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cadet blogs

Bringing in 2014 Beneath Big Ben

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Kukich Photo Back in April my best friend from home, Erik, asked if I would do something special over his last winter break before graduating. It took a lot of convincing but we bought tickets to London, England and left on December 26th for the six-day trip. The visit was my first out of the country and not being with my family or classmates was a big change. In all, it was more than I could have hoped for – we visited Stonehenge, Bath, and Windsor Castle to name a few places outside of the city. We saw the Crown Jewels and the inner mechanics of Tower Bridge. We watched the New Year’s Eve fireworks on the River Thames across from the London Eye, and heard Big Ben strike midnight bringing in 2014. I could not have asked for a better first experience in Europe and was grateful for the opportunity to do so separate from work.


Of course, “separated” from the service is only an illusion leave provides. In reality, cadets know we are always representing the Academy and our behavior is a direct representation of our obligation. While I was granted travel to London over leave, I had to complete a memo (written request) and trainings prior, all which had to be reviewed by my chain of command. The Academy can be stringent at times, but (with the right reasoning) the same experiences civilian peers have can be had here too. The Academy supported my thrill of visiting London for the New Year because it was valuable to my personal development and, in the long term, my perspective as a Coast Guard officer.


More about Sarah.


A Good Welcome Back

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Engelhardt Photo After two and a half weeks or so of leave, early January marks the time when cadets return to the Academy. Unlike normal colleges, where classes start as soon as students return, cadets have a week of “Administration Processing” (dubbed CAP week at the start of the fall semester and MAP week at the start of the spring semester). Although it is tough to come back to the Academy (especially when New London has single digit temperatures in the winter…burr), the week serves as a nice period for cadets to transition back into the military lifestyle. CAP and MAP weeks both have various trainings, on topics from cyber awareness and professional conduct, to meetings with the Superintendent and the Commandant of Cadets. During the week, the Change of the Command ceremony is also held, where cadets who will assume leadership positions in the upcoming semester relieve the cadets who held leadership positions the previous semester. The dreaded PFE, which is performed twice annually, is also administered during the week.


Additionally, the week usually has a key speech, which during MAP week is an annual address given by the Commandant of the Coast Guard. This year Admiral Papp, the 24th Commandant of the Coast Guard, gave his final address to the corps, as he will be retiring from the Coast Guard in the summer. This served as a bittersweet moment, as it was sad to say good bye to the only Commandant I have known while in the Coast Guard, but was also entertaining to listen to him discuss his lessons learned during his Coast Guard career. His speech articulated the part I most enjoy about MAP week: having a chance to look at the big picture and to be reminded what it means to be a Coast Guardsmen and why I choose this Academy, which sometimes gets lost during the strenuous academics of the semester. Every once in a while it is nice to be reminded why we are all here, and I believe that MAP week serves this purpose as a good welcome back to the Academy.



More about James.