With winter break a distant memory, I came back to the Academy a day early, and was one of few people in Chase Hall. Eerie, the halls were empty, quiet, and dark. As the corps returns from winter break, mid-year administrative processing, or MAP week, sweeps up everyone’s time. With speeches from Admiral Papp to breakout sessions with junior officers and other cadets, this week serves as a time of reflection and preparation, as each class is eager to move into the next role. 2017 is faced with another semester of academic responsibility and passing boards (a rote memorization oral examination on Coast Guard knowledge) in order to ultimately become third class cadets. Many of us are eager to get the PFE over with, while others are more concerned about succeeding academically in the coming weeks. Everyone is confronting their own challenges, yet we all face the same challenges as a class. Our class crest design was unofficially revealed yesterday on paper, and it made me realize that I am more than half way done 4/c life. Scary stuff.
Our superintendent, RADM Stosz, has echoed every presentation this week with the motif, “Duty Demands Courage.” There are posters around the Academy with the phrase on it and at first I didn’t know what to think about it. It seemed like another rhetorical campaign that just made some people warm and fuzzy and had no real meaning. But every time it passes through my head, it makes a little bit more sense. We are tasked with many duties and responsibilities, both explicit and implicit. Explicitly, we have to stand watches, memorize indoctrination material, ensure Chase is clean, and go to school. Implicitly, we need to make sure we are of good moral character, maintain moderation in all facets of life, and, quite simply, be good people. That sure is a lot to think about! However, it is easy for people to make mistakes. As an underclass, it always comes as a surprise to find out that the upperclassmen are still human and also make mistakes. As our role models and mentors, it is important we look at both their successes and also their mistakes.
Admiral Papp last night reminded us that accidents happen in the Coast Guard due to lack of attention to detail. That was one of the mantras screamed during Swab Summer and sometimes we like to parody how ridiculous it can often be. Yet, it makes sense. If I can’t be trusted to fold a shirt right, why should I be trusted to lead a crew? Definitely food for thought. I hope 2014 goes well for readers, us cadets, and the Coast Guard.
More about William.