The Coast Guard family is something I began to notice about a year ago. When I first became interested in the Coast Guard Academy, I saw how everyone worked together to not only complete Coast Guard missions, but also to support one another on a more personal level. It is obvious at the Coast Guard Academy that people care about one another much more than at any other college. Here everyone knows each other’s name, and the support network between professors, coaches, and mentors is unmatched. However, I don’t think I really understood the depth of the Coast Guard family until the weekend of Homecoming.
On Homecoming Weekend, members of class years in multiples of 5 returned to the Academy. There was a lunch with members of the class of 1963, it being their 50 year reunion. In an effort to find a table where I wouldn’t have to square my meal and could look at my food, I found myself sitting beside Captain Bates and his wife. He asked me about what I thought of the Academy so far and what had made me decide to come here. He told me stories of when he was here and that he had come to play football. Later in our conversation, he told me that he was the first commanding officer of the Coast Guard cutter Bear. It shocked me to realize that he cared to hear about my 4/c life so much even though he had so many better stories to tell.
Later on, at the Medallion Ceremony, Admiral Papp described Captain Bates as a close friend and gave him a hug. It really amazed me that the Commandant of the Coast Guard hugged a man that I had sat next to at lunch. It really proved to me what a family we have here in the Coast Guard.
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