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cadet blogs

Here’s What I Can Remember

(Academics, Athletics, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Chang Photo (10/25) My plan to write a small section for each week of the month totally flew out the window and now I’m trying to make sense of the month of October…

 

The weekend that stands out the most is definitely Homecoming. Admiral Zukunft came for the game and had a personal meeting with the Class of 2018 to hear our sea stories. It was pretty cool, exchanging sea stories with the Commandant on a Saturday morning. And while it was a bit nerve-racking to speak in front of the Commandant, it was even cooler to hear what my shipmates had done over the summer. As a whole, we’ve done everything from migrant interdiction in the Atlantic to translating in the Pacific.

 

The next day, the Bears boxing team entered the realm of the West Point Black Knights for their home show. It was my first fight, and while it was unnerving to box in unknown territory we all did great. As a team we had three wins; two ending in TKOs and one by unanimous decision. It was a good way to see where we stood and, with a little more practice, we’ll be at Nationals in no time.

 

(10/29) Halloween can be pretty scary, but what’s even more terrifying is my midterm grade. I’ve always been about average in academics, able to maintain a steady grade with moderate studying. Third-class year is when you get a taste of major-specific classes. I’d thought, “Well, I’m a decent writer. This oughta be a breeze! I’m gonna get so much sleep!” Man, I was wrong. Now, I find myself going to teachers for one-on-one time even more often than I did last year. I’ve re-written one of my papers at least four times this past week. I fell asleep at breakfast. But don’t let this horror story faze you. Just because you’re an upper-class doesn’t mean you stop needing help and it’s perfectly fine to ask for it. On the bright side, I’ve gotten to know my teachers and can see my writing style changing for the better. As for that breakfast, well, at least I was able to get some coffee later.

 

More about Olivia.

 

Developing an Identity

(Athletics, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Tousignant Photo Throughout my life, my identity has been rooted in my athleticism. In high school, I was known as the basketball player, the volleyball player, and the thrower. Being an athlete was all I ever knew. I had always been part of a team and took pride in my athletic achievements. When deciding to come to the Academy, I was told to join a sport because my teammates and coaches will look out for me. I took this advice and became part of a team that I then considered my family at the Academy. My identity continued to be rooted in being part of a team. This group identity has always allowed me to depend on other people to look out for my best interests even if I did not.

 

Now that I am no longer part of a sports team, I am able to develop my identity separately from a group. I have to rely on myself, which is making me a stronger and more independent person. Now I have to develop my own opinions, which is helping me to speak up for myself and I am gaining a new confidence that I never had before. I am confident in the individual that I have become and have been brought to the realization that there are so many more important things in life than sports. I did not join the Coast Guard to play sports. I joined it to save lives, and this is what I want to focus on.

 

More about Jackie.

 

As October Comes to a Close

(Academics, Athletics, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Eshleman Photo The fact that October is almost over stuns me. This month has flown by. Between academics, fall ball lacrosse, and various singing groups, there is barely enough time in the day to get everything done that needs doing. My favorite class this year is Intro to Mechanical Engineering Design. Today, we finished working on our finger engines. The finger engine is composed of a flywheel, shaft, post, base, blades, lever, connecting rod, and crank. We made each of these parts out of aluminum or steel in the lab. The lab lasts for three hours once a week and the class is two times a week for an hour. In the lab, we get to use (for my first time!) lathes, mills, drills, horizontal and vertical band saws, and more fun power tools. It is by no means a boring class. Next week, we start making our unloader projects. We will work in a group for this project instead of individually. The planning process for the unloaders has been happening for several weeks, and now we get to make our plans and designs real. Hopefully, our designs will work to move rocks and pellets from one bucket to another with two degrees of separation.

 

Outside of academics, fall ball for lacrosse is coming to a close. We have a tournament this weekend, and then we start getting ready for the spring season with the strength training coach. Even in the last month, we have already started to work better together as a team as we get to know everyone more. For Glee Club, we had the Coast Guard Foundation dinner in NYC last week and go back to NYC for the Yacht Club dinner next week. Fairwinds (a girls’ singing group within Glee Club) finished working on a Mamma Mia medley, and I must say it is stuck in my head constantly, but I really love that we’re learning new music. As always, feel free to email me with any questions/stories/concerns/etc. Have a great day!

