Skip Navigation Links

Cadet Blogs

Filter
<< September 2018 >>
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
            1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30            

Lifelong FriendSHIPS Begin on Day One

(Choosing the Academy, Just for Fun, Class of 2019) Permanent link
Bruna Pavan

You don’t have to go through Swab Summer to understand that it is challenging. You can look up videos, newspaper articles, pictures (thanks Paul Duddy!) and interviews of all sorts that will describe how strenuous Swab Summer is, and a lot of blog posts are already written about individual experiences. Instead, I will tell you that the people you struggle and sweat with over those seven weeks become some of your closest friends. Not only do I have faith and trust in those in my Swab Summer company, but all of my classmates because we underwent the transformative experience that is Swab Summer and fourth class year together.

While I was driving my own car up from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to school (having a car here is a firstie-only privilege), I had plenty of time to reflect on how awesome the past three years were at the Academy and what amazing things are yet to come in the next eight months here. After eight hours of driving northbound, I made a stop in Charleston, South Carolina to visit one of my best friends and her family at their home. Hannah Waddell, a rugby-playing naval architecture and marine engineer, was one of my very first friends at the Academy as we were in the same Swab Summer company and have been my roommate for four of my six semesters here. Even though we kept in daily contact, it was great to finally see each other after eleven weeks apart.

Of course, I can’t mention Hannah without Kiera! Kiera Harrison is a Marine and Environmental Sciences major from Jackson, New Jersey. The three of us began our friendship on Day One of our 200-week long journey, and we have shared a tremendous amount of time together since between rugby, eating dinner together every night, spending every spring break at each other’s homes and long weekends exploring the East Coast. When my parents call, it’s always, “Hey, what are you up to?” followed by “How are Hannah and Kiera doing?”

The friendships you develop here make this place feel like home. Being surrounded by awesome people and being able to walk down the hall to see some of your best friends is one of my favorite aspects of this experience. They’ve seen me at my best, worst and everything in between and that is why this bond is so strong and true. Even though we study different things and are involved in a variety of activities, we can still depend on each other to work together just as we could over Swab Summer.

MORE ABOUT BRUNA

Summer in the Northwest

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2019) Permanent link
Derek Silliman

So after a long wait for our summer assignments, my class finally got an email with a spreadsheet giving us the full list of where we are going for the summer. I am assigned to a cutter named Terrapin. I had no idea where the cutter was located so I looked it up and I found out it was in Bellingham, Washington. Bellingham is a small city just south of the Canada border. Terrapin is an 87-foot patrol boat docked at Station Bellingham with only one other patrol boat alongside it. It’s been awesome for me to see a part of the country I never saw before.

When I first flew into Seattle, I was immediately awestruck as the plane passed by the summit pyramid of Mount Rainier, and the reality hit me; I was not on the East Coast anymore. Following a recommendation from Anthony Bourdain, I sat down at Anthony’s Fish Bar at Seattle-Tacoma Airport as I waited for my final short flight to Bellingham. I had the best salmon fish tacos ever and enjoyed a beautiful view of the Cascade Mountains rising over the tarmac. I had two goals: the first was to learn about the duties and responsibilities of the crew on the patrol boat. The second was to immerse myself in the culture of the area, to eat the food, learn about the people, and get outside. Something I leaned watching Anthony Bourdain was that whether you travel to another part of the country, or the world, seek to live fully and immerse yourself wherever you are.

Bellingham is a great little city characterized by being a college town and home to a number of small breweries and a beautiful mountain lake. The way the hills just rise from the coastline here has allowed me to hike a number of small mountains with stunning views of Puget Sound, and there are a number of great coffee shops, one right on the water that I walked by along the trail that runs along Bellingham Bay.

