For the 3/c, the week after finals marks the start of their cadre summer. While other classes go out to the fleet to experience the underway lifestyle, the third-class cadets stay onboard the Academy for at least one extra week, getting trained by the Cape May Company Commanders (CMCCs) on how to be effective cadre. This week marks the culmination of the months of preparation 2015 has done in advance of our cadre summer.
I’m not going to reveal too much, because it is one of those experiences that you want to experience firsthand. For a week, the CMCCs, who train the Coast Guard’s recruits at Training Center (TRACEN) Cape May, take charge of each company, like Swab Summer. We spent the first morning reorienting ourselves, and remembering what it was like to be a swab. Remedials suck—I really can empathize with the swabs now. After a few days of “reorientation” (aka IT, remedials, and stress), we really dig into the meat of 100th Week: leadership development.
Part of 100th Week involves meeting with the Leadership Development Center (LDC) staff, the CMCCs, and other such instructors to learn more about leadership and how to apply it to the task of training swabs. These classes have been lots of fun and very informative. Lastly, we have had several opportunities now to meet as cadre sections to develop our leadership and command philosophies. These are important, because they will guide us as we guide the Class of 2017 to success this summer. Working with multiple type-A personalities can be frustrating at times, but the lessons we are learning now will make Swab Summer a much better experience for all involved.
I don’t know what happened, but I wasn’t really nervous about being a 2/c cadre until this week! Before 100th Week, I assumed that I could do it: yes, it might be difficult at times, but I thought I was smart enough and confident enough to assume responsibility and get the job done. Now, having gone through just three days of training so far, I’m not so sure… There are so many things to do, and so much responsibility. This summer really will be a leadership challenge, both for me and my shipmates. I guess what my cadre told me is true, “If you think you’re ready, you aren’t. If you are seriously questioning yourself, you’ll be fine.”
I rapidly come to the conclusion that I cannot wait for 100th Week to be over, so my classmates and I can pin white shields on our shoulders. With these white shields come so many more privileges and responsibilities: civvies (civilian clothing for liberty) AND cadre. After 100th Week concludes, I depart for three weeks of leave and a Holocaust study program before returning to New London for the rest of my cadre summer. I’m really excited—I just can’t really describe the feeling. You would have to experience it for yourself to understand how I feel… Good luck to 2017, and see you all in just a few short weeks!
More about Peter.