 

More about Hannah.

 

Decisions, Decisions

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Stowes Photo It’s midterms here at the Academy, which means staying up late writing papers, studying for tests, and catching up on homework. However, just like any other day, academic work is not the only thing on our minds. For firsties, the center of discussion is on ensign billets. Last week, we had morning training on the billet selection process, and I swear I have never seen more of my classmates awake and attentive during training than that morning. No one wanted to miss out on a critical date or any piece of information that might keep them from getting their dream billet.

 

I learned quite a bit that morning; however, I believe it can be boiled down to five important lessons:

 

  1. Be realistic in your selections. Our billets are determined primarily by our class rank. For co-location, the engaged cadets are assigned according to the lower class rank. To the number one cadet in our class, congratulations; that person is going to get his or her first choice unless there is some kind of extreme situation. For the rest of us, we have to determine which picks are realistic for us to get based on what the people above us in rank want. As a result, I have to talk to other cadets to see what they are selecting so that I can design a reasonable billet list.
  2. Everyone in our class wants the same billet. This is actually a joke lesson I have learned from talking to people in an attempt to gauge what people above me want for their first assignment. Apparently, no matter what I tell people I am interested in, at least 30 other people want it. If I am thinking about a buoy tender, tons of marine environmental scientists want the same thing. If I want flight… good luck (I don’t, luckily). If I want a fast response cutter (FRC) in South Florida, think again (this is actually what I want). I think this whole discussion is funny because obviously there are going to be a fair amount of people that want the same general units. There are nearly 190 of us commissioning and only so many billets.
  3. Advice should be taken with a grain of salt. A career path/unit that worked for someone else might not be the best fit for me. Everyone has different skills and preferences. I would rather do what makes me happy and worry about the career part later.
  4. There is no bad billet. I don’t think there is a single bad billet in the Coast Guard. Some of them might be less desirable, but we are a great service. If there are bad billets, it is because the command is not good.
  5. Needs of the service. Ultimately, our assignment may come down to needs of the service. I’m not bothered by that, though. I am happy to serve in the Coast Guard.

I have hinted at my ideal billet/career already. I want to go to an FRC, one of our brand new cutters. I want to go to South Florida because I want to be in the mix of all of the migrant and drug interdictions, as well as search and rescue missions. I will be happy if I get the FRC in Miami because I like the location there better than any of the other FRCs, but I would also be happy to get a different FRC or unit in Florida. My second choice is a ‘210 out of Florida. I say those two picks now as if I am 100% settled on them; I am not. I have so much more work to do asking questions of my mentors and professional resources. Luckily, there is no shortage of good advice in my life.

 

I am very excited and somewhat nervous to get started with my career. It should be awesome. We’ll see how excited versus stressed I am in five months when it is billet night at last…

 

If you have any questions, email me at Hunter.D.Stowes@uscga.edu.

 

More about Hunter.

 

Middle School Me in Retrospect

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Kimura Photo The academic year is in full swing whether I want it to be or not. Things are happening fast, such as Homecoming, midterms, my first diving meet, Halloween, and many others! College life can make it easy to forget to take a step back and reflect. On Wednesdays, I enjoy volunteering at one of New London’s middle schools. The experience is a great opportunity to reflect on my time at the Academy in comparison to when I was in middle school.

 

Last Wednesday, I had the shock of realizing how old I am when I discovered there are now online P.E. classes (the concept still baffles me) and online math classes; 150 students with computers teaching themselves algebra. I was not the only one to learn something new; I had the chance to answer a few questions the students had. Such as, “Do you have to do push-ups all the time?” I get that question frequently because, for some reason, people think I attend 24-hour fitness training and not school. I informed them that I can do push-ups, but right now I’m only focusing on my classes. Another question I got was, “Do you have fun?” There are many versions of fun, but my answer is definitely “Yes.” My college experience does involve much more responsibility then that of a typical college student, but I understand the investment of my hard work now will pay off in the future.

