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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.


Prep Program Cadre...Worth Waiting For

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Mills Photo This summer by far has been the most impactful experience I have had at the Coast Guard Academy so far. The two most rewarding programs I was able to be a part of were, first, the training of the incoming cadet candidates for the Coast Guard Academy Scholars (CGAS) program and then the Marine Safety Training Program. The CGAS program sends students with high potential to preparatory school in either Georgia Military College or Marion Military Institute. I myself went through the prep program and can say it was one of the best years of my life. I met great people and got pumped to join the United States Coast Guard. Speaking of great people, I actually met one of my best friends through the prep program. Ivonne Lassalle from Puerto Rico prepped with me in 2012. We became roommates and soon thereafter best friends. We have been planning our quad speeches since August 9, 2012 for when we would one day be CGAS cadre. Our silly dreams turned into an incredible reality when this summer we were able to stand side by side as cadre. Going through the journey from cadet candidate to 2/c cadet and training the future of our Coast Guard was amazing to me. I also could not have even begun this journey without the various mentors I had through all these years. I will never forget my cadre experience.


The Marine Safety Training Program was interesting in a different way because I was able to see a lesser-known side of the Coast Guard that undertakes important missions. As an MES major, I really appreciated the work that the sector’s Prevention Department did to ensure that vessels met all the requirements of the Coast Guard in order to operate with minimal environmental impact. The Response Team at sector also had just the most interesting and friendly people who were passionate about what they did. I feel better prepared to enter the fleet knowing another component of our operational Coast Guard.


This new school year also has so much to offer! Ivonne will be away at West Point doing an exchange program the service academies all offer, and I will be guiding the new freshman (4/c) to be members of our corps. I have also decided to do a directed study where I get to work with professors to solve real-world problems in our aquatic ecosystems! The Academy provides us with so many opportunities to learn and explore. I definitely made the right decision sticking through prep school and coming to the Academy.


More about Sydney.