Skip Navigation Links
FacebookFlickrTwitterYou Tube
<< August 2015 >>
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31          

cadet blogs

Being Responsible for the Fourth Class

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Williamson Photo I have started my third class year and it feels great! After a long and productive summer of training, I feel more confident in my own abilities and also I know my classmates better. If there is any advice I can give someone, it would be stick out your fourth class year, because by your third class year you feel like you’re part of a huge family. I am already having a lot of fun and it is only the first week. It is strange to have a fourth class who I am responsible for, because just last year that was me and it’s amazing how far you can come in one year. Learning how to lead and communicate my ideas to the fourth class is the first step in my development as a leader. I am going to try to be very connected with my fourth class and see how that style works.


With convincing from my friend, I decided to try rugby this season. The team is made up of a bunch of great guys from every class. It has only been a few days and I already feel welcomed. It is going to be a great season and I am excited to learn a new sport.


I am continuing in corrosion research at the Academy, too. I have a pretty busy schedule this year but I will still find time to work on my projects. I am hoping to get some new fourth class to join me this year so, moving forward, we can have a solid research team. Also, I have started classes in my major, which means that school is going to be a lot more interesting. I have Physics, Marine Biology, and Meteorology all in a row and I am actually really excited for those classes.


Now, all that I need to do is get through this academic year!


More about Cody.


Returning to a New Role and Extracurricular Activities

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Eshleman Photo So, I am finally back at school after a long, adventurous summer of sailing on Eagle and working at Station Ketchikan, Alaska. The school year is kicking off with Cadet Administrative Processing (CAP) week. I have gotten my schedule, which consists of a heavy load of science and math. I am super excited to begin my engineering classes, although slightly nervous. Coming back after fourth class year, I was not sure what to expect. Getting greeted for the first time by a fourth class stunned me. But I am excited to fulfill my place in the corps as a “role model” and I hope that I can be as good of a third class to my fourth class as mine were to me last year. I am also going to do my best to hold myself accountable and not fall into the “under the radar third class” slump.


Fall sports are starting up and I am participating in Triathlon Club for the first time. I am running my first triathlon this upcoming weekend! The team has been extremely welcoming. I have always loved long distance sports, so I am enjoying the sport thus far. The best thing about the Coast Guard Academy is having the opportunity to try new things, and I am attempting to take full advantage of as many of the options that are available while I am here. Glee Club is going to be very busy this year. I am in three singing groups: Glee Club, Fairwinds, and the Octet. Fairwinds is reworking their sound right now and we are attempting a new style of music. We have been singing the same songs for many years, so it is time to move on to some new pieces. Overall, this is going to be a very hectic year. There is a lot to learn before next summer when the Class of 2020 comes, and we will have to take on the mentor role of cadre. I am hoping to prepare myself as best as I can throughout the 2015–2016 school year.


More about Hannah.


July: The Eagle Experience

(Just for Fun, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Coburn Photo As I am writing this, I am one week into my summer leave and two weeks away from my 3/c year at the Academy. To say that the past 11 weeks out in the fleet were exciting would be an understatement. Leaving South Padre, I was excited to see my friends from school, but also sad to be leaving all the awesome people that I met while at my station. The Coast Guard is truly an amazing community and I learned that firsthand while in Texas. After a day of travelling to the Academy, a night of no sleep and then a bus ride leaving the Academy at 4 a.m., we arrived in Staten Island, New York. There we were able to catch glimpses of the other half of our class leaving as we shuffled onto Eagle in our trops with sea bags over our shoulders. We were given the lowdown and attended safety briefs before they granted us liberty, which meant we were allowed to go out and explore New York City. After leaving New York, we sailed for a little over a week down to Philadelphia for a tall ships festival. During that week, we encountered a storm that tore our main course sail. It was around 6 a.m. and the emergency sail stations alarm went off. This created a whole lot of chaos in a room of 15 sleeping girls. We all got dressed as fast as we could and reported up to our masts. It was pouring rain and thundering and lightning. Luckily, we were able to take down the sail and the situation didn’t end too badly. At the time it was not a very fun experience, but it gave us some good sea stories to tell while giving tours in port.