 

The whole interaction reminded me of my middle school self during my sister’s first year at an academy. Apparently my biggest question for my sister was “Do you have to wake up early?” Yes she did and so do I; 6 a.m. Monday through Friday. But actually, that’s an hour later than I did in high school.

 

These questions may seem obvious after being at the Academy for more than a year, but I cannot forget it is not common knowledge. If you have any questions about the Academy, or cadet life, feel free to ask; no question is a silly question.

 

More about Amy.

 

Celebrating as a Cadet

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Just for Fun, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Culp Photo Over the long weekend, while I sat on my sponsor family’s couch and watched movies with them, I found myself considering the many costume possibilities for the upcoming Halloween dinner. Yes, holidays are celebrated within the Corps of Cadets, too! In fact, they are some of the most entertaining events of the year! For Halloween, all the cadets throw on whatever goofy costume they can conjure up, and we eat dinner together in the wardroom and participate in a costume contest. This is followed by the real gem of the evening – trick-or-treating on the hill where the Superintendent and the other Academy leaders live! And we’re not just talking about Hershey bars – cadets receive privileges such as extra liberty, late racks (a.k.a. sleeping in), positions like “Commandant of Cadets for a Day”, and all sorts of other prizes that beat candy corn any time! (Actually, maybe not candy corn…but definitely Twizzlers. And Tootsie Rolls.)

 

Thanksgiving is more low-key since cadets go on leave for the holiday. Many cadets are able to go home to see their families, but unfortunately, the limited time makes that impossible for others. The wardroom serves a Thanksgiving meal for those who are staying at the Academy for some reason, perhaps not enough time to travel far distances or for sports. Since I wasn’t able to go home my 4/c and 3/c year, I celebrated Thanksgiving with my sponsor family – they were gracious enough to let me stay with them for the entire leave period, and even eat all of their mashed potatoes. This year, I am absolutely thrilled to be going to home for the first time, as I qualified for extra time off to recruit potential cadets in my home state of Nebraska! The Admissions office gives some cadets permission to miss a couple days of classes prior to Thanksgiving leave as long as they visit high schools to talk about the Academy and try to get students interested. I can’t wait to see my family again, and for even more time than in a usual school year!

 

Christmastime at the Academy offers the chance to decorate for the weeks before finals and leave. Just as long as you don’t wreck anything, you can come up with all sorts of creative ways to brighten up your room! Last year, my roommate and I went crazy covering the walls with wrapping paper and creating a winter wonderland on the deck! It was quite festive, if I do say so myself! There are also some fun events on base; my favorite is the Lessons and Carols service. The Glee Club performs several Christmas songs at the chapel, with each song accompanied by a reading from the Bible. The lights are dimmed, and the whole congregation holds candles – and what a congregation it is, I might add! It is so wonderful to see the pews filled with so many people; it brings a new feeling of life to the quiet chapel!

 

In the spring semester, cadets are given a weekend off to celebrate Easter in whatever way they choose. Again, I’m not able to go home for this weekend, but I have been blessed with loving families that let me join them for that holiday! My 4/c year, a couple from the Officers’ Christian Fellowship took me with them to their church, which is an Episcopalian church just like mine at home. I’ve since been back to that church as much as possible. It is so much like the one I grew up in back in Nebraska; my first Academy Easter was made all the more special for God introducing me to a friendly congregation and a service so familiar! Last year, as a 3/c, I went with one of my best friends, Sulli, to New York City (one of my favorite places!) and spent the time with her mother and friends. We saw a show on Broadway, visited the 9/11 memorial, walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, and simply enjoyed the sights of the city. I don’t know what I would do without people like Sulli and her mother sharing their holiday with me!

 

Please don’t assume from this entry that it’s not hard being away from my family during these important days; I always miss them the most when celebrations roll around. But, I’ve found that there are plenty of people and things to help make my holidays special in a different way while I go through life here. I’m very thankful for those blessings, and they help keep me going and allow me to enjoy my time here. That being said, the best holidays are undoubtedly the ones with my family in the land of corn and cows.

 

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to find some accessories for my Halloween costume – time to search “flapper headband” on Amazon…

 

More about Abby.

