The summer following your first year at the Academy is spent serving the Coast Guard in various places. Some cadets end up going to small boat stations, where they have the chance to learn about small boat operations within the Coast Guard. Others, like me, get sent to a cutter to experience life underway completing different missions. I, along with one of my classmates, was sent to CGC Valiant out of Mayport, Florida. But due to repairs being done on Valiant, I was first sent to Savannah, Georgia for the first two weeks of my summer. Once there, I lived the not so glamorous side of the Coast Guard. My first few weeks of my summer assignment were spent painting, loading and unloading, and making overall repairs to the cutter. Though this was not my definition of fun, I can definitely say that it was an eye opening experience. Going through it, I now know the hardships that enlisted members in the Coast Guard go through. It is a lot of work, but rewarding in the end.
After two weeks, Valiant finally left Savannah and headed out to sea for a short patrol. Out at sea I got to experience many things that I never thought I would get the chance to. I took part in many different drills and helped out with other underway operations. It was a time that I will never forget. Yes I’m sacrificing time home with friends, but this type of experience was why I joined the Coast Guard. I have cherished every minute that I have had on Valiant. In a couple of weeks I’ll be heading to Eagle where I will have a different kind of experience. I can’t wait to finish the rest of my summer and get the next year at the Academy started, though I’m going to enjoy the rest of my time in the fleet.
More about Benjamin.