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cadet blogs

2/c Summer Part 2: Recommitment, Cadre Moving On and Memorial Day

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Ritchie PhotoReflecting on Recommitment

 

At the end of 100th Week, the Class of 2017 had our Recommitment Ceremony where we once again took the oath we had taken on R-Day, changed our shoulder boards, and received the privilege to wear civilian clothes. Since the ceremony was delayed and I had a plane to catch, I had a mini-ceremony of my own. Because of this, I ended up being the first one in my class to be promoted to 2/c, the first one to wear civvies in Chase Hall, and the first one to go on leave for the summer. You’d think I would be really excited about this but I found myself unhappy. I was disappointed that I could not stand with my class and renew the oath with them. They say that in the military, you sometimes have to sacrifice being at important events. I didn’t realize that it went both ways. The Coast Guard family really watches out for you and will try to work with you in making plans, especially when getting home to family.

 

Our Cadre Graduated?! 

 

Having the first three weeks of leave meant that I wasn’t at the Academy for Commencement. The great Class of 2015 graduated in May. Graduation from an academy means so much more than graduating from any other college. Each member of the Class of 2015 not only received a diploma but also a commission as an ensign in the Coast Guard and a handshake from President Obama. It’s a pretty big deal.

 

Why was this graduation so important to me? The Class of 2015 is my cadre class. They were responsible for training my class. We followed them from the beginning of our experience and now we have to be the leaders that they were to us. The Class of 2015 has left my class huge shoes to fill. When we graduate, we will continue to follow them by taking their places as they will move onto their next units.

 

It is a reminder that my class is halfway through our Academy experience and of the great responsibility we will have beginning this summer. It poses the question, “Are we ready?”

 

I think we are.

 

The Meaning of Memorial Day 

 

For Memorial Day weekend, I took a road trip to Kansas with my dad. There is a famous attraction in Wichita called the Keeper of the Plains. If you walk over the bridge there, you’ll find a memorial park. It was the perfect thing to run into on the day before Memorial Day.

 

Nowadays, so many people celebrate Memorial Day by hosting backyard barbeques or going shopping. People forget what Memorial Day is really about. It is about remembering those who gave their lives in serving our country. It is for those who made the ultimate sacrifice. There is a great poem titled “Freedom is not Free.” I challenge you to look it up. That is what Memorial Day is about.

 

Memorial Day is not about the people who serve today, though we may serve in honor of the true honorees. It is not a day to praise veterans and survivors but to mourn with them over their shipmates lost. It is a day to stand beside the families of those who have lost someone for the sake of our country and hear the stories that they carry on.

 

I stood with my dad looking at a memorial as a lady came and placed a rose on it. She started crying and we knew she had lost someone whose name was etched there. It was such a beautiful and sad moment. I didn’t know what to do. Part of me wanted to give her a hug but I knew I could never understand her loss. I decided to continue looking at the memorial, avoid eye contact, and give her space. A minute later, she came up to us and told us she had lost her brother in Afghanistan a few years ago. The memorial included the war on terrorism as an ongoing fight. It was the most powerful memorial I have ever visited.

 

Moments like that make it real. Moments like that remind me of why I serve. I serve to protect my country and am so proud to be part of something bigger than myself. I want to save lives and solve problems peacefully. There is no better way to do that than by serving in the Coast Guard.

 

When you thank me for my service, I know you’re not just thanking me. Because I am part of something so much bigger than myself, I represent the soldiers stationed all over the world and those who have lost their lives fighting. You are thanking all of those people when you say thank you to a serviceman or woman. Even though we may never meet them or have the chance to convey that message, it is a reminder that we proudly serve beside them and we honor them in our service.

 

More about Sarah.

 

Land of Opportunity

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Chang Photo “I’m sailing away, to a land of opportunity…” are the lyrics I sometime hear when aboard the USCGC Eagle for our five weeks of summer training. Other times, I can barely distinguish the howling winds of the sea from the blood rushing in my ears after standing a midnight watch. I don’t even know how to begin describing Eagle. Most of us lovingly call it the “Dirty Bird.” This is because it can get pretty gross when you have nine hardworking people living in a small room with a broken A/C unit. However, this is all irrelevant compared to the things you get to do on this boat.