It was really cool coming into Philadelphia because we got to see the other tall ships and there were a lot of people watching us pull in. While on liberty we were able to tour our sister ship the Sagres and many others in the area. After Philly, we had four days underway before we reached Bermuda. On the 4th of July we arrived at the beautiful island of Bermuda. The water was a gorgeous clear blue and the weather was perfect. We had three days on the island and they were filled with (many) trips to the beach, shopping in the small towns, and tasting the different cuisines. I had one day of duty when I gave tours and it was really interesting because the question that I was asked a lot was what it was like to be a woman in the military. Many of the people that came on board were from different countries and the idea of women in the military was very unusual to them. After Bermuda, we sailed 11 days to Maine and finished up getting our qualifications as well as passing the Damage Control Test. We completed our journey in Boston and while I was going to miss seeing my friends every day, I was very excited to be heading home. Eagle was a lot of hard work and the sleeping situations weren’t ideal but it was a great bonding and learning experience for the Class of 2018.


More about Mimi.


How We Wound Up Back Here

(Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Chang Photo We ended up pulling into port two days early, which meant two extra days of exploring Seattle… not a bad deal. In a city full of coffee shops and galleries, I spent those days drinking espresso and observing art, seemingly being cultured while in reality I was buzzed from the caffeine and Washington atmosphere. Then, I extended my stay in Seattle to hang out with two of my best friends, where we climbed Washington’s Mount Rainier, went to Portland and splurged on movies. I didn’t want to leave the West Coast but my home is New York. I spent two weeks with my family, exploring museums and parks and getting my Chinese food fix. My cousins drove me to the Academy on the 15th and that’s how we wound up back here.


The main difference this year is that I’m in a new company. Personally, it’s a little unnerving because I’m pretty awkward but everyone’s really friendly and I have a good division. In a way, I can relate to the new fourth class more because we’re both in the situation where we’re surrounded by new people and a bigger role than what we had before. It’s not unlike the first few days I was on USCGC Mellon; it just takes time to get used to your surroundings. Other than that, things are going great and we have the physical fitness exam (PFE) this afternoon. Can’t wait!


More about Olivia.


A Cadet Summer

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Kimura Photo There’s summer, and then there’s a cadet summer. Here’s a warning; be prepared for a summer of travelling, getting dirty, climbing, new people, and experiences to share.


Five, six, three. Five weeks on CGC Eagle, six weeks at Station San Francisco, three weeks of leave in Hawaii. The first five weeks I spent on Eagle we cruised the southeast coast and the Caribbean. Of the port calls in Key West, Florida; Nassau, Bahamas; Norfolk, Virginia; and Staten Island, New York, surprisingly, one of the most memorable experiences was in Norfolk. Harbor Fest just ended so the nightlife started to die down. At 9 p.m., a group of us still wanted to enjoy our last hours of liberty before getting underway again. As we walked the empty streets around town, we found a small hole-in-the-wall concert venue. Without any idea of the music playing, we paid our $5 to the doorman but apparently the regular price was $30. Walking through the entrance felt like stepping into a time machine. Neon lights, legwarmers, frizzy hair, engulfed in the lyrics “Whoaa-oh, we’re halfway there-er!! Whoaa-oh, livin’ on a prayer!!” Good thing I recently became an 80’s music fan so I recognized all the songs played that night. We walked onto a gem in the middle of Norfolk that turned into the best $5 spent.


The most unexpected events sometime make the best experiences.


More about Amy.


Sailing Through Summer

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Wright Photo Hi, everyone! So I know I haven't written in a while but I'll blame it on the amazing and crazy busy summer I have been having. I went on Eagle for two weeks and then came back and did Summer Ocean Racing (SOR) for the next five, which was an awesome experience. There were nine cadets and three coaches on the team. We sailed our J44 Glory in a number of races around New England; including the Newport to Annapolis race, New York Yacht Club Annual, and Block Island Race Week. Anyway, I am just going to give a quick list of the many things I learned/did during SOR.


