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cadet blogs

Yelling To Be Heard

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2014) Permanent link
Anderson Photo For Coast Guard Academy incoming swabs, summer is filled with yelling. For cadre, it is too. Eagle Cadre, however, have a different take on the yelling involved with Swab Summer. For us, we yell to be heard. We yell so that commands are clear and understandable to those on all masts. We yell so that safety can be guaranteed. We yell as a part of learning to lead.


Over the course of the past three weeks, I have struggled alongside my classmates in learning how to follow the lead of our classmates, as well as lead our classmates, all while having a division of swabs under us. As we reflect on the time we were given, we came upon a multitude of successes, as well as some things to work on as we continue to sculpt our leadership styles through the next two years at the Academy.


We realized that when we were underclass, there was always a cadet above us telling us what needed to be done. When we donned those white shields, all of a sudden we became the taskers. We became the ones the swabs come to when they don’t know what to do. We became the ones responsible for knowing where they are, what they are doing, and ensuring their safety. We stepped into the shoes of leaders, and took off running.


At the end of the day when we consider our three weeks in this leadership laboratory, we did alright. We didn’t lose any swabs, or allow anyone to get injured, and every swab as they were leaving the boat said they had a positive first underway experience. We as a cadre team learned to work in a cohesive and effective manner, allowing for tasks to be completed nearly seamlessly, and in a competent manner. We even learned to take control in a variety of situations, and use the wealth of information and variety of perspectives to our advantage.


Showing up for our first phase, there was a general confidence amongst the cadre section in our ability to lead. We all had a fairly rigid set of boundaries set for how we wanted things to be with our swabs, planned to follow our anticipations, and we did. And it’s not that we were unsuccessful the first week, but we came to the realization that we weren’t the most efficient leaders we could be. Only then did we really begin the learning process; the process of learning about ourselves, our various leadership styles, and really how to lead others.


After our first phase, however, I think it’s safe to say we realized how much we still had to learn. As we entered the second week, we brainstormed the most efficient manners in which to convey information, while allowing safety and an enjoyable environment to persist. Through that week, we recognized our strengths and weaknesses as leaders, and made goals to work on for the next week.


Through our third week, we worked on smoothing out the bumps in the road we encountered, and generally enjoying our last week onboard. We ensured the swabs were doing everything they needed to, learning and having fun, and spent the week getting to know them especially well. The last week’s swabs had already completed sea trials, thus signaling the conclusion of their Swab Summer, therefore that were the week when we were most able to be ourselves around them.


After our final week, we looked around and took a moment to reflect. We realized how much more efficient we had become as leaders and classmates; how cohesive our team structure was in its functioning, and most of all—how we had all come together to trust each other and our abilities to deal with problems in the most proficient manner possible. When we look back on our cadre summer, I think it’s safe to say that most of us, when we remember yelling, will remember not yelling at swabs to instill discipline or information, but yelling simply to be heard.


More about Meredith.


A Couple of Eagle Sea Stories for Ya!

(Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Martin Photo One of my experiences was the first day our division got Helm and Lookout qualified and me and my friend Collard were standing at the Helm for the first time by ourselves. We saw the Captain come up to the bridge and then the XO and we knew something was about to happen. All of a sudden, XO grabs something from the bridge and throws it overboard and starts yelling “Man overboard, port side!” The wind is blowing with a slight sprinkle and we look to each other with the “Uh oh” face. The OOD yells, “Helmsman, full left rudder!” Mind you, the wheel to turn the rudder has no hydraulics. Full rudder is a command to take the rudder thirty degrees to the left which is usually a six man evolution and it was just the two of us… We arrived at twenty degrees barely hanging on for our dear lives, Collard was squatting up as hard as he could and I was draped over the wheel trying to budge it any further and it wouldn’t move a bit. Our arms started to spasm and just before we let the wheel a spinnin’, a big seamen jumped on the wheel as well as a couple others and saved our lives. We felt that in the morning, but we also rescued the man overboard in record time!


Later on during that time at sea, my division had Watch on Deck duty which is keeping the sails trimmed or setting or dousing sails to keep the ship going the correct speed without calling all hands on deck to fix the sails. At the moment, we were going 15 knots, just shy of Eagle’s max speed of 17 knots. We were having 40 knot gusts and were listing over at about 35 degrees. We were told we had to furlough the royal, which is the sail at the very top, about 150 feet above the water. I am quite afraid of heights and the conditions didn’t help the situation. I said I wouldn’t do it, there’s no way I could make it. My division was short staffed and they eventually needed me to go up in order to accomplish the task. I was not happy to say the least. On board, we are allowed to listen to music every once in a while and my division had been listening to B.o.B.’s “Don’t Let Me Fall” the past couple days while on watch so as I climbed 150 feet in the air all I could do was sing the lyrics, “What goes up, must come down, don’t let me fall.” Usually you climb on the outside so you don’t have to climb with your back to the ocean so that way if you slip or fall, you fall on the ropes and not in the ocean. Except this time, they told me I had to climb on the inside, so there I went, climbing up 150 feet at a 35 degree angle coming more and more afraid of heights as I clambered up. I made it to the top with a few slips and a couple slideshows of my life flash before my eyes, but I did it! I survived! I had never been so happy to touch those teak decks. It was an amazing feeling to know what I had just accomplished and the fears I conquered, but once is enough for me.


More about Matt.


Idaho, Maine, Connecticut

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Bilodeau Photo I had three glorious weeks of leave this summer, half of which I spent in Idaho with my boyfriend and the other half in my home state of Maine. I could not have asked for better weather in either location. This summer I felt very adventurous on leave; I went zip lining, jet skiing, and hiking a few times. I went blueberry picking and boating; I saw my grandparents, cousins, and aunt and uncle, and I ate my favorite Maine foods.


Now it is nearing the end of a relaxing time on leave and I am getting nervous to go back to school. It will take a little time to get into the swing of things. I am ready to get together with the volleyball team and practice hard for a great season. I am excited to see my friends and head to a new company with a new roommate and be on the forth floor in Hotel. I am not so ready for the academic stress and waking up at 0600 every morning but after a few days my body will remember how it feels.


I am glad it is finally 3/c year and I cannot wait to listen to music out loud, play the Wii after I finish my homework, and walk like a normal human through Chase Hall. It will be a great privilege to gain our rec gear and earn Friday night liberty. I am even excited to take more classes related to my major and really have a great start to 3/c year.


More about Christina.