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cadet blogs

Back to School For the Second-to-Last Time!!!

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Driscoll Photo It’s hard to believe that this is the second to last time I have to return to the Academy! Only the fall semester, Christmas leave, and the spring semester until the Class of 2015 graduates! It is almost impossible to believe that we graduate in 273 days; it seems like yesterday that we stood on the parade field and swore our oath of office.

 

A lot has happened in the past few days. My classmates and I assumed the duties and responsibilities of the Regimental Command on Monday. It is weird to be in charge – and more importantly, responsible for over 900 cadets. Actually, it is really unnerving. Although I have heard many times about the total transfer of responsibility and authority between commands, I’ve never understood it until now. Since our change of command, we’ve been way too busy: we haven’t even had much time to pack into our rooms! Hopefully the semester will become more controllable…

 

The first major event is the Kings Point vs. Coast Guard game. It’ll be held here in New London on 13 September. GO BEARS, BEAT KINGS POINT!!

 

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email me at Peter.M.Driscoll@uscga.edu.

 

More about Peter.

 

Summer 2014: From the Tropics to Southeast Alaska

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Duplessis Photo I was lucky enough to travel all over the country this summer, from New London to the Caribbean, the Caribbean to Alaska, and then home for leave. I can’t describe the number of lessons I’ve learned this summer, and how amazing each of my teachers has been. It was satisfying to finally get a good look into the fleet, and it’s made me look forward to finishing up my Academy experience and moving on to my actual career in the Coast Guard.

 

My first part of the summer was spent on Eagle, a training ship, as a division officer for seven 3/c cadets, as well as the deck logs coordinator. Although balancing trainings, work, and qualifications was challenging, I was able to complete my required qualifications and duties as well as get a feel for what life is like for a junior officer aboard a cutter (it is busy). We traveled to San Juan, Puerto Rico; Aruba; Cozumel; and lastly to Miami. All of the ports were fantastic, and I would gladly travel to them again. The thing I really appreciate about being in the Coast Guard is that otherwise I might never have gotten the opportunity to travel to these places, especially in a five-week period or even a couple years.

 

For the second part of my summer, I flew to Sitka, Alaska, to spend six weeks aboard the CGC Maple, a 225-foot buoy tender. I had been interested in black-hulls for a while and wanted to form a better understanding of what their missions are and what life onboard is like. It was exponentially more interesting and demanding than I previously thought, and the crew was awesome. We went underway the day after I arrived to fix a discrepant navigational aid, and went on a 10-day underway trip to fix and set NOAA buoys (a bigger challenge than normal buoys because of their size and shape). Alaskan living was a different experience than I’m used to, but it was amazing nonetheless and I’d definitely go back again.

 

More about Lindsay.

 

Phase II, Headquarters’ Perspective

(The Cadet Experience, Life as a Junior Officer, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Wu Photo After my first phase on a 210’ cutter out of St. Petersburg, I got the opportunity to go to Washington D.C. for an internship at Coast Guard headquarters. I did not know what to expect from the experience, but my six weeks in D.C. was eye-opening. A fellow classmate and I were the two cadets accepted for an internship with the finance office at headquarters. I really enjoyed the experience because it was very different from my time on a cutter. Not only was the lifestyle different since I went from having watches on the CGC Venturous to having a set work schedule, going into the office at 8 a.m. and getting off work at around 4 p.m., but we were given projects to analyze as interns and our recommendations were actually taken seriously and implemented. It was awesome seeing how we were able to contribute to the Coast Guard. More importantly, interning at headquarters was an amazing opportunity to meet other types of officers.

 

The Academy puts a huge emphasis on going on a cutter and they advertise a cutterman life more than any other career. It was interesting to learn about other career paths besides being on a boat. There were officers that came from grad school, officers that were social aids, and officers that were liaisons to other countries. It was also a privilege to help with multiple retirement ceremonies at headquarters since we got to hear about a whole career of a Coast Guard officer. All and all, the internship definitely gave me a different perspective on the Coast Guard. It was like a backstage pass to see the people providing all the support for the operational units.

 

My first phase gave me a good insight on how my ensign life will be since I will be putting in for cutters for my first tour. However, the second phase of my summer gave me a better idea of the possibilities for my future in the Coast Guard and how it does not necessarily have to be a cutterman’s life.

 

More about Ellie.

 

Week 10: Guam Adventures!

