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What Will My Summer Assignment Be?

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2022) Permanent link   All Posts
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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