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Phase I of Firstie Summer!

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Wu Photo I cannot believe I am already a first class cadet at the Academy and the Class of 2018 is reporting in. Similar to third class summer, firstie summer is spent out in the operational Coast Guard. For my first phase, I got the chance to be on CGC Venturous, a 210’ cutter out of St. Petersburg, Florida. A female classmate of mine and I met the cutter mid-patrol in Corpus Christi, Texas and from there we went underway to Cozumel, Mexico and then back to home port in Florida. I enjoyed the experience on Venturous and found it very beneficial. Before my first phase, I had almost no exposure to the operational fleet since I was on Eagle for part of my third class summer and then at the Naval Academy on their Yard Patrol boats. I remember one of the first things our Executive Officer told my classmate and I when we first reported to Venturous was the importance of being a “sponge.” I kept that in mind throughout the phase and got a lot of hands-on experience being on a 210’. As a firstie, the main difference this summer from third class summer is that as a third class you are treated as a Junior Enlisted so you do a lot of manual labor and saw the physical tasks involved in running a boat. As a first class, my classmate and I were given a stateroom to stay in and treated as a Junior Officer. We shadowed the officers, ate in the wardroom and oversaw all the decision making that maintains a functioning boat and crew. It was a lot of hard work and long hours on watch as we got qualified as Navigation Petty Officers of the Watch (NPOW) and Basic Damage Control Practical Qualification Standards (DCPQS). We were also given the opportunity to conn the 210’ (give orders on how to maneuver the cutter) in man overboard drills. It was interesting to see and experience everything we learned in the classroom. During the drill, for example we saw how the surface area of the cutter played a factor in helping recover the man overboard dummy faster.

 

Our time in Cozumel was a great break from being underway. My classmate and I got to go dune-buggying as well as scuba diving. It was an amazing port call and it refreshed the crew for the last leg back to home port. It was inspirational to see a Commanding Officer work for his crew. He was always taking the crew’s best interest to heart, looking for good port calls and when the crew needed a break, the CO had a very well-timed swim call as well as a couple of low key days that allowed crewmembers to catch up on sleep. Once we got back to home port, we got a week of stand down (which means, unless you have assigned duty, you do not need to be on the boat). It gave the crew time to spend with their families and be at home. During that time, I got to explore the beautiful St. Petersburg. The other cadets and I also got to a little trip to Disney World for a few days. We definitely made the most out of our five-week phase; learning as much as we could from the crew while having fun along the way.

 

 


More about Ellie.

 

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.