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cadet blogs

Feels Like Home

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Wu Photo I have been at the Air Force Academy for almost three months. I am now past the point of adapting and adjusting to the unfamiliarity involved in being an exchange cadet. Everything around me is starting to feel like home. I have accepted Colorado and the Air Force Academy and they have accepted me. I love seeing the mountains every morning, knowing that the mountains lie to the West. I love my room even with the suspicious old carpeting. Even noon meal formations are bearable because every time my roommate and I go to the formations we are laughing. Marching is more fun with my marching buddy and same goes with walking to and from classes with people in my squad or people in my classes. It is even comforting to be in my room by myself and hear a voice in the hallway and automatically know who the voice belongs to. It is such a blessing to have been able to come to the Air Force Academy for a semester and I know when the day comes for me to say goodbye, it will be very bittersweet. It will also be very hard to adjust back to the CGA when I get back to New London in January. I have definitely become accustomed to the terminologies here and I always have to correct myself when I am talking to family or friends back at the CGA. It is interesting to see how people are like sponges and we mold ourselves to our surroundings once we are at a location for a period of time.


Looking forward to the rest of the semester, I am excited that I will be able to spend Thanksgiving with my family and be able to show them my new home. I cannot wait for my sister and my mom to come out for the beginning of my Thanksgiving break and then I get to see two of my friends from the CGA for the rest of the week! I am looking forward to getting back in touch with the life I left when I came to Colorado Springs and hope when I see them, I will be able to slowly readjust and come to the realization that I will have to go back to CGA soon. It is definitely a lot stricter at the Coast Guard Academy, so coming to the Air Force Academy is a relief and very much like a vacation.


Now that is enough talk about the far future; more about the near future. I will be jumping out of an airplane tomorrow! It will be my very first time ever skydiving and parachuting. The scarier part is that I will be doing everything solo. We have had a bunch of training leading up to this day and, now, tonight we attend the “Last Supper,” a tradition in the airmanship program. It is a joke that the students will not survive their first jump so they might as well end with their best meal the night before. After this Last Supper, all that is left is strapping in and going up in the air. Wish me good luck!



More about Ellie.


Fourth Class Roddy Goes to Washington

(Academics, Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Roddy Photo This month has been a tough month for everyone. Midterms, CER’s (military performance evaluations), cadet drama and the unrelenting flood of homework have kept everyone from 4/c to 1/c busy. But as 4/c, we’re also responsible for running trash orderlies, doing twice-daily clocks, taking indoc (military knowledge) tests, and squaring our food and corners on top of everything else, so it’s not surprising Chase Hall can become a little stressful.


Fortunately, this month I was given my first real opportunity to travel away from Academy outside of liberty when I went to Washington D.C. to compete in a Model United Nations conference with three other cadets, including fellow 4/c and blogger Will Glick. The trip proved to be a fantastic time. We attended the opening and closing days in uniform, and the amount of support and thanks we received from people recognizing the Coast Guard was truly humbling. It’s also a reminder that we must always be aware of our actions, and that we are direct representatives of the Academy and of the entire Coast Guard. And while we met many people who understood and appreciated the Coast Guard and its missions, we also met many who did not, and so it fell upon us to explain what we were as cadets, and what the larger role of the Coast Guard is. My favorite quote came from someone in the elevator who asked us “So are you like a branch of the Air Force?”


At the end of the trip, we did not manage to win anything, but to bond with the other cadets was a terrific experience, and Will Glick and I went from being acquaintances to close friends over the course of the weekend. To represent the Coast Guard gave me a sense of pride and served as a reminder of why I chose the Academy; to get to debate and do something I genuinely enjoy gave me an opportunity to clear my head and de-stress; and, finally, making new friends that will carry over when I get back to the Academy made this a fantastic and incredibly worthwhile weekend.


More about John.


