pretty cool stuff. This included flights on two different C-130s, getting pulled out of the water in a basket and up into a Jayhawk for a “duck hoist” experience, and even driving fire trucks around the runways. We also got to know our fellow classmates much better and got some down time to get to know the officers and pilots. It was an awesome experience, that honestly made me think twice about flight school, but as of now, I’m still not seeing it in my future plans. I’m not discounting it, but at the same time I’m also not counting on it.
Upon my return to the Academy, I had range week, in which second class cadets were required to qualify marksman on pistol. It took me a few days, but in the end I managed to qualify—therefore causing another ribbon to need to be rigged on uniforms. And ironically, even after the struggle range week was, I am now on the shooting teams at the Academy, through a series of completely unrelated events.
The week after that was the one week of summer where I was required to legitimately study and focus on one thing, for the entirety of the week. During the day we had classroom sessions, and at night we had homework and were required to study for the Rules of the Road (Deck Watch Officer) exam. Once the exam has been passed with a closed book, however, for the rest of a person’s career the exam can be taken open book. Therefore, I decided studying was going to be my first priority, which allowed me to pass on my first try. I feel terrible for my classmates who have been/are still struggling to pass it, especially being that there will be consequences for those who do not.
Summer 2012: Leave, CATP, Range, ROTR, T-Boats, CSTP, Prep, Cadre (Continued)
More about Meredith.