 

Climbing up to the very tops of the masts and being able to see the Milky Way, waking up for morning duty and watching the sunrise, finding you are totally focused on what you have to do and learning about yourself in little increments to the point where you almost lose perception of time makes it all worthwhile. Eagle has definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone and I’ve made more than my fair share of mistakes while on board but I think I’m a better person because of it. We have one more week to go until phase change in Staten Island, New York, and nine more days until I ship off to the USCGC Mellon!

 

More about Olivia.

 

One is Silver and the Other’s Gold

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Culp Photo For me, coming home from the Academy for leave means coming home to an onslaught of family members, old friends and dogs. During my few weeks back in Nebraska, I wound up seeing everyone from church members to high school friends to future cadets and their families (shout-out to all the Cornhuskers who apparently read my blog religiously, by the way – you’re awesome!). Just like it’s the people at the Academy who make that experience special, it’s these people on the home field that make leave something that I look forward to every year.

 

However, it is very challenging to maintain any sort of long-distance friendship. I stayed close to about four high school friends after I started at the Academy. Getting Facebook back 3/c year helped a little, but still, I wound up letting go of a lot of friendships. As a cadet, you just don’t have the time when you have so much homework and military responsibilities, varsity sports, and, of course, all of the new and wonderful relationships demanding your attention.

 

I don’t write this to make you apprehensive or to recommend that you ignore all of your high school friends (please, please, please don’t do that!) but to show you the hope behind the reality. I don’t get as much time as I’d like to talk to my handful of closest high school friends during the academic semester, thanks to the aforementioned demands; and with jobs and classes and families back home, my friends are engaged in difficult and time-consuming balancing acts as well. But, with these girls, even just the quickest text or carving out one hour for a phone call every couple of months keeps our friendship strong. And then, when I come back home each winter and summer, we pick right up where we left off – of course, there’s always a quick update about whatever happened that semester and then it’s off to our next adventure in the wild Midwest! So, you might not ever be as close as you once were and you might unfortunately stop talking to some people completely but chances are you’ll find that your best friends stay close to you – just in a different way. And then they become one of the best things about home.

 

I encourage all of you prospective cadets (especially Class of 2019 – R-Day is in less than a week! Gasp!) to start thinking about what your friends mean to you. Think about the support they’ve shown you, the excitement they had when you decided to leave home for the Academy, and the good times you had with them. Be prepared for loss – it comes with the appointment – but also be grateful for those people who love you and will be there to welcome you home. You’ll come to realize even more acutely than you did before just how integral those few people are to your life.

 

More about Abby.

 

Awesome Summer Adventures

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Coburn Photo I cannot believe that it has been almost one year since I arrived at the Academy for R-Day last June. The time has really flown by and I am learning so much about the Coast Guard each and every day. Right now, I am on South Padre Island, Texas at a small boat station with another cadet. So far, this experience has been awesome. At first I was a little nervous but the crew has been very welcoming. They are always helping us and teaching us new seamanship skills. South Padre is one of the busiest stations in the country; not only have we been able to see how the Coast Guard works during real search and rescue missions, but we have actually been able to participate and it is incredible.

 

The weather down here is amazing. It has not dropped below 80 since we arrived and the beaches are great. We are allowed to go out and explore the island and, since it is so small, almost everything is within walking distance. We are at the station for two more weeks and then we will be flying back to New London to board Eagle. On Eagle, we will be travelling down to Philadelphia for the Tall Boat Show, which will be really cool, and then we will be cruising down to Bermuda (I am really excited for that part). It is going to be a lot of work but most of my friends are going to be on the same phase so I will be able to see them all again! Toward the end of July, we will end the voyage in Boston and then I will go home for three weeks of leave. On August 16th, I will report back to the Academy for my 3rd class year. I cannot wait to be part of Charlie Company and meet the new 4th class. To all of you soon-to-be-swabs out there: good luck this summer, have fun and try not to worry too much. Y’all will do great!

 

More about Mimi.

 

Life in Texas

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Auzenbergs Photo Life in Texas We are already three weeks into summer training and I cannot believe how much we have learned! I’m at Station Port Aransas in Texas with three other now-3/c cadets and we’re working on earning our Communications Watchstander qualification. Earning that would allow us to answer the radios and phones for distress calls or general calls from anyone that may need assistance and stand watch for the station. Though it may seem straightforward, there is a lot that goes into this job such as knowing the proper way to respond to a search and rescue mission, bomb threat, overdue vessel, or just how and when to check on any of the vessels that may be underway. To me, the biggest part that went into preparing for this qualification was learning the AOR or area of responsibility. The station has a large map that spans their entire AOR and each member who is comms qualified must be familiar with all the bays, channels, fueling stations, islands, peninsulas and more. It’s pretty difficult when you are brand new to the area like us, but I realized how important it is when I got a call from a woman trying to explain where she was stuck based off her surroundings because, without that knowledge, I would not have been able to help her!

