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The End of 4/c Year and the Start of 3/c Year

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2021, Eagle) Permanent link
Stephanie Burckhard

Fourth class year is officially over and I couldn’t have made it through without the great friends and support I have found here. We learned how to balance academics, athletics, and military obligations as soon as Swab Summer had ended. The school year is full of fun activities such as the 4/c formal and the talent show. I loved these types of events because I got to know more of my classmates during these functions. I switched between multiple sport teams but I eventually found my way to Windjammers, which is the Academy’s marching band. We travel constantly, from Canada to New York to Massachusetts.

As soon as finals week was over, half of the class of 2021 walked aboard Eagle as excitement and anticipation filled the air. After only a few hours, we were underway en route to St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. The first few days on Eagle included climbing, learning the lines, understanding the fire main system, and so much more. We were underway for about two weeks before we arrived at our first port. The other three ports we visited were Barbados, Santo Domingo, and San Juan. The phase change was in San Juan where Phase I bid adieu to Eagle. Some of my classmates from Phase I went to stations or cutters, but unlike them, some of us then went to summer school. Various classes are offered during the summer for cadets to catch up or get ahead.

I am looking forward to starting the new school year in August! It will be great meeting the Class of 2022 and the upper-class in my new company. If you have any questions, you can reach me at Stephanie.L.Burckhard@uscga.edu.

MORE ABOUT STEPHANIE

An Amazing 3/c Summer

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2020, Eagle) Permanent link
Francesca Farlow

This summer was one for the books. The day after I finished my spring finals, I boarded USCGC Eagle for a five-week cruise with about 140 of my classmates. We started just down the street in downtown New London and had port calls in Hamilton, Bermuda; Port Canaveral, Florida; and Norfolk, Virginia. During the cruise, cadets stood watches and got qualified for Helm and Lookout and Auxiliary Engineer and after daily trainings we took a test to become Basic Damage Control qualified. Eagle was a unique experience that I will never forget and that I can share with all Academy graduates. I learned so much about being underway, but more importantly I grew closer to my classmates.

In Norfolk, I left the Eagle for a six-week stint at Coast Guard Station Fort Lauderdale with one other cadet. There I learned to stand communications watches from non-rates and petty officers and in about two weeks’ time I sat for a board and earned a qualification for Communications Watchstanding. This enabled me to be put in the watchstanding rotation thus enabling them to use their skills to participate in maintenance and trainings. In the process, I got real experience manning radios and interacting with Sector. I also completed the bulk of the boat crew member PQS and enjoyed time underway with the crew conducting helicopter operations and patrols. In the last few days at Station Fort Lauderdale (STAFTL), I had the opportunity to be pepper sprayed. Although it was not the highlight of my summer, I am glad to have completed it at an early stage in my Coast Guard career. With the help of STAFTL command, I had the opportunity to take part in a helicopter flight from Coast Guard Air Station Miami and participate in a dive boat inspection at Coast Guard Station Lake Worth. Both experiences allowed me to see possible career paths come graduation. My time at STAFTL was special because the command and crew took time to train me and to help me understand their missions.

After leaving Florida, I headed home to Dallas for three weeks of summer leave. I drove to Chattanooga with my younger sister to watch her play in nationals, visited my cousins in Colorado, and spent time with my family and friends at home. I will carry my experiences and lessons from Eagle and STAFTL for the rest of my career. I could not have asked for a better summer or better people to meet and work with. The Coast Guard is truly amazing.

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First Phase: Eagle

(Class of 2018, Engineering, Eagle) Permanent link
Hannah Eshleman

The first phase of my 1/c summer has come and gone in the blink of an eye. I am sitting in the airport preparing to head out to Sector San Francisco after spending the first five weeks on USCGC Eagle. Eagle was a phenomenal experience. It is my third time being on board and honestly it keeps getting better every time I return. I chose to go for the engineering qualifications, as opposed to deck watch, and got qualified as an oiler and then an Engineering Officer of the Watch (EOW). This meant that I went on rounds of all the spaces throughout the ship to check on the various systems, did rounds in the engine room, and learned how to do all the collaterals for each. I also learned how to parallel generators, flush a reverse osmosis system, cross-connect different systems, and so much more. The crew on board are experts in their specialties and were so willing to teach cadets and help us learn more about actual applicable engineering skills.

