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CADET BLOGS

cadet blogs

Top Five Experiences

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Engelhardt Photo Hello again.

 

As is often a common phrase now when I write my blogs, I had no intention for such a long delay between posts. If fall flew by, then winter was here and gone in a blink of the eye. As spring approaches the Academy, I wanted to take a moment and be reflective on the top five coolest things that the Coast Guard Academy has enabled me to do while I was a cadet. This place has given me so many once-in-a-lifetime experiences and that I wanted to take a quick moment to jot down just some of them.

 

5. Participate in an Inaugural Parade
The Coast Guard Academy sends a contingent every four years to march before the President in the Inaugural Parade. In 2013, I was fortunate enough to be selected for this honor, and got to drill with my piece, in downtown Washington, D.C. in front of the Commander-in-Chief. How cool is that?

 

4. Drive a Mercedes in the Military Bowl Parade
Noticing a theme here? The Military Bowl, held in Annapolis, Maryland, solicited for representatives from West Point, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard living in the capitol area to participate in the Military Bowl festivities. This event, which took place on my 22nd birthday, allowed me the privilege to drive the Mayor of Annapolis in the parade, meet Miss. America, escort Medal of Honor winners on the football field during the coin toss, and watch the game from the stadium’s luxury box. Talk about a day to remember!

 

3. Attend the U.S. Naval Academy
This is not a typo – through the Service Academy Exchange Program, which allows members of the service academies to exchange for a semester during their junior year, I was able to attend USNA in the fall of 2014. Although I am proud to say I will graduate from the Coast Guard Academy and serve in the U.S. Coast Guard, my experience at Navy allowed me to interact with peers who are going on to serve in the Marine Corps and Navy. This exposure was invaluable to me, and gave me an overall greater appreciation of not only the other naval services, but also the Coast Guard, as I learned more of the positive impacts my service has had on others.

 

2. Visit Exotic Locations on Eagle
Through my cumulative nine weeks aboard the Coast Guard Academy’s training cutter, I had the opportunity to visit three foreign nations, and five ports-of-call in the United States that I had previously never been to. Although it is hard to pick a favorite, I must say that visiting Bermuda in 2013 has certainly created a desire for me to plan a return trip.

 

1. Get My Dream Job Upon Graduation
When I reported to the Coast Guard Academy in 2012, it was hard for me to gauge how realistic of a goal it was for me to want to be a Coast Guard pilot upon graduation. However, with hard work and perseverance, it really is true that anything is possible. I am happy to report that on August 1, I will report to Pensacola, Florida for Naval Flight Training, and God willing, earn my wings in no more than two years. Although this last experience is a little bit of a cop-out, for those reading this, just know that no matter how hard the Coast Guard Academy is, the end reward, a commission in America’s finest seagoing service, is certainly worth it.

 

I hope you enjoyed my blog; it certainly has been enjoyable for me to relive the cool experiences the past four years have given me. If you have any questions, I invite you to email me at James.D.Engelhardt@uscga.edu. Until next time, Fair Winds and Following Seas, and always Go Bears!

 

More about James.

 

Goodbye 3/c Year, Hello Class of 2020

(Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Williamson Photo Just like that 3rd class year is over. It has been a year of change. I went from running track to playing rugby. I went from general education classes to major specific courses. I went from being a club member to president of Sustainability Club. I went from a follower to a role model. After everything this year I have learned two things: you have to find your own motivation and you have to embrace failure. If you can get knocked down and jump right back up, nothing will stop you.

 

While we are on the subject of motivation and failure I would like to give a formal welcome to the Class of 2020! Your Swab Summer is rapidly approaching and I hope you are getting ready, physically and mentally. It is going to be tough (especially with the great Class of 2018 training you), but I am confident you will come out as a strong and unified class. After I swore in on my R-Day, my dad told me something that has stuck with me to this day: this summer may stink, and it may be difficult but in the end when you look back on your life, this summer will be one of your greatest memories. You should try to embrace every moment and appreciate what you are a part of.

 

Other than that, I can give you basic advice. 1. Make sure someone sends you food weekly. That is all I asked for in my letters home. 2. Write letters. Bring stamps and paper! You are going to want to write home. 3. Bring a picture of your family and friends. Remember who you are doing this for. Just seeing their faces helps. 4. Don’t quote me on this but, don’t worry about the socks. Just get a pack of socks that you actually want to wear (for me that would be Nike mid-calves). It is one little personal thing you can get away with.

