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cadet blogs

Busy, Busy Summer

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Subramanian Photo I promise that I have an excuse for not updating my blog! Third Class summer was amazing! I had the opportunity to work on the USCGC Biscayne Bay, a 140’ icebreaking cutter out of St. Ignace, Michigan. The weather was always amazing and the experience was great. I was the only cadet on board, and I was the first cadet many of the crewmembers had ever met.


The cutter was in a “Charlie period,” a maintenance and renovating period during the boat’s offseason. I acted as a Fireman, the rate of a junior enlisted. I contributed in the renovation of the outside “non-skid” deck and the painting of all railings. I also spent a lot of valuable time in the engine room and motor room. Since I am an engineering major, I learned so much about the engineering side of the Coast Guard, spending time with the Machinery Technicians and Electrician Mates. I visited Air Station Traverse City, where I rode in a Coast Guard helicopter and overlooked the Great Bear Sand Dunes on the shores of Lake Michigan. I spent liberty in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I spent a lot of time learning many fun outdoor activities such as mountain biking, kayaking, backpacking, and fishing.


I spent five weeks aboard Coast Guard Barque Eagle with my classmates. We got onboard in Baltimore and made stops in Boston, New London, and Halifax. I consider myself fortunate to witness and be a part of Eagle’s Change of Command. The Change of Command ceremony is one that is very unique in the Coast Guard, where total power is transferred from one person to another.


Eagle was a wonderful chance to bond with my classmates in the lack of sleep, the copious amount of work, and the fun on liberty at different port calls. We learned how to work together as a team in many evolutions, like down in the engine room or on deck during Sail Stations. In Boston, I spent time with my classmates, visiting the Boston Aquarium and Quincy Market. In Halifax, we visited the famous casino and toured the very historic city.


I spent my three weeks of leave at home in Princeton, New Jersey. I was lucky enough to see many of my high school friends. I got to go backpacking at the famous Sourland Mountains and swam in isolated creeks and rivers. Though three weeks was not nearly enough time to fully catch up with my friends, I am excited to be at the Academy, especially for the start of the football and volleyball seasons. I will be attending most of the games and be a loud, enthusiastic fan that I am. I also am excited to mentor the incoming fourth class cadets in military aspects and academics. I am now a registered Peer Tutor, a wonderful opportunity to help fourth class get accustomed with the difficult homework and exams that the Academy gives.


GO Bears, BEAT Merchant Marine!!


More about Kevin.


First Hand Followership and Leadership

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Martin Photo I just arrived to Boston aboard CGC Spencer after two weeks underway and after four weeks on Eagle. It has been a really fun summer so far and I have learned so much. I learned a lot about myself, a lot about followership and leadership, and a ton about the Coast Guard. After New York City on board Eagle, we went for 10 days underway to Norfolk, Virginia for a few days in port there. We were all not looking forward to Norfolk, but it turned out to be everyone’s favorite port. The city had an amazing reception for the tall ships coming in and had so many activities for us to do in port. They had free concerts and free shuttles to malls, beaches, Busch Gardens, or waterparks and everyone had fun at all of them. The location of where we were moored up was the coolest, right in downtown Norfolk in the middle of “Harborfest,” a big maritime celebration that happens every year in Norfolk. After that short stay, we headed up the Chesapeake to Baltimore, Maryland, which was one of the coolest harbors to come into. It was tiny and I felt as if we weren’t going to fit, but we made it into the newly redone downtown Baltimore, which had a very old industrious feel with all the bricks and smokestacks. There were plenty of nice places to eat, walk around, and there was also the gorgeous National Aquarium with a huge shark exhibit, otter show, dolphin show, and much more. It proved why it was called the National Aquarium. I only got to spend one night in Baltimore because the next morning I was on a plane with two of my classmates back to NYC. USCGC Spencer was waiting for us in Staten Island.


We eventually made it after a surprisingly long day of travelling, and we left the pier the next morning to be underway for two weeks. It was good to see an operational Coast Guard unit, especially a cutter, which was a rare experience for my class. It is good to just sit back and see how people work. There isn’t too much for cadets to do onboard since we are not yet qualified so we usually get stuck with the bottom of the food chain jobs that take no mental capability. Usually they were not fun jobs, yet someone had to do them nonetheless. It was good to give the crew a break from these jobs, too, since they have to do them all the time. One of my favorite things we got tasked with was unclogging the sewage holding tank. Yes, it was just as much fun as it sounds. DC2 stuck a crowbar up the valve and there came 40 gallons of that lovely #2 all over my newly pressed uniform. So there I sat for the next few hours with a bottle of Clorox, a hose, and a rag, cleaning every nook and cranny in the engine room. I did take a three hour long shower after and enjoyed every minute of it, even though I still smelled afterwards. All these little jobs are good experience for us in our leadership development no matter how much they stink. We learn what the junior enlisted have to go through everyday and we learn an appreciation for what they do as well as every enlisted person on the ship. You get to hear what ticks them off and what makes them happy. You learn what makes a ship work and what can break a ship apart, besides icebergs. Also, with every interaction whether it be Coast Guard related or not, you learn what you want to be like and what you don’t want to be like. You learn about poor leadership and good leadership and it is a great learning tool to feel how each feels as a follower so when you are a leader, you know what to do and how to treat your people. I have learned more about myself this summer than I could have imagined. I saw what hard work gets you in the Coast Guard and the importance of our Honor Concept first hand. This summer puts everything you do at the Academy in perspective. You finally realize why things are the way they are, yet sometimes you find out that the Academy is its own beast that just sometimes doesn’t make sense. All in all, it was a great summer experience and I will bring everything I learned back to the Academy to build upon it, share it, and be an even better role model for my new 4/c.


