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Furling

Christian Salayon | July 31, 2023

Christian Salayon - 2026

Reminiscing on my time as a swab, there is one instant I will never forget. During my time on Barque Eagle (a three-masted training ship), I was given one of the coolest opportunities and experiences of my life. For context, during our weeklong voyage from New London, CT to New York, the swabs including myself were put into specific duties that were necessary to keep the ship well-maintained and working. One of these duties was deck watch, which traditionally consisted of patrolling the top deck for hours on end.

This, however, was not the case for me. An hour into what seemed like a normal round, we were prompted by our division head that because of the changing weather conditions, as well as the setting sun, it was necessary for us to furl the main mast. This essentially meant rolling up the sail, which to my surprise was a totally manual operation. Just like that we were rigged into our safety gear and asked to climb up to the highest point on the mast 4/c were able to access. Considering we had only one other training course, this already put me in a unique situation to experience what many of my other shipmates had yet to experience. The next thing I knew I was where I needed to be. At that point, all I remember was standing on a singular dainty rope that hung below the mast clinging on to the sides, all while a fog and light drizzle came in. One could barely see more than 100 ft, yet here we were on top of a now slippery and wet metal structure grasping for the sail and heaving it over the mast to tie it over.

Words could not describe how I felt, as I could not decide whether I was in awe of how awesome being among the elements 3 stories above a sea of black or petrified of the abyss that surrounded me. Compared to the challenges and hardships that filled the majority of swab summer, it was instances like this that made the experience worth it. I am thankful for the opportunity, and I can’t wait until I am able to climb even higher and do more unique opportunities during my time at the Coast Guard Academy. 

About Christian

Sponsor Family Application

Thank you for submitting your application to be part of the Sponsor Family Program. Your application will be processed in the upcoming week. Coast Guard Academy’s policy on background screening now requires all adults (everyone 18 and older living in the home) who volunteer to mentor, teach, coach or sponsor cadets, whether on or off Coast Guard Academy grounds, to be screened every 5 years. They are required to provide personal information (name, birth date and social security number) for the purpose of conducting a criminal background check.

The Security Officer at the Coast Guard Academy, CWO2 Gina Polkowski, is overseeing this process. Her email is: Gina.M.Polkowski@uscg.mil.

Sponsor Family designations fall into several different categories. Below are the guidelines to help you determine how best to meet the background screening requirement:

  1. If you are Coast Guard active duty you do not need to apply for an additional Background Check. You will be vetted through the Coast Guard system by CWO2 Polkowski.
  2. If you are a Civilian working for the Coast Guard you do not need to apply for an additional Background Check. You will be vetted through the Coast Guard system by CWO2 Polkowski.
  3. If you are non-Coast Guard Active Duty, you are required to provide proof of your current security clearance or National Agency Check that is to be emailed by your Command Security Officer (CSO)/ Security Office to CWO2 Polkowski at  Gina.M.Polkowski@uscg.mil.
  4. If you are non-Coast Guard civilian who has a current security clearance or National Agency check, you are required to provide proof of your current security clearance or National Agency Check that is to be emailed by your Command Security Officer (CSO)/ Security Office to CWO2 Polkowski at  Gina.M.Polkowski@uscg.mil.
  5. All civilians in the families who are 18 years or older and do not have a security clearance or a National Agency Check are required to be vetted through Mind Your Business, the third party vendor hired by the Coast Guard Academy for the vetting process.

After you complete your application, please e-mail the Sponsor Family Program Coordinator at CadetFamilySponsorProgram@uscga.edu. In your e-mail, you must include the e-mail address and phone number of every adult living in the home. The Sponsor Family Coordinator will then initiate the background check process and you will receive an email with further instructions.

Important things to note:

There is a Sponsor Family Training that is a one-hour training which we ask sponsors to attend once every four years. This training is designed to give you an overview of the program, what is expected of you as a sponsor, and what you can expect from your cadets. This training will also help familiarize you with the cadet regulations onboard CGA. You will be notified via e-mail once the training is scheduled.

The matching process of swabs to families will occur during July and August. Please bear with us and remain flexible through this process. There will be a meet and greet scheduled on Campus, typically in late August. This will give families an opportunity to formally meet their cadet if they have not already done so. Details on this will also be via email.

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