 

Highlights of September

(Just for Fun, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Mills Photo September flew by but had some great moments that I wanted to share. Most notably, we went to the Merchant Marine Academy for a rival game. I had a great time with the dance team cheering the football team along. I was able to make some new acquaintances and pet all of their super cute dogs that they are training as service dogs. This whole event brought the Corps of Cadets closer, as it does every year, and the 4/c get their first taste of fun with the corps in an off-base environment.

 

Secondly, Parents’ Weekend fell on my mother’s birthday this year. So, I took my mom around to all my classes and she had a blast taking pictures and embarrassing me. Parents’ Weekend is always fun because you get to meet all of your shipmates’ parents and there is such a warm environment in Chase Hall with everyone so happy to be with their families and show off their rooms, classes, etc. I also had the privilege of having my mom watch me carry the guidon during drill. I am proud to have been given the opportunity to help train and support the 4/c this semester, and having my mom watch me carry a symbol of that accomplishment really made my day.

 

September is such a great month at the Academy with so many events to look forward to. I hope to keep the positive momentum and vibes going into the rest of the semester.

 

More about Sydney.

 

Back to Blogging for 1/c Year

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Hirst Photo I’ve taken a two-year hiatus but I’m back to blogging for my senior year! Perhaps my lack of blogging can attest to the busy-ness of the Academy, or maybe it’s just my inability to write a decent blog post. My 3/c and 2/c years were so much better than 4/c year. The CGA allows cadets to exchange to one of the other service academies during the fall of their 2/c year, and I was blessed with the opportunity to go to the Air Force Academy. While at the Air Force Academy, I was in charge of an element (like a division) and was integrated into their Wing (equivalent to our Corps of Cadets). I had a great time seeing completely new faces and spending time in Colorado. I also was fortunate enough to fly in a glider and complete five solo free fall jumps through their soaring and jump programs, respectively.

 

Currently, I’m in my last year at the CGA. I am the company commander of Delta Company for the fall semester. During our senior year, we are given the opportunity to lead the Corps of Cadets in various leadership positions. As the company commander, I oversee all of the efforts of Delta Company and frequently work with my company officer. I’ve really enjoyed the position because it has kept me constantly on my toes and forced me to discover creative ways to empower others. Already the semester is flying by. It has been an awesome ride thus far! Please ask if you have any questions!

 

More about Townshend.

 

Understanding Myself as a Leader

 Permanent link
Pourmonir Photo In the past year I have changed as a leader immensely. I now focus more on getting to know the people around me. As an underclass, it was easy to get caught up in just going through the motions of life at the Academy. I had fun, but I also did my own thing a lot. If I had homework I was doing it, and if I didn’t I was focused on whatever other responsibilities I had at the time. I got everything done but I didn’t step out of my comfort zone very often. As cadre, I was forced to step out of that comfort zone. I was forced to take on more responsibility and I finally had a chance to make a significant difference in other people’s lives. While it was difficult for me to be in a situation like that, where I felt very uncomfortable, it changed me as a person. I believe it made me a person more invested in the well-being of others and the completion of their duties. I always cared about others and checked on how they were doing, but I never realized the impact it had on people if they knew. I now make a more conscious effort to care about people, but also to do it in ways that ensure they know that I am interested in them as more than just my subordinate or shipmate, but as a valuable and necessary member of a service where we will someday work side by side. I never realized how important it was as a leader to show the people you are leading that you care. This has had an effect on all of my relationships both home and at the Academy. I honestly believe that if it weren’t for this past summer, I would not be the person I am today.

 

More about Keemiya.

 

An Incredible 3/c Summer

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Auzenbergs Photo This past summer was incredible! Starting off at a small boat station in Port Aransas, Texas for five weeks (see my June 2015 post for more), then off to USCGC Eagle for six weeks, and ending with three weeks at home for summer vacation. A few years ago, I would have never imagined spending my summer vacation in Texas, then sailing a 295 foot sailboat from Staten Island, New York, to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Bermuda, Portland Maine, and Boston, Massachusetts. Eagle was a lot of work, a lot of learning, and a lot of fun! Each port call was a blast, seeing the different cultures, cities, people, and giving tours of the boat that we called home for the time being. It was really cool to see how interested the tourists were in the history and inner workings of Eagle, and it made me realize how lucky we were to have the opportunity to spend so much time aboard.

