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cadet blogs

The Unbelievable Summer

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Beck Photo We’re all finally back at the Academy and I can’t believe how many different experiences my classmates had over the summer. Returning as 3/c is exciting but not nearly as great as the summer that’s quickly coming to a close. For the first five weeks of the summer, I served on the Coast Guard Cutter William Flores, a fast response cutter stationed in Miami, Florida. In the three weeks we were underway, we took on quite a few Cuban migrants and helped transfer 1,800 lbs. of illegal drugs. I qualified as Quartermaster of the Watch (QMOW) and Alien Migrant Watchstander and was included in the duty rotation just like any other crew member. It was motivating to really feel like I had a noticeable impact and was on the front lines of many Coast Guard missions.

 

One specific sea story I’ll share takes place off the coast of central Florida one morning around 8:30. I was standing QMOW and the commanding officer was the only other person on the bridge with me, steering and navigating the cutter. It was a calm day and there wasn’t much radio traffic until Sector started alerting us of two small rafts near the coast full of illegal migrants. I sprang into action, plotting the point relayed by Sector that designated the location of the rafts and advised the CO on course and speed to arrive at the location. As great as getting qualified was, it was even more exhilarating to get to use what I’d learned in a real situation. In the end, we retrieved both sets of migrants and began their processing. Crossing from Cuba is inherently dangerous so bringing them on our cutter is as much humanitarian as law-enforcement.

 

The second half of my summer was spent on Eagle. In six weeks, I traveled from Miami to St Johns, Canada and back to New York. The whole experience was really positive for me and I got to know many of my classmates better. Not many things can beat the feeling of being on deck at 3 a.m. with the engine off and all the sails up under clear, starry skies.

 

Overall, this summer was the most diverse and exciting I’ve ever had. It was all hard work but so rewarding with great port calls and many things to learn. Over leave I traveled to Europe for the first time and had a blast. After all the running around this summer, it’s a little nice to be back in Chase Hall surrounded by familiar faces and routines.

 

More about Laura.

 

Back to the Grind

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Daniels Photo It seems like this summer was a flash of freedom and a different lifestyle and then just like that, BAM! we’re back to the routine we’ve had for so long. My class has already taken the fitness exam, bought books, and found new rooms amongst new companies and new people.

 

My summer experience was unsurpassed by anything I’ve done so far. I got to participate in two search and rescue cases and a fisheries enforcement case. This participation in the “real” Coast Guard showed me what the missions were all about and how applicable everything we were learning about at the Academy is. Eagle was an experience that I know none of my high school friends have or will ever have; instead of working this summer, I got the chance to sail around the Atlantic, and learn all about old sailing ships and nautical traditions.

 

People often have trouble returning to the Academy after their leave because they go back to a “normal” lifestyle for a few weeks, and to be completely honest I did briefly experience these same feelings. However, I thought about what a privilege it is to be here with all of my friends so I packed up my sea bag and trekked back. I’m definitely looking forward to this year, despite the new responsibilities of a third class. This is going to be my first chance to not be on the bottom, and I will help the fourth class in my division. The hardest thing I can imagine for my class is going to be to remember how we felt as fourth class and try to help out and pitch in where we all wished our upper class had helped.

 

Until next time!

 

More about Drew.

 

A Super Busy Summer

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Ellis Photo Hi Everyone!

 

Sorry it’s been so long since I lasted posted, but I have had a super busy summer. Here’s just a little taste at some of the things I did:

 

1. The week after finals, the Class of 2016 participated in 100th week. This marks the halfway point of our time here at the Academy. Cape May Company Commanders come to the Academy and remind us of what it feels like to be a swab and teach us ways to instruct our swabs to prepare them for the Coast Guard. At the conclusion of this week, we officially became 2/c cadets.

 

2. I also took my Rules of the Road (ROTR) test. Every 2/c has to take a weeklong course explaining the rules that ships have concerning right of way. So, it’s basically like a driving test – but for boats. For example, sailboats have right of way over powerboats. We also had to memorize all the lights that different types of boats have. At the end of this week, we took a 50 question test, that in order to pass we must earn a 90%.

 

3. After these two weeks, I participated in Summer Ocean racing again. This year, we competed in the Newport-Bermuda Race. The race took us five days to complete due to the lack of wind for the majority of the race. This was an amazing experience and I had a lot of fun.

 

4. The final thing I did this summer was cadre duty. The last three weeks of the summer I was a waterfront cadre. This consisted of me training the swabs how to sail every day. At night, I joined Foxtrot and acted as Swab Summer cadre. It was in these three weeks that I learned how to lead a group of swabs. This proved to be a lot harder than I would have imagined. We had to explain to this group of people how the Coast Guard and the Academy worked and prepare them for the school year. Being a cadre was one of the most rewarding things I have done at the Academy – being able to say that I helped train a new class that will, in four years, become CG officers.

 

This is just a small taste of what I did this summer. And now I’m ready to get back to school. This semester, I look forward to taking more of my major specific classes and well as being an MAA for Foxtrot Company. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to contact me at Kayla.M.Ellis@uscga.edu.

 

More about Kayla.

 

A Whirlwind Adventure

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Krause Photo Summer has come to an end and the start to my 3/c academic year is fast approaching. Thinking back about the last few months I am amazed at the opportunities I have had. I spent first phase at Station San Francisco with another cadet. We were immediately welcomed into the crew and everyone there worked tirelessly to help us get our boat crew qualification on the 45-foot response boat medium. We were able to participate in search and rescue cases, helicopter operations, SWAT team training, and cruise ship escorts. Not only did we have a blast getting to see so many different aspects of the Coast Guards missions, but it also made me excited for my future career. It instilled in me a great respect for the expertise and dedication among the enlisted. The experience was humbling; there was so much to learn! It was also incredibly motivating as it provided real-world perspective on a variety of Coast Guard career options. On top of all of that we had so much fun exploring the eclectic city of San Francisco every weekend!

 

The second phase of my summer was aboard the Barque Eagle. We started in Miami and sailed up the coast through squalls and icebergs to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. One of the highlights of the six week trip was sailing past Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty to moor up in New York. Seeing these iconic sites from the deck of the Eagle was incredible. Even though the days afloat were long, our division managed to have a lot of fun while learning the different duties aboard Eagle. We saw a great diversity of aquatic wildlife such as dolphins and sea turtles, climbed the rigging, and even had a talent show. The best part of Eagle for me though was that I was able to get so much closer with my classmates. It’s true that here at the Academy your shipmates become your closest friends. We work so closely together, rely so completely on each other, and share the same goals. Long duty shifts, meals in the mess and exploring during port calls allow us to get to know and respect one another, and to truly become a team. Classmates at the Academy come from all over the country and across the globe. I realize that the remarkable opportunities to learn about the world around me aren’t limited to summer travels, they are back here at the Academy as well.

 

After this whirlwind adventure and some R&R on leave back home, I have the chance to use this amazing summer as motivation to push through the academic year. Now back at Chase and having seen my first swab, I’m excited to serve in my new role as a 3rd class to help open their eyes to the opportunities that lay ahead for them.

 

More about Gretchen.

 

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.