I also took a few short trips to Seattle when my family came to visit. We toured the Museum of Pop Culture and a National Park Service Museum that offered a tour about the history of Seattle as the last point people would come to before sailing on to Alaska. West Seattle has a great beach with a view of the skyline downtown and a nice little ice cream parlor. To get away from the city, my dad and I toured the Boeing’s wide-body jet factory.

One really neat thing I did was take a trip into British Columbia. I spent a day in Vancouver, touring the Museum of Vancouver and the Maritime Museum, where I leaned about the history of the area, in dealing with immigrants and natives, and an expedition by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police through the Northwest Passage. The coolest thing in Vancouver was biking through Stanley Park, looking out onto the bay. Victoria had a beautiful set of buildings that looked like this little piece of Europe had been planted right on the West Coast. I toured the British Columbian Parliament and learned more about the history of the area through a visit to the Royal B.C. Museum. Beacon Hill Park offered a beautiful view of the Olympics, looking straight across the Strait of Juan de Fuca, back into Washington.

I have had the interesting privilege this summer of being the northernmost cadet in the lower 48 states, but it can be somewhat of a lonely existence where I have had to make my own fun. I did get two opportunities to catch up with classmates, first over dinner in Seattle, and later going hiking with classmates in the Olympics after meeting them in Port Angeles.

Being on the boat, we had an awesome patrol down in Oregon, where I saw the fullness of the pacific coastline and ran along the beaches to the outward point of Yaquina Head.

On the boat, I had a great time working with the deck department, but my big accomplishment for the summer was getting my in-port officer of the day qualification. It was something I learned a lot from, but never want to have to do that again because it took me three attempts to get that qualification. I got as much knowledge from the crew as I could and realized the importance of reviewing manuals and documents to verify the information I had was correct. I learned a lot from the captain as well; from his experience at his first unit, how he went about leading the crew, and his challenges to motivate them. It got me excited to get out into the fleet in a permanent capacity next year, but it reminded me that I cannot anticipate every challenge. We had a lot of conversations about various leadership principles and how to apply them as a young officer.

Overall, I almost feel as if I could call Bellingham home, maybe one day I will, or another city in the Northwest. A piece of me really does not want to depart Bellingham, but I know my few weeks of leave will give me some much needed time to relax before returning for the fall semester.

Derek. Silliman@uscga.edu.

MORE ABOUT DEREK

Summer Ocean Racing and Washington Adventures

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2019) Permanent link
Amy Chamberlin

Offshore sailors have the option to apply for a seven-week intense summer ocean racing (SOR) program during Phase I of the summer. I chose to apply after learning about all the leadership opportunities that are associated with the program. My onboard collateral duty was commissary! The big events that we participated in were SUNY Maritime Safety at Sea Seminar; a trip to Annapolis; the Maryland to Newport race, and Block Island Race Week. In the beginning of the program, everyone wasn’t very close, but when the program ended, no one wanted to leave. This is similar to the fleet because the Coast Guard is a family and is looking out for you.

After SOR, I went to United States Coast Guard Station Cape Disappointment for four weeks to work alongside the enlisted in Ilwaco, Washington. I had never been to the Pacific Northwest before going this summer. Not only was the station well set up and responsive to many cases, but the environment surrounding Cape D was incredible. Another cadet was at the station with me, and we went hiking (in the Ape Caves of Mount St. Helens!), shopping, and exploring around the neighboring towns. Sector Columbia River hosted multiple cadets in the area and offered us a tour of the sector, USCGC Fur and USCGC Alert. We also got to fly in a helicopter one of the last days we were at the station. One of my most memorable experiences, but not my favorite, was getting pepper sprayed. I never want to go through that pain again…

After my time at Station Cape Disappointment, I went on three weeks of leave, which included spending time with my family and high school friends, flying back out to the west coast to visit my uncles, and going to Boston!

All in all, this summer was the best summer I have ever had. The academic year at the Coast Guard Academy is very intense and stressful, but the summer training programs make everything worth it!