1. Sailing is fun but overnight racing in the Ocean is amazing.


2. Changing sails at 2 a.m. is routine.


3. Clothes never completely dry out.


4. Falling asleep to dolphins squealing is really cool.


5. How to cook chili when the sailboat is heeled 20 degrees, as well as through a tack.


6. Everyone becomes one great, big family.


7. Hot chocolate tastes best late at night on watch.


8. That I get paid to do awesome stuff.


9. 16 knots is almost planing speed.


10. Diesel in the bilge will not clean itself.


11. Diesel and tropical-scented Dawn soap is a very interesting combination.


12. Sunsets/rises on the ocean is one of the most beautiful sights ever.


13. Clean sheets and a stationary bed is another of the most beautiful sights ever.


10. Hard work pays off!


Summer Ocean Racing isn't for everyone, but I had an amazing experience and can't wait to do it again next year!

More about Erin.


Summer at Home

(Academics, Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Schroeder Photo One of the most coveted things while attending the Academy is to go home. The Academy, and its summers, can be very strenuous (but still fun) and often cadets do not have the chance to go home very much. Being from Montana, I get to go home only twice a year: during Christmas and summer leave periods, so I cherish every moment.


After spending the summer in Alaska, which was a lot cooler than I thought, it was nice to come home. Montana is more of a desert climate, so it can get above 100 degrees in the summer, yet down to the -40s in the winter. It has been a hot summer here, so as soon as I got home, I was able to spend time on the lake with my family. I also took a camping trip to Glacier National Park with my family, and of course have had the opportunity to see and hang out with all of my friends from home.


Although being home is nice, being at the Academy causes cadets to change and mature in a lot of ways because they are away from the comforts and securities that family can offer. Being at home is pretty eye-opening because it can show just how far you have come and how much you have matured compared to the “traditional” college student. The Academy simply gives you opportunities and experiences that other schools cannot, and makes you step out of your comfort zone quite often. So, although being home is enjoyable, I actually can’t wait to go back to school, see my friends, start the rugby season, and start my final year of school.


This fall is going to be busy. I’m taking some pretty difficult classes (organic chemistry, biochemistry…do I need say more?) and I am captain of the rugby team so I will have a lot on my plate. Even though it looks like it might be a tough semester, I’m still excited to go back to see all my friends because, at the Academy, friends are family and everyone creates a huge support network to help each other out. I think that is one of the biggest silver linings here – the lifelong friendships that you build. There really is nothing like it.


More about Jade.


A Look Back at January

(Athletics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Williamson Photo Second semester just started up and we are all back into academics. As much as I love going to class every day, I am going to miss being home. Christmas break was our first long break from the Academy and my time at home was amazing. Although it felt strange to have nothing at all to do over break, I needed the relaxation.


During this upcoming summer, I will get to function in the operational Coast Guard and get real experience on a cutter and, of course, on the CGC Eagle. I am hoping to get assigned to the CGC Healy, which is a 420-foot icebreaker that goes up into the Arctic to break ice and conduct research. While it may not be as thrilling as chasing down drug smugglers in Florida, I am excited to be exposed to icebreaking operations, which is unique in the fact that this is a classic Coast Guard job helping out the American people by keeping shipping lanes and ports open. In addition, I will be exposed to science and the beauty of the far north. It should be a great time!


I decided to join track and field, and I am getting my butt kicked. Apparently sitting on the couch and eating Christmas candy is not the way to get in shape for track.


More about Cody.


Leading Ourselves, Leading Others

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Keeley Photo Happy Coast Guard Day! I am almost done with my 1/c summer and must say that I am surprised by how much I’ve learned about life in the fleet. My summer began on CGC Waesche, a 418’ cutter out of Alameda, California where I spent 10 days afloat for a proficiency cruise. This is just a trip for the cutter to ensure that its crew knows what they are doing and how to properly drive the ship before it goes out on a long patrol. From there, I attended a one-week leadership program called Rocky Mountain High, a Christian program consisting of hiking, camping, rock climbing, and whitewater rafting in Colorado! Finally, I made my way onto the 270’ CGC Tahoma where I am as I write this. The Tahoma is currently underway but I am not allowed to say where. I’ll just say that it has taken me to a place I have never been before and have greatly enjoyed.


