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cadet blogs

The Ensign Experience

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Schroeder Photo Hi once again from Kodiak, Alaska! A couple weeks ago, I returned from a three-week patrol in the Gulf of Alaska. I was able to qualify as Quarter Master of the Watch (QMOW), which basically means I was in charge of charting the ship’s position. I also was able to stand watches driving the ship. It was pretty cool to know that I was in charge of safely maneuvering a 378-foot vessel! While I was underway I learned a great deal, I had a lot of stuff thrown at me, and I was able to really understand what it might be like next year at my first unit after graduation. We got to see several whales; do a couple fish calls and catch a lot of halibut; and we got a port call in Seward, Alaska. Seward was amazing, I saw two glaciers, one I hiked to and another I took a boat to. It was also nice just to see the mainland of Alaska. All the hard work I put in at the Academy during the academic year definitely pays off in the summer. I have gotten to see so many amazing places I never thought I would see; who else could say they got to live/travel in Alaska for 11 weeks?


Since we have been back in port, Kodiak has gotten even more beautiful. Everything is green, there are wildflowers all over, and when it is sunny there is no better place to be. I have gone salmon fishing, hiking, and had a few bonfires on the beach and at the river. While I have been in port, I have also been standing Officer of the Deck (OOD), which means that, under the instruction of an officer, I am in charge of the ship’s routine and safety for the day. I definitely had a lot of paperwork assigned to me, just like I will be sure to have next summer when I report to my ensign billet. So even with all the hard work, it is definitely worth it because I am getting the ensign experience now and will be somewhat prepared for my life as an officer.


I have about three and a half weeks left here in Kodiak until I go home for a few weeks before school starts, and I have a lot to look forward to. Next week, I will go to Boarding Team Member (BTM) school. A BTM is someone who goes on boardings of other vessels while the boat is underway. So that is pretty cool. I will also be getting pepper sprayed (not so cool), and get to re-qualify in pistol, and qualify in rifle shooting. So although I still have some time left here, and I have been busy, I definitely have some things to look forward to. I have also made so many friends and professional connections with the crew aboard the Munro. The Coast Guard is a small service, so more than likely I will see some of these people again, which is exciting. Being here has also given me a completely different perspective on what I want to do for my ensign tour. It is hard to believe that in just a few short months, I will receive my billet list and have to decide where I want to spend two years of my life. And in less than a year I will (hopefully) graduate and receive my commission and get to go to a real unit like this one.


More about Jade.