 

Beside what we do at the station, we are able to get off work and go into town, which is a blast. We go to the beach, out to dinner, ride our bikes around town, shop, and explore the nature trails. This afternoon we are getting ready to go parasailing! It has been a great experience so far and I’m going to be sad when these last two weeks are over… but then it’s on to Eagle for six more.

 

More about Gabrielle.

 

Hello From the Thetis

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Daghir Photo Hey, how are you?! I am emailing you from the bridge of the USCGC Thetis! I have been really busy out here with my classmate and best friend, Hanna! We have been underway for a little more than a week and I just wanted to check in with a little blog entry. We both just qualified Quarter Master of the Watch, so we can finally take part in the watch rotation.

 

So first things first: I can't believe that I am a first class cadet. It seems like such a short time since I signed up to blog in 2012, a fourth class, with bright and wide eyes, lost in the first year of my cadet career. I was excited and nervous and worried that I wouldn't make it to be cadre and forget about being a firstie! They were the cadets exuding confidence, ready to take on the fleet and the world. They could drive cars and go to Panera for dinner on almost any day of the week. It was like watching a dream, or a unicorn, some mythical creature that I wasn't sure was really real. But here I am, my shields are blue, and I find myself completely surrounded by the big blue, underway, firstie summer.

 

I think that even though we weren't underway for the first week, that was probably the most challenging and overwhelming. This is because first impressions, although they can be forgotten over time, are paramount to the initial reaction people have toward you, especially for cadets going into the fleet. I think that the Coast Guard as a whole, although excepting of cadets from the Academy for summer programs, is also very cautious when they arrive. As a cadet, you are handed the responsibility of building relationships with enlisted so that, over the summer, a mutual respect is forged that will build from seaman-cadet into more valuable ones, like chief-officer. If there is one thing that being on a 270' has taught me, it is that these boats are not that big and everyone on board has a purpose, one that is vital to the success of mission execution and safety. We need to build trust, prove ourselves worthy of that respect and also show that, as future officers, we respect the Coast Guard family and are familiar with the jobs of all on board the cutter.

 

When you report to a cutter, be it for your firstie summer or your first billet after graduation, you have to be humble, ready to learn, and appreciative of all that the crew does to welcome and teach you. I have learned so much just from listening and watching and standing watch with non-rates, all of whom work extremely hard and are expected to do so much for the unit.

 

As a cadet this summer, I see the enlisted side, and the officer side, and also the keel, the balancer, which is the chief's mess. The chiefs pulled me aside and taught me that all junior officers and even senior officers must depend on the experience and knowledge of the chiefs to help them run the cutter. The chiefs are a connection between the officers and the rest of the crew. And this chief's mess has been incredibly accepting of Hanna and me and they have already taught us so much but they are fair and also let us know when we have made a mistake.

 

I couldn't tell you if I was ready to put a 270' down on my wish list next year because I'm not sure that drug busting and migrant interdiction is for me but I am open to it. My goal for this summer is to learn, have fun, mature and start to edge into the next stage of my Coast Guard career. If time passes as fast as it has for the past three years, I am sure that next summer will be here in a blink!

 

I will try to update you some more and I hope everyone is having a great summer!

 

2/c Summer Part 1: 100th Week

(Overcoming Challenges, Life as a Junior Officer, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Ritchie Photo When most college students finish their finals, it is a relief. The end of finals week means either going home to see family and friends or going on vacation. Not for us. 2/c summer begins with 100th Week, which marks the halfway point in our time at the Academy (200 weeks). There are some great videos on YouTube that explain it but basically the Company Commanders (CCs) from Cape May, New Jersey, where enlisted Coast Guard members go through basic training, visit the Academy to train the 3/c for the cadre role that they will fulfill later in the summer.

