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An Incredible 3/c Summer

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Auzenbergs Photo This past summer was incredible! Starting off at a small boat station in Port Aransas, Texas for five weeks (see my June 2015 post for more), then off to USCGC Eagle for six weeks, and ending with three weeks at home for summer vacation. A few years ago, I would have never imagined spending my summer vacation in Texas, then sailing a 295 foot sailboat from Staten Island, New York, to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Bermuda, Portland Maine, and Boston, Massachusetts. Eagle was a lot of work, a lot of learning, and a lot of fun! Each port call was a blast, seeing the different cultures, cities, people, and giving tours of the boat that we called home for the time being. It was really cool to see how interested the tourists were in the history and inner workings of Eagle, and it made me realize how lucky we were to have the opportunity to spend so much time aboard.


The coolest memory for me of Eagle was sailing up the Delaware River into Philadelphia. I was on the port-side (left) bearing taker, which meant I was helping the ship stay centered in the river by the readings I was taking along with someone on the starboard side, and someone off the back. Standing there, we had a great view of all the boat, air, and land traffic. We were sailing in as part of a tall ships parade, so there were thousands of people lining the banks of the river, cheering, clapping and waving. We were rendered a cannon salute, for which we returned the honors, there were Coast Guard and news channel helicopters hovering above us to take pictures and videos, and fireboats from Sector Delaware and Philadelphia shooting water out of their hoses as an honor as well. We had cadets sitting in the rigging on the side of the boat to wave to the crowd and create an incredible picture for anyone close enough. The atmosphere was electrifying and the pride I felt was almost unbearable. Even just writing this now, looking back on the experience, I am getting chills. If anyone is interested in what the summer looked like from sea, I created a video montage of the summer aboard Eagle! Check it out by typing USCGA 3/c Summer Eagle into YouTube or follow this link


More about Gabrielle.


What a Summer

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Krause Photo As the school year is approaching full swing, I can’t help but reminisce about my past summer. My whole time here I have heard that 2/c summer was the best one the Academy has to offer, and they were right! This past summer was mainly focused around growing as leaders and transitioning from the follower role we held the first two years at the Academy. I was able to have some amazing experiences and learn a lot about myself.


One highlight of my summer was Cadet Aviation Training Program (CATP). I was able to really see how awesome the aviation community is and understand the importance of their mission. A few of my highlights from that week were getting lifted into a helicopter in a rescue basket, flying both a C130 fixed wing and a H60 Dolphin, and enjoying the beautiful beaches of Pensacola.


Only a few short weeks later and I was sworn in as cadre. I was Cadre 1 this summer so I was able to oversee R-Day and the chaos that ensued when you try to convert 36 high school students into military members in mere hours. I absolutely loved my time as cadre and learned so much about what it is like to lead others and work efficiently with your peers. Another highlight of my summer was Coastal Sail Training Program (CSTP), which allowed us to practice leading our peers through holding different positions on the Leadership 44 boats. We sailed all over New England with port calls in beautiful locations such as Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, and Woods Hole. I truly felt like a rich yachter for two weeks!


I concluded my summer with two weeks of leave in Iceland with my family. It is hands down the most astoundingly beautiful place I have ever been. Prior to traveling there I had heard that 80% of Icelanders believed in elves, and after my time there I definitely join them in that belief! Looking back on this whirlwind of a summer I can’t help to think about how lucky I am to be here. The school year might be tough, but the summers at the Academy make all the hard work worth it!


More about Gretchen.


Summer 2015 – Week by Week

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Glick Photo Looking back on the summer, it seems that Academy summers get better and better every year. The first one, Swab Summer, isn’t exactly fun, but you learn to make the best of it. 3/c summer is long, or at least mine was, as I was underway (on board a cutter) for 11 weeks. This summer however, I moved around every week, seeing new places, meeting new people, and learning about different Coast Guard missions every day. Here are some highlights of my summer, week by week.


100th Week: New London, Connecticut 


0400, Monday Morning: GET UP CADETS. YOU’RE LATE!
Company Commanders literally kick off 100th week by almost kicking my door down. 100th Week marks the halfway point in our cadet careers. The point of 100th Week is to pump us up for the coming summer, strengthen our class identity, and prepare us for cadre summer. The Cape May Company Commanders, or the drill instructors who train enlisted personnel, traveled to the Academy for 100th Week. They trained us for the first three days and reminded us of what it is like to be a trainee, and acclimated us to the environment of Swab Summer. The rest of the week we learned how to effectively train recruits, practiced confidence on the Stone’s Ranch Obstacle Course, and went over the basics of giving military presentations to superiors and subordinates. It was a tiring week, but it ended with a great ceremony when we became 2/c cadets.


