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cadet blogs

Extended Opportunity 1/c Cadet

(Academics, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Quintero Photo The spring semester has finally come to a close! The last couple of weeks in the semester at the Academy are always very busy, because it seems like the professors throw all the projects and papers toward the end. I remember thinking at the beginning of the semester how easy school was, and I knew it meant that school would get harder toward the end.


A year ago when I was a 2/c (junior) I was preparing to go spend my summer in San Juan, Puerto Rico on 110-foot cutter. The experience I gained in migrant and drug interdiction was once in a lifetime. I am actually an “Extended Opportunity 1/c Cadet,” which in simple terms means I am a super senior!! Since I failed some classes as an underclass I was disenrolled from the Academy after my sophomore year. The Academy always gives cadets a chance to write an appeal to the disenrollment. Due to my extenuating circumstances going on at home, I was essentially given a second chance. So as long as I got better grades, I would be allowed to stay at the Academy. The experience of being disenrolled changed my life around at the Academy, it made me appreciate the Academy more and it also allowed me to mature. From then on I took my studies very seriously and strived to do better. As a cadet struggling academically, I ar was placed on “academic probation.” This meant that I had the same liberty of a 4/c (freshmen), wasn’t allowed out on Fridays or out past 1a.m. on Sunday mornings. The upperclass also keep an eye on your grades to ensure you are staying focused. All these measures are put in place for the cadet’s success. I am thankful to have the opportunity to extend and at the same time get more time to mature. Out of my class 7 students are extending. Some of us are a full year extension and others it is only a half year. We will have to do a lot of things over again, like our first class summer tour. I will not be going on a boat in the Caribbean this summer, but instead will spend my summer on a 270-foot cutter out of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The thing I’m going to miss the most about being extended is all the friends I made in my class but I can’t wait to join them out in the fleet!!


More about Carlos.


Summer Training: Ship Handling

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Stowes Photo Swab Summer is THREE weeks away. It is crazy to think that in 21 days, I will be training a new class of future officers. I can wait to get started, but in the meantime I have plenty of training myself. This past week, I participated in the summer ship handling program, which trains cadets the basics of seamanship aboard a 40-foot tug boat.


So what do I mean by seamanship? There is a lot that goes into it. For example, have you ever thought about starting a boat vs. starting a car? Unfortunately, turning on large vessels isn’t as easy as turning a key! There is a long checklist that needs to be completed before turning a T-boat on and getting underway. Throughout the week, we practiced other aspects of seamanship including: getting underway from the pier, docking, line handling, dropping anchor, driving the ship on the helm, controlling the throttle, and giving the commands to drive the ship. Most days, we would get underway to get practical experience on the T-boat. Then, in the afternoon, we would learn the theory behind it all, and then we would practice again on our simulators at the Academy. The simulators are cool because you can set up almost any scenario: getting underway, docking, and driving the ship, to name a few. The simulator was pretty cool and was very helpful practice.


That’s the summary of the T-boat program. The coolest part of the week was Wednesday, when my group spent all day underway. We went down to the boat at about 0800, and we were able to start it all by ourselves. Then, our supervising safety officer arrived and we got underway. I had the honor of getting the boat underway, docking it, and getting it underway again! Then, our safety officer threw a life ring overboard and screamed, “man overboard!” I was a little surprised, but I knew what I had to do because we had practiced man overboard drills on the simulator the day before. I had to turn the ship around to circle back to the life ring. Also, I had to be sure to get close enough to the life ring (at a slow speed) without hitting it. Then, we recovered the life ring with a boat hook. The rest of the day, we alternated commanding the cutter, anchoring, and man overboard drills. Around noon, we anchored the T-boat and had a swim call. We had the pleasure of jumping off the side of the boat into the freezing cold water. The water was so cold I could hardly spend a few minutes in it! After the swim call, we had a cookout on the deck and relaxed for a while. Then we got back underway for more practice. Overall, it was an awesome day. I learned a lot from the practical experience, and I enjoyed working with my group.


If you have any questions at all about the Academy, please feel free to email me at I look forward to hearing from you!


More about Hunter.