It’s definitely been a busy summer bouncing from place to place. The main lessons I am taking away, however, are not simply what to expect on a Coast Guard cutter. Rather, I’ve learned many valuable lessons on how to enter the real world after hanging out with ensigns as they arrived at their new units. I was able to help many of them move into their apartments, get settled, and figure out how to check into their units. Many issues arose that I would have never thought to prepare for. I have seen everything from not being able to prove that you receive a paycheck from the Coast Guard, to checking into your apartment when your roommate hasn’t submitted their paperwork and has essentially locked you out, to regular insurance issues.


The Academy may prepare us to lead others but we also have to be ready to lead ourselves and to face stressful situations with courage and ease. My former shipmates all handled themselves very well when, if it were me, I would have been quite panicky. One ensign was told, on her way to her new apartment with her belongings in tow, that she wouldn’t be able to move in for another two months. She was forced to live in a hotel for 10 days, find a storage unit for her things, and then stay the rest of the time in her room on the cutter right up until it went underway. She had only about two days to move into her apartment when it was finally ready before having to leave for three months. Yet, she is doing fine now and has learned a lot from it. Things come up that are completely out of our control. As future officers and leaders, we just have to accept what happens, try our best to remedy the situation, and stay positive for everyone around us.


I never expected to take so much away from this summer. I can’t say I feel completely prepared for life after the Academy but am more aware of what to anticipate and now know to prepare for the uncontrollable. Finally, the last lesson I took away is pretty obvious but still ignored by many. That is to use your friends from the Academy. Everyone is going to have issues and those issues may seem like the world to them until they realize they have a support system of friends dealing with the same things. Many, if not all, of the new ensigns I was able to hang out with made it through their troubles with the help of their classmates and family. I love knowing that I will have a support net under me when I leave the Academy. Until then, we can all make the best of it this year!




More about Melissa.


Already Missing Mom

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Daghir Photo Good evening from the Mother Thetis. I'm not sure where the "mother" came from but my guess is that it follows the mythological story: Thetis is a river goddess, originally admired by the gods but when a certain prophecy is unveiled, they drop her, and wed her against her will to a mortal. Long story short, Achilles is her son and she gets mad that he is not of the gods, so personally dips him into a magical River Styx (holding his heel). His good buddy and brother-in-arms is Patroclus. These are, in fact, the two names of our ready boats: Achilles and Patroclus. So now that you’ve had a nice little history lesson, I will get onto the good stuff.


Okay, in 10 days and a wake up, we will be moored up back in Key West, and Hanna and I will be set free for three weeks of leave before we begin our very last year at the CGA. It's hard to believe and amazing that we are so close to the end of our summer training.


It's time to put in our Cadet Evaluation Report bullets to the ensign evaluating our summer training and I was surprised by all of the great things I came up with. I have to say that leaving the Thetis is going to be really bittersweet and even though we were underway for our entire summer training period, I don’t think we could have had a better time. Hanna and I have saved a sea turtle; interdicted drugs; traveled through the Panama canal; stopped in Central America; and seen water spouts, lightning storms, sharks, whales, dolphins, flying fish, shooting stars, a meteor, jumping sting rays, sunrises, sunsets, boat launches, boat chases, helicopter takeoffs and landings, a sloth, and a hot dog eating contest! I qualified Quartermaster of the Watch and Basic Damage Control, and am still working on Advanced Damage Control and underway OOD. We learned our way around Panama City and tasted some weird Costa Rican fruit. We had a swim call (in the same water as the sharks) and dressed out for every firefighting drill all summer. Hanna and I played trivia on the captain's team, and we managed to keep the mood light wherever we were and whatever we were doing. I had a really great summer and am so happy to have spent it the way I did. I would consider going to a 270' next year but I think I'd rather go to Boston (I don't think I've stopped sweating since I got off the plane in Key West). I earned a total of five nicknames, fell out of my rack once, messed up most of the pipes I made, and met a lot of really cool, experienced, helpful, caring people who love doing their jobs and being in the Coast Guard, all of whom took me into their home and taught me all they could in two months.


