Carlos Quintero - Class of 2014
Time management is the key to success. As a cadet along with sports, clubs and many other activities you have to balance between academics and watchstanding. As a 2/c you may have to stand duty an average of twice per year, which requires you to be of assistance in the quarter deck. Since a 2/c plays a leadership role, they direct the tasks that need to get accomplished to the underclass so that Academy operations run smoothly.
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Jordan Keith - Class of 2014
Having the opportunity to participate in the Corps of Cadets Color Guard as been an honor and a privilege. Regimental Reviews are held in honor of different groups of people, the most significant of which is the Hall of Heroes review. The Hall of Heroes review honors Coast Guard personnel who have distinguished themselves in their service to their country and humanity. Being able to play a larger role in honoring the sacrifices and devotion to duty of these great Americans was a fantastic opportunity that I am not going to forget.
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Kody Kekoa - Class of 2015
Walking in straight lines with rifles in heavy black clothing sounds horrendous, but it is actually very rewarding. The sweat, tears, and aches of the corps' muscles are physical reminders of who we are honoring. Despite the pain in your arms from holding your rifle, the nausea from being dehydrated, and the general discomfort of the oppressive heat, the best feeling is seeing the small honorees from across the field as a bead of salty sweat runs in your eye.
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Alex Min - Class of 2015
As a member of the cannon crew, we coordinate the firing of the cannon before a Pass and Review. The cannon crew is made up of cadets from every class who assemble to fire the cannon when a review requires Rendering of Honors. During this specific review, the Superintendents from all the Service Academies were present and the cannon crew fired off fifteen shots at five second intervals.
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Peter Driscoll - Class of 2015
The Cadet Memorial Chapel stands above the campus, at the top of “the Hill,” flashing Mo(A)—Morse code for the letter “A”—to all who see it. For me, the Academy’s religious programs provide a sense of stability and purpose to our hectic lives as cadets. My first experience with the command religious program was during Swab Summer, when the chaplains met with you and discuss religious options on campus—Catholic Mass, Protestant service and Bible study, etc. However, my lasting memory is seeing the Chapel tower flash Mo(A) every day as we ran down Bear Drive—that reassured me I would get through the summer.
After the summer, my religious experience waned a little bit. Mass was still at nine a.m. on Sundays, but more often than not, I was too tired to go. I’ve tried, and succeeded, at attaining a better record for Mass attendance this year. Now, in addition to Mass, I’ve learned more about my faith through Friday scripture studies and a Bible study, and near-perfect attendance at Mass. The biggest impact on my religious life has been the presence of four FOCUS (www.focus.org) missionaries, who work with the chaplains to rekindle the Catholic spirit in Catholic cadets. Without any or all of the these great resources, I do not know where I would be today in my religious life.
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Justin Sherman - Class of 2015
My faith has grown exponentially over the past year and a half at the Academy. I will be focusing here on Christian religious opportunities, but there are many cadets who have equally strong faiths in other religions. We’ve found local religious communities—both on the Academy grounds and off-base—that welcome us; these are places where cadets can “plug in” and get connected with other believers of their faith. We have a chaplain staff here that is very willing to assist cadets in finding the right place for their spiritual nurturing and growth; the chaplains sponsor services and studies on base for the ultimate convenience! We cadets are not alone in our faith. Cadet life doesn’t suppress religious involvement. In fact, I believe that having a religion makes the Academy experience that much more enjoyable!
When I came to the Academy, I began attending the Academy chapter of Officers’ Christian Fellowship (“OCF,” a national organization for Christians serving in the military; www.ocfusa.org). My involvement in religious activities (with OCF and otherwise) is one of the defining aspects—if not the defining aspect—of my Academy experience. The cadets involved are awesome Christians, and we all support one another in our Christian walk, which makes enduring the demanding times easier and celebrating the good times even more special. The friends I made through Officers’ Christian Fellowship are the closest friends I have here at the Academy. My faith has been one constant that I trust will always be there to get me through the tougher times—and the easy ones, for that matter!