If you have any questions about the summer, or Academy life, please feel free to email me at Amy.M.Chamberlin@uscga.edu. Have a great day!

MORE ABOUT AMY

The First Full Month

(Athletics, Just for Fun, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Francesca Farlow

September started off with a long weekend for Labor Day (yay!). I took the train to Washington D.C. to spend some time with my grandparents. We toured the Capitol building and all the big monuments and memorials as well as Arlington National Cemetery. It was a great way to spend the first long weekend of my 3/c year. Upon returning to school on Monday, I felt as though I never left and began preparing for the short, but busy, week ahead. We had a uniform inspection, an unexpected power outage due to a storm, and our first regimental drill of the season.

The next two weekends, I played a couple of rugby matches, one against the University of New Haven and one against the University of Vermont. On the 18th after morning the colors, there was a small service honoring the 70th birthday of the Air Force that I attended. Before I knew it Parents’ Weekend had arrived. I had a non-traditional Parents’ Weekend this year. It overlapped with my dad’s 30th reunion at West Point so I could join my family in New York for that instead of them coming to visit me here.

The temperature is finally dropping and fall is officially here! Go Bears!

MORE ABOUT FRANCESCA

3/c Summer: Three Weeks of Leave

(Just for Fun, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Anthony Turner

It’s been a while everyone so let me break down my leave experience for 3/c summer. By far it was a great way to end my summer in preparation for the school year. It was three weeks of continuous action. Without further ado, let’s get into it.

The first few days were hectic. I had driving school my first few days, then on the first Monday of leave, my summer took off. My friends and I planned a trip to Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia. It was convenient that my friend lives right in the area. We were there from Monday afternoon until Thursday morning.

Tuesday was the day we took over Busch gardens; it was a blast. We also managed to get into the park for free. That’s a wonderful thing about the Academy; it serves as a gateway to make lifelong memories with your friends, at an affordable price. After going on all the roller coasters, we threw a mini dance party at the end. It was a great end to the day.

Wednesday was a much-needed relaxing day. We walked along the Virginia Beach boardwalk and then just hung out at a local mall. Another reward of going to the Academy is that you can reflect on moments like this and truly appreciate how close you can get to others. And when you have an opportunity to relax after a nonstop 11-week summer, it’s amazing.

Thursday was a long day. I drove from the beach back to D.C. then I linked up with my high school friends in the city. We spent the whole day hiking on Theodore Roosevelt Island, and just explored the Georgetown neighborhood. It was so nice to be able to fully reconnect with my homies. Keep in mind, this was the first few days of leave.

Besides hanging out with friends, I attended three different concerts during my remaining two weeks of leave. To all my new age hip-hop fans, I saw Logic, J. Cole, Playboi Carti, and Joey Bada$$. The whole atmosphere of each concert was just phenomenal. Yes, I was lucky to see most of my favorite artists in such a short time span.

While leave seems like a time to kick back and have a whole lot of stupid fun, it is also about the business. My parents made me finish driving school. I know it’s funny, I’m a 3/c now and still do not have my license. Stuff happens, ok?

Summer leave is such a good time to go out and just have a large amount of fun. There is no better feeling than hanging out with your friends under the beating sun. Even after 4/c year and the 11-week 3/c summer training period, those three weeks of leave will seem like a blessing, so enjoy every second of it. Until next time, I’m out!

MORE ABOUT ANTHONY

Coast Guard Family

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Matthew Kim

You’ve probably heard of the phrase “Coast Guard Family” once or twice already. When I was applying in high school, I never truly understood it, perhaps because it just sounded a little too cheesy or simply because I was not part of it, yet.

Fast forward a couple months (past Swab Summer!) and here I am as a cadet at the United States Coast Guard Academy. Surprisingly, this once cheesy phrase has slowly become a reality. The family-like environment is truly strange and magical. Being the small service the Coast Guard is, there are just about 1,000 cadets here, in comparison to the 4,000 at the other service academies. That being said, I see and talk to the same wonderful people at all our daily morning and afternoon formations, which have become an amazing routine – and I absolutely love it!

