Cadet Aviation Training Program (CATP) was quite interesting. I was on of 19 2/c cadets on the trip. We departed the Academy at 0530 on Sunday morning and made our way down to Elizabeth City, North Carolina. We arrived around 1800 Sunday night and quickly got situated. We were greeted by LT Wyrick. He ran out and grabbed us some pizzas because everything on base was closed. The week was very relaxed. All 19 cadets got to take a ride on a C-130, a Coast Guard fixed wing aircraft. However, because of the large group, not all of us were able to get on a helicopter ride…which was very disappointing. I would have loved to see what that was like.
The two most memorable experiences I took away from CATP were the ropes course and basket hoist. E-City recently built a new aquatic facility, where they train Aviation Survival Technicians/Rescue Swimmers (ASTs). The facility was awesome! It was a 50-meter pool that had a divider down the middle. On one side of the divider was a ropes course. It was a series of about 11 ropes. The first rope went all the way down to the water. The object of the course was the climb up the first rope then get across the other ten ropes that hung roughly 15 feet in the air. I almost made it all the way across, but dropped with two ropes to left. Many of the guys I was with made it, but they were also skipping ropes, grabbing every other rope. The ASTCS who was overseeing us said that the rescue swimmers could climb up the rope, go across all 10 ropes, come back to the beginning, climb down, climb back up, and repeat the whole process again.
That same ASTCS was also in the movie The Guardian with Ashton Kutcher and Kevin Costner. ASTCS Hall was very accommodating and genuine. He is someone I hope to run into again down the road.
The basket hoist was also an unforgettable experience. We had a rescue swimmer swim us under a helicopter as the helo dropped a basket down. The rescue swimmer placed us in the basket and we were hoisted up the helo. At the top we were all given Jolly Ranchers…as a congrats, you did it…I guess?
I would love to have another opportunity to explore more about Coast Guard aviation!
More about Mary.