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cadet blogs

Allow Me to Break the Ice

(Academics, Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Chen Photo The fall semester has started and let me tell you what a doozy it has been. Last semester, I was informed that I will be part of an advanced research project with two of my classmates for the 2017-2018 year. This project is part of our Government major capstone requirement. My classmates and I were selected to do a project focused on the Arctic. Over the summer, I was given some readings in order to have some basic knowledge on the situation in the Arctic.

 

During the first few days of school, our group was told that we were going to Iceland to kick off our research project. After a couple weeks and a lot of paperwork, we made our way to Iceland. We were able to observe and participate in the first ever multinational live SAR exercise between Arctic countries; this was called Arctic Guardian 2017. Various Arctic nations worked together to recover life boats and personnel if a major catastrophe were to take place in the future. We were able to interact with leaders of other coast guards and even talked with Admiral Z while aboard the Pierre Radisson, the Canadian icebreaker that hosted the damage control drills for all of the nations. It was remarkable, noticing the similarities and differences of our countries.

 

We also had some free time to explore around the city. Did you know that Icelanders have a fascination with hot dogs, also known as pylsurs? I bought a pylsur from Baejarins Beztu Pylsur in Reyjavik, the stand that President Clinton visited. Hands down, that was the most amazing hot dog I have ever eaten; they make their dogs differently and put special toppings on it. It definitely is worth checking out if you’re ever in Iceland. Other than my new obsession with pylsurs, we had the chance to walk around downtown Reykjavík and drive by many beautiful landforms. I even got to see the Northern Lights.

 

I never would have thought that I would get the chance to travel to Iceland and honestly, I have the Academy to thank for that. I have been given an amazing opportunity and cannot wait for many more to come.

 

More about Sarah.

 

More Opportunities Than Time

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Swift Photo Hey y’all! I’m Delaney Swift, a fourth class (third class, finally!) here at the good old CGA. I was born and raised in Portales, New Mexico – a little rural land-locked farm and ranch town. Coming to Connecticut has been a bit of a shock to the system for me. I traded soil, sun, big skies, and the high plains for beautiful trees and a river in my back yard. That definitely has its perks! Though my heart will always be in New Mexico, it doesn’t have a whole lot of coast to guard.

 

I have two younger brothers, Jack (15) and Noah (12), who (despite always being up to no good) are pretty much my best friends. I’m a very family-centric person, which I thought would be a challenge for me in coming to the Academy, but it turns out that my family just got bigger – it now includes a whole bunch of cadets! As a fourth class, my main hobbies were keeping my eyes in the boat, bussing around campus, and squaring my corners, but really, the highlights of my day are all the extracurricular activities offered here. As a third class, life has gotten so much better; I now spend my time working in the major I love, seeing my friends at Glee, theater, and ballroom dance, and looking out for 4/c! Growing up in a small town meant that things to do were always hard to come by, but there’s never a dull moment at the Academy – there’s always shenanigans of some sort afoot, just like home! You can never tell what the future will bring at this school – you’ll literally have more opportunities than you have time for. One thing I can tell, though, is that my final three years here are going to be the adventure of a lifetime. If you ever have any questions, or just want to talk to a cadet, shoot me an email at Delaney.L.Swift@uscga.edu.

 

More about Delaney.

 

The Last Summer as a Cadet

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Williamson Photo This summer has been an amazing learning experience! I spent 11 straight weeks on the 270 foot cutter Spencer stationed at Boston, Massachusetts, completing a successful patrol in the north Atlantic. We conducted over 40 boardings of fishing vessels to ensure the sustainability of the New England fisheries, as well as performing a difficult fueling at sea evolution. I was lucky enough to qualify in basic damage control, advanced damage control, and quartermaster of the watch. I got the opportunity to stand Officer of the Deck under instruction and really learn what it means to drive the ship.

 

Once we pulled into port, I was trusted to plan a retirement for a chief petty officer and act as the master of ceremonies, and it went great! Everyone on the ship taught me a new lesson in one way or another. The officers were always helpful; the crew was welcoming and knowledgeable. When I first reported aboard, I was nervous about being underway, but now I confident I will succeed as an ensign next summer.

 

As my last summer as a cadet comes to a close, I have had some time to reflect on where I’ve come from and where I am going. It’s been a long and amazing three years to get to this point. There have been highs and there have been lows, but I am proud of how far I’ve come. I have never wanted to take the easy way out and I would recommend the same to anyone reading this. Be hungry for a challenge, put yourself in uncomfortable situations, and go to bed a better person than when you woke up. Of course, you will fail every now and again (trust me I have my flaws) but if you are respectful, sincere, and hardworking, people will advocate for you and you will always recover.

