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CADET BLOGS

cadet blogs

2016: The Year in Review

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Glick Photo This year is one that has been filled with surprises, joys, concerns, and milestones. In January, we began work on preparing for the arrival of the Class of 2020. The spring semester flew by and before we knew it, there were 300 swabs at our doorstep. This summer was excellent, as we trained more swabs than ever with less cadre and resources. This summer I got to see Alaska and the great American west, which was an awesome experience. I went on search and rescue cases, swam with icebergs, and earned my in-port junior officer of the day qualification. This semester I was assigned to the community service logistics division again, and we are in the process of finishing a house for Habitat for Humanity in downtown New London. We are also hoping to sponsor a house in the coming months for the Class of 2018 and beyond to construct.

 

I became very involved in my local United Methodist Church this semester as well. I am taking a 40-week bible study with a group led by our pastor, and I am attending a conference in January for people interested in the ministry. I am also considering pursuing ministry after my commitment to the Coast Guard. One step at a time, however…

 

This semester I also honed my golf game. I spent many hours at the Stonington Country Club golf course, and I found myself a great new hobby to pursue when the weather is fair. Golf is a game where perfection is the standard and effort is the means, but nonetheless I am enjoying my time learning and improving my game.

 

Last month I was selected to serve as the spring Regimental Chief of Staff, which has obstacles of its own that lay ahead. I am looking forward to serving on Regimental Staff again, and graduation will be here before we know it!

 

More about William.

 

Lighting the World

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2019) Permanent link
Kearney Photo The stars have never burned brighter nor has the water glowed bluer than that which I saw this past summer. You see, I’m fascinated by lights. I saw the green glow of the Space Needle on the Seattle skyline. I saw the orange lanterns of a Hawaiian Memorial Day celebration float across Honolulu’s waters with the shadow of a mountain behind us rising out of the Pacific. I saw the reflections of old London structures off the puddles of rain in the streets. I saw green, purple and gold firecrackers bloom above the Madeiran city of Funchal blanketed in terracotta as people watched with awe. I saw the moon’s glow dance lightly off the cool Bermuda water to the soft beach at my feet. I saw the green sparkle of tiny ocean life riding the waves past the ship’s hull in the pitch black of night. I saw the dazzling lightning bugs glitter the fresh air of the Shenandoah Valley, my home. I have no tales of saving lives or hunting drugs like some of my fellow classmates, but I still got to see the lights of the world. You might be wondering what has this got to do with the Coast Guard? Everything. It’s the little things that matter the most in life. Never forget that.

 

But if you want to know actual Coast Guard work, I did get to do some cool things like needle-gunning, sanding, and painting on the USCGC Polar Star, USCGC Sherman, and of course USCGC Barque Eagle. I drove a small boat en route to drill with an HC-130H (an airplane) and drilled with helicopter basket lowering. I became qualified in standard Coast Guard duties on board a vessel and learned so much from the various crews. I would like thank all of the crews of the units I visited for their immense knowledge, skill, and willingness to help train me and my fellow cadets throughout the summer. In addition to work duties, I got to have the most secluded “pool party” in the world as I literally jumped into the middle of the Atlantic Ocean with 150 of my closest friends. I got to see whales, dolphins, jellyfish, the Seattle Mariners, Big Ben, men dressed in all white pushing people down a hill in baskets, so so many beaches in Hawaii and Bermuda, and turtles – lots of turtles.

 

More about Alex.

 

Family is What You Make It

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Opas Photo When I first joined the Coast Guard, I considered myself to have an incredibly small family. Biologically speaking, it was just my parents, my two siblings, and me. Throughout high school, I’d expanded to include a handful of incredibly close friends, but even then, I had a small support network. Moreover, I’d subscribed to the school of thought that defined family as the people you chose to surround yourself with. But my time here at the Academy has taught me that family is something you don’t choose, rather it is thrust upon you. Even in the beginning of the semester and after Swab Summer, I didn’t realize how much my family had grown.

