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cadet blogs

Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Just for Fun, Class of 2019) Permanent link
Friedman Photo The semester is flying by; midterms have come and gone and women’s rugby is undefeated conference champions getting ready for the postseason. With things moving so quickly, a seemingly never-ending discussion of next steps has started. While this makes me excited for the future, I also took time to reflect on some of the places I have been able to go while at the Academy.

 

During my 3/c summer I spent five weeks at Station Cape Disappointment on the Washington/Oregon line. I got to explore Astoria and Portland, Oregon, which is a stark difference from the hustle and bustle of the northeast. I then flew halfway across the world and got on USCGC Eagle in London, sailing it to Madeira, trans-Atlantic to Bermuda, and disembarking in Norfolk, Virginia. I never would have gone to Madeira if it had not been for the Academy and I am so thankful I was able to go; it was an amazing port call and I would love to go back if I could. Also, that year the rugby team made it to the final four so I went to South Carolina for the tournament and was able to take in the Charleston Christmas parade with some of my teammates in between games.

 

I spent a week at Sector Baltimore during my 2/c summer working with their marine inspectors. I took my time off of work to explore Annapolis, Baltimore, and went to my first MLB game. I spent two weeks that summer sailing around the best ports in New England from Martha’s Vineyard, Hyannis, to Block Island. I used some of my leave during the summer to go to Madrid and explore Spanish culture. Recently, I was able to go on a tour of the National Security Agency and learn about the interdependence of their mission, the military’s mission, and the Coast Guard’s strategic goals. I’m also scheduled to go to conference in New Orleans next semester to help create an inclusion and diversity action plan for the Academy.

 

These are just some of the places I have been able to visit and be afforded distinct experiences. My point with this is if you asked me my senior year of high school where I would go in the next three years, I never would have produced this list or come anywhere close. When you make the choice to come to the Academy, yes you are signing up for a different life with some hardships and sacrifices, but your time at the Academy and in the Coast Guard is what you make of it. If you stick out your 4/c year, the opportunities you have will continue to build, giving you experiences and adventures you cannot imagine now and with some of your best friends.

 

If you have any questions feel free to email me at Jill.M.Friedman@uscga.edu.

 

More about Jill.

 

Coastal Sail

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2019) Permanent link
Friedman Photo 2/c summer is a big transition for cadets here at the Academy. It’s when you transition from a follower to a leader and go through different training programs to help you discover your leadership style and ultimately develop a leadership philosophy. One of the highlights of 2/c summer is the Coast Sail Training Program.

 

The Academy has 44-foot leadership sailboats that our awesome alumni bought for us to use. Seven or eight cadets under the supervision of a safety officer will take the sail boat out for two weeks and sail around to some of the best ports in New England like Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, Block Island, and more. It’s not a vacation though. There are jobs on the boat that everyone will rotate through as well as permanent collateral. My collateral was commissary officer so I was in charge of making sure we had enough food, water, and making a meal plan for the sail. The rotating jobs vary from deck hand, cook, navigator, etc.

 

The most notable day is the day you are watch captain. As watch captain, you are in charge of the boat for the day. You need to work with your navigator to make sure you get to where you need to be because the safety officer is just that, a safety officer. They only step in if they feel a situation is going to become unsafe, otherwise they’ll let you sail in the wrong direction or make other mistakes so you understand what it feels like to be in charge and have everyone look to you if things go wrong.

 

On my watch captain day, we hit a storm coming out of Martha’s Vineyard. We had about 3-foot seas and winds sustaining 15 knots, with gusts up to 20, which is pretty notable on a 44-foot sail boat. On top of that, our sister ship had a steering casualty so we had to divert course and quickly prepare to pull into a new port. It gives you the “oh no” moment when all of your classmates look at you for a decision on what to do next, but that’s the point. It puts you in the spot where you have to make a quick decision with a safety officer who is there to stop things when they can potentially become dangerous. This is so when, not if, you are put in a stressful situation later in your Coast Guard career that it’s not unfamiliar and you’re used to making decisions under pressure. It was a stressful day but was an experience I learned a lot and grew a lot from.

 

If you have any questions feel free to email me Jill.M.Friedman@uscga.edu.

 

More about Jill.

 

100 Days of Summer

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2019) Permanent link
Silliman Photo Fun fact! The 14 weeks that are set aside for summer training here at the Academy works out to be exactly 100 days.

 

The first two weeks of the summer went by in no time. We started with 100th Week when they brought up the Cape May Company Commanders who run the enlisted boot camp to teach us basically how to be cadre. It started out with them just treating us like enlisted recruits, but became more and more about us assimilating into the role of cadre. The rest of the week included classroom leadership training and a trip to Stones Ranch where we did team-building exercises on their challenge course. The next week was largely helping out with graduation and getting to see the Commander-in-Chief give a speech at commencement right in front of me. After the Class of 2017 left, the campus fell dead silent and I had two days to practice navigation skills out on the T-boats.

 

Then I had three weeks of leave, the bulk of which was spent at home helping my dad fix up our sailboat. I also went hiking in New Hampshire for two days with a friend from home. Additionally, I went to Vail, Colorado to hang out with a friend working at a golf course and we had four days of just straight hiking and playing golf.

