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CADET BLOGS

cadet blogs

A Reflection on the Summer

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Mills Photo As I am packing into my new room, in my new company, I cannot help but be amazed by how fast time has gone by. It feels like I had just begun my summer training.

 

I was on a fast response cutter (FRC) for the first five weeks of my training. It was my first real taste of the operational Coast Guard and it was unforgettable. I was given the opportunity to travel to new places like Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and St. Lucia. We worked hard to get our qualifications and made new friendships with the amazing crew of the CGC Charles Sexton. The missions of the FRC include drug and migrant interdiction as well as search and rescue. I was able to be a part of two drug chases and a rescue mission of a sinking cargo vessel. Firsthand experience with the missions of the Coast Guard was a great way to apply what I have been learning at the Academy as well as to learn new skills. After five weeks, I parted ways with the Charles Sexton and headed off to spend six weeks on the CGC Eagle for more training. I had a wonderful time on Eagle while I was there. I learned valuable lessons from the crew about leadership and followership. Unfortunately, I broke my foot on Eagle and was not able to complete that training. Instead, I was sent back to the Academy to finish out my training at station New London. So this summer I was able to experience all three third class summer possibilities because I was able to go on a cutter, spend time on Eagle, and go to a station. I find myself very fortunate to have had this opportunity to experience these varying environments.

 

Once on leave, I crammed as much adventure and fun with my family as I could. I went to the zoo and also went to Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Florida and the loggerhead turtle rehabilitation center in Palm Beach, Florida. I was able to recharge being around those I love and come back to the Academy prepared for another dynamic school year.

 

More about Sydney.

 

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.

 

Here Again?

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Effendi Photo On the great WIX-327 yet another summer, but this time I chose to be there. I had a lot to debate before submitting my choices for my 2/c summer cadre slate. Should I put in for CGAS cadre because I was in the program years before? Should I go for Swab Summer cadre to breakdown the incoming Class of 2018? In the end I chose Eagle, and I had plenty reason to. Eagle gives cadets the best opportunity to prepare for the future.

 

In the preparation week for Eagle cadre, we utilize simulators to prepare for navigation team assignments and give navigation briefs to officers and classmates. On Eagle we have our own division, our own watches, and our own collaterals. Also we have the benefit of giving most swabs their first ever sea-going experience, while also teaching them many skills that they will need in the future. Not to mention that Eagle will be stopping in Bourne, Massachusetts during Sailfest and Rockland, Maine during Lobsterfest, but those are just added perks. Yes, this will be my third summer in a row being on Eagle but I know that this experience will aid in my development as a leader more than any other experience offered for 2/c summer.

 

More about Ardy.

 

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.

 

Only the Beginning of My Fantastic Journey

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Sakowicz Photo This summer has been the most exciting and greatest fun I ever had! Finally earning my red shields and being allowed to call myself a third class was only the beginning of my fantastic journey!

 

My summer started the day after my last final where I met the CGC Eagle on the New London docks. Nothing compares to the feeling of knowing you will spend the next five weeks learning to operate a square rig sailing vessel. Over the next five weeks I learned the 200+ pins and lines, I sat on the bowsprit at 0200 watching dolphins swim through the bioluminescence and climbed to the royals in rough seas! I learned how to navigate by the stars, turn on the main diesel engine and make baggy wrinkle. What I learned on board was amazing and the people I worked with were even better! What really made my trip was the port calls; three days in Puerto Rico, Aruba, Cozumel Mexico and a day in Miami! The new places and cultures was an eventful break from the hard work on Eagle. I really liked my time on board and hope the future sailors have as great a time as I did!

 

My second phase was six weeks on the CGC Dauntless. The cutter'a home port is Gaveston, Texas but it was dry docked in Brooklyn for the six weeks I was on. This wasn't a tragedy for me I live only an hour away so I was able to visit my family and friends on my off days. The Dauntless was so much different that the Eagle in more ways than just sails. The dynamic of the crew and the flow of work was very smooth and everyone got their work done swiftly and efficiently. The crew took us in and put us to work and I was able to experience what it was like to be a functioning member of the Coast Guard. I made a lot of good friends on both my phases and I was able get so much out of all of these experiences; I couldn't have asked for a better summer. now it is time to take my leave before returning to the Academy for my second year. Thank you for reading!

 

More about Emily.