 

On the Monday morning after finals, I was woken up at 0500 to yelling and strangers banging on my door. The voices screamed, “Get out on this bulkhead right now!” My roommate and I ran into the hallway and braced up into the position of attention against the nearest wall. Girls were yelled at for hair and earrings that were not within regulations and guys were yelled at for not shaving. It was like Swab Summer for the rest of the morning; we were given objectives and punished with exercises when we didn’t meet them. It was a lot better than Swab Summer for me though because things were explained to us. We didn’t do anything without a reason. They yelled at us to remind us how it feels. They were harsh with uniform inspections to remind us to respect the uniform and get us out of just going through the motions.

 

Throughout the rest of the week, it became more of a learning environment. The CCs would pull a few people aside to run inspections or incentive training sessions. This gave us the opportunity to practice being cadre and develop a command presence. It was a very valuable experience for future Swab Summer cadre.

 

We also spent time in the classroom working through team-building activities and developing leadership philosophies. I met with the other Eagle cadre, who I will be working with this summer, to come up with a description of how we want to lead and train the Class of 2019.

 

The week ended with a group run, a leadership reaction course and a surface rescue mission. The leadership reaction course provided each of us with the opportunity to lead a small group of people to find a solution to a problem. For the surface rescue mission, we broke into groups and used maps to locate life-size 100-pound dummies and carry them miles to reach a base area. Each task was challenging and brought my classmates together in ways we hadn’t experienced since Swab Summer.

 

Friday afternoon, we renewed the pledge we took on R-Day and earned our 2/c shoulder boards and the privilege to wear civvies (normal clothes).

 

More about Sarah.

 

Transition to 2/c Year

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Glick Photo So here we are one day before becoming second class (2/c) cadets. That means in one day we become upperclassmen, we are allowed to wear civilian attire, and are granted a much more liberal liberty. I am typing this while wearing a red cadre shirt. It’s unreal for us but also for the Class of 2015 as they watch us take the reins of leadership and pack their trunks to prepare for their graduation. Only two years ago we were their swabs; that time has gone quickly. Some officers and chiefs around the Academy have moved up a paygrade since I’ve been here, so that is validation that I’ve been here for a while! The days have been slow but the weeks and months have gone by extremely fast.

 

This past week marked 100th Week, which is the halfway point for our class. The Cape May Company Commanders, or the petty officers and chief petty officers who run the enlisted boot camp in New Jersey, instructed us on the basics of leading the new cadets who will arrive on June 29. The first day of 100th Week, we relived our swab lives—taking orders, sounding off, and being pushed physically. As the training progressed, we transitioned into a more instructional environment when the Company Commanders took a back seat as we led each other. Preparing for Reporting-In Day, some of us acted as cadre while others acted as swabs. It was strange yelling at our own classmates but it was part of the process of learning how to address swabs on R-Day. I tried to think back to my cadre, and the maxim that “you will never feel that you are as good as your own cadre” held true for me—it was extremely difficult keeping up the intensity and giving instruction, but we will get better as it as we get closer to R-Day. I did however find it hilarious that I caught myself practicing the same mannerisms and verbiage that my cadre used on me when I was a swab. For the remaining two days, our class completed a team run, conducted land navigation, and worked through the leader reaction obstacle course on a Connecticut army base. It got me pumped up and was a great reminder that I am still a member of the military after a lax 3/c year.

 

3/c year is very laid back and is probably the “least military” out of the four years at the Academy. This is for a good reason—it is the most academically challenging. Sadly, we are saying goodbye to many shipmates before recommitment on Friday. After 3/c year, cadets need to decide if they will commit to serving after completing two more years at the Academy. This past semester was especially difficult and it was the first semester at the Academy that I did not make the Dean’s List. In my last blog post, I mentioned that I switched my major from Government to Management. I was better at writing papers, as this makes up the bulk of work for Government majors but the Management major has many more tests and math-based courses. I wanted to challenge myself and I sure did with the math courses. I did not come close to the academic standard that I upheld during my previous three semesters at the Academy, but I learned the most. To gain acceptance to the Management major, the main hurdles are Financial Accounting and Probability/Statistics. I failed a few tests in both of these classes but I still made it out alright in the end. The way I see it is that while these classes were rough, I learned a lot and it will now allow me to take electives in what I really want to dig into as a Management major. I can’t wait to take electives linked to the required Organizational Behavior (OB) course I took this semester. I discovered that Organization Behavior is something I am good at, and something that I enjoy studying. I look forward to taking classes in OB and Human Resources in the fall.