 

Sure, I had my company mates ‒ my fellow fourth class ‒ who I’d toughed out Swab Summer with. Yet even among such a group, there were those of us who didn’t click. I was truly lucky to have roomed in fourth deck Charlie fall semester, on a p-way of only fourth class. Somewhat sequestered from the rest of the wing area, we formed a tight-knit bond as our own little unit. Leaning on each other for anything from late-night Statics and Engineering Design homework help to ironing a buddy’s shirt before a formal room and wing because he had a rugby game, we had our own little microcosm. And it ran like a well-oiled machine. Yes, we had our little spats. Two or three of us would be grumpy the whole week prior to an exam, but then we’d all pile into someone’s room and shoot the breeze on a Saturday night instead of going out on liberty, just to decompress as a fam. We had our one practical joker, our resident bookworm, our cynic, our cheerleader, the list went on. Everyone was a piece of the puzzle and that suited each of us just fine. But there was another of my company mates who lived on third deck, far away from the fourth deck biosphere. She has become a sister and a mother to me, through all the first semester’s trials and tribulations.

 

It was roughly 10 a.m. the Saturday of Parents’ Weekend, the two of us standing in the grass before Hamilton Hall with the hordes of parents and loved ones, all related in some fashion or other to different members of the Corps of Cadets. My parents were unable to make it up to Connecticut for the weekend, so I didn’t have anyone to look forward to seeing. To top it off, I was recovering from an injury ‒ just like my shipmate ‒ so we both couldn’t drill. But from the moment she and I waved her parents over to join us in watching the pomp and circumstance of the special drill ceremony, that bond of sisterhood solidified. Her unconditional acceptance of me into her family is one of the things that has grounded me during my time in New London, in an environment where it’s really easy to lose yourself in the stress.

 

Your family here is that which makes you smile and laugh every day in spite of all the class assignments, sports obligations, and military trainings. It’s what makes you get up in the morning instead of rolling over after reveille to sleep in, like any other college kid. It makes getting through the workday an exercise in trying not to laugh at each other’s blunders rather than a string of failures and insurmountable challenges. The idea of family is that which makes the Coast Guard the Coast Guard, and it’s what makes this academy just that little bit better than its sister academies.

 

More about Leah.

 

Support, Strength, Family

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Wheeler Photo Over the course of my (almost) one semester here, I have noticed something about the Corps of Cadets at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. Something unique to our school and something I have heard translates into the fleet as well. There is a sense of togetherness here that I haven’t experienced anywhere else, a corps-wide bond that is unspoken but mutual. Everyone here treats each other as family and will help each other, regardless of class or age, without a moment’s hesitation. Sure I experienced friendships and support at Marion Military Institute (my prep school), but there is something very special about the Academy, something about its size and the mindset that is shared by each and every cadet that fosters strong ties and connections, promoting a family unit. If there is one thing that sets the U.S. Coast Guard Academy apart from every other service academy, let alone every other college in the nation, it is the support system that can be described as nothing short of family.

 

More about Pat.

 

Saving Lives as a Cadet

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Tousignant Photo One of the main things that I often leave out when explaining my motivation for applying to the Academy was my high school desire to join the Peace Corps. This desire to help people is why I chose the Coast Guard over any other military service. I love the strict military schedule and lifestyle that meshes with my Type A personality. However, the Coast Guard is much more than a military branch. It is a lifesaving service. What recently brought this to my attention was the question of why I donate blood. I dislike waiting for hours while I could be doing homework and being poked and prodded with a needle, but I still keep going back. I realized my action to give blood was driven by the desire to save lives. Even though it is unpleasant, I believe that anyone that is able to donate blood should participate. Though cadets do not have the daily opportunity to conduct search and rescue operations, we can start saving lives without even leaving campus. The Academy is more than academics, military, and athletics. We learn how to be leaders and how to serve the people of the United States. We are required to do community and institutional service. However, cadets usually go way beyond these requirements. Taking a couple hours out of one’s day to help another makes the world a better place even though it is not always apparent.

 

More about Jackie.