 

The coolest memory for me of Eagle was sailing up the Delaware River into Philadelphia. I was on the port-side (left) bearing taker, which meant I was helping the ship stay centered in the river by the readings I was taking along with someone on the starboard side, and someone off the back. Standing there, we had a great view of all the boat, air, and land traffic. We were sailing in as part of a tall ships parade, so there were thousands of people lining the banks of the river, cheering, clapping and waving. We were rendered a cannon salute, for which we returned the honors, there were Coast Guard and news channel helicopters hovering above us to take pictures and videos, and fireboats from Sector Delaware and Philadelphia shooting water out of their hoses as an honor as well. We had cadets sitting in the rigging on the side of the boat to wave to the crowd and create an incredible picture for anyone close enough. The atmosphere was electrifying and the pride I felt was almost unbearable. Even just writing this now, looking back on the experience, I am getting chills. If anyone is interested in what the summer looked like from sea, I created a video montage of the summer aboard Eagle! Check it out by typing USCGA 3/c Summer Eagle into YouTube or follow this link https://youtu.be/0_b-kkHB3Eg.

 

More about Gabrielle.

 

September 2015

(Athletics, Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Chang Photo (9/14) Continuing on from my last post, the PFE went great! I guess a steady diet of NYC street food really is the best way to train. I will be conducting further study on this experiment and am planning a nutrition regimen with hot dogs and deep-fried pretzels. Unfortunately, however, that will have to wait because it is finally time to start training for boxing season! We’ve only been training for a little over a month, but the team is getting stronger every day. Soon we’ll be having a Friday Night Fight, where our boxers duke it out against each other in front of a raging crowd in the attic of the Alumni Center. What I’m looking forward to the most is fighting other schools, especially West Point. Go Bears!

 

(9/21) Surprisingly, it’s true when they say things get better as you progress along here. Sure, there’s more work and fewer reasons why you would make mistakes, but it’s the little things that make life at the Academy, and in New London, better. When you become a 3/c, you wear a polo/khaki golfer-getup instead of the Tropical Blue uniform when going off campus. It’s also easier to get around because, once you get used to it, New London is pretty easy to navigate. This past weekend there was this cool Indie music festival downtown. We pretty much spent the whole day there, watching the bands play and eating sushi. It was a great way to hang out and catch up with friends.

 

(9/28) I’m trying to write a little summary every week, and I think this format’s going to work for me. Having this blog’s pretty nice because it’s like having a journal; and so many things happen here, I can always reference the cadet blogs if I need to remember anything. It’s also a great outlet for productive procrastination. I probably shouldn’t be writing this down, but being a 3/c is very relaxing. Maybe it’s because I’m a Government major or perhaps it’s the newfound freedom of 3/c year. But now, I can honestly say, without wincing, “Gotta love New London.”

 

More about Olivia.

 

Classes, Lacrosse and Glee Club, Oh My!

(Academics, Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Eshleman Photo I cannot believe that it is already September 21st. This month has flown by. My typical week this year has changed a lot since fourth class year. The workload is much greater but I am very interested in all of my classes. In my Intro to Mechanical Engineering Design class we are building finger engines. First we design them on SolidWorks (which I have never used before but it is a lot of fun) and next week we’re moving to the lab to actually begin constructing them. Getting to be hands-on in the classroom is exciting and challenging.

 

Sports wise, fall ball is about to begin for lacrosse. I am thrilled to get back on the field. I have biweekly meetings with my coach leading up until the actual season where we discuss anything and everything. Sometimes going to a small school can be frustrating because there is not much privacy, but I also really appreciate how close everyone is and how interested all of the teachers, coaches, and mentors are in their students’/players’ lives. It is nice to know people are looking out for you.

 

Glee Club has been insanely busy. Fall is the season for performances. I have my first solo called “O, America!” arranged by Dr. Newton. I sing the alto 2 part while there’s also a soprano and alto 1 part. We have our big NYC trip coming up in the beginning of October. Many people are looking forward to it. Getting to travel to sing is such a blessing, and I am so glad I was introduced to the club as a fourth class. Next weekend is Parents’ Weekend, so I am thrilled to show my parents around and tell them about all that has been going on here at the CGA.