Cadet Aviation Training Program: Mobile, Alabama and Pensacola, Florida 


0430, Saturday morning: I stumble out of my rack, and throw my sea bag on my back.
It’s time to climb into a government van to go to the Hartford airport. Groggy, tired, but excited, I finally land in Mobile, Alabama. Lieutenant Commander picks us up—the same LCDR who teaches math at the Academy flew out to be our officer in charge for the week. There were orientation and safety checks during the first few days, and before I know it, I’m in the cockpit of a helicopter. The pilot asks me if I’d like to take a shot at driving. Sure, I said. He switches controls over to my side, hundreds of feet in the air! He takes his hands off of his controls and pulls out a notebook, takes a sip of his water, trusting that I can drive the aircraft myself—on my first time flying! A rush of excitement and fear converge while I drive down the Alabama coast for almost 45 minutes. After growing up near Air Station Atlantic City and seeing helicopters fly overhead every day, I can’t believe I am now flying one. Time passes, and we visit the infamous “dunker” and aviation training center in Pensacola, Florida, which dunks aircrew candidates underwater, blindfolded, and without any air in a makeshift helicopter—what a sight! We visit the National Aviation museum, enjoy a few morale events with the aviators on the beach, play some volleyball, and fly in fixed wing aircraft on search and rescue missions at 0200 in the morning!


Summer 2015 – Week by Week (Continued) PDF;


More about William.


I Love What I Do

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Johnson Photo This summer started off with 100th week, after which I became a 2/c cadet and then I moved on toward many adventures. It’s amazing to see how much I’ve grown in just a few months…more than in any school semester at the Academy. From learning how to give commands and drive a small boat to conning the USCGC Barque Eagle as she sailed in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean so that the Class of 2019 could develop a love for the sea and its lore, our class has come a long way. Hopefully, the love they develop is as much of the love for Eagle as I have.


Of all the groovy things I got to do this summer, which I definitely wouldn’t have done anywhere else, my favorite was being Eagle cadre for three weeks. I went through the beginning of my summer wondering if I was truly ready to lead people especially on a sailing vessel where, if everyone is not doing their part, someone could easily lose a part. You know what though? Everything turned out the exact opposite of what I expected. My personal relationships are much stronger than they were before 100th week. My self-trust and confidence had a great boost by leading, teaching, and mentoring others and I found that that’s where my purpose in life lies; to help and mentor other people. Now I need to take my life struggles by the horns and allow myself to shine as bright as I can. When I do, people notice. For example, third week into being cadre, Eagle had the honor of hosting cadets from Japan on board. One night on the mess deck, where we eat, my best friend and I were talking to a few of the Japanese cadets and one said, “Angela, you are the happiest person on board. Why is that?” I didn’t even have to answer. My best friend at the Academy answered, “She loves what she does.” I couldn’t say it any better. I have to love what I do and love myself for what I do in order to have everything right in my world. I can’t go wrong with that and it proved itself over again at different times during the summer, especially on Eagle and even now as I write this on the first day of classes. This past summer was the best experience of my life and I will never forget it.


More about Angela.


Visiting the Japanese Coast Guard Academy

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Tousignant Photo This past summer I had the unique experience of traveling to the Japanese Coast Guard Academy located in Hiroshima with two of my shipmates in order to take part in an international conference. The main objective of the conference was to bring together the coast guards of the U.S., Canada, South Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, and Japan in order to exchange ideas about how coast guard academies as well as coast guards operate and carry out procedures. I stayed in the barracks with the Japanese cadets and was able to learn about their culture through their actions and regulations. There was a cultural experience day in which I had the opportunity to wear Japanese traditional dress, play instruments significant to Japanese culture, and observe the process of making green tea. Surprisingly, there is no initial boot camp when freshman enter the academy because the freshman are already so respectful and understand the hierarchical system that the military operates by.


As a Government major, I had studied Japan a little bit and learned about their form of government as well as problems facing their nation such as an aging population. However, being immersed into a culture is completely different than reading about it in a textbook. The Japanese cadets were the most selfless and genuinely welcoming people I have ever encountered. They wanted to share their culture with us and took interest in anything we had to say. We discussed commonalities between academies such as cadets learning effective time management, strong communication skills, the value of respect, and the development of lasting relationships.


Every day, we went out into the city with our fellow coasties and experienced four level arcades, numerous outdoor malls, karaoke bars, etc. The food was absolutely excellent: okonomiyaki, shabu-shabu, momiji manju, soba tempura, udon, and many more delicious dishes! On the weekend, we visited Miyajima, home of the giant Torri Gate, which marks the entrance of the famous Shinto shrine. 2/c Neubig and I also went to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, to see the Japan maritime self-defense submarines, and the Yamato Museum, which showcased World War II history. If I wasn’t a cadet at the Coast Guard Academy then I probably would have never had the opportunity to go to a foreign country like Japan, and even if I did, it would definitely cost a significant amount of money. The most noteworthy thing I took away from this experience was the importance of having an open mind and also body language when it comes to communication. Even though it was difficult to communicate verbally, the Japanese students tried very hard to talk to us in English but most of the time we used body language as the main form of communication. I am never going to forget the international friends I have made and the welcoming nature they embodied! It was truly the best experience of my life.


More about Jackie.