Getting to stand watches for the crew made me feel like a valuable member on board, and while I am excited to see what this next phase brings I will miss being underway and being in an engine room. I am hoping to get to see some of the cutters out of San Francisco and nearby locations. Northern California is full of Coasties, which means reuniting with classmates and alumni that recently graduated. I am also looking forward to spending time with my grandparents who live nearby. Overall, firstie summer has been eye-opening and makes me realize how thrilled I am to hopefully become a student engineer next year as an ensign.

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Station Ketchikan

(Just for Fun, Eagle) Permanent link
Hannah Eshleman

As of May 20, I am finally a third class cadet! Fourth class year is over and the excitement of summer training has arrived. On May 9, I departed the Coast Guard Academy for Station Ketchikan in Alaska. It has been an absolutely fantastic experience thus far. I just passed my watch communications board, which means that I can stand radio watch here at the station and I am beginning to work on my boat crew qualification. I have gotten to experience helo operations with a helicopter that flew from the air station in Sitka, Alaska, and also tactical training with the 45-foot response boat - medium (RB-M) and the 25-foot response boat - small (RB-S), along with a variety of other things. The crew here has been incredibly helpful.

Outside of work, I have visited multiple hiking trails, including the 3,000-foot trail that goes to the top of Deer Mountain, right behind the Coast Guard barracks. The crew keeps telling me that the weather in Ketchikan is usually rainy but I have only witnessed sunshine since I arrived. I feel very lucky to have been here for the nicest weather all year! I have seen bald eagles, orca whales, and salmon and hope to see a black bear before I leave. Next stop for me is USCGC Eagle. I will be on Eagle for six weeks as we sail along the East Coast. I am excited to see my classmates again but sad to leave Alaska. These first five weeks are flying by, and I am thrilled to see what the rest of the summer brings.

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The Eagle’s “Barque” is Worse Than It’s Bite

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2019, Eagle) Permanent link
Deborah King

Eagle was awesome. It really was. Before going, I was worried that it was going to be miserable. We were sailing across the North Atlantic, one of the wildest routes for weather. I’m glad I was wrong. I had so much fun, and did so many things, that it was one of the best adventures of my life. I’d like to share a few favorite experiences.

The Ocean Itself – The ocean is big, very big; that’s what I’ve learned. There were weeks when we didn’t see any sign of another boat. It was simply amazing feeling so small. We saw pods of dolphins, HUGE great white sharks, and a basking shark. It felt like the sea had no end. At night, it was even better—dolphins swimming in water florescent from the algae and the sky was pure stars. We saw sunrise at 3 in the morning and sunsets at 10 at night. It was very humbling.

Making Friends – I got to meet so many of my classmates on Eagle. The way Eagle is designed is that you are given opportunities to interact with people you haven’t met in other situations. I sanded, scrubbed, mess-cooked, cleaned, did damage control, shot stars, and checked oil levels with so many new people and made a lot of friends. Even when we were doing some of the less desirable jobs, it was worth it because of the team bonding.

Climbing the Royals – This had to be my absolute favorite part of the summer. The royals are one of the highest parts of the mast. Climbing them is one of the biggest goals many of the cadets have. To do so is no small task—they are 146 feet above the deck. I was fortunate to climb them six times. The first time was by far the scariest—there was an oncoming squall, the water was rough with wind, and to top it off, it was in the dark. I was so afraid, but somehow found the courage to keep going. My division was incredibly supportive, and together, we finished the job together. After that first time, I couldn’t get enough of climbing. I was able to climb in Ireland, England, and a few more times on the open ocean. I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything.

MORE ABOUT DEBORAH

Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

(Choosing the Academy, Eagle) Permanent link
Jill Friedman

The semester is flying by; midterms have come and gone and women’s rugby is the undefeated conference champions getting ready for the postseason. With things moving so quickly, a seemingly never-ending discussion of next steps has started. While this makes me excited for the future, I also took time to reflect on some of the places I have been able to go while at the Academy.