 

Returning to the Academy, I had a week of shooting to qualify in pistol, where I just barely passed by getting the necessary target score on the last day. Then we had prep week before the swabs arrived when we set up their rooms and prepared down at Jacob’s Rock for waterfront cadre.

 

The next three weeks I was entrusted with the awesome responsibility of training 36 new members of the Coast Guard and one member of Georgia’s armed forces as well as interacting with every member of the Class of 2021 down on the waterfront. I had to work with my classmates in ways different from any way I had worked with them before. It started out a lot of fun, but it got pretty tiring by the end, and we really had to work to keep up the intensity of the training for the swabs.

 

After cadre, I went down to Mobile, Alabama for a week of training called the Cadet Aviation Training Program. I got to go up in a Jayhawk and even got hoisted by a rescue swimmer.

 

I probably went home for five different weekends during the summer since I live so close to hang out with friends, go sailing, and even take another hiking trip up to New Hampshire.

 

Having grown up on Cape Cod, the Coastal Sail Training Program was a really cool way to see home. Venturing all over New England like that was awesome, and I was even able to host 26 of my friends at my house for dinner. The summer ended back in the classroom with the Rules of the Road exam.

 

So, there it is. 100 days of summer, which is one more for the books and I am looking now to starting the school year strong.

 

More about Derek.

 

All for Clubs and Clubs for All

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Just for Fun, Class of 2019) Permanent link
Friedman Photo The summer is starting to wind down and Cadets are getting ready to head back to the Academy for the start of the academic year. The week before classes start is Cadet Administrative Processing or CAP week, when cadets set up their class schedules, get books, move into their new rooms, take the PFE, and any other tasks the Academy needs us to complete before the school year starts. As part of CAP week, there’s the annual Cadet Activities Fair when the whole corps goes down to lower field for a cook-out lunch and clubs set up tables to let everyone learn more about the club and sign up if they’re interested. I’m in Women’s Leadership Council, Culinary Club, Diversity Peer Educators, Cadet Activities Council, Class of 2019 Formal Committee, (obviously) Blog Club and others I’m forgetting right now.

 

One of the other clubs that I’m in is the Women’s Rugby Team. We’re a club sport because we compete under USA Rugby instead of the NCAA. We’re a division II team and went to the final four last season. It may sound intimidating, like you have to have played since you were six years old to be on the team, but this is the farthest thing from the truth. Anyone who wants to play is welcome. In high school, I played volleyball and swam but I decided to change it up when I got to the Academy so I started playing rugby and I love it. The team is super close and welcoming. We practice Monday through Thursday during sports period and lift in the morning before the military training period on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We have our games on Saturday mornings at a field the Coast Guard Foundation owns off base. After our games we have a cook out with the other team and get back to the Academy shortly after liberty is granted. It’s a great way to get off base, meet new people, and create a positive representation of the Coast Guard for people who may not know a lot about our service.

 

I am also the president of the Jewish Hillel on campus. The club has lunch together every other week and the wardroom does a great job of catering it. They make challah, matzah ball soup, and other traditional foods. The lunches and club is not just for Jewish cadets, most of the club members are not Jewish; they come to learn more about Jewish heritage and their shipmates who are Jewish. In addition to the lunches we organize outreach events. Last semester alone, we hosted a visit from members of the Israeli Defense forces; a Passover Seder; a Holocaust remembrance lunch, which over 100 cadets attended; and more.

 

While the Academy is a very stringent and regulated place, there is also the opportunity to express yourself and explore your interests. You just have to take the initiative to join the club related to your interests, or create it yourself. Last year alone the Diversity Peer Educators, German American Council, Archery Club, and Field Hockey Team were created.

 

If you have any questions, about clubs or anything else, feel free to email me at Jill.M.Friedman@uscga.edu.

 

More about Jill.

 

Swab Summer: One Day at a Time

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2019) Permanent link
King Photo Dear Families of 2021,

 

How’s it going? Are you still adjusting to Swab Summer? It’s an intense seven weeks for sure. I am writing this at the beginning of the second week. It’s hard to believe that it’s already been a week! Swab Summer flies by faster than you think.

 

Some advice for both the parent and swab is to take it one day at a time. If you look at it as seven weeks, you’re going to get overwhelmed. Break it into manageable chunks, sometimes you just got to make it to the next meal. One thing I told myself is that anyone can do anything for five minutes, and just make there.

 

Another piece of advice to both is that the swabs are in good hands. Today, I was sailing by Jacob’s Rock and saw the waterfront cadre in action. They were very professional and created an engaging learning environment. I know in Chase, the cadre are more focused on the military and teamwork aspects.

 

To the parents, don’t be worried if your swab’s letters are brief. In the beginning, it’s usual for the letters to be short. However, toward the end of the summer, they’ll get longer and a bit more upbeat as they learn time management and get used to Swab Summer.

 

To the swabs, realize that the cadre were once in your position. Only two short years ago, I was marching around and sounding off with the rest of them. I squared my meals, I pushed deck, and I was far from perfect. Cadre are human too, and I can guarantee you that they made the same mistakes you are making.

 

Finally, don’t forget to laugh. I know that sometimes it’s hard but keep a positive attitude. You’re going to fail, but you’re also going to get back up.

 

Last year, I wrote an article on advice for Swab Summer. Here is the link: http://uscga.edu/blog.aspx?id=65657.

 

Very Respectfully,
2/c Deborah King

 

More about Deborah.