 

More about Hannah.

 

A Return to Blogging

 Permanent link
Roddy Photo After a year hiatus, I am pleased to finally return to the world of blogging. Last year was a busy time for me, and with the many pressures of the Academy, I chose to take a break from blogging in order to get my academics and other club participation in order. Now that I have finally settled in and found my niche at the Academy, I hope to begin updating regularly again, and I will give you a brief overview of what I did my 3/c summer, picking up from shortly after my last update.

 

For my 3/c summer, I had the incredible experience of sailing the Caribbean with the Barque Eagle. We sailed from New London down to San Juan, Puerto Rico, then onto Aruba, Cozumel, Mexico, and concluded in Miami, Florida. It was a busy and tiring six weeks, without much sleep while we were at sea, but it was wonderful and absolutely worth the effort. The port calls were phenomenal and there’s no better feeling to be paid for sailing a route most people pay thousands to visit.

 

After Eagle, I went on my operational assignment to Station New York, on Staten Island. While I was initially disappointed that I wasn’t going to a station famous for search and rescue like Station Monterrey or Station Cape Disappointment, nor was I going anywhere that exotic, Station New York ended being the best summer I could have asked for. While at Station New York, I was able to earn my communications watch stander qualification as well as my basic boat crew qualification, which was an amazing training experience. I got to stand communication watch during a real search and rescue case, and I got placed into the duty rotation like a real member of the station’s work force. I was also able to be an observer to a law enforcement case as boats dispatched from station searched for and found a boat where a man was holding a woman against her will after a bad date. I also got the opportunity to be a ride along during a maritime Presidential security detail, closing down parts of the Hudson so that President Obama could safely fly into Manhattan to address the United Nations. It was incredible to see the Coast Guard in action and take all the lessons we learned at the Academy and apply them in the fleet. I had a truly fantastic 3/c summer and I am grateful for all the Coast Guardsmen and women that made it all possible!

 

More about John.

 

Autumn in New England

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Cannon Photo Well, it's the first day of fall in New London, Connecticut. I am going to miss the warm weather, summer nights, days at the lake, and so on and so forth. But despite not being the biggest fan of colder weather, I honestly have high hopes for this upcoming autumn/winter. You might ask, "But Colton, how in the world could you find enjoyment of the bitter New England cold where you aren't right down the road from the nearest Chick-Fil-A or Waffle House?" While that is definitely a valid question, there are plenty of upsides to the changing of seasons (despite being so far from Georgia). Autumn means a couple of things: bonfires, camping, corn mazes, pumpkin patches, THANKSGIVING, state fairs (I'll take a fried order of everything you have, please), college football games (WDE), dressing more formal is considered casual...and that is just off the top of my head. Probably one of the sweetest parts of the fall up here is a large-scale obstacle course I go to in Vermont each year. Not only is it eight to ten miles of variations of crawling, running, pull ups, and carrying heavy objects, but the changing color of the trees in the Vermont mountains is unbelievable. I guess you could say things are getting pretty serious...

 

The summer was pretty incredible though, don't get me wrong. Whether it was sailing around New England and spending the fourth of July in Nantucket (or was it Martha's Vineyard?), or training incoming swabs (easily the best part of my Academy experience so far), it was a time of non-stop adventure. I will say though that training the swabs with Lyme Disease was an interesting experience to say the least. If I were to yell at any point, I would be completely out of energy for the rest of the day. Despite that, it may have been a blessing in disguise. Since I was unable to yell and scream nonsense like cadre tend to resort to, I was forced to actually use leadership lessons and be one of the more approachable cadre when it came to classroom time with the swabs. I may have not instilled the fear of God in them, but I do believe that taking this alternative approach allowed me to truly gain respect from many of my swabs (now freshmen!!!), and we are all able to have healthy yet professional relationships to this day. I am thankful for all of the unforgettable experiences in my journey as a cadet so far, and anticipate the many more to come.

