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THE REAL COAST GUARD - Life on an 87’ Patrol Boat

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2022) Permanent link
Erin Edwards

I’m underway on an 87-foot patrol boat in Washington state. Want to see what it’s like? Join me for an insider look at this Coast Guard asset.


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Summers at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2022, Eagle, Swab Summer) Permanent link
Erin Edwards

Here is an explanation of how summers work at the United States Coast Guard Academy! I have some extremely talented classmates who have made videos from our summers.


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How to Prepare for Swab Summer

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2022, Swab Summer) Permanent link
Erin Edwards

Hey everyone! The class of 2025 is roughly one month away from the start of Swab Summer so I thought I would share some things that I wish I knew before Day 1! As always, if you have any questions let me know in the comments.

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My Morning Routine

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2022) Permanent link
Elizabeth Carter

Get a sneak peek of life inside the barracks. Follow Erin Edwards along through her morning routine.


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Excited for Summer, Extra-Curricular Activities

(Extracurricular and Faith-Based Involvement, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2022) Permanent link
Elizabeth Carter

Happy spring everyone!! It is finally beginning to feel like spring around here. Outdoor Track and Field season is in full swing, and the days seem to get warmer as time goes on. There is an exciting energy in the air as well, as 1/c cadets count down the days to the long awaited graduation.

This summer is proving to be a gauntlet of its own right, as I prepare for a position on Battalion Staff. I applied back in December of 2020, and upon receiving a role, have been steadily producing work in preparation for the 2021 summer training period. I am beyond excited for what this summer holds for each trainee and cadet alike.

The second half of my summer will be spent on a tiny buoy tender out of Rockland, Maine. I cannot wait to find myself secluded in a small New England town for my 21st birthday. I plan on finding the best lighthouses, best lobster and clam shacks, and exploring national parks. I have heard nothing but good things about Maine in the summer, and I look forward to the time away from New London. It will surely be a different experience from being a 3/c on a gigantic National Security Cutter. I think I will fit right into the ATON life, and bond with the smaller crew once I report in. I’ll admit, I am counting down the days ‘til Rockland!

Ring dance is right around the corner, and the USAA Career Starter loan is just within reach. Things are starting to look up around here, and I am extremely excited to begin the final year of my Academy journey.

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What Will My Summer Assignment Be?

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

Soon, applications for what us 2/c cadets want to do for our upcoming 1/c summer training are due. The past few semesters I had my mind set on going to a sector once graduating the Academy. A sector is an on-land job dealing with prevention or response of search and rescue, environmental safety, port security, and more. Thus, for my 1/c summer I was looking to spend as much time as possible at a sector. Why grind at a cutter when I would likely not be using those qualifications at a sector once I graduate? However, when filling out my application for this summer’s training, I had a change of heart.

The application asks what kind of missions you would like to serve, what location preferences you have, and what platforms (big boat, little boat, sector, air station). I prefer warmer places even though I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. I did live a lot of my later years in Sydney, Australia and Atlanta, Georgia, so maybe that’s why I prefer locations such as Florida, Texas, Hawaii, and Southern California. Maybe even Puerto Rico or Guam. I also love surfing, so anywhere with great swells would make a dream come true.

From learning from other Ensigns and understanding my personal preferences, I know if I do spend time on a boat, I want it to be a smaller platform. I firmly believe that a smaller unit means they are more close-knit, can be more like a family, and that time at work will be a lot more enjoyable. Being on a smaller boat also means more responsibility per person, which I like.

Looking at the summer assignment application, the options were to be at a cutter for 11 weeks, or to spend the summer split 50/50 between a cutter with a sector, academic internship, or special assignment. Academic internships were already selected for months prior, so those were out of the picture. Sectors, which I wanted, were honestly a wildcard. There was no description as to where the sectors that were hosting cadets were located, as well as what mission they were focused on. The special assignments looked a little more interesting, so I did some research.

My change of heart with ditching a sector summer was partially due to not having any real picture of where I would be sent or what I would be doing if I went to a sector, but also a change in attitude towards work. I spent a hot month on a cutter my 3/c summer, and I was treated like a member of the enlisted. I worked hard, every day. I was in port the entire time, but as a cadet, hearing about being underway didn’t sound fun. There were weeks without seeing land, being up from 2400-0400 to stand watch, and not being able to see family for months. In essence: I was afraid of work and underway life, especially on a medium endurance or high endurance cutter that goes out for 2-3 months.