My Journey to the Academy

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Belanger Photo Greetings from the Academy! I recently reflected on my current journey to becoming an officer in the United States Coast Guard, and I can say it has been one difficult challenge. So if you read my bio you know I am from a Navy town, my cousin is a graduate of the Naval Academy and here I am at the Coast Guard Academy. Well, that is only the short story. After looking into colleges in my freshman year of high school, I thought I wanted to go to the Naval Academy. I grew up surrounded by Navy chiefs, my dad was a FC1 (Fire Controlman First Class) in the Navy and like I said before my cousin was a graduate. Funny thing is they all told me to look into the Coast Guard. Let me say, I instantly fell in love with Coast Guard and later in love with the Academy. I visited the campus the summer of my junior year and knew this was the school for me. I applied early action and waited. Finally, my package came in and I got the bad news that I had not been accepted. I was crushed. Luckily, about two weeks prior I had gotten accepted into the university located by my house so I had a fall back. Then at the beginning of May I went to the Daytona Beach National Drill Competition, and lo and behold there was a little Coast Guard Academy table. Even though it was a three-day competition, my path never crossed with the man running the table. The last day we were there, I asked the women in the booth next to the Academy’s and she said, “There he is!” I turned to meet the man who would kick-start my dreams of becoming a Coast Guard officer, standing there holding a hot dog. After talking to him for about an hour (with my friends talking me up) he told me about the Prep Program at the Academy. A week later he called and told me I had been accepted to the Coast Guard Academy Scholars program (CGAS for short). I was so happy; I was able to tell everyone at my high school graduation that I was going to go to the United States Coast Guard Academy!


July 25th 2011, I reported to the Academy for the CGAS program; unfortunately not expecting anything that was going to happen. Think of Swab Summer condensed into three weeks, now add a 3:1 cadre ratio and just multiply it by 300. This is what I was experiencing; I didn’t know if I would be able to make it. But three weeks later, I finished and was flown to the great state of Alabama. Now, I had never been to Alabama before and let me just say I have never seen so much nothing. After the bus picked us up from Birmingham, we began the long drive to Marion Military Institute located in Marion, Alabama. I lost cell service within the hour and I was nervous about what to expect. After becoming a cadet of the corps, classes soon started and the year took off. I had a different experience at Marion than my fellow shipmates. I was placed in a company where it was primarily West Point and Air Force preps with just one other CGA prep. I have to say it was one of the best things to ever happen to me. I had an amazing roommate that is now an Army cadet in the Class of 2016 and I met friends that will be in another service that I will remain friends with for years to come. We had a blast and we always had each other’s backs. We knew the goals of one another and we all strived to make sure the goals would be accomplished. In March of 2012, I received some hard news. We found out that the Academy was expecting above a 3.0 to receive an appointment. I only had a 2.7 and I quickly saw my dream slip away. However, at the end of March after leaving lunch early I returned to my room to troll Facebook when one of my friends came in to hug me and asked if I was ok. I didn’t know what he was talking about, he had said that most of the preps received their appointments and were celebrating but he had not seen me and thought I hadn’t gotten mine. I checked my email and saw the message that would make me fly out of my seat hitting my head on the top of the doorway. I had gotten my appointment to the Class of 2016! The rest of the year was bright and I was ready to report on June 25th to begin my new journey of getting through the Academy! I can’t wait to have a follow up story for my 1/c year!


If you have any questions please do not hesitate! 


More about Nathan.


Work Hard, Play Hard

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Just for Fun, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Miller Photo Every weeknight, I face a constant struggle between getting my homework done… or doing something else. Between the guitar on my desk, the internet on my laptop, the people in Chase Hall, and everything else, it’s easy to get distracted. It doesn’t help that crew ended—whenever I have additional free time, I usually waste more of it. Luckily, crew workouts will be starting up soon and I have a lot of club activities going on, so I’ll be getting busier again.


One of the clubs I’m starting to get more involved with is the International Ballroom Dance Club. I never really thought I would join it, but over the summer one of my friends got me interested in swing dancing and I decided to try out the Ballroom Dance Club. While I’m definitely not the most graceful dancer, it’s a lot of fun and a nice change of pace from rowing and homework and general military obligations.


I’ve also started taking advantage of the surrounding area. For example, over Columbus Day weekend I went up to Rumney, New Hampshire with some friends to camp and rock climb. Rumney was a beautiful area and we’re already talking about going back. I’ve also started to walk around New London more, mainly to restaurants. There are definitely some really good places to eat downtown—one place, Northern Indian Lights, has some of the best Indian food I’ve ever tasted.


Leaving Chase Hall and doing different activities is great—it allows me to focus more when I actually return so that I’m actually somewhat productive.


As always, if you have any questions, feel free to email me at!



More about Caroline.