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cadet blogs

Can I Go To Flight School, Now?

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Just for Fun, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Roesch Photo Wow – it’s already October and I haven’t wrote a blog since the summer. This is unusual, and I’m totally sorry. This semester is flying by in a whirlwind, but I guess that’s a good thing! This semester I am the 2/c in the Parents Weekend Division, which means a lot of preparation, organizing, and work. I’m also busy at work with the Aviation Club and, now, the dance team which I just joined this year. So far, fall of 2/c year is great and I’m lovin’ it.

 

Reflecting on this past summer, which was by far the best one yet at the Academy, my favorite experience was the Cadet Aviation Training Program (CATP). I spent a week at Air Station Mobile in Mobile, Alabama to get a good taste of what aviation is like. I always knew before going that flying was something I wanted to do; however, after this week I was 100% assured of this. I left Mobile with the greatest sense of fulfillment. I felt like I really found my “purpose” in life. I love the aviation community, the missions of the various aircraft, and, most importantly, I love the sheer act of flying.

 

I had the opportunity to actually fly a 65 (a type of helicopter) which was THE coolest thing I’ve ever done. I still feel slightly embarrassed recalling the pilot who laughed at me saying I looked like a little kid on Christmas when I took the controls. However, I am proud of that. It just goes to show that I’ve truly found my little piece of happiness in the Coast Guard. I loved my experience so much that I plan on requesting assignment to an air station my 1/c summer. And, of course, I am going to apply to flight school. Hopefully I will be honored with that opportunity come billet night.

 

But billet night is a long way away. As for now, I’m focusing on getting good grades, setting a good example for now my 3/c and 4/c, and staying positive about life in general. I guess it goes without saying that I’m pretty happy with where I’m at and I’m excited for what the rest of 2/c year has to bring.

 

Please email me with any questions you may have about anything. I love helping out prospective kaydets! :)

 

More about Allie.

 

New Year, New Responsibilities

(Academics, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Schroeder Photo The new school year has finally started and I couldn’t be busier. After a seemingly short summer, this past month has been a blur. Over the summer, I had the opportunity to do a bunch of really cool things; my favorite being the Cadet Aviation Program (CATP), and the Coastal Sail Program.

 

For the CATP, I got to fly down to Elizabeth City, North Carolina for a week and ride on Coast Guard aircraft, both fixed wing and rotary. I also had the opportunity to get hoisted from the water into a helicopter, which is easily the coolest opportunity I have gotten while at the Academy.

 

The Coastal Sail Program is a two week transit on a 44-foot sailing yacht around New England to places such as Newport, Martha’s Vineyard, Block Island, Cape Cod and Nantucket. I was on a boat with seven of my classmates and a safety officer. This trip taught me a lot about leadership and what kind of leader I wanted to be because of the high amount of exposure to peer leadership. It was really cool to be sailing around New England and stop in such cool places as well.

 

The biggest thing of second class summer though is being cadre. I got to be Swab Summer cadre second phase, which was both tiring and rewarding. It served as a good transition into the school year because this fall I am my company’s guidon. The company guidon is basically the senior second class in charge of the training of the fourth class over the semester. Being Swab Summer cadre allowed me to get to know each of my fourth class very well, which has helped this semester.

 

Besides being guidon, I am very busy with my own academics and with rugby. This year is my major’s toughest year, and I am still trying to find a balance between school, sports, being guidon, and having a social life. Things are getting better each week though, and I am generally content with how life is going. I know that this semester will be very rewarding for me.

 

More about Jade.

 

Fifteen Things I Didn't Expect to Learn at West Point

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Frost Photo Going on exchange to another service academy is a unique opportunity that I'm lucky to get to experience. After six weeks of being at West Point, I've finally settled into a schedule with classes and grown closer with the triathlon team. Here are some things that I've learned and experienced over the past several weeks:

 

