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Thinking Back on My 3/c Summer Experience

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Malia Haskovec

Part of what helped get me through the rigors of 4/c year was knowing that I was going to have an awesome 3/c summer experience. Returning to Chase Hall after 14 weeks, I can say that my summer was one of the most unique, developmental, invigorating, and fun experiences of my life. I started off the first five weeks of summer training on USCGC Eagle (the Barque sailing ship that is used to train swabs, cadets, and members of the OCS class), sailing from New London to St. Thomas, Barbados, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. 3/c Eagle is much different than Swab Summer Eagle. You’re underway for longer, have more responsibility and autonomy, and need to retain a lot of information. My favorite part about Eagle was learning how to use celestial navigation. Every night, we were able to use sextants to “shoot” the stars that are so plainly visible and bright in the middle of the open ocean. From there, we can make specific calculations and figure out our position. It’s exciting to be removed from the convenience and luxury of technology and take a step back in time to learn how the first sailor navigated.

The following six weeks I spent at Coast Guard Station Channel Islands Harbor (STACIH) in California, a couple hours north of Los Angeles. I went with three other classmates who I never really spoke to before, but we quickly became good friends living together in the station barracks. Small boat station life is different than underway life. The primary missions of the station are search and rescue, and law enforcement. Since the Channel Islands are a tourist and vacation destination, STACIH got a lot of search and rescue calls, which cadets got to help facilitate and monitor in the communications watch room. I also got to experience driving the small boats, boarding operations, drug busts, search and rescue operations, station maintenance, while taking time to explore southern California. We got to go to Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Ojai, Malibu, Santa Monica, and even camp out on Santa Cruz, one of the four Channel Islands, which was a highlight of the summer. I highly recommend visiting even if this isn’t where you end up 3/c summer.

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