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cadet blogs

Gearing Up for the Summer

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Stowes Photo Happy spring everyone! … Maybe I’ve spoken too soon. Despite the freezing temperatures and bad weather over the past few weeks, I can feel spring coming, and that means summer will be upon us soon enough! There are three reasons for my “seasonal optimism” I’ll call it. First, we just had spring break, so I’m rejuvenated from a nice week of fun and relaxation. I went home, but many other cadets traveled all over the country for sports, rest, relaxation, and fun. Being back from spring break, I’m ready to finish up this semester and get to the summer.


The second reason I’m excited to be back is rugby, which is pretty much my favorite thing to do ever. The rugby team is coming off of our best season in recent memory, finishing 5th in the nation for Division II, winning our conference for the second year in a row, and playing good quality rugby the entire time. So, I am excited to get back out onto the pitch with my best friends to hit, get hit, and hopefully win some exciting rugby matches. We have several matches and tournaments this spring, so I’ll be very busy with that, but it’s something to look forward to everyday.


The third and most significant reason I’m excited being back (and the reason I’m writing this blog) is that I’m pumped up for the summer training. On the Friday before spring break, the 3rd class (sophomores) found out their cadre sections for the summer. I will be in cadre 1a, which means that I will be in the first group of cadre. I will receive the incoming freshmen (swabs) on R-Day, and I will be responsible for breaking down their previous identities and beginning to instill in them the Coast Guard values of honor, respect, and devotion to duty. I will have tons of other responsibilities with the swabs this summer, and to be honest, it seems a bit overwhelming right now. I don’t know fully what to expect, but I’m preparing by reading books and watching videos for tips on being a cadre. Also, there will be plenty of time and training for me to figure everything out, so I’m very optimistic about having a cadre experience.


Now let me talk about the cadre experience for those of you that aren’t very familiar with it. There are seven cadre groups: Swab Summer 1, Swab Summer 2, Academy Introduction Mission (AIM), Coast Guard Academy Scholars (CGAS), Eagle, ocean racing, and waterfront. The Swab Summer cadre groups are broken down into two sections each (1a, 1b, 2a, 2b), but I will discuss what that means later. The Swab Summer cadre will have the most exposure with the swabs. They will basically run the swabs lives for the three weeks that they are cadre. Cadre 1 breaks the swabs down and instills values. Cadre 2 begins the team building and rebuilding stages for the swabs, and puts them through sea trials (a culminating team event where the swabs put everything they’ve learned to work). Eagle cadre sail with the swabs and teach them the basics of seamanship when they report to Eagle for a week during the summer. Waterfront cadre teach the swabs the basics of sailing on campus at our waterfront sailing facility. AIM cadre perform the duties of a Swab Summer cadre in one week with juniors in high school that have been accepted into AIM. CGAS cadre are responsible for applicants that have been accepted to our prep school program. CGAS goes through a modified Swab Summer experience, and they typically have a more physically demanding experience. Ocean racing cadre are a separate entity. They sail with rising sophomores in a nationwide competition.


Gearing Up for the Summer (Continued) PDF 


More about Hunter.


The Meaning of Fourth Class Life

(Academics, Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Glick Photo Right now I’m on a train heading from the Academy back home to Cape May, New Jersey. I am excited to begin spring break after an arduous first half of the semester. Classes are going well, I’ve started a new fitness plan and my shipmates and I have been having more and more fun as it (slowly) gets warmer.


The past two weeks have been non-stop, with late nights, which usually is not the case for me. The last few weeks have been jam packed with a Model UN conference at USMA West Point, a band concert at Connecticut College across the street, International Ballroom Dance (who would have guessed that?!?), Cadets Against Sexual Assault trainings and meetings, recruiting leave, and a community service trip to Key West Florida. Of course, I need to keep up on my school work to participate in all of these events, as well as ensuring that I continue to adhere to military obligations such as trainings, my midterm Cadet Evaluation Report, community service requirements, and division work. Somehow, it all gets itself all done by 11:30 p.m.! Sometimes I groan, but I wouldn’t have it any other way—I am never bored in New London.


The beginning of March marks the beginning of regaining privileges as a 4/c. For making both the Dean’s List for academics and the Commandant of Cadets’ List for good military performance last semester, I am able to take recruiting leave for spring break, meaning I get to leave a few days early to visit high schools near my home. I look forward to wearing the uniform in my old stomping ground representing America’s finest seagoing service. Ok, I’m proud...! After passing the Coast Guard Indoctrination board, commonly known as “boards” we gained individual privileges such as not having to write note cards when leaving the barracks and playing music out loud. As soon as everyone in our respective companies passed, we were allowed to reactivate our Facebook accounts. Hopefully, we will be awarded wardroom carry-on the week we return from spring break, given everyone else in our class passes that same week.


Hearing about 2018 already is getting us all very excited. I am excited to soon no longer be the lowest on the totem pole, and finally put on that one diagonal 3/c stripe. It is almost scary how already my old 2016 shipmates will be cadre! It feels like just yesterday we were getting yelled at: time flies at the Academy when you don’t look around. However, I will miss the funny parts of 4/c culture, like the “spirit missions”.


Captain Gaines, my chemistry lab instructor, gave me some pretty inspiring advice the other day. He reminded me that I need to make sure I always hold myself accountable automatically, ensuring that self-responsibility is second nature. Soon enough, he said, there will be a 4/c I will have to help, and I will have to worry about both of us. After that, one day I could very well have many people I am responsible for, and potentially assets of the government as well. I realized then why I have to, and want to, do all of the many things I do, stretching myself in so many ways as a 4/c. Someday I will have to look after myself while ensuring other people around me are succeeding. It was a quick wake-up call—soon I won’t be a 4/c, and soon I will have to take responsibility for more than myself. 4/c year is about learning how to function as an individual while balancing functioning as a member of a team. These missions are, whether we realize it or not, preparing us to be role models for the incoming class, guiding them through the same thing we are going through right now.


The Key West community service trip was awesome! We painted, primed, and shined the floating museum ship, USCGC Ingham. There was so much history aboard the ship, and we experienced it firsthand living on the cutter for a week. The skipper who runs the museum operation told me the first night I was staying in some Admiral’s old rack when the admiral was a cadet—that’s how old the cutter was! We met with the Commanding Officer of Sector Key West, Captain Young and his wardroom; went underway on a 110 foot patrol boat; visited a small boat station; and interacted with junior enlisted, senior enlisted, junior officers, warrant officers, and senior officers. So many different perspectives, and it was all jammed into one week! Liberty at night was awesome: experiencing sunsets on the island, the many amazing restaurants, street performers, and all of the neat shops in town. I visited the Harry Truman Little White House, saw the Ernest Hemingway house, and climbed to the top of the Key West lighthouse. The experience really motivated me to come back to the Academy next week and push through the last seven weeks of school before summer training. Seven more weeks until we put on that coveted 3/c stripe. Can’t wait until 2018 arrives!



More about William.