Cadets who were once strangers, instantly become like family members. These unique relationships help keep me accountable and in check with the high standards that I am to uphold, here at the Academy. These people motivate me and offer great advice, just as a “real” family would.

I’ve felt the same family-like experience outside of the Academy as well. Being from California, my chances of visiting home are slim because it is so far away. Thus, when we were awarded with our first long weekend since had Swab Summer ended, I had nowhere to go. Fortunately for me, however, many of whom I consider family members offered the hospitality of their homes for me to relax in after the grueling seven weeks. Through these great people, I have made incredible memories and have had the opportunities to visit NYC, Boston, Virginia, D.C., and the list goes on and on. I never imagined visiting Times Square or the Smithsonian museums, and, of course, these memories wouldn’t have been made possible without my Coast Guard family.

Make no mistake; this Coast Guard family also applies to the other side of the nation. My mother who works at Long Beach, California is constantly making new friends with the Coast Guardsmen stationed at Long Beach. When they mention that they are in the service, she mentions that I am currently a cadet at the Academy and, instantly, a stronger relationship is built. She calls me often saying she loves this Coast Guard family culture, a new idea within our family.

I am forever thankful for the family environment within the Coast Guard!

MORE ABOUT MATTHEW

Thinking About How Far We Have Come

(Choosing the Academy, Just for Fun, Class of 2020, Engineering) Permanent link
Amy Chamberlin

Hello future cadets! My name is Amy Chamberlin and I am from Wakefield, Rhode Island. I love to sail, hike, go on adventures, and hang out with my family and friends. I love dogs and have a Bichon Frise, named Alice. Attending a small college with engineering were two major focuses of mine. I knew that the Academy was right for me because I wanted to be challenged, close to home, and in a close-knit environment.

During the short time here at the Academy, I have learned much more about myself than I would have at any other school. Swab Summer was mentally and physically challenging for me, but when it was all over, I looked around at all of my shipmates, thinking about how far we all have come. The academic year has a very different “feel” to it, but in its own ways, it is still very demanding.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at Amy.M.Chamberlin@uscga.edu. Have a great day!

MORE ABOUT AMY

Equestrian Club

(Extracurricular and Faith-Based Involvement, Just for Fun, Class of 2018) Permanent link

One of my favorite activities to be involved in here at the Academy is the Equestrian Club. Through the Equestrian Club, cadets here are able to take part in all kinds of equestrian-related activities from trail rides to horse shows.

I have been riding horses ever since I was about 6 years old. During my first years here at the Academy, I was always so busy with classes and military obligations but I was able to get out a few times to the barn to see the horses and even go on a trail ride through the woods. However, now that my schedule has lightened up a bit as a first class cadet, I have had much more time and opportunities to go horseback riding. Through the Equestrian Club, I am able to ride at Mystic Valley Hunt Club in Ledyard, Connecticut just ten or so minutes from the Academy. Mystic Valley has a beautiful barn with lots of all different kinds of horses. My instructor at the Hunt Club, Richard, is a fabulous teacher as well. It is so nice to be able to get away from the stress of the Academy for a bit and get to spend time with the horses. Riding is also a great way to get your exercise as well!

Over the winter, I was given the opportunity to lease one of the horses at the barn and I fell in love. Her name is Merry Melody and she is one of the sweetest horses I have ever met. Over winter leave and into this semester I have been so fortunate to be able to ride her almost every day and to take lessons once a week as well. I have seen a huge improvement in my riding and the strength of my legs too. We have been doing a lot of great flat work and even some jumping, too! We are so lucky here at the Academy to have so many wonderful opportunities such as going horseback riding! If anyone has any questions about the clubs here at the Academy or the Equestrian Club, please don’t hesitate to email me.

MORE ABOUT CECE