 

3/c year was indeed an academic struggle. It was information overload with more than 20 credits in the fall. I began to stress over the fact that I probably would be out of the running for a Truman, Marshall, or Rhodes scholarship, which I was actually working toward with professors. But then I realized that I just need to do my best and that what’s really important is learning for the sake of learning. I didn’t come here to win a fancy scholarship—I came here to commission as an officer in the Coast Guard. My biggest mentor at the Academy and my former company chief, AMTCS Cain, reminded me of this when I was stressing out at midterms. He told me to hold on to what makes this place important: receiving a commission in another two years. No matter how it gets done, it will get done and nobody in the fleet will care if I had a 2.0 GPA or a 4.0 GPA. Still, I want to get as high of a GPA as possible because that’s just who I am. Regardless, my future subordinates and superiors will only care if I can lead and be led and have the organizational skillset to be a team player in today’s Coast Guard. Indeed, it is this attitude that I will strive to embody as I take on the role of cadre for the incoming Class of 2019 in late June. Failure is inevitable at this institution and the incoming class needs to understand that failure is the best producer of success—we can only succeed by learning from our past failures.

 

More about Will.

 

Beautiful Kodiak

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Corcoran Photo When I heard I was going to be sent to Kodiak, Alaska for the summer, I won't lie – I was anticipating a cold, long summer. I was not expecting to have all of these unforgettable experiences and stories to tell! So far my summer has been great onboard the USCGC Munro, which is a 378-foot Hamilton-class cutter home-ported in Kodiak. Prior to arriving in Kodiak, I had never been to Alaska. I have to admit, it is a gorgeous place! The mountains are beautiful and I feel like I'm constantly looking at a painting – not actual nature.

 

While in Alaska, I have learned a lot about what life will be like as a future Coast Guard junior officer. It definitely will have its challenges but I have also found the work to be very rewarding. I'm excited for my future career and this summer definitely has solidified my decision to become a Deck Watch Officer after I graduate from the Academy.

 

I have had time to explore Alaska while I've been here. Unfortunately, it has been mostly foggy and overcast or raining since we've been here but there was one gorgeous, sunny day that we spent visiting the beaches of Kodiak. The views were outstanding. We also hiked what the locals call the easiest trail on the island called Old Women's Peak. Sadly, we definitely looked like old women hiking it. Needless to say, we took many breaks.

 

Right now, I am out at sea on the Munro seeing what life is like underway as a junior officer. While most of my time is spent working, we have gotten to do many fun things as well. So far I've caught a halibut almost half my size when we had a fish call, I have gotten to shoot one of the ship's guns on Memorial Day, and yesterday all of us cadets helped make pizza for the crew! It has certainly been a great experience that I will never forget.

 

I can't wait to see what the rest of my summer is going to be like onboard the USCGC Munro!

 

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to email me at: Samantha.E.Corcoran@uscga.edu.

 

More about Samantha.

 

Station Ketchikan

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Eshleman Photo As of May 20, I am finally a third class cadet! Fourth class year is over and the excitement of summer training has arrived. On May 9, I departed the Coast Guard Academy for Station Ketchikan in Alaska. It has been an absolutely fantastic experience thus far. I just passed my watch communications board, which means that I can stand radio watch here at the station and I am beginning to work on my boat crew qualification. I have gotten to experience helo operations with a helicopter that flew from the air station in Sitka, Alaska, and also tactical training with the 45-foot response boat - medium (RB-M) and the 25-foot response boat - small (RB-S), along with a variety of other things. The crew here has been incredibly helpful.

 

Outside of work, I have visited multiple hiking trails, including the 3,000-foot trail that goes to the top of Deer Mountain, right behind the Coast Guard barracks. The crew keeps telling me that the weather in Ketchikan is usually rainy but I have only witnessed sunshine since I arrived. I feel very lucky to have been here for the nicest weather all year! I have seen bald eagles, orca whales, and salmon and hope to see a black bear before I leave. Next stop for me is USCGC Eagle. I will be on Eagle for six weeks as we sail along the East Coast. I am excited to see my classmates again but sad to leave Alaska. These first five weeks are flying by, and I am thrilled to see what the rest of the summer brings.

 

More about Hannah.

