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cadet blogs

2/c Summer – Best Summer at the Academy Yet

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Engelhardt Photo Wow! A lot has happened since my last blog post in early March. I finished my fourth academic semester at the Academy, found out that I will be going on exchange to the Naval Academy for a semester of study in the fall, and have completed the first half of my 2/c summer training at the Academy. Time does fly! Before beginning the “summer term,” I was told by several upper-classmen that 2/c summer was the best summer by far at the Academy, and am happy to report that they were most defiantly right!


Because the rising 2/c cadets (equivalent of a junior at a civilian college) are the only students on campus for the first half of the summer, we had to move rooms while the rest of the corps moves out of the barracks for their summer tour in the fleet. It was strange moving out of my normal home in Hotel Company back to my old stomping grounds in Delta (where I did my 4/c year) for the summer, but it was definitely nice to catch up with friends in that wing area that I don’t see as often during the school year.


After the rest of the corps had left the Academy we began our first week of summer training: 100th week. Marking the midpoint of a cadet’s career at the Academy, during the week Cape May Company Commanders (think Marine drill instructor but Coast Guard style) come to the Academy to train the soon to be 2/c in becoming effective cadre that will train the swabs (incoming cadets). The week resembles a brief return to Swab Summer (our version of boot camp), but during the period we also learned a lot about effective leadership and became much closer as a class. At the end of the week, we had our formal promotion from 3/c to 2/c cadets, retook our oath to uphold and defend the Constitution, and received the privilege of civilian clothes and weekend shorts (meaning you can leave the Academy on Saturday and not return until Sunday). Although a slightly stressful week, I definitely took away from the week some quality lessons on leadership and self-discipline.


Following 100th week was range week, where my classmates and I were able to qualify as pistol marksmen. This marked the first time I had shot a pistol and it was cool to learn tricks and pointers on shooting from the range personnel. Also during this week the Class of 2014 graduated from the Academy. It was a neat experience for me to be part of the graduation ceremonies, and it gave me a moment to observe what I will be experiencing in just two short years.


"2/c Summer - Best Summer at the Academy Yet (Continued) PDF 



More about James.


So Many Different Experiences…All at Once!

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Driscoll Photo This summer has been amazing. I spent the first half in Washington, D.C., and the second half in Newport, Rhode Island (life could be a lot worse, but I’m just happy that I haven’t been assigned to the middle of nowhere in Texas or Alaska!)


Yesterday marked the end of my second week aboard CGC Juniper, a 225-foot oceangoing buoy tender home-ported in Newport. I reported aboard in the middle of June on a Saturday, had two days to hang out with friends and get used to living on a boat, and then Monday hit.


That first Monday morning, we got underway at 0800 for a full week of buoy-tending. I was so overwhelmed at first: I didn’t know where anything was, or how anything worked! I definitely felt like a fish out of water. I slowly got my feet underneath me and figured out shipboard life, which was good, because I didn’t have much time for anything else after standing watch on the bridge for 12 hours a day! I love being on the bridge though. You can see so much, and I really like how the junior officers get a lot of practice steering the ship. One of my classmates and I got the opportunity to practice our ship-handling skills during man overboard (MOB) drills; it was cool to take something we’ve practiced on the Thames River in Nautical Science lab classes and apply it to “the real Coast Guard.” MOB drills are much easier when you have thrusters in your bow and stern that can move the ship sideways! (I’m really happy though that my classmate Justin Davis and I didn’t “disqualify” in the MOB contest, unlike some of the others!)


My first week came to an interesting close when we almost hit a submarine outside of New London, and then saved a sea turtle! We had a really close call with a submarine on the surface as it was transiting toward New London, and Juniper was returning to Newport. The bridge team hadn’t realized until the last minute that the small black dot near the water was actually a submarine: our commanding officer ordered emergency backing bell (emergency astern) to avoid a collision at sea. That was scary but really cool! Just two hours later, we saw a leatherback sea turtle tangled in fishing line. We deployed our small boat and helped untangle the sea turtle. The feeling of helping a helpless sea turtle is unparalleled!


My second week aboard Juniper was just as busy as my first. I spent the week working on the deck, with the non-rates who maintain the buoys that Juniper services. Buoy tending is dirty work, but I enjoy it. I had the opportunity to “shoot the tube:” crawl inside a hallow whistle buoy to scrape the marine life out of it, but I panicked when I got inside the tube. I hope we have another whistle buoy to service before I leave, so I can conquer my fear! I have a newfound respect for all the work and dirty stuff the “deckies” (the non-rates in the deck department) do. I look forward to seeing what the next week brings!


I will write more about what I learn in a later entry. Until then, as always, contact me at if you have any questions or comments. Finally, having celebrated my three-year anniversary of R-Day last Friday, I want to wish the incoming Class of 2018 the best of luck! I hope to see all of you in the fall!



More about Peter.