During my 3/c summer I spent five weeks at Station Cape Disappointment on the Washington/Oregon line. I got to explore Astoria and Portland, Oregon, which is a stark difference from the hustle and bustle of the northeast. I then flew halfway across the world and got on USCGC Eagle in London, sailing it to Madeira, trans-Atlantic to Bermuda, and disembarking in Norfolk, Virginia. I never would have gone to Madeira if it had not been for the Academy and I am so thankful I was able to go; it was an amazing port call and I would love to go back if I could. Also, that year the rugby team made it to the final four so I went to South Carolina for the tournament and was able to take in the Charleston Christmas parade with some of my teammates in between games.

I spent a week at Sector Baltimore during my 2/c summer working with their marine inspectors. I took my time off of work to explore Annapolis, Baltimore, and went to my first MLB game. I spent two weeks that summer sailing around the best ports in New England from Martha’s Vineyard, Hyannis, to Block Island. I used some of my leave during the summer to go to Madrid and explore Spanish culture. Recently, I was able to go on a tour of the National Security Agency and learn about the interdependence of their mission, the U.S. military’s mission, and the Coast Guard’s strategic goals. I’m also scheduled to go to a conference in New Orleans next semester to help create an inclusion and diversity action plan for the Academy.

These are just some of the places I have been able to visit and be afforded distinct experiences. If you asked me my senior year of high school where I would go in the next three years, I never would have produced this list or come anywhere close. When you make the choice to come to the Academy, yes you are signing up for a different life with some hardships and sacrifices, but your time at the Academy and in the Coast Guard is what you make of it. If you stick out your 4/c year, the opportunities you have will continue to build, giving you experiences and adventures you cannot imagine now and with some of your best friends.

If you have any questions feel free to email me at Jill.M.Friedman@uscga.edu.

MORE ABOUT JILL

3/c Summer: Station Cape Disappointment and a Voyage on Eagle

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2019, Eagle) Permanent link
Jill Friedman

One of the best things about being a cadet is getting to go out into the fleet during the summer. Growing up in Connecticut, I had never been to the West Coast, so for the first half of my summer I decided to explore and got to go to Station Cape Disappointment in Ilwaco, Washington. I know, the name makes it sound awful but it is an exciting surf station. I went there with one other 3/c and together we got to integrate with the crew, learn a lot from them, and go out on some awesome training.

One training evolution we got to go on was helicopter operations; this is where you are on a small boat that the helicopter lowers the basket and litter to. Looking up and seeing a helicopter hovering 30 feet above me was something I will never forget.

After spending five weeks training at Station Cape D, it was back to the Academy to meet up with half of 2019 and get ready to head to Europe and get on Eagle. We boarded Eagle in London and set sail for Madeira. There, I was able to go tobogganing with my friends and explore the island; it was my favorite port call of the entire voyage. After our seemingly short stop in Madeira, Eagle set sail on the 17-day transatlantic voyage to Bermuda.

To navigate to Bermuda, the Class of 2019 had to rely on celestial navigation. Every night members of our class were on the fantail shooting stars with sextants in order to get a fix and determine Eagle's location. We were not great at first, we put ourselves 180 NM off our ordered course, but we were able to get back on track and to Bermuda on time.

Overall 3/c summer has been a great adventure with some great people. If you have any questions feel free to email me at Jill.M.Friedman@uscga.edu.

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Swimming in the Bermuda Triangle

(Just for Fun, Class of 2020, Eagle) Permanent link
Pat Wheeler

Never in my life did I think that I would swim in the Bermuda Triangle! The command of USCGC Eagle, on its voyage to Bermuda, decided to take a break from sailing the crystal clear Atlantic waters one hot afternoon to let the crew go for a dive. We set up a rope swing and jumped off the waist of the ship, not unlike Tarzan, into the bluest waters I've seen in my life. None of us knew how deep it was or what sea creatures lay bellow, but we plunged in anyway. Taking a break from the normal hustle and bustle aboard America's Tall Ship was much needed and many cadets, officers, and enlisted crew alike were relieved by the cool ocean. The swells and waves made the swim even more exciting with up to a hundred of us in the water at once. The fun was cut short by a surprise visit from a couple of Portuguese man o’ war (venomous things that look like bubbles and float on the surface), which was immediately followed by a mass scramble to the rope ladders on the side of the ship. All in all, the swim call was definitely a highlight of the trip and being able to say that we swam in the Bermuda Triangle is incredibly unique, not to mention a lifelong memory.

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