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cadet blogs

Jump In! The Water’s Fine!

(Athletics, Class of 2018, Civil Engineering) Permanent link
Kokomoor Photo Sometimes it is hard to just jump right in. Especially in an institution where the options in front of you are so expansive and offer such different opportunities, it is easy to find oneself overwhelmed and timid. Yet, if I have learned anything at this Academy, it is that the more you throw yourself out into the chaos, the more you will get out of your cadet career.

 

As a 1/c cadet and Civil Engineer major starting my fourth and final year at the Academy, I am finding myself reflecting on everything that I have taken part in and everything that has made me the person that I am today. I am a swimmer for the Women’s Swimming and Diving Team and a Captain for the 2017-2018 season. Swimming has truly shaped the type of cadet that I have become. I have developed a stronger work ethic and grown as a teammate and more importantly, as a shipmate.

 

Swimming for me is a release. It allows me to temporarily escape the mechanics of life in Chase Hall and share in something wonderful with people who love my sport just as much as I do. Everyone here has to have that one thing; an outlet to explore the possibilities afforded to us as cadets at one of the greatest military institutes in the world. For others it is band, rugby, Glee, or if you want to throw a few punches it’s boxing! But for everyone there is a common element: you have to just jump in! You have to get involved and you can never be scared to try something new and fail a few times before finding your bearing.

 

More about Jacklyn.

 

Summer 2017: Internship in Alaska

(Academics, Class of 2018, Civil Engineering) Permanent link
Kimura Photo Internships at the Academy are definitely possible and so rewarding. Every major offers summer internships to cadets entering their senior year. These range from working at the NSA, the White House, U.S. Coast Guard bases, NOAA, Army Corps of Engineers, and many others!

 

I spent my summer internship at the Base Kodiak, Alaska working with the facilities engineering (FE) department. I am a civil major, which is a highly needed field in the Coast Guard. At FE, the floor is composed of a CDR, LCDR, LT, an information technician, mechanical technicians, electrical technician, environmental technicians, and various other contracting officer representatives. The five-week experience allowed me to see and contribute to actual Coast Guard projects. For example, the flight decks were being repaved and we regularly inspected the hangars to prioritize upcoming projects. On the other hand, Base Kodiak has a water treatment facility on site, so monitoring the water quality to the houses fell on the environmental department. In addition, there were building projects being planned, such as replacing WWII era houses or remodeling the Child Development Center’s playground.

 

I was always busy doing something, whether it was FE work, shadowing other technicians there, exploring Kodiak Island, or meeting the junior officers (recent Academy graduates) nearby. While at the internship, I stayed at the barracks on base and borrowed my LT’s truck to get around. Firstie summer has by far been my favorite summer training experience because of the independence I was given to drive to work on my own, cook for myself, plan hikes after work or camp on the weekends.

 

More about Amy.

 

My San Francisco Summer

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018, Civil Engineering) Permanent link
Kokomoor Photo My all-expenses-paid trip to San Francisco for 11 weeks this summer had me designing civil engineering solutions, exploring Alcatraz Island, jumping into Damage Control Drills onboard a National Security Cutter, and flying a helicopter around the Bay Bridge. And best of all, I did it all for the Coast Guard.

 

My summer was a phenomenal experience. I started at a civil engineering internship in California designing drainage solutions for the Coast Guard Training Center Petaluma by day and exploring northern California by night! After five weeks of hard, yet rewarding, work I co-presented design solutions that are now being submitted for the 2018 fiscal year plan! I also made visits to a number of Coast Guard Units including the Civil Engineering Unit in Oakland, team members from which took me and my cadet counterpart to climb the Alcatraz lighthouse on official business. We next traveled to the CGC Waesche in Alameda, California where we quickly assimilated to shipboard life. We took part in the everyday routines and had the unique opportunity to visit Air Station San Francisco, Station San Francisco, Sector San Francisco, and Maritime Intelligence Fusion Center Pacific (MIFC PAC). My summer encompassed a large portion of the Coast Guard, both operationally and within the support realm, allowing me to better understand the organization and the hard career decisions I will have before me as a junior officer.