 

Go Bears Baseball!
Colton

 

More about Colton.

 

A First Class Fall

(Academics, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Daghir Photo Hello from the Coast Guard Academy! Sorry that I haven’t written in a while but it has been a crazy semester so far. As a 1/c cadet, I am expected to lead a division and to be a role model to the cadets in my company and in the corps. I love being able to motivate underclassmen, and to be that firstie that we all dreamed to be for the past three years. As a 1/c, we are expected to go to about a million medical examinations (more if you are going to apply to flight school) as well as sign up for our pictures so I can already see that with all of this, the semester will likely fly by. School has been pretty fun thus far; I am taking a lot of classes that really interest me. I enrolled in National Security Policy, which is offered by the Humanities department and I am the only non-Gov major in the class. It is a really cool class; I highly recommend it because it involves relevant discussions of current events and how they pertain to our national interest. I love it. Additionally, I am taking a few oceanography classes that get me very excited about graduate school possibilities and research. Lastly, I am taking Nautical Science and the class was changed for the first time to give the students the opportunity to get their 100 ton masters license. This is great because it can be used outside of the Coast Guard as a civilian.

 

While classes are good, I should mention that the Academy is not all fun and games. As cadets, we are expected to uphold the core values and to be respectful and responsible at all times. People occasionally get into trouble and, unfortunately, I have attended two masts in the past week. A mast is a way to punish cadets when they have violated the regulations that we are held to at all times. What happens is a cadet will come before the Commandant of Cadets or the Assistant Commandant and will stand at attention to be read their rights. A trial or sorts is held to determine if he or she has committed the offense. At the end, the cadet is either seen to commit the offense or not, and if found guilty, then he or she will be awarded a punishment of restriction, marching tours and demerits. Masts are scary but they are a good reminder that we go to a military academy, and that we must act like officers all the time. It is a lot to digest but I think that as a firstie going into the fleet, I have to say that I can see the importance of us learning what we need to, in the broad spectrum from academics to social skills, to conduct.

 

My life at school has been hectic but the weather has been beautiful. This time of year is my absolute favorite. I am crazy excited to start our fall lacrosse season. As a captain this year, I am thrilled to have another opportunity to take on some new responsibility and to help make this season great.

 

A Look Back at March (Hogwarts Edition)

(Academics, Just for Fun, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Sandri Photo In the words of Taylor Swift and Rihanna, it’s a typical Tuesday night and there’s three more days ‘til Friday! Right now, I’m holed up in the library writing a research paper and studying for one of my six exams this week, but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel: after our last military obligation (LMO) this Friday, the corps will leave for Spring Break. I will be traveling to Peru with the Academy’s Catholic group for a service trip, and I can’t wait!

 

It feels like this semester has flown by. It started with the “Dark Ages” of January and February and a completely new 23-credit course load, but as the days get longer and weather gets warmer, I’m re-realizing how great the Academy can be. The beginning and end of the school year here are my favorites, probably because they surround the awesome Academy summers, and everything seems a bit shiny and exciting. Second semester went by in a heartbeat last year, and this year it’s doing the same.

 

So now, on to the important stuff. It’s often said that the CGA is like Hogwarts. Without further ado, here’s a list of reasons why:

 

  • We have a Room of Requirement, a.k.a. the class cages. Cadets can store extra belongings and unauthorized room items in the attic of Chase Hall, but there are no promises you’ll be able to find them again.
  • Our library has a restricted book section.
  • We are issued long bathrobes.
  • The corps is divided into eight companies, like the four houses, and each company has their own wing area.
  • We compete for “Honor Company,” the equivalent of the “House Cup.”
  • One of my teachers greatly resembles Professor Umbridge. Except she’s not at all evil.
  • MES majors take a Potions class. (Technically called Physical Oceanography).
  • It’s a bit like living in another hemisphere, especially for 4/c who have no social media and more required time on campus.
  • Parts of Chase Hall are constantly being renovated/constructed. You’re guaranteed to find new spaces to get lost in at least once.
  • We eat meals family-style.
  • “There are some things you can't share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them.” Times at the Academy can be crazy and rough, but your friends will see you through the best and the worst!