 

Alaskan Summer

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Schroeder Photo Hello from Kodiak, Alaska! I am spending my summer on the USCGC Munro, a 378-foot white hull cutter along with four of my friends from the Academy. So far it has been a pretty cold summer (40s-50s) but also a beautiful one. I have seen so much wildlife including otters, bald eagles and whales! And have been able to go on a bunch of hikes and trails as well. Currently, I am underway in the middle of the ocean somewhere and life aboard a ship is hard work but also very rewarding. I have learned a lot so far and have even had the chance to drive the ship, fish, and shoot some of the ship’s guns.

 

The Academy is a difficult institution to graduate from; classes are hard and the extracurricular activities including military obligations can be strenuous. Our summers at the Academy remind each cadet what the ultimate goal is: to commission as an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard. These summer experiences give us a glimpse of what we can look forward to. For me, I only have a year left, so this summer the officers and enlisted on my boat are treating me as if I was already a junior officer. They have given me many tasks to complete while still standing watch and maintaining the plan of the day. It has been busy but I also think this experience is going to teach me a lot (I have already learned so much in three weeks!) and prepare me to be the best ensign I can be.

 

More about Jade.

 

Adapt and Overcome

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Auzenbergs Photo It still hasn’t hit me yet that 4/c year is officially over. These 315 days since R-Day flew by in a whirlwind of emotions and experiences and, without wasting any time, we’re now being shipped out to every corner of the United States for our summer assignments! Two classmates and I are headed to Corpus Christi, Texas to work at Station Port Aransas for five weeks. We boarded the bus at 0330 on Saturday morning, excited to see the station, meet the people we will be working with, and for our full day of travel from Providence to Texas.

 

Unfortunately, it is now 1130 Sunday morning and we still haven’t gotten on our last flight connection from Dallas to Corpus Christi! Major thunderstorms and tornado warnings in Texas last night caused our flight to Dallas from Philadelphia to be delayed and standing in the window of the terminal B21, we watched our last connection from Dallas to Corpus Christi pull out onto the runway. After a few hours on standby for the next flight that was at 2230, we were told there was no more room, and that it was the last flight of the night. We booked new tickets for a 1030 flight the next morning and decided there was no way we were sleeping in the airport that we had just spent that last six hours in (especially in our trops because our bags with extra clothes were in limbo somewhere between Dallas and Corpus Christi), so we got a hotel room for the night and after being up for 20 hours and slept like babies. In the morning we woke up to thunder and lighting, and without much hope, headed back to the airport around 0800 for the 1030 flight. No surprise at all, we found out that it had been cancelled, so now here we sit, back in terminal B21, praying that the 1200 flight that we got seats on will bring us better luck!

 

To me, this whole situation is a sort of reminder of what we are doing here. Whether it be at the Academy, our summer assignments, or in the fleet as officers, this is a job, not a vacation, and it is not supposed to be easy! That doesn’t mean there aren’t going to be plenty of fun and unique experiences, really cool port calls or incredible locations that we may be assigned to, because there will be! But it is all one massive learning experience, and I have no doubt it is going to be worth it in the end. The Coast Guard is all about reaction time, adjusting to changes on the fly, and overcoming any issues that may arise! So far, I think we’re doing alright.

 

More about Gabrielle.

 

Stress Comes in Waves

(Academics, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Ritchie Photo At the Academy, stress comes in waves. Sometimes you have control as if you’re perfectly balanced on a surfboard riding over the waves. Other times, it seems like everything is coming at you at once and you’re drowning in work.

 

April put me in that drowning state. It was a challenging month for me, as I planned the 3/c formal, worked on numerous end-of-semester projects, took my last few tests, and then prepared for finals. It was that last push of the semester. I knew that the summer would come soon and they say that 2/c summer is the best one at the Coast Guard Academy. Still, it was so hard to find the motivation to finish the semester strong.

 

At the beginning of April, I was working on planning the 3/c formal. I had signed up to be on the planning committee and although it ended up being a lot more work than I expected, it was so rewarding to see my vision come together. The week of the formal was really stressful because other events in Leamy Hall prevented my classmates and me from setting up decorations until the night before the dance. It was a scramble to get everything set up but it was truly beautiful to see my class come together to get it all done and make Leamy look and sound amazing for the dance.

 

Throughout that week and the next few, I had tons of group projects to finish. Most of our professors assign us projects at the end of the semester to give us a way to pull together what we’ve learned and as an opportunity to boost our grades.

