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What is Gangway?

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2022) Permanent link
Jack Brunswick

Gangway is a privilege that 1/c cadets earn during their last semester at the Academy, usually in April or May. This privilege allows 1/c cadets to leave campus whenever they would like, as long as they are not absent from military obligations. This includes morning formations, meals, trainings, and classes. Prior to earning gangway, 1/c cadets can only leave from the following times: Thursday 4pm-10pm, Friday 4pm-11:59pm, Saturday 10am- Sunday 10pm. The hours for underclass are different, as other bloggers have already likely explained how liberty for cadets works. So far, I haven’t really used my gangway. I feel like I’ve already built a routine over the year and don’t find it necessary to go out on a Monday or Tuesday. It is really nice to have the freedom to go surfing in Rhode Island or go golfing during the day when I want to. That’s a huge change I’ve seen in myself now versus when I was a highschooler- I used to be very sporadic with my activities, daily life, and goals. Now, I feel like I follow a strict routine (in a good way), work towards specific goals, and am efficient with my time. I believe although it has been difficult at times, the Academy has taught me to be more productive, efficient, and effective in the way I live my life. Now that I have a lot more freedom for these next two months, I value the time I have, what I do with it, and to make smart decisions. Without the discipline and difficult times of being at the Academy the past three years, I might be wasting my time instead by drinking, partying, watching TV, playing video games, or whatever it may be. The Academy teaches you to value your free time, because often it takes it from you and only gives you what is leftover.

Lessons to takeaway: take advantage of your free time! Do something productive like reading a book, working out, or achieving whatever goal you have. Also, something important to take away from this post is that I had no idea what gangway was or what liberty was prior to coming to the Academy. You don’t know what you don’t know. Take time to ask questions, schedule a tour with admissions, and ask more questions. A lot of high schoolers come to a service academy or ROTC and don’t realize what they are getting themselves into, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but more information is better than less.


Bears, Badgers, and Bikes

(Athletics, Extracurricular and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2025) Permanent link
Mack Bucki

Phew! My last post of the semester- it has all gone by so fast! I decided to end with a bang by writing about my experience at US Collegiate Club Triathlon Nationals. After months of training for the event, myself and twelve others on the USCGA Tri Team made the trip down to Lake Lanier, GA. I was glad I had my teammates. I would have gotten lost in the Atlanta Airport’s corn-mazed terminals without their navigation skills!

After landing in ATL, we drove an hour north to our rental house in Dawsonville. The cottage, with four floors, a lakeside view, and exercise room, was a triathlete’s paradise. It was all made possible by our coach, LT Lukasik. She planned our itinerary with such intricacy that we hardly had to do any scheduling of our own. LT might be leaving the academy at the end of this semester, but she will always be one of my biggest role models. The ”road to nationals” was largely attributed to her hard work- none of this would have been possible without her.

On Friday, I had the opportunity to race in the mixed team relay (MTR) with three of my teammates. This unique event, which typically isn’t offered at races, involves four legs- a 300m swim, 5k bike, and 800m run. Each member of the team (two males, two females) completes the distance, competing against other squads for the quickest time. We placed 26th in a stacked field- beating 12 DI/II club teams. It was quite a success, but the real challenge was Saturday- the individual race.

Compared to sprint, the long-distance triathlon is its own beast. This event, dubbed the “Olympic”, exists because someone thought that it was a good idea to put a 1500m swim, 24.8mi bike, and 10k run together. If this wasn’t enough, the sheer number of universities competing in this event was insane. The whole Big 10 Conference, ACC, and several other big-name schools were represented. With over 50 racers, it seemed like the Wisconsin Badgers had brought at least half of their state’s population!

In fact, there were so many in the race that they had to split us into ten heats (five men, five women). I entered the water in heat one and felt like ______. Despite being kicked, punched, pulled, and everything between, I survived the 44.5 (degree)F dash. The bike and run that followed was killer, but the beautiful scenery of the resort made up for it. Well, sorta. My shins weren’t that impressed.

Nonetheless, my sore joints did not detract from the fun I had this weekend. Having the opportunity to compete at such a large-scale race this semester was hands down my favorite part of 4/c year. Despite being the only DIII squad at the race, we certainly held our own. No USCGA bears finished last- some of us set personal best times! And, most importantly, everybody finished (no broken bikes)! We celebrated with a team cookout, plenty of ping pong, and a little bit of (necessary) calculus II homework.

The race slate for the triathlon team this upcoming semester is as ambitious as ever. We have several conference events on the schedule along with a regional competition. If all goes to planned, we should be making our way back to nationals in exactly 365 days. It was great to experience the race once, but these bears are still hungry!

Until next year, Lake Lanier!