So, I have to say that this year is off to a good start. I am excited to lead the Regimental Review Department of Delta Company and to play lacrosse and cheer for the Bears (and fit in some time for school), but I am already missing the Mother Thetis and know that while I'm in some random class this year, my mind will wonder what she's up to.


My Love of Aviation

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Roesch Photo So it has been forever since I’ve written an entry, but it has all been because I’ve been so busy! My 2/c year flew by and before I knew it, I became a 1/c cadet. Wow…that is something I never expected to say (at least so soon)! Life really turned around after 2/c summer and became exponentially better – so much better that time is just racing right by! Even now as I’m writing this entry, I only have one more week left of my 1/c summer training. The next time I will be doing actual fleet things will be after I graduate and am an ensign – now THAT is a scary thought!


This summer has by far been the greatest experience I’ve had as a cadet. I’ve been at Air Station New Orleans for the past month and absolutely love life. Last year during my 2/c summer in the Cadet Aviation Training Program (CATP), a one-week “intro” into aviation, I really fell in love with flying and it got me super motivated to become a pilot. I remember thinking while I was there, “This would be really awesome to do for my 1/c summer!” Now having checked that box and experienced pilot life I can say wholeheartedly, “This would be really awesome to do for my entire career!” Needless to say, I will be applying for flight school once the firsties start putting in their billet choices. The possibility of being at an air station and being involved with the aviation community makes me so happy and excited. How many people can say that about their job right after graduating college?


I could literally talk forever about how much I love flying and aviation, so I will just leave it at that! Aside from that, I’m looking forward to heading back to the Academy and starting my final year as an undergraduate. It has been a long time coming (since I went to college for a year before coming to the CGA) and I’m ready to move on! But I look forward to all of the milestones 1/c year will have. It will be the last year I am in such close proximity to my friends, so I plan on taking every opportunity to enjoy the time I have left living next door or right around the corner from my best buddies. I am still in disbelief. I am writing this entry because I felt like my time at the Academy would never end, but now I can really see the light at the end of the tunnel and I cannot wait to start my next adventure.


More about Allie.


The End of the Beginning

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Daghir Photo Greetings from the Thetis! I know that you may think the title of this blog entry is a little wacky; normally people use the opposite of these chronological terms, but hear me out! I am coming up on the last 20 days of my Thetis adventure. At this point, I have become comfortable with the crew and the boat, aware of most of the evolutions that occur underway on an Eastern Pacific ocean patrol, and all of the moving parts finally connected in my mind (at least on a basic level). I have stood break in watches from the engine room (oiler and security), up to the combat/intelligence side, up to the bridge, where I have spent the majority of my time (as Quarter Master of the Watch, OOD and Conn). Because I went to summer school my third class summer, I was never before immersed into shipboard life that will most likely be mine in the coming year. The largest success of my summer, if not seeing a live sloth in the Panamanian rainforest, is my level of comfort and familiarity with life afloat. This "great" success may come across as menial, but living in 270 feet in the middle of the ocean with over 100 souls is not something to which most people are accustomed. Standing watch every eight hours and participating in damage control drills, as well as fulfilling collateral duties certainly makes the time pass quickly, but takes some getting used to. I also try to still be creative and stay active in my fitness and intellectual indulgences (working out and reading/writing). I am beginning to get the hang of it and will certainly appreciate the scheduling secrets I have found here next year.