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Townshend Hirst - Class of 2016
I participate in Officers' Christian Fellowship, which meets every Friday night. OCF has been crucial to getting my mind off the Academy and focusing on God. We have great worship followed by a speaker or small group Bible studies. Attending OCF reminds me that there are bigger things in this world outside of Academy life. It's easy to think that what happens here is the only thing that matters, but OCF helps me to refocus.
I have gone on two retreats with OCF: a labor day retreat and a President's Day weekend ski trip. Both trips were fun, but the ski trip was awesome. It was great getting close with fellow OCF members and relaxing. OCF is a wonderful spiritual outlet with some amazing people. Everyone cares and looks out for one another.
Read Townshend's ongoing cadet blog.
Formal Room and Wing
Hunter Stowes - Class of 2016
Formal Room and Wing (FR&W) is an hour-long personnel, room, and barracks inspection. The “Formal” part of FR&W means that it is a formal inspection, during which officers, chiefs, and members of cadet command inspect the barracks and personnel. It usually occurs every five to six weeks and the inspection is held on a Saturday morning.
In preparation for FR&W, 4/c (freshmen) gather together on Friday night to clean everything. “Everything” includes bathrooms, supply closets, stairwells, hallways, day rooms, trunk rooms, and much more. Each company is responsible for cleaning their wing area, as well as a list of other common spaces such as: laundry rooms, quads, or random stairwells. All of this work falls on the 4/c. It takes hours; but, after Swab Summer, 4/c have mastered cleaning efficiently. At the end of the night, everything is spotless. Then, if they haven’t already, 4/c head back to their rooms to clean them just as thoroughly as they cleaned the common areas.
In the morning, the inspection begins at 0800. The 4/c make sure everything is still looking good, and the inspection begins. Every room and common space is graded with a checklist, and the company with the highest score wins the inspection. The win is important toward winning honor company, which basically means best company. Winning honor company is a big motivation for cleaning so thoroughly.
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Jalle Merritt - Class of 2015
Without what I call my “adoptive” family, or simply my family away from family, I honestly would not be where I am today. I honestly, cannot believe the relationship we have developed over time and it would be my pleasure to give you insight into a large component of my liberty endeavors.
Well, I call them, get scooped up, decide on what John will cook for dinner, hit a grocery store and then zip to the house. Once there, I catch up with everyone, play with the kids, pamper Argos and then by that time, it’s dinnertime and since it’s the weekend, I don’t hold back on “appreciating” (okok, more like wolfing down) John’s serious culinary skills. Then usually it’s family movie time while maintaining a constant Words with Friends battle with Yvonne, baking blueberry cheesecakes and cookies or I help John prep bullets (yes, like make bullets from scratch) so we can go shoot on a range all. No worries on our little bullet factory, after all the time he spent at MIT additionally, he’s up to the technicalities of the job.
In the past, Yvonne and the kids visited me when I was on Eagle, we’ve gone apple-picking at a local orchard, had football parties, and of course gone shooting those homemade bullets at a local range. So basically, we’re pretty normal...I just happen to be a cadet.
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Alexis Chavarria-Aguilar - Class of 2015
Cadet liberty, which is not interchangeable with the term “leave,” is essentially time off. Here at the Academy, liberty normally occurs on the weekends, including three-day weekends, and does not exceed 72 hours. Any other time off must be specially requested. When on liberty, cadets usually do not travel outside of the New London area, however, we have the opportunity to go further on long weekends. On a typical weekend, liberty begins after each individual’s last military obligation (LMO) and ends at varying times on Sunday for each separate class, which allows 2/c and 1/c cadets the privilege to stay out later.
There are a variety of things to do here in and around New London. The liberty bus takes cadets on a round, which goes from downtown New London, to different outlet malls and plazas with restaurants and stores, to the larger Crystal Mall, Target, Walmart, and the local movie theater. Cadets can also call taxicabs, or get rides with 1/c cadets, to go to other locations not accessible by the bus. One of the more prominent attractions is the Mohegan Sun casino, located about 15 minutes north of the Academy. The casino has a huge mall, loads of restaurants, and is a hot spot for a variety of concerts and shows, such as the Matchbox 20 concert I recently attended.
Read Alexis' ongoing cadet blog.