Back underway again. I have been very busy, but I feel I owe an update on my life as an ENS. For almost four months the ship was in port, but I was away at school. In the fall I spent time in San Diego at the Navy base learning how to be a Damage Control Assistant (DCA). Topics ranged from stability, chemical attacks, fire fighting, gas free engineering, and more. Probably the coolest part was going to the Navy’s firehouses, putting on firefighting equipment and actually going into buildings to fight fires. It is amazing how hot you can get in those suits, and how in only 30 minutes of fire fighting you become completely drained. I have a new appreciation the men and women who do that job for a living, because it is one tough job. San Diego was also awesome just because…well it was San Diego. Even in the winter you can go to a sunny beach, and the Pacific Beach/Gas Lamp life should be fun for just about any junior officer. I just finished routing my DCA relief letter, and should be taking over the job in a matter of days.
After SD and DCA school, I almost immediately flew out to Charleston, South Carolina to the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. At the training center I attended boarding officer school to become a federal law enforcement officer. At boarding officer school we learned a lot of what we already had covered in Personal Defense, Criminal Justice, and Maritime Law Enforcement from the Academy. Just like DCA school, there was a coolest part of this training and that was the “shoot house”. In the “shoot house” our team was equipped with real guns…but just filled with paintballs. We had to clear the house against armed subjects, which was a blast. Another great part was to see how our teamwork evolved throughout the course of the school. When we arrived I was placed on a four-man team, consisting of two BM3s, an MK3, and myself. At first we were tentative and lacked flow with a lot of the evolutions we performed, but by the end of the class we were working like a well oiled machine. I’ll miss the south…hopefully I can go back there one day.
It really seems like the year has flown by, I am already reaching out to the new ensigns and coordinating their travel plans and getting ready to send them to DCA school. Right now we are on another patrol and it’s already been busy. Been able to qualify as a Gas Free Engineer, In-port Engineer of the Watch (EOW), Cutter Surface Rescue Swimmer, and a Boarding Officer. Gone on some boardings and go-fast chases, and have been breaking in on the bridge working on my qualification to become an Officer of the Deck (OOD). The Academy really did help me prepare for this position as all the Nautical Science over the years has made the transition to navigating much easier then it was going down in the engine room. I can’t believe how fast time has passed and pretty soon we will be putting in for our next jobs! I probably won’t update for a while but as always send me an email at Christen.C.Shih@uscg.mil with any questions. Fellow blogger Bo Wowtshuk says hi from the glorious land of Pacific Beach! Congrats to 2013 for graduating!
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