ENS Shih here from Dutch Harbor, Alaska. It’s been a while blogging community… I’ve been four months underway and I finally have my underway EOW qualification. It took a lot of hard work and studying but finally I am standing qualified watches and the drawings of the engine rooms in Hawaii seem like a distant memory. In just a few days, I am going to fly off the ship and head down to San Diego to attend Damage Control Assistant (DCA) school. It’s an exciting time a) because I am going to a Navy School (some rumors about mandatory 2 hour lunch breaks???) and b) because I am going to San Diego (after being in the Arctic for months)! After attending that school, I will have the knowledge and expertise to train all other crew members on damage control, and be in charge of fighting fires and flooding that might occur on the ship. Good stuff. Hoping to attend Boarding Officer (BO) school after that. We’ll see.
It has been a long past four months, but like any semester at the Academy it seems like at the end of it, time has flown by. You struggle through it, but at the end you appreciate it. The thirty day stints at sea are no joke, and being on a ship can be hard, both physically and mentally. Sometimes you feel like you are in a bubble, trapped with nowhere to go. The world flies by around you, and although you get pieces of it, you are in your own small city onboard a ship. I have to say that being on a Legend Class cutter is not the easiest platform to be to. We go out longer than nearly all the other ships in the Coast Guard, 4 to 5 month patrols, with 30 day periods where we do not see land. Although the ships are brand new, that still does not mean they are perfect in manpower requirements or their new systems. As with any relatively new project, there are kinks that still needed to be worked out, and it takes tremendous effort on all sides of the house to ensure things run smoothly. But, for all the times of frustration and difficulty onboard a big white boat, it also has its moments. Seeing the Northern Lights, getting your own personal customized “Shih” pizza from the crew, becoming a Polar Bear in the Arctic waters with hundreds of your shipmates – it’s the type of things that I will never forget even if I don’t continue down the afloat career path.
Well, I know this was brief but I have a tremendous amount of work to do before I leave the ship. I’ll check in sometime soon. But please email me at Christen.C.Shih@uscg.mil or email@example.com if you have any questions!
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