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cadet blogs

Time Flies!

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Wu Photo Time truly fries. More than a year ago I completed Swab Summer! Over summer leave I was with my two fellow shipmates enjoying New York City and our break from the Academy when we relived the very same day last year we were going through our grueling last day of Swab Summer also known as Sea Trials. I am amazed a year has past by so quickly and I am looking forward to this year.


Summer has been more than I expected it to be. I got the chance to be on Eagle for six weeks, which was more fun than I had anticipated. I got to get a lot closer with my classmates especially since during the school year I did not get the chance to mingle with people outside of my isolated company on the 4th deck. It was especially hard for 2015 to get to know our whole class since we stayed in the same company since Swab Summer. It was nice to meet, work with, and learn with new people on Eagle and also enjoy the War of 1812 Commemoration. I got to see a bunch of tall ships as we traveled together from Savannah, Georgia, to New York City for Fleet Week, to Norfolk, Virginia and then ending in Baltimore, Maryland. Although it would have been nice to travel to Europe or the Caribbean like the class of 2014 and 2013, however this experience was unique since you never really get to see all these tall ships together in one place. There were tall ships from around the world, from Indonesia to Ecuador and Columbia.


After phase I, I got the chance to go to the Naval Academy and experience their Yard Patrol ships. They are around 108 feet and since there are fewer crewmembers there were more responsibilities for the cadets and the midshipmen. Through my experiences on the YPs I got the chance to get more familiar with navigating and plotting 3 minute fixes. We were given roles that the 1/c on Eagle, like Conning Officer and Navigator, were responsible for so it was a bit intimidating at first, but rewarding when we succeeded. I got to explore Annapolis with four other Coasties and we enjoyed the little town outside of the academy. The Naval Academy itself was a gorgeous campus and really big. We got to stay in Bancroft Hall while we had trainings about the YPs and met a lot of midshipmen. I enjoyed my experience at the Naval Academy, but the experience also made me realize how much I appreciate being at the Coast Guard Academy because of how small and intimate the service is. I like how people at the Coast Guard Academy actually know each other and genuinely care for one another and the incoming class.


Now, coming back from summer leave and relaxation and being at home with my friends and family, I get the chance to be a role modeler for the class of 2016. As the academic year gets started I have a lot of goals for myself, but I also want to help out the 4/c as much as possible. Being in a small academy, you get close to your company and within a week I have learned a lot about the 4/c in Alfa Company and really care for them and hope that they are able to succeed. Now as a 3/c, I get the chance to help my 4/c the way my 3/c helped me and if so, even more. I remember the feeling of support when I was a 4/c and knowing that people around me are helping me get through the first hard initial year at the CGA.


I am looking forward to a fresh start with a new academic semester, being in a new company with a new roommate in a new room and no longer being a 4/c!


More about Ellie.


A Second Chance and What Resulted

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2014) Permanent link
Carlos Quintero May 4th indicated the last day of academics of my 3/c year in 2012 and the transition into being a 2/c for cadre summer. I heard from most upper class that the third summer at the Academy was the most fun and important, because it is the transformation from being a follower to a leader. Being a “prep cadet,” I had been at the bottom for three years, so I was ready to move on to a leadership role. Right as the summer started, I was in jeopardy of losing the opportunity to be an officer in the Coast Guard due to my academic problems.


I received a letter of disenrollment for failing two classes, second semester my 3/c year. It’s a horrible feeling knowing that after three years of hard work your Coast Guard career could be over. After hearing the news, I quickly turned to help by interacting with the Academy staff closest to me. They did a great job of steering me in the right direction and helping with the appeal process. When a cadet is disenrolled he or she has a couple of days to present an argument of why they should be retained. Upon review, my appeal was approved and I was given another chance. The reason I’m writing this story is to let people know that it is possible to fail and get back up again. If you actually want to be here and are willing to put in the work, you may be given a second chance. When you get close to almost losing something you dream about, it makes you work a lot harder.


The Cape May Company Commanders came to train us for the first week of cadre summer. It was a unique experience to be taught by professionals, how to be a cadre, in preparation for Swab Summer. I don’t want to get into the details of the 100th week training, because I wouldn’t want to spoil your fun. 100th week ended with a ceremony promoting us to 2/c, which was followed by a week at the shooting range. The staff at the range, which is located in Chase Hall, is excellent at teaching cadets to excel at shooting a pistol. The entire class of 2014 attained their basic pistol shooting qualification. A week later we got out of the range and back into the classroom for a Rules of the Road (ROTR) class. ROTR is the mariners equivalent to a civilian taking the written portion of the driving test. At the end of that week, we took a test to qualify. That test is much harder than the drivers test.


After spending three weeks of leave at home I returned full of energy and motivation to train swabs. After a week of doing trainings, relating to safety and rules regarding Swab Summer, R-Day came around. It was cool not to be the one at the bottom anymore and being told what to do. I was a Waterfront Cadre, which meant that during the day I would train the swabs to sail and on the evenings help train them back at the barracks. I was never a sailor, but I learned enough the week before Swab Summer started to teach swabs. When you watch swabs get out on the river in their boats not knowing what their doing, then at the end bringing it together is a good feeling. After three weeks the second set of Waterfront Cadre relieved us.


Having wrapped up Swab Summer, I moved on to my next assignment, which was on the 26 foot sailboats, the Colgates. Our culminating event that week was sailing to Fishers Island, and that’s when I realized sailing is a lot of fun. I had the opportunity to attend two different conferences for naval officers. The first being in New Orleans, Louisiana for the National Naval Officers Association (NNOA) and the second in San Diego, California for the Association of Naval Services Officers (ANSO). I met a lot of officers from the Coast Guard, Navy and Marine Corps. They acted as mentors and gave me advice on how to be successful as an officer.


More about Carlos.


Earning Our White Shields

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2014) Permanent link
Rudy Photo I cannot even begin to describe how crazy it is to finally be a second class at the Academy. The summer began with 100th week, which was both challenging and rewarding. I will never forget petty officer Couch from Cape May, who would call “FIRE FIRE FIRE” and make us spring in boondockers all the way from the fourth floor to the parade field for nearly four hours straight! Echo Company definitely had the most physical week of training, and I think I was even more sore from one day of that than I was all of Swab Summer. Earning our white shields at the end of the week was one of the best and most rewarding moments at the Academy. I also enjoyed all of the confidence courses and leadership classes, I learned a lot from all of it, and I think it really prepared us to be cadre for the incoming class of 2016.


The next week of the summer, I had range, which was where all of our cadre section has to get qualified in pistol. I was really nervous and jumpy at first because it was so loud in the room and the kick was very hard. It took me four days to qualify, but with a lot of help, I got my qualification. The next week was Rules of the Road for ship handling, which I failed and will have to take again when the school year starts. During these two weeks, my cadre section was also responsible for preparing all the swab rooms and cleaning them as well as filling them with supplies. I then had leave, which I was ready for and I was extremely excited to go home one last time to Bulgaria, as my family moved back to Colorado this summer.


More about Megan.