  1. At less than 5,000 cadets, West Point would be considered a small college to anyone, but it still seems ginormous to a Coastie. And, when everyone asks what the biggest difference between West Point and Coast Guard, the answer is the size every time.
  2. Thinking that because you are just one in a sea of 4.5 thousand, no one will notice you is the biggest lie you could tell yourself because navy blue ODUs do not blend in at all with Army green ACUs. You can be pinpointed from a mile away.
  3. Submersing yourself in a new environment is more challenging than expected, and it gives you a renewed understanding for what the 4/c are going through.
  4. No one understands how you talk; they don't understand your saltiness. The "deck" becomes merely the floor, "p-ways" are hallways, "bulkheads" are hallways, and "shipmates" are battle buddies.
  5. Everything has an acronym, and it's impossible to keep track of them.
  6. People will and do look at you like you have two heads for saying "Bears!" And "Go Bears!" to everything, and it's impossible to explain what needs no explanation to any CGA cadet.
  7. All 2/c cadets a called "cows." It's weird.
  8. You salute without a cover on in the Army and in both gym gear and cadet casual (a.k.a. rec gear).
  9. People will ask you what branch you are going into, and they are blown away when you say your options are flight school, deck watch officer, engineering officer in training, or sector. You quickly learn it's not worth trying to explain that it's not really "branching" like it is in the Army.
  10. Everyone thinks that "The Guardian" is representative of the entire Coast Guard, and they ask you every time if you're going to be Ashton Kutcher.
  11. You will spend all your money at Starbucks and the cadet restaurant, especially if you live closer to it than the mess hall, like me.
  12. Optional breakfast is the greatest thing a cadet could ask for, and West Point does it right. We're talking Greek yogurt, fresh fruit, granola, Nutella, Starbucks iced and hot coffee... It's good. However, you will quickly miss the wardroom dinner selection.
  13. A lot of really awesome speakers come to talk to cadets almost every week, and they are opportunities that you want to take advantage of.
  14. There are so many club sports teams and clubs to join. Joining the triathlon team here has been my best decision yet. You meet amazing people that are completely welcoming to exchangers, and it gives you a close-knit group to experience the semester with.
  15. You learn a lot about yourself. You learn how you handle change when you feel like you're the only one going through it, you learn what a different service values compares to the Coast Guard, and compared to your own, you learn how to lead others when you still need guidance yourself, and you learn how to learn from those whom you lead.

 

More about Christi.

 

Wired and Jubilant

(Athletics, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Daghir Photo Another week down and I am still trying to orient myself as a 2/c cadet. In my MES classes, in the cheer team, and in fall lacrosse! Each day is a whirlwind and even though a little windblown, I am having a lot of fun. We just had our biggest football game of the season: MMA, and I have to say it was unforgettable. For my past two games, we have been close, but not close enough to taking a stand against the Mariners. For the past two years, the pep rallies have meant well and the crowd has wanted to be rowdy and supportive and energized, but we have always seemed to fall short. This year though, the stars have aligned. We had a surprisingly fun pep rally, “rave” complete with black lights, strobe lights, fog, and glow sticks, the crowd was crazy and joyous, pumped for a number of reasons. The following days were full of spirit and we prepared for the game Saturday, determined to break the losing streak. The Bears came out strong but we had fallen behind by two touchdowns by the end of the first half. The cheerleaders led the crowd in chants and the entire corps remained focused and hopeful. Finally, we found our groove, the team scored, the fans wild, inspired by our Commandant, Admiral Z doing pushups beside the cheer leaders. I think the best part the game came in the form of a steady rain. The fans took it, in their tropical blue uniforms as if it was supposed to happen. With each success on the field came the explosion of confetti cannons and cheering, so much cheering. Toward the end, the crowd was dumping water bottles on themselves invincible to the rain and the water, completely wired and jubilant.

 

I didn’t even mind that I had night watch; I took a three hour nap and stood watch from midnight to 0400. On Sunday I did homework, helped with the Special Olympics event and then went to yoga! I’d say that all of my weekends have been that busy, throwing me full speed and accelerating through the school weeks.

 

More about Lucy.

 

Rest of 2/c Summer and USNA Beginning

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Engelhardt Photo Greetings! Hopefully as your summer draws to an end and you begin to return to school you can look back on the amazing things that you did this summer – I know I certainly can.

 

After my first seven weeks of summer training at the Academy I came home for a deserved three weeks of leave. It was great being home, catching up with friends and family, and relaxing before beginning the 2nd half of my summer training.

 

When I returned to the Academy in mid-July, Swab Summer was already in full effect. It was definitely a new experience returning to Chase Hall and hearing swabs sounding off and running down the passage-ways. It was also quite the experience adapting to the challenge of having to avoid swabs during my prep week of cadre training, as the swabs were not supposed to know who the Eagle cadre were. As mentioned earlier, I had opted to be an Eagle cadre for Swab Summer, which meant that I would have the privilege to train the swabs on America’s Tall Ship, the USCGC Eagle, introducing many of them to their first taste of underway life and to the operational Coast Guard fleet.

 

As an Eagle cadre, my “prep” week was a little different than the majority of my classmates. Instead of learning how to properly encourage the swabs/AIMsters/cadet candidates through physical IT (like push-ups) or sounding off (yelling), my fellow Eagle cadre and I practiced the navigational skills that we had learned in our first two years of the Academy – including giving navigation briefs, using mobility boards, and practicing the role of a Conning Officer in the Academy’s simulators. We also got the opportunity to go to Mystic Seaport for a day. The Seaport is a local historical site that mimics a 19th century New England waterfront community. While there we learned more about sailing as well as celestial navigation and the various celestial phenomena. Lastly, during my “prep” week I took my physical fitness exam and my Standard Operating Procedure board to ensure that when I returned to the Academy after my two weeks aboard Eagle I could serve as an active cadre within Chase Hall.

 

Rest of 2/c Summer and USNA Beginning (Continued)  PDF 

 

More about James.