 

Looking into the future, I am going to enjoy the time I have left at the Academy. I will never again have the opportunity to live 100 feet from some of the greatest people in the world and my best friends. We are going have adventures and laugh a lot! When I ordered my class ring, I had the phrase “Enjoy it while it lasts” engraved on the inside and I stand by those words. If you are anything like me, you are a high school student dying to get into the Academy and reading these blog entries to try to figure out the secret formula required to get accepted. You should continue to pursue that goal, but please enjoy where you are. Don’t miss the people and events happening around you today while you are daydreaming about tomorrow!

 

More about Cody.

 

USCG: An Amazing Organization

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Eshleman Photo Dear Family of 2021 Swab,

 

So, right now, you’re probably a combination of anxious and extremely proud of your son or daughter for their decision to join the Class of 2021 at the United States Coast Guard Academy. You saw them off on “Day One” as they began this new chapter of their lives, and maybe you’ll even get a letter or two this summer speaking of their Swab Summer experience. While Swab Summer has its trials and its ups and downs, know that they are going into an amazing organization. The Coast Guard has truly transformed me as a person throughout the past three years. The people are phenomenal, and the best part is that it truly feels like a family. With the connections one makes inside and outside of the service, he or she will get a wide variety of opportunities within their four years at the Academy and beyond. Currently, I am stationed on the West Coast. Coming out here, I knew so many familiar faces – alumni, fellow cadets, and other Coast Guard men and women I have met and worked with in the past. The leadership advice and guidance they have given me as I transition into my final year at the CGA is helping me to realize what I want to do when I graduate and consider potential career opportunities.

 

Your son or daughter is going to need your support throughout this summer and their freshman (4/c) year. The transition can be difficult, but trust me when I say they could not have set themselves up for a better future. Help them to see the big picture and appreciate the opportunity they have earned. Hopefully this letter helps to ease any anxiety of saying goodbye to your child, and please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

 

Very Respectfully,
1/c Hannah Eshleman
Hannah.M.Eshleman@uscga.edu 

 

More about Hannah.

 

Dear Families of New Swabs

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Opas Photo Dear Families of New Swabs,

 

Looking back at the singular year I’ve been in the Coast Guard, I realize how fulfilling it has been. But that sense of fulfillment did not come without an initiation period. As swabs, just like our enlisted and officer brethren in the fleet, we must break into Academy life. We must go through trials and tribulations alongside our classmates for these seven brief weeks so that we learn to take care of ourselves AND lean on each other during times of stress. To you, the summer without your swab may feel immeasurably long. To your swab, this summer will feel like an eternity. It will not be without tears, bruises, scrapes, or sacrifices; and certainly not without a profuse amount of sweating.

 

But know this. Your swab is in good hands. If not their more-than-capable company chiefs and officers, or their cadre, but their classmates. Your swabs are making some of the BEST friendships they have ever made, and will ever make in their lives. The men and women your swab stood shoulder to shoulder with on Washington Parade Field will be your sons and daughters’ family. They will buoy them up at 2 a.m. when they have to write a 1,000-word paper due the next day, they will run alongside them to make sure they pass the PFE every semester, and they will give your swab that integral piece of motivation when they hit the point in the summer where they feel they cannot take one step further.

 

I still remember running across Washington Parade Field in the last ten minutes I had to say goodbye to my family last summer. I recall the tears blurring my vision. But I also remember the pride I saw in my parents’ faces. The swabs may have already come to grips with the fact they won’t be home often anymore. If they haven’t, they will in time. Let them. It’s not that you’re losing a child, but rather that they’re becoming a part of something bigger than themselves. They’re ripping themselves from their comfort zones, devoting themselves to a higher calling, and doing some seriously amazing things in the process. You should be incredibly proud of them; they’re growing up a lot faster than their high school peers.

 

When you see your swab this summer, and believe me, you will, make sure to give him or her a hug‒ the cadre tend not to budget time in the swabbies’ schedules for them to bond and simply be human. Don’t pester your swab for stories, he or she will tell them in good time. Make sure to send swabbie snacks during the summer, and send letters‒even if it’s just to tell them what the weather’s like back home. Letters and packages make the roughest days just a bit better. But don’t necessarily expect a response immediately or frequently. It depends on the person, but with very little time to themselves, every swab budgets their time differently.

 

Take comfort in the knowledge that every swab is learning valuable life lessons. Be proud of them, be supportive of them, and be accepting of the new adults they’re becoming.

 

Cheers,
Former Swab Opas

 

More about Leah.