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cadet blogs

Things Learned Onboard the Thetis

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Daghir Photo Ahoy!

 

I am writing to you now halfway through my summer. I am still underway on the Thetis and we have been pretty busy as of late. Patrol is a pretty exciting part of a cutter’s operations and the crew does a lot of preparation to get underway. A cutter uses its patrols to train newly reported crew, to carry out the actual operations of the vessel and to keep the boat working smoothly because, like a car, a cutter needs to be run in order to stay operable.

 

So, I am still breaking in OOD, or Officer of the Deck (thus standing double watches), which means that I spend eight hours a day on the bridge, conning the vessel for the watch as well as overseeing the general safety and operations on the bridge.

 

I have learned a lot in the past weeks since I have last blogged.

  • Making pipes (announcements over the intercom) is an art. In the time that I have been on the boat, about 7 percent of the pipes I have made have been comically incorrect. The crew now jokes with me constantly about my sub-par pipes. The worst was my reveille pipe. I tried to make the wake-up call when the outside speakers to the ship weren't on. I attempted to make the announcement again and again and didn't realize that the rest of the ship was hearing me repeat the wake-up call over and over. Everyone thought I did it on purpose!
  • Be careful not to fall out of your rack (bed) when you are extremely tired. Once, after a very long night on the bridge, I went to bed and woke up thinking I was still on the bridge. I proceeded to jump off of my top rack, which was approximately six feet from the deck and had a nice sized bruise for the next week.
  • You never get tired of the sunsets. They are stunning and different every night. The colors are breathtaking and the clouds take on a dramatic part of the sky.
  • Like the sunsets, I am in awe of the stars. They are so beautiful. Being out on the ocean with an open sky is incredible and cannot be recreated on land.
  • I now know how to route memos on the ship and update manuals.
  • People love morale. Even when it is at my own expense, I like the thought of making people laugh and smile.
  • It’s all about the people. As an officer, the best thing you can do is to make your people happy. You do this by making sure they know that they are valued, respected, and trusted to do their jobs. There is a chief on the boat who lives by this concept; he says that “your people should do their job because they want to, not because they are scared of what will happen if they don’t.”

 

Okay, so there will be more to come. I can’t believe that we are already halfway through the summer and our new officers are coming. It will be fun to see friends from school!

 

I have been experimenting with finding ways to work out on board and my lacrosse coach helped me out in that respect. I am also trying to develop my officer’s presence; it is weird to think that my time at the Academy is limited and that the fleet is that much closer.

 

More about Lucy.

 

Awesome Summer Adventures

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Coburn Photo I cannot believe that it has been almost one year since I arrived at the Academy for R-Day last June. The time has really flown by and I am learning so much about the Coast Guard each and every day. Right now, I am on South Padre Island, Texas at a small boat station with another cadet. So far, this experience has been awesome. At first I was a little nervous but the crew has been very welcoming. They are always helping us and teaching us new seamanship skills. South Padre is one of the busiest stations in the country; not only have we been able to see how the Coast Guard works during real search and rescue missions, but we have actually been able to participate and it is incredible.

 

The weather down here is amazing. It has not dropped below 80 since we arrived and the beaches are great. We are allowed to go out and explore the island and, since it is so small, almost everything is within walking distance. We are at the station for two more weeks and then we will be flying back to New London to board Eagle. On Eagle, we will be travelling down to Philadelphia for the Tall Boat Show, which will be really cool, and then we will be cruising down to Bermuda (I am really excited for that part). It is going to be a lot of work but most of my friends are going to be on the same phase so I will be able to see them all again! Toward the end of July, we will end the voyage in Boston and then I will go home for three weeks of leave. On August 16th, I will report back to the Academy for my 3rd class year. I cannot wait to be part of Charlie Company and meet the new 4th class. To all of you soon-to-be-swabs out there: good luck this summer, have fun and try not to worry too much. Y’all will do great!

 

More about Mimi.

 

Special Thanks to Our Sponsors!