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Sherman Photo I think this week’s reflection is going to be short. There really wasn’t work for the crew this week, so most of my days were free aside from the one day of duty in which I broke-in as an officer of the day (OOD). I’ve been working on many small projects, which are enjoyable. It’s rewarding because I know that I’m contributing to the cutter and doing something that will last and be beneficial for the crew and officers (or at least I hope!). As I mentioned last week, I enjoy projects that make things better for those around me; this week has been great for that!

 

When I wasn’t working this week, I was exploring the island. There are some exciting hikes and interesting places to go. I’ve taken a lot of pictures of the cool landscapes, amazing views, tropical beaches, and ocean cliffs as well as some interesting wildlife (have I mentioned the dive-bombing birds yet?).

 

It’s been a relaxing week, and I still haven’t come to terms with the fact that I only have one week left onboard. Where has the time gone!? I’m looking forward to going home, but part of me doesn’t want to leave. I still have more of Guam to explore. Thankfully I have another week left to have a few more days of adventure.

 

As far as leadership and Coast Guard reflections, I can’t say that I have much to say for this week. I’ve been thinking about school a bit more (mentally preparing myself for it), and the Academy seems like such a different place from this side of the world. Honestly, the perspective has been just what I needed to refresh and ramp up for my last year! It has been incredible being in the operational Coast Guard doing work and standing watches as a professional member of the service. I hope when I face challenges at the Academy that I can remember my perspective now to remind myself that the Academy and all the craziness that goes on there isn’t the whole Coast Guard. I’m proud to serve in one of the world’s premier maritime services!

 

Well, I’ll leave off there. Not sure if I’ll write next week since I’ll be flying home about the time I usually write these reflections (and 10 reflections is a nice even number…). I can tell you now that it’s going to be a busy week as I scramble to finish all my projects, tie up other loose ends, and prepare to head home. Thanks for joining me on my Pacific journey this summer. In a few weeks, be on the lookout for a vlog with pictures and video from these past few months. Have a great rest of the summer!

 

More about Justin.

 

A Dispatch from the Arctic

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Kearney Photo Ahoy all ye blog readers!

 

"Polar Bear! 1 mile ahead. Port Bow." The all-hands announcement ignited a storm of eager sailors and scientists alike, as large-lensed cameras were brought out on the deck of the Healy and a plethora of oohs and ahhs followed. I am writing to you after witnessing yet another polar bear upon this wonderful Arctic ice; the unique wildlife, along with the breathtaking, illuminated horizon, provides a constant reminder of the awe-inspiring world north of the Arctic Circle.

 

Despite the recreational views, the science work has continued in full force this past week. A mooring recovery and deployment were conducted in order to obtain data on the North Slope boundary current, shelf break, and the Pacific water’s path into the Arctic Ocean. The moorings are reused, with this most recent mooring reaching its 10th deployment since 2002. The depth of this particular mooring reached 147 meters.

 

Along with the moorings, we have continued to conduct the Conductivity, Temperature and Depth (CTD) casts. The scientists and crew recently painted creative and unique images upon Styrofoam cups that were attached to our deep sea CTD cast. The water pressure at that depth dramatically shrunk the cups. The depth of the cast reached 3,744 meters, and as a result, the Styrofoam cups are tiny, beautiful, and a wonderful memento of our time in the Arctic.

 

For the duration of the current science mission, six Coast Guard Academy senior cadets have embarked on Healy in order to gain final fleet experience before obtaining their officer commissions next spring. 1/c Marina Stevens, 1/c Elise Sako, 1/c Gabriel Patterson, 1/c Anthony Orr, 1/c Abby King, and myself are currently onboard the ship and have crossed into the Chukchi Sea for the first time. While onboard, we are in a watch rotation where we will either obtain their Bridge Watchstander and Junior Officer of the Deck (JOOD) qualifications, or their Technician of the Watch (TOW) qualification. During their sophomore and senior summers, Coast Guard Academy cadets are sent into the fleet in order to garner skills in seamanship, ship engineering, and leadership.

 

And last, but most certainly not least, the Saturday morale night consisted of a highly competitive sumo wrestling tournament. Our well-trained and Olympic fit athletes donned the giant sumo suits in order to grapple in this marvelous spectacle of pure grit and determination. SN Redhorse won the overall competition, while MK2 Martin won the Most Creative category. The event was a delightful way to end the week, for both spectators and competitors alike!

 

Follow the ship via our track-line updates on Icefloe (http://icefloe.net/uscgc-healy-track-map), and we will catch you on next week’s installment.

 

More about Zachary.