 

As a native New Englander, the West Coast really caught me off guard, but it was amazing to immerse myself in the culture and attitude of the area and observe how the Coast Guard is able to expertly assimilate into an environment and thrive with outstanding community support. My San Francisco summer taught me so much about the Coast Guard, but most importantly, it taught me that there is so much more to learn. This service has so much to offer and I have not yet scratched the surface!

 

More about Jacklyn.

 

A Summer Summary

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018, Civil Engineering) Permanent link
Haerr Photo Hi, future cadets!

 

I’m here to give you a little insight on the four Academy summer experiences. Each summer you will be integrated into the fleet in a different way.

 

The first summer will be your Swab Summer experience, which provides you the opportunity to gain basic indoctrination knowledge in a high intensity environment. This summer will give you confidence in the skill sets that you already have and attention to the skill sets that still need developing. You’ll be amazed by how much you can do and learn with the help of your shipmates who become like family by the end of it.

 

The second summer we call “3/c summer” and it is broken into five week and six week programs. One half is spent with half of your classmates on the USCGC Barque Eagle, which is the only commissioned tall ship in the U.S. military. It allows you to experience sailing at on incredible scale, obtain basic qualifications in engineering or deck, and gain basic damage control training. The other half is unique to each of your classmates. You will either go to an active cutter or small boat station in order to learn from the fleet while practicing your military courtesies. I went to the small boat station Ponce de Leon Inlet in New Smyrna, Florida. There I learned an incredible amount from the boatswain mates and machinery technicians about splicing lines, chart work, boat checks, and boat driving, all while participating in search and rescue (SAR) cases in the Jacksonville area.

 

The third summer is called “2/c summer” or commonly referred to as “cadre summer.” It is by far one of the most dynamic summers you will have at the Academy. During this time, you will be with your class the entire summer, which allows you to further create an unbreakable bond with many of your already established friends. You will start with having an intense week being trained by the Cape May Command Cadre on how to be a cadre yourself, and by the end of the week you will say the oath with your class to recommit to two more years at the Academy and five year payback service. You will also gain a basic pistol qualification, test on Rules of the Road (ROTR) course, drive and practice drills on training boats (T-Boats), experience the Cadet Aviation Training Program (CATP), and have a two-week sailing experience on 44-foot yachts (Coastal Sail). Then, what everyone looks forward to is the three-week cadre experience in support of the Swab Summer, CGAS, or AIM programs. You will transition from a role model to a mentor this summer and realize how far you’ve come when you are giving basic indoctrination to the incoming classes.

 

The last summer is referred to as “firstie summer.” This is another unique experience based on what you think is your preference is for your first billet after graduation and getting your commission. You have the opportunity to have an 11-week cutter experience, air station experience, or internship with the NSA, Army Corps of Engineers, and other government facilities to utilize the knowledge you have gained within your major. This summer is a lot about learning the different career opportunities in the Coast Guard that you didn’t even know existed. For instance, I learned more about becoming a Coast Guard lawyer, physician assistant, and worked within the Intelligence community, as well as experienced the typical Coast Guard associated jobs on cutters, sectors, and air stations. This summer, I had a five-week internship for my major in Civil Engineering at the Training Center (TRACEN) in Petaluma, California. After being selected for this program, my classmate, Jackie, and I worked on developing a drainage design project for three locations on base and, at the end, we presented our proposal to the command to be implemented. It was a great experience to build upon all that we have been learning about civil engineering these past three years. The last six weeks we were on board the CGC Waesche in Alameda, California. On this 418-foot national security cutter, we learned about how to interact with junior and senior officers, the chiefs, and junior enlisted, as well as gained knowledge and qualifications by being integrated in engineering and deck watch schedules.

 

As you can see, no summer will be like the other and no cadet will have the same summer experience as you do, but that’s what makes it all the more fun. By the end, you’ll be wishing you got to experience it all over again in order to make that informed decision about where you want to be first stationed come Billet Night.

 

Good luck with your future endeavors, and please feel free to reach out to me with any other questions.
-1/c Kathryn (Kat) Haerr
Kathryn.M.Haerr@uscga.edu
USCGA Class of 2018

 

More about Kathryn.