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Culp Photo Today I was walking to lunch when I spotted an officer in the distance. I prepared to issue the proper formal greeting and salute…then found myself doing a hilarious little half-salute, half-overexcited wave thing as I exclaimed, “Hey, Commander! How’s it going?” Why the sudden adjustment of military customs? That particular commander happened to be one of the Academy’s sponsor parents, whose family I had visited several times! So, conflicting thoughts of “officer – salute now!” and “Hey, I know him!” resulted in a unique new gesture of acknowledgement. Maybe I can get that into our military etiquette book…

 

During Swab Summer, the incoming 4/c has the chance to fill out an application for a sponsor family. You are asked questions about where you are from, what activities you enjoy, how you feel about pets, etc. Each cadet is then matched with a family and gets the chance to have dinner with them over the summer. I cannot tell you how grateful I am for my own sponsor parents – there are truly no two more gracious and caring people! Plus, hanging out with their menagerie of creatures makes for a very good time indeed! It’s wonderful to be able to go over to a regular home and spend the night watching movies, eating delicious meals, bringing friends over, and doing homework somewhere that is NOT your Chase Hall room! These families are always there to provide support as we navigate the rough channels of Academy life. Sometimes I’ll come off of a tough week at school, frustrated and tired but then, I head over to my sponsors’ and get a chance to relax and refocus under their encouragement. It makes a world of difference at a challenging institution!

 

Each cadet has the choice to get a sponsor family officially assigned. What has never ceased to amaze me, however, is the willingness of every family to just pick up random cadets and adopt them as well. I experienced this with the aforementioned officer and his family – having met them at the Academy chapel, I wound up over at their house frequently enough that they had no choice but to call me their sponsor cadet. They perfectly exhibit the across-the-board generosity of all of the sponsors in the program. It seems like every family is thrilled to adopt more cadets than just those assigned to them! The corps is truly blessed to have such a strong support base during our four years here. If you are an incoming cadet, please strongly consider finding a sponsor, even if home is just a few hours away! You will not regret it – and your friends, who will undoubtedly wind up following you over to their home at some point, will be just as grateful!

 

More about Abby.

 

Countdown Begins

(Academics, Just for Fun, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Auzenbergs Photo This is the final stretch! After spring break, there are only six weeks left of school. Everyone says that it will fly by and already we made it to the 20-day countdown. (Until finals, that is!) These last few weeks will not be easy, as classes are coming to an end and exams are piling up but they are the most important in the whole year. Finishing strong is the key… especially as 4/c. This is the time we have been waiting for since R-Day nine months ago. Carry-on! My company, Charlie, has earned back social media privileges by each member passing Boards. It’s really interesting to look up what our classmates were like through their old Facebook posts and my friends and I have found it even more interesting to look up the incoming swabs in the Class of 2019! We are trying to picture them calling us “ma’am” and “sir,” asking us questions, and treating us like we were not just in their position one summer ago! But first, we just need all of 2018 to pass Boards to earn carry-on as a class.

 

Once all that happens, it’s off to summer training which I could not be more excited for! First I will spend five weeks at Small Boat Station Port Aransas, Texas with one other 4/c, learning what life is like working as an enlisted member in the Coast Guard. Then I will travel back to the East Coast, to meet the Barque Eagle. I will be getting very familiar with Eagle during the six weeks we will spend sailing from New York, to Philadelphia, Bermuda, Maine, and Massachusetts! A year ago today, I never would have believed all that has happened this year, and what is in store for near future.

 

More about Gabrielle.

 

Fantastic April

(Just for Fun, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Cantrell Photo Another fantastic month has come and gone. It’s hard to believe with all of the schoolwork and military obligations that graduation is right around the corner. Only two and a half more weeks of school and we are in the final stretch to commencement. The feeling is just beginning to become real and a little scary. I don’t want to leave all of my amazing friends but I am also so excited and ready to head to my first ship. It is such a strange feeling and is very hard to explain.

 

Billet Night was an incredible night full of excitement and memories. I will be headed to CGC Legare, a 270-foot cutter home-ported in Portsmouth, Virginia! I am beyond excited to report aboard and be given the opportunity to carry out the missions of the Coast Guard. It will be a challenging two years full of learning but I am so ready to perform to my highest potential and serve this great organization well.

 

Another awesome event for the Class of 2015 this past month was Castle Dance. This is the 1/c formal held at a castle in Newport, Rhode Island. It was a very classy night with a lot of dancing and fun with my classmates. Additionally, it was nice to wear a dress and be able to have my hair down for this formal event.

 

Last weekend was Easter and a group of us went to my friend Carolyn’s house in upstate New York. Her family was so welcoming and made our Easter weekend so incredibly special. It is so nice to be able to get a home-cooked meal and feel like a part of a family when your own is so far away.

 

One of the things that I cherish most about the Academy is the lifelong friends and family you make in just four short years. I did not ever imagine myself being fortunate enough to be a part of so many families and it is so nice to have constant support from so many wonderful people.

 

I hope spring has sprung for many of you reading this and that warmer weather starts making its way up here soon.

 

More about Sara.