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cadet blogs

All That The Enlisted Do

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Zwenger Photo During June I was at Station Ponce de Leon, which happened to be a better experience than Eagle. Looking back at it station life it was really fun. I was about a five-minute walk from the beach and got liberty 4-5 days a week, and while I was at the station I learned a lot not only about the Coast Guard but about the enlisted workforce as well. A lot of the work that the enlisted do goes unnoticed by the public, which is partly why I’m writing about it now. Although we were only there for five weeks, they taught us all they could in that time period while maintaining their course of work. Honestly, the amount of work they do and the great experience I had cannot be described with words, but only by experiencing it. So, sorry for being so vague but all I can say is that I had a great, no, an amazing experience which I wouldn’t have given up for anything.


Just some shout outs to Master Chief Jensen, MK3 Vandeven, and SN Davern, and the rest of the crew at Station Ponce as they were the ones that taught me the most and made my experience worthwhile. That’s all.


More about Spencer.


Different Challenges, Different Endgame

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2014) Permanent link
Rudy Photo When I returned from leave, we had a week of preparations and then the swabs arrived. We were all very excited, but also a little nervous. R-Day went extremely well I was nervous that I would have trouble keeping a serious face, while correcting swabs and yelling at them, however the role came naturally and the next two weeks of Swab Summer was exhausting but went by extremely fast. It was a lot of work, and I was getting sick from a nasty cold and just exhausted. I never thought being a cadre could be harder than being a swab, but it was, the challenges were just different.


My next week of training was the aviation training program which was extremely enjoyable. We had a lot of free time and were able to sleep and recover from the craziness of Swab Summer, and eat lots of good food. I also loved the helo hoist, where a rescue swimmer came and picked us up into a helicopter and we were given a lollipop at the top.


The next two weeks, I was involved in the coastal sail training program on the brand new Leadership 44s. This was probably one of the most challenging and beneficial experiences I have ever had at the Academy. I learned a lot about both myself and working with peers. It was challenging at times to agree and be on the same page with my classmates, as eight of us were crammed onto the small boat for two weeks straight. We got really close but at the same time, we got tired of each other.


The last week of training consisted of T-boats which was where we learned how to do man overboard drills, dock and leave the pier. We also got to try the simulators, it was a fun, relaxing week.


The summer finally ended with our last week of Swab Summer. I couldn’t believe that the summer flew by so fast. Swab Summer ended a bit early because of a rainstorm, which was a huge bummer but I was ready to have a break from the yelling and high intensity of everything and I think the swabs we trained are definitely ready for the school year, and I was so proud to have trained them, it felt like they were my kids all grown up!


More about Megan.


Time Flies!

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Wu Photo Time truly fries. More than a year ago I completed Swab Summer! Over summer leave I was with my two fellow shipmates enjoying New York City and our break from the Academy when we relived the very same day last year we were going through our grueling last day of Swab Summer also known as Sea Trials. I am amazed a year has past by so quickly and I am looking forward to this year.


Summer has been more than I expected it to be. I got the chance to be on Eagle for six weeks, which was more fun than I had anticipated. I got to get a lot closer with my classmates especially since during the school year I did not get the chance to mingle with people outside of my isolated company on the 4th deck. It was especially hard for 2015 to get to know our whole class since we stayed in the same company since Swab Summer. It was nice to meet, work with, and learn with new people on Eagle and also enjoy the War of 1812 Commemoration. I got to see a bunch of tall ships as we traveled together from Savannah, Georgia, to New York City for Fleet Week, to Norfolk, Virginia and then ending in Baltimore, Maryland. Although it would have been nice to travel to Europe or the Caribbean like the class of 2014 and 2013, however this experience was unique since you never really get to see all these tall ships together in one place. There were tall ships from around the world, from Indonesia to Ecuador and Columbia.


After phase I, I got the chance to go to the Naval Academy and experience their Yard Patrol ships. They are around 108 feet and since there are fewer crewmembers there were more responsibilities for the cadets and the midshipmen. Through my experiences on the YPs I got the chance to get more familiar with navigating and plotting 3 minute fixes. We were given roles that the 1/c on Eagle, like Conning Officer and Navigator, were responsible for so it was a bit intimidating at first, but rewarding when we succeeded. I got to explore Annapolis with four other Coasties and we enjoyed the little town outside of the academy. The Naval Academy itself was a gorgeous campus and really big. We got to stay in Bancroft Hall while we had trainings about the YPs and met a lot of midshipmen. I enjoyed my experience at the Naval Academy, but the experience also made me realize how much I appreciate being at the Coast Guard Academy because of how small and intimate the service is. I like how people at the Coast Guard Academy actually know each other and genuinely care for one another and the incoming class.


Now, coming back from summer leave and relaxation and being at home with my friends and family, I get the chance to be a role modeler for the class of 2016. As the academic year gets started I have a lot of goals for myself, but I also want to help out the 4/c as much as possible. Being in a small academy, you get close to your company and within a week I have learned a lot about the 4/c in Alfa Company and really care for them and hope that they are able to succeed. Now as a 3/c, I get the chance to help my 4/c the way my 3/c helped me and if so, even more. I remember the feeling of support when I was a 4/c and knowing that people around me are helping me get through the first hard initial year at the CGA.


I am looking forward to a fresh start with a new academic semester, being in a new company with a new roommate in a new room and no longer being a 4/c!


More about Ellie.