 

It was a relief to get to finals week, which provides us with a lot more free time than most other weeks at the Academy. The only things we have to focus on are studying and moving out of our rooms. 4/c and 2/c move their stuff into the trunk room and pack for their summer assignments. 3/c and 1/c move their stuff into other rooms for the summer or temporarily until graduation, respectively. Although it keeps us busy, it is mindless work that is a relief after taking a final.

 

The day after finals week, we start our summer assignments. I’m so excited to see what this summer holds for me in all the training programs on the itinerary for my class. As we learn to become cadre and grow into our role as 2/c, a new wave of stress will crash and we’ll take on the responsibility of training the Class of 2019.

 

More about Sarah.

 

The Regiment

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Glick Photo Looking out the library window today, and accidently stumbling across a pile of admissions materials while on watch, I am thinking back to my first visit to the Academy in the spring of 2011 as a high school sophomore. I remember peering into the new quad looking at the cadets in formation, and I wondered why they were all standing there in the hot sun in complete silence.

 

Since I am standing Library Duty Officer today, which is infamously long, I thought it would be a good opportunity to discuss how the Corps of Cadets is organized now that I understand it.

 

At the bottom, the 4/c are the lowest of the low. 4/c have just come out of Swab Summer and are learning how to adapt to the demands and excitement of Academy life. 4/c spend much of their time studying for their indoctrination board, which is the examination of one year of Coast Guard and Academy knowledge. 4/c stand regimental duty as orderlies, meaning they do the cleaning in Chase Hall and message carrying from the Commandant of Cadets, Company Officers and everyone in between. They stand in the back of formation, and they have no stripes on their shoulder boards. They are the unsung heroes of Chase Hall.

 

Next up are the 3/c who are responsible for ensuring the development of the 4/c and are also assigned many other collateral responsibilities. 3/c stand watches as the Library Duty Officer, Junior Cadet Duty Officer in the watch office answering phones, and make “pipes” or announcements over the Chase Hall intercom. They are responsible for signing 4/c up for duty and take accountability of the company’s 4/c. 3/c also stand a rotating watch of their respective companies during meals along with a rotating 2/c cadet. 3/c cadets have one diagonal stripe.

 

2/c cadets mark the divide between underclass (3/c and 4/c) and the 1/c. 2/c cadets stand duty as Admissions Duty Officer, Assistant Commander’s Duty Officer in the watch office, company night watch on weekends, and Leamy Hall Duty Officer. 2/c also stand watch as Cadet in Charge for morning and evening colors. There are eight designated company Guidons, who carry the Company Guidon at formation and ensure the proper indoctrination of each company’s 4/c. Working for them are three masters-at-arms (MAAs), who act as assistants to the Guidons and who are also responsible for 4/c development. Guidons and MAAs are not part of divisions but are accountable to department heads and their respective Company Commanders. There are also two Regimental Executive Assistants, one for the Regimental Commander and the other for the Regimental Chief of Staff.

 

1/c are the highest ranking cadets in the corps. They range from having one stripe to the lone six stripes at the top, the Regimental Commander. One and two stripers stand duty as Company Officers of the Day, meaning they take accountability for their respective company. The Regimental Commander oversees the whole of the corps and acts as the corps’ representative at official functions.

 

Under the Regimental Commander is the Regimental Chief of Staff, who is responsible for the planning and oversight of the Regimental Staff Officer who has five stripes and works with the Regimental Executive Officer who oversees the eight company commanders. The Regimental Executive officer also has five stripes.

 

Each of the eight companies is headed by a four striper Company Commander, who writes standing orders for company watch standing and works with their company officer, a Lieutenant or Lieutenant Commander, who coaches cadets in their development. A three striped Company Executive Officer assists the Company Commander with running the companies.

 

Two striped department heads lead up their department. There are 24 departments in the regiment, for a total of three in each company. Each company is responsible for different things, e.g. Hotel is responsible for morale and community service and Delta is responsible for drill and ceremonies. There are approximately six divisions in each department, headed up by a 1/c cadet with one stripe.

 

The division is the fundamental unit of the Corps of Cadets. Division officers ensure that the work gets done by their subordinates and also stand watch along with department heads as Company Officer of the Day, ensuring each company’s order is maintained.

 

So, that’s how it’s all organized.

 

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