It’s been a while, and sad to say it, but it’s the nature of the beast here at the Academy! Cadets get so wrapped up in all of our academic, sports, and military obligations, but our shipmates will remind us to take a breather and to keep on laughing and smiling.
Since my last entry in February (Yikes! It’s been a long time!), I went through 4/c Boards, earned my 3/c red shields, experienced the best of 3/c summer, and now am into the academic school year of fall 2015!
4/c Boards was an awesome experience. Yes, it’s scary and frustrating, but I have never been so proud to work so hard to learn the most I could about the Coast Guard. I have found that the upperclassmen are really rooting for us to excel so that we can join them out in the fleet. During spring break, we as a corps experienced a tragic loss when our two Georgian international shipmates passed away in a fatal car accident. RADM Stosz, our superintendent at the time, brought all of us together as a family to mourn our loss and to inspire continual strength in moving forward. It was an incredible feeling to share our memories and what we have learned from the wise lives of our two lost shipmates.
After spring finals concluded, I went straight into my 3/c summer assignment: Coast Guard Small Boat Station Ponce de Leon Inlet in New Smyrna Beach, Florida for five weeks and then the USCGC Barque Eagle for six weeks. The small boat station was the best opportunity to learn from the enlisted crew. They taught me about successful leadership styles and how to apply them in the real fleet. I got the opportunity to contribute to the station as I had earned my Communications and Watch Stander Qualification, went through Boarding Team Member week, got OC pepper sprayed qualified, and worked toward a Boat Crew Qualification by power washing the 45s and 24s and doing routine boat checks. I witnessed and contributed to a couple of high profile search and rescue cases as well. Those five weeks re-established the passion and reasons I had for joining the Coast Guard, and I honestly never felt more blessed with such an incredible opportunity to serve.
Once the five weeks had passed, I went back to the Academy for a night, only to wake up at 0400 the next morning to board the Barque Eagle in Staten Island, New York. The six weeks on Eagle were long and exhausting, but also rewarding. I earned my Helm and Lookout, Auxiliary Watch, and Damage Control qualifications. I got many opportunities to test my fears as I climbed up to the royals and also hauled on lines in the middle of the night when tropical storms were brewing. We also had amazing port calls: Staten Island, Philadelphia, Bermuda, Portland, and Boston! During these port calls we were given a couple of days with our classmates to explore and visit these tourist destinations.
At the end of these six weeks, we concluded our 3/c summer with three weeks of summer leave. I went home to Texas and had a blast catching up with friends and family and sharing my incredible taste of Coastie life with them.
Now, 3/c year has finally begun and it’s off to another school year soon to be filled with even more precious memories. This fall, I am again a cheerleader for our mighty Bears football team. I am also embarking on the Civil Engineering pathway, taking some major-specific classes. It’s been quite a year, a lot has changed and a lot has been learned, and there's only more to come!
More about Kathryn.