I do plan to go afloat next summer. I have enjoyed my time on Thetis and have made relationships and connections that I believe will be long lasting throughout my career in the Coast Guard. I have to say that the crew is incredible. Every day, their kindness and willingness to improve my time on board, or to teach me something new, has astounded me, up from the seamen and firemen, to the petty officers, chiefs, and officers. I have been continually surprised, I am pleased to say, by the help I have received, the advice I have been administered, and the concern and legitimate interest I have been shown. I have fun standing watch, finding myself laughing harder than I thought possible at things that only the four people on the bridge would find funny, probably because we were standing up there for hours together, sweating through our ODUs, teaching new crew members how to steer the ship and find contacts. I have learned more than I probably did all semester, or at least it feels that way. For the past two months, I have been drinking from a fire hose of knowledge, and it hasn't stopped yet! If I am lucky enough to get a crew half as good as the one on the Thetis, I will be more than happy with my ensign billet. I guess I just never expected the crew of my firstie summer cutter to actually care about my cadet-self enough to teach me something, and to give me an unforgettable experience. It seems sentimental, and I have time on board yet, but even from this point, I can see the advances made in my professional persona. I am excited for my next year of school because I'll finally be able to drive on base, take on some responsibility, continue to take classes (that I have already used a lot in the fleet this summer: waves and tides, meteorology, nautical science, and even creative writing). I have to say that if time skipped this year, and I was suddenly an ensign on board a cutter, I would feel comfortable with that and eager to get my career going. It will be weird going back to school where the rules will seem remarkably strict and at times silly and the consequences different from now. In the fleet if you make a mistake, you will be chastised by a chief, or an officer, scolded, and will be a little embarrassed, learning your lesson through mentoring and example. At school, we get demerits, sometimes without a lesson learned.


Sorry for the lengthy entry, but I have a lot to say on the matter. Through it all, I wouldn’t change a thing because from this extremely diverse summer experience, I pull a greater understanding of what I have in store for me when I finally make it to graduation. So full circle: this summer has been and is a window, from which I can see what lies ahead. I have been awarded a taste of freedom and responsibility, of what I am actually training for as I spend one last year trudging from academic building to academic building, going to corps-wide lectures and taking the PFE, this is what is coming. And I think I like it. And I'm excited to start for real.


From the (Far) East to the West

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Chang Photo Konichiwa! It’s currently 2200 in Yokosuka, Japan. We arrived onboard the USCGC Mellon two weeks ago and are currently in port. On the underway side, however, the Mellon is probably the coolest thing I’ve seen. It was overwhelming at first, this 378-foot long boat built in the 1960’s but, once you get the hang of it, it’s sort of like exploring Hogwarts. You know how in the first Harry Potter book, Harry, Ron and Hermione end up in the dungeon with Cerberus? Well, it’s sort of the same concept minus the three-headed hellhound. It’s a big boat with an awesome crew and as long as you stay out of the bilges you’ll be just fine.


One of the reasons why I was put on board the Mellon was for translating purposes. I wasn’t expecting to be doing much of that since we were going to be near Japan, but I was proven very wrong. As it turns out, there are two Marines who speak Mandarin as well as two Chinese Naval members. So far, we’ve come across three Chinese fishing vessels; two of which I’ve assisted with in translating on the radio. Even though I’m not qualified to go on an actual boarding with the Marines, it was really cool to be a part of the process and interact with the Chinese vessels.


But let’s backtrack a little bit and go back to a few weeks farther back…


After leaving Norfolk, Virginia (we got to see a Plain White T’s concert and went on a Brazilian tall ship!), we made our way up to New York for the Eagle change-of-command ceremony, where our previous Commanding Officer, Captain Pulver, was relieved by Captain Meilstrup. We anchored right by the Statue of Liberty and saw some awesome fireworks along the New York skyline. Being from New York, ending the phase there really hit close to home (no pun intended); especially since it was my first time seeing the Statue of Liberty (I’m also a horrible New Yorker).


After that, the seven of us going on the Mellon were put on a 15-hour trip from Connecticut to Japan. Personally, Eagle really helped with managing jet lag because it warps your sleep schedule to the point where a 13-hour time difference is the same as having midnight watch, perfect with a cup of black coffee.


But I digress; our time in Japan so far has been nothing short of amazing. When we first arrived, it was still in port so we were able to walk around Yokosuka. The first day we did some community service and hung out with some Japanese students on the Japanese battleship, the Mikasa. On the second day, a few of us cadets took the train to Kamakura, where we explored the shrines, temples and had some delicious green-tea-Oreo ice cream. We also had the opportunity to climb the famous Mount Fuji; all 3,776 meters of it. It was five hours of wind, rain, and volcanic trails, but we made it to the summit! Next port call we’ll be returning to Mellon’s home port, Seattle, Washington. I’ll let you know how it goes!


More about Olivia.