More about Matt.


Coast Guard Alaska

(Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2012) Permanent link
Shih Photo ENS Shih here from Alaska! It’s gorgeous up here. Sometimes I kick myself for not putting those Alaska 110s higher on my billet list, because at this point of my life I could definitely live up here. JO life for me continues to just get more hectic and confusing, but some of it’s coming together…if that makes any sense. I am continuing to pursue my quals: Machinery Watchstander, Advanced Damage Control, Ship Rescue Swimmer…it’s pretty endless. The work is pretty endless too. Lots of collaterals (some which seem random), and assortments of tasks to do. I’m not going to lie, being a JO is not a whole lot of fun. It has its moments though, and a lot of it seems to be about attitude. I have my ups and downs every day, but my better days are when I stay focused and stay positive. A lot of this year reminds me of 4/c year…but a huge plus…we are making bank! I love my paycheck.


I am trying to think of the highlights from the past few months. RIMPAC 2012 was quite an experience. Naval war games with twenty some odd countries…pretty neat. After that, was exploring Alaska. Second time for me (went to Alaska my 1/c Summer), but like I said this is a pretty sweet place. Then the Commandant of the Coast Guard and Secretary Napolitano landed on our ship with some senators and our crew got to show off the ship to them. Now, we are off to the Arctic.


I’ll say this, I am not the biggest fan of being underway for five straight months. It could be a little shorter in my opinion, but there is upside. I am seeing and experiencing once in a life time opportunities, and after two years on the USCGC Bertholf I already know I am going to have a good number of sea stories. Who doesn’t like a good sea story?


Highlight of my Alaska trip so far has been able to see Kelly Francis! Her and my good friend Mike just recently got married (their wedding was amazing), and now they are stationed up in Alaska. Unfortunately Mike is underway and I missed him, but I saw the house and the brand new puppy, and I am sure the next time I am in the area everyone will be there!


On the Academy side of things…today is the first day of school at CGA. It’s a little weird that 2012 isn’t going back. Some of the 2011 Ensigns even said school should be starting today. I’m not sure how long it lasts yet, but CGA stays with you one way or another. Hope everyone’s first day went well, and I am sure as usual the school year will be an adventure.


That’s all for now, got to wake up soon and finish up fish school!


As always if you have any questions, please shoot me an email and I’ll do my best to answer! 


More about Chris.


May - August 2012

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Duplessis Photo Wow I had such an amazing summer! I left the Academy on May 5th and flew to Georgetown, South Carolina where I spent most of my time at the Coast Guard station there. It was a small station with four 25-foot small boats and one 41-foot utility boat. I had an awesome time working with everyone and being out on the water. I’ve always loved being on smaller boats so it was pretty exciting to ride around and learn about those specific vessels. The crew at the station was also amazing! They welcomed me and the other cadet right away and taught us probably more in those six weeks than I learned the entire school year. I also had the opportunity to go to Sector Charleston for a day and learn about what kind of jobs people do there.


After my month and a half in Georgetown, I boarded the Eagle in Baltimore. We spent around 23 days underway total and stopped in Boston, New London, and ended in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I was lucky enough to spend time with my family in Boston and give them all a tour of the ship. Although living on Eagle could be difficult at times (I roomed with 17 other girls!), I’m glad I had that experience, and had a good time onboard overall. It was pretty cool to spend five weeks there as opposed to one week last year because you really got to know the ship, crew and a lot of my shipmates. I loved traveling under sail and learning how the ship functioned. I also had a really fun division who all made it easy to stand any watch whether it was at midnight or four in the morning.


After Eagle, I got to go home for three weeks of leave. I live on the coast in New Hampshire, so naturally I went to the beach as much as possible! I love spending time with my family so I packed in as much time as I could hang out with them and my friends. I ended up going whitewater rafting with my friend, shooting with my grandparents, and surfing and paddle boarding with my family. It was pretty tough coming back to school after such an awesome couple of months, but at least I’m going back as a 3/c!


More about Lindsay.