 

If you have seen the new Coast Guard movie “The Finest Hours” (if not, I would watch it before Swab Summer), there was an actor in it playing Coast Guardsman Mel Gouthro. He was the one who was too sick to go out in the boat with the rest of the team. I met him before Swab Summer and he is a great man with a lot of good advice. The most impactful thing he said to me before I went off was: “When you get there, look to the left and look to the right. The guy next to you is doing it, so there is no reason you can’t do it, too. And hundreds of people before you have done it, so there is no reason you can’t do it. Never willingly let anyone be better than you. Always make them earn it.”

 

So, once again 2020, good luck. I am going to be a waterfront cadre. If you remember me and tell me you read my blog, I might have a small prize for you. Go 2018, Go 2020, and Go Bears!

 

More about Cody.

 

Class of 2017 Ring Dance

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Mills Photo Ring Dance is a very momentous milestone in a cadet career. We finally have a physical connection to the Long Blue Line and to all those who have walked through the halls of Chase and across that graduation stage. The night was full of good food and lots of dancing, which made me very happy. I got a miniature rose gold band with an amethyst for my stone. Amethyst is my birthstone so it makes the ring that much more personal. The Class of 2017 cannot stop gawking at one another’s rings and I think it is just because we are in total shock that we have made it so far in our Academy careers already. Time has surely flown. My friend was also kind enough to remind me that the next huge landmark in our path is Billet Night. That was crazy to think about, and I cannot tell you for sure where I plan on spend the first two years of my career but hopefully this last summer as a cadet will inspire me to come up with an answer.

 

This summer, I will be on commercial vessels for five weeks, getting a look into the merchant mariner world and the people we serve. For the last six weeks of my training, I will be going to Sitka, Alaska for an internship. I am aware of how challenging internships are to get, in both civilian college and here, so I am super grateful that the Academy has given me this opportunity. Being able to use the science knowledge I have learned over the past two years in a real life study at the Sitka Sound Science Center will be amazing.

 

As always thanks for reading and please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions!

 

More about Sydney.

 

1/c Summer on the Horizon

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Glick Photo This week has been madness! I’ve been swamped with finishing up term papers, group projects, routing planning memos for Swab Summer, studying for finals, and attending end-of-year club dinners.

 

My classmates and I just received our class rings this past Saturday! We had a great time dressing up in our dinner dress white tuxedos, donning our class rings, and spending the night off-base afterwards. It was a great event and definitely a milestone for the Class of 2017. Looking at our class rings, it is clear that we are almost seniors. Time has flown, but at the same time, it feels like it has been a lifetime. With the Class of 2020 receiving their appointments, it means that the Class of 2016 will soon be shipping out to the fleet. Crazy to think that soon my classmates and I will be the oldest folks here at the CGA.

 

I am excited to leave for Alaska on a 110-foot patrol boat in two weeks! After finals, I have to pack out my room and move all of my stuff to Regimental Row for the second half of the summer (which should be a monumental task with many trips)! Less than a day after that, I’m leaving for Alaska. I’ve already started my qualification for Quartermaster of the Watch with my Nautical Science instructor, and hopefully this summer will be a good opportunity to shadow junior officers and see what it’s all about. My next blog in May will probably be from the icebox!

 

More about William.

 

A Whirlwind Semester and Much to Look Forward To

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Kimura Photo “Flying by” is an understatement when it comes to describing this semester. Diving season ended, spring break in Machu Picchu happened, and now there is only one week left of classes. The end of the school year means 4/c passing boards, earning carry-on (no longer having to brace up in Chase Hall), and using social media again; 2/c bringing back their newly bought cars; and firsties making plans for their new homes, weddings, and 30 days of leave. For myself as a 3/c, this past weekend made me truly appreciate everything I have to look forward to in the next two years.

 

I attended Class of 2017’s Ring Dance, which is a ceremony that recognizes the 2/c approaching their final year of the Academy with personalized class rings. Just looking at everyone’s rings made me excited for when I get the chance to pick out one for myself. The most astounding part to me about the rings was the amount of money people spent on them. The reason behind the hefty amounts paid was not that people had money to spend carelessly. Instead, the splurging was justified by the sacrifice they have personally put into the Academy; those late nights cramming, exploring foreign port calls, running a PFE the day after every break, hanging over the side of Eagle feeling seasick, cleaning until midnight. They made the investment in the rings because of the strong impact of their Academy experience and the bonds they made with the people around them. I’m sure if I asked any of them if they would pay $1,000, $2,000 or even $3,000 on a ring in high school they would laugh at the thought. But, something changes in three years that makes cadets take enough pride to want to spend that sum on a place they had no experience with three years before.

 

More about Amy.