I’ve realized through maturing as a cadet that work isn’t a bad thing. I was so focused on avoiding ‘work’ on a cutter that I was willing to rule out any other options by choosing the perceived easiest path- a sector. What I realize is that work should be aligned with what you enjoy, and although being at a sector is more predictable and arguably easier, it needs to be stimulating. I realized I would likely be bored spending weeks at a desk in a sector. Maybe not. But what I did know is that I would for sure have a lot more fun doing a special assignment, specifically MSRT and TACLET.

MSRT and TACLET are basically the law enforcement and special forces of the Coast Guard. The MSRT and TACLET West are both based in San Diego (great weather, and great surfing), and MSRT and TACLET East are in Virginia and Miami. I would be doing badass things with high quality professionals. This was the first time I became truly excited about 1/c summer. I took this excitement as a sign that this is something I want to do. My family comes from law enforcement background, and it has always fascinated me.

Once my memo requesting selection for the MSRT and TACLET special assignment is passed up the chain of command, I must wait as it goes to review by a board, and then receives a decision.

Even if I don’t get a tactical law-enforcement focused summer, I’m excited for what I’ll get to learn at a cutter or sector elsewhere. If Mr. Wells is reading this, please send me somewhere warm!

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Staying Focused During ROM

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

When returning to the Academy during COVID times, we spend at least two weeks in a bubble and minimize contact with other cadets, faculty, and staff. So, what do we do to keep ourselves engaged and sane? Everyone is different, but here are some of the things I have been up to that make the time fly by!

Learning Spanish: I’ve made the commitment to learn Spanish this year in my free time. One of my life goals is to travel the world, and Spanish is one of the languages that makes the most sense to learn. It gives me access to communicate with the locals of about thirty other countries, giving me a better insight to their cultures. I use Duolingo and practice speaking whenever I can with friends who know Spanish already. It is ambitious, but my goal is to be decently fluent in Spanish by the end of the year.

Working out: It is cold in New London, but Roland and Billard are open to get some work in. With the basketball season in the air due to COVID, it doesn’t matter. We’ve got to live the SPAR life (Semper Paratus, Always Ready), so I’ve been going to lift weights and shoot hoops in my off periods. Having our full NEWMAC season taken away and only hopes for a few games to finish out in the spring, it has taught me to be grateful to be healthy and able to play basketball. I go to practices with a new gratitude, focus, and maturity.

Netflix: TV is a vice of mine, and I try not to spend too much time passively scrolling on social media or watching TV. However, I have been grinding through several great series, including Cobra Kai, Down to Earth, and Narcos. I’ve also grinded my way through lots of movies. When stuck inside all day, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.

Preparing for Summer: Our applications for summer assignments are due soon. I have friends who already know they are going to Hawaii for academic internships, and others are staying in New London to run Swab Summer as Battalion Staff. Find out what I’m applying for in my next blog post!

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It’s Been a Wild Journey

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2022) Permanent link
Elizabeth Carter

Hello readers, and Happy New Year! I wish everyone a healthy and happy 2021. It sure has been a wild journey looking back to my first day of Academy life in 2018, and I never would have thought it would be like this. COVID-19 has certainly impacted every single aspect of life in the barracks, and it has been encouraging to see how people get creative and come together in new ways. Microsoft Teams has become everyone’s new best friend as virtual classes start up.

With my third spring semester underway, I can’t help but get excited for 1/c year. I almost can’t believe how fast the time has flown by, and although it may feel like the days never end, looking back has proven a blur. Watching my friends go for command positions within the Corps is inspiring and indicative of this growing passion to lead and develop as leaders.

With that in mind, I have my sights on this summer and the upcoming training period. This is always an exciting time of the year, as it feels like the spring is a gateway to the summer. As far as activities go this semester, all things impacted by COVID-19, I will continue to sing for Glee and run with the Track and Field teams. COVID-19 certainly puts a twist on everything this semester, but I am confident that with increased testing and medical capacities, things will progress and operate as smoothly as possible.

One thing I have focused on this past semester, in particular, is creative writing. I found a sort of comfort in writing poetry while quarantining at home this past year and wanted to find a way to incorporate that passion into my Academy life. I am a member of the Creative Writing Club, and my academic advisor introduced me to the Academy literary magazine id est. As Chief Editor of the 2020-21 edition, I have been working diligently to cultivate creative writing from the Corps and create a safe haven for art to be expressed at the Academy. This will certainly be a main focus of mine this semester, along with my continued efforts with running and singing at the Academy.

As always, please reach out if you have any questions about Academy life. I am excited for the Class of 2025 to start their Academy journeys and am more than willing to help. My email is [email protected].

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