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cadet blogs

From Station to Eagle to Home and Back to the Academy

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Cantrell Photo What a summer I had! I left the Academy on May 5th to go to a small boat station, Station Georgetown in South Carolina. It was an amazing experience and I learned so much. The crew at the station was so helpful and taught me so much about life in the fleet. I was able to go out on the small boats almost every day and participated in multiple training evolutions. I was also able to go down to Sector Charleston and speak with officers to learn more about sector life and what operations go on there. The exposure to the Coast Guard I got on first phase was incredible. It showed me that this is the service I want to be a part of and how lucky I am to be part of this family.


After six weeks in South Carolina I headed to Baltimore, Maryland to board the USCGC Eagle. We sailed for two weeks up to Boston, which was an awesome experience. Underway was very exhausting with little sleep and constant work, but it was well worth it because I learned so much and got to interact with different people working in different departments. We stayed in Boston for about a week, which was really nice because we had liberty and I was able to see the city. I also went to the Blue Man Group and it was the highlight of my time in Boston; I recommend it! Once we left Boston we sailed down to New London with Admiral Papp the commandant of the Coast Guard, which was a really unique experience because he hadn’t been on Eagle since he was the commanding officer. We departed from New London and headed up to Halifax, Nova Scotia, which was a week and a half underway. Halifax was a very neat city and I would love to go back and visit more. The best part of Eagle was getting to know my classmates so well. I got close to a lot of people my 4/c year, but once on Eagle you have more time to talk with your friends and classmates and you get to know everyone so well. I had a great group of girls in my berthing area and made some really great friends.


After a successful summer experience in the fleet I flew home to Florida and was able to spend three weeks of fun in the sun. Leave was very relaxing; I did something in the sun every single day and hung out with friends and family. It’s fun to go back and see how the first year went for all of my high school friends. I even went to the University of Florida to visit my brother, which was a great time, but made me realize that I would not want to be at a university and I am so happy I am in the Coast Guard and attending the Academy.


The corps came back on Sunday and it has been pretty hectic around Chase Hall. It is very different being a 3/c and realizing that you don’t have to square corners or meals or do clocks. It is a good feeling to say the least! I am all packed in so I haven’t been too stressed. The academic year starts on Monday and I am nervous, but I know it will be a good year and I’ll get through it. I’m really excited to see what this year brings after an awesome summer!


More about Sara.


3/c Summer

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Kearney Photo Wow, it has been quite a while since I have written one of these. A lot has happened since my last entry. At this exact moment I am sitting in an Amtrak train, my ear buds jammed in firm as I listen to a new album I just received from one of my best friends back home. This is the normal setting I am in when I start thinking I should write another blog. Summer leave expires tonight and it has been an eventful summer for sure.


Oh, where to start? Summer began with my first airplane trip (not counting any from when I was a wee youngin’) to the great state of Maryland. The first phase of my summer was to Station Annapolis, where I would be working alongside junior enlisted in various aspects of the Coast Guard. This included a lot of grunt work such as washing the boats, cleaning the station, and even leveling bricks in the front lawn. But this also included going out on the small boats nearly every day I was on duty with the crew and finally experiencing what it was like to be in the “real” Coast Guard. I even participated in helicopter operations in only my second day at the station. This consisted of a very nervous version of myself pulling onto the boat a rescue basket thrown from a Jayhawk many times. I also got to go out with the crew on many maritime events and witnessed many boardings.


Station life was great; on my free time I mostly ran in preparation for this upcoming cross country season, but I also went out a lot with cadet Hasbrook, who was also with me at the station. Since D.C. and Baltimore were short drives away, frequent trips were made there, as well as to the extremely beautiful downtown Annapolis. The Navy cadets are very fortunate in that regard.


The nice life at the station was about to end, however, when phase 2 of my summer arrived: USCGC Eagle.


Now Eagle has been a very interesting part of my cadet career thus far. The Barque Eagle is the three masted training prison, I mean vessel that most cadets are forced… I mean offered to sail on for five or six weeks of the summer. I’m just kidding about the prison part but Eagle is meant to be hard work. It was a great experience for all of us since it was the first time for many of us to be out at sea for more than a week at a time. While on the ship we all participated in sail stations, watch on deck work, engineering activities, support (which included making the food and/or cleaning the dishes) and my favorite, operations. Operations was my last week on the ship, and even though I got fairly ill that last week, it was great being up on the bridge where I could see exactly what was going on with the decisions about where the ship was going to go.


My favorite part about Eagle, besides being able to see dolphins, whales, sharks, turtles, and the sunrise and sunset in the middle of the ocean while standing upon any one of the three masts, was working alongside my best friends 24/7. Even though it has only been one year, I already have made lifelong friends, and Eagle definitely strengthened those relationships. Port calls were also amazing. We stopped at Boston, New London and Halifax, Nova Scotia. Boston was incredible; I would love to live there in the future. Canada was also a new, great experience. I would go back in a heartbeat.


And finally, the last phase of my summer was the much-anticipated summer leave. Summer leave was wonderful; I was able to finally hang out with my old high school friends and enjoy being with my family. But as I knew, three weeks would fly by, and as I have already said, I am still on this train, heading toward my 2nd year at the Academy. It’ll be another challenging year, but with all I have experienced so far, and with what is coming up in the future, I know it’ll be worth it.


More about Zachary.