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cadet blogs

What a Summer!

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Cantrell Photo Second-class summer was a great time spent with classmates, family, and friends. I learned so much about myself and my ability to lead. Although this summer is referred to as “cadre summer,” I would say my most memorable experience was not cadre related.


I started off by spending a week in the classroom learning all about the Rules of the Road. The next two weeks I spent sailing around the New England area with two other 44-foot sail boats. Each boat had one safety officer and a crew of six or seven 2/c cadets. I had an amazing safety officer who taught me so much about sailing and my leadership philosophy. Those two weeks I got so close to a lot of my classmates and was able to explore different areas of New England. We would depart in the morning for a full day of sailing, where each cadet would have a different job. We would rotate positions each day so that we could fulfill the leadership role in different areas of expertise. After a great two weeks of sailing, I headed to Elizabeth City, North Carolina with a group of eight second class cadets to learn about Coast Guard Aviation. We were able to fly in the C-130s and get picked up out of the water by a Coast Guard helicopter. In that week I became very interested in aviation and learned so much more about it.


After a perfect week of flying I came back to the Academy to get qualified on the range. Range week was unique and I had a lot of fun. It was interesting to learn about the different parts of a pistol and also nerve racking being able to shoot it. After the initial shock of being in a confined space with eight other guns going off at the same time, it was easy to focus on what you were doing and qualify.


As we neared the start of Swab Summer, cadre sections began preparing for the swabs to arrive. We cleaned rooms and made sure all of the issued clothes were put in the correct places. It was a lot of work to clean and buff fifteen rooms, but with teamwork we got it all done! At the conclusion of prep week with the company ready to welcome in the Class of 2017, I departed for leave. Home was wonderful and it was the just the break I needed. I was able to see and hang out with all of my friends and family. Three weeks was a perfect amount of time to do everything I wanted without getting bored. I was rejuvenated and ready to come back to begin my cadre experience with the swabs. I have spent two weeks as a cadre and it has been a great experience. I have learned a lot about my leadership style and the aspects I hold most important. I never knew I could get so many things done in a day and not realize how tired I was until my head hit the pillow and I was immediately asleep. Even though they are long days with frustration and responsibility, it has been the most rewarding experience yet. I am a waterfront cadre, which means I am down on the waterfront teaching the swabs the basics of sailing. Waterfront cadre was the best choice for me and I am so happy that I was given this opportunity.


Only two weeks of this summer left it is almost unreal. I don’t understand how time goes by so quickly. It seems like last week that I was packing to go on Coastal Sail and now I am preparing for the school year. This summer has been so positive for many reasons. Not only did I have the opportunity to indoctrinate the Class of 2017 into the military lifestyle, but I was also able to get so close with many of my classmates. This experience taught me more about my classmates and myself and improved my ability to work with others that don’t have the same ideas and leadership styles.



More about Sara.


Performance Enhancement Platoon Cadre

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Ulbricht Photo I had the privilege of being what we call a Performance Enhancement Platoon (PEP) cadre. It is a one-on-one incentive training session with a swab of the same gender. We take underperforming swabs, openly confront their major discrepancies, and give them tools to hopefully make them want to turn around and perform better. A lot of the time when people hear about PEP, they think big and scary people yelling at an underperforming swab the entire time. It is more of like a horrible hour and 15 minutes. For me that is not why I wanted to do it. I put in for it because I was intent on being part of someone’s improvement, rather than see them continue to fail and eventually give up. At the end of the day I can say that I was able to motivate someone to want to stay here. The hours leading up to PEP, I kept thinking to myself I hope I don’t say the wrong thing that pushes them to the limit that makes them quit. I am not one for quitting at all. I didn’t want it riding on me that I could have influenced their decision and ended their career. I thought carefully about what I would say that could break them down mentally but only enough that I still had time to bring them back up by the end.


What was most motivating for me was that I got to see that breaking point for them. All I had been asking for them do was sound off why they wanted to be here, what motivated them, and the Coast Guard Core values. Something clicked in their mind at that point. I saw tears, which to me did not mean “poor me, I’m getting yelled at” but instead that they were ready to start changing. That was when I knew that I could begin to build them back up, and start motivating them to want to start performing better. For their sake, I am hoping some of the things I said to them will stick in their mind as they finish out the summer strong, and end up being a strong link in the class of 2017.


More about Cameo.