As always, feel free to email me at Eva.M.Sandri@uscga.edu with any questions.

 

More about Eva.

 

Cool Project, Perfect Timing

(Academics, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Stowes Photo At the Academy, 1/c cadets are required to complete final senior projects called capstones. Each major has different requirements for capstones; however, all of them address operational Coast Guard issues. For example, one mechanical engineering capstone a few years ago designed a new rescue basket for Coast Guard Dolphin helicopters. After the presentation, headquarters adopted the design and it became the standard for the Coast Guard. On the humanities side, an advanced research project into Arctic policy last year provided the Coast Guard with tangible policy and operational consultation. As you can see, these projects carry some weight, so we take them very seriously.

 

My capstone is an advanced research project studying Mexico. Specifically, I am going to write a paper that discusses Chinese merchant vessels smuggling meth precursor chemicals into Mexico. So far, that’s all we have been given to scope the project. I have spent the last five weeks reading about the foundations of Latin America’s culture, politics, social arrangements, economics, and more. Once I understand the history of Mexico better, I will be able to discuss contemporary issues on a much more comprehensive level. My two partners and I are not writing a simple intelligence paper about the how and when the Chinese supply meth precursor chemicals; rather, we will discuss the why questions. Why can China infiltrate Mexican institutions so easily? Why are the cartels so violent? Why hasn’t the war on drugs worked? Ultimately, our paper will analyze the works we read and any data we collect. Then we will make conclusions and recommendations to headquarters. It is our hope that our research project will help to develop a feasible and effective policy for managing the meth trade in Mexico.

 

Last week, we were very fortunate to have ADM James Stavridis on board the Academy. He was the Commander of the U.S. Southern Command and he retired as NATO’s supreme allied commander. Now, he is Dean of the Fletcher School. ADM Stavridis visited to discuss modern security strategies in Latin and South America. He has written a book Called Partnership for the Americas, which focuses on Western Hemisphere security, so he’s an expert on that subject.

 

I had the honor of getting to meet ADM Stavridis with my partners, and we had a great discussion. ADM Stavridis was very pleased to hear that we were studying Mexico and security in the Western Hemisphere. He gave us a lot of advice and contacts for our project, and he told us a little bit about his studies of Mexico and Latin America. After that, I sat in on his corps-wide speech and I heard his full policy. It is basically a mix of force and soft power (cooperation and international actions) to assure that we protect people and eliminate poverty. Poverty is a driving force in the reason people resort to drugs and support the cartels, so his speech was very applicable to my project. It was perfect timing for him to have visited.

 

This blog highlights that cadets are doing major projects that have real-world affects. We don’t just strive to be nationally relevant; we are nationally relevant because cadets are taking on projects that play an integral part of the operational Coast Guard’s mission success. We are fortunate to be doing such meaningful work. If you have any questions about any of my blogs, feel free to ask me anything at Hunter.D.Stowes@uscga.edu. 

 

More about Hunter.

 

This Fall Will be Full of Memories

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Coburn Photo Well, we are officially into week two of the fall academic semester. Starting school was a bit different this year than last year to say the least. First, I got to come back to the Academy in rec gear (blue polo and khakis) instead of wearing my trops, which was a big plus. The biggest difference though was when I got into Chase; I almost ran into someone and immediately heard “Good afternoon, ma’am.” This was the moment I had been waiting for since last August, the moment when I would no longer be a 4th class. It was a little weird at first, but I can definitely say it is a lot less stressful being a 3rd class. I am in Charlie Company and I have a good division with some of my own 4th class; as a 3/c, I will be a role model for the 4/c and help them throughout the year. In addition, I am starting to take more classes that are actually related to my major and hopefully this will mean a better academic year than last.

 

The fall season at the Academy is probably my favorite time of the year (besides the spring, of course, for lacrosse). For one, I love the weather in the fall, especially being from New England, I am used to the crisp air and the falling leaves. There are also a multitude of sports and moral events for the corps to participate in. And who could forget Spirit Week, which leads up the Secretaries Cup! In general, it looks likes it is shaping up to be a great year and I can’t wait to make many more memories.

 

More about Mimi.