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cadet blogs

Summer Break Mode

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Corcoran Photo Waxed floors, laundry rooms overflowing, the sound of “Good morning, ma’am,” and the ever-present smell of Lysol wipes are currently my surroundings – time to begin the 2013 fall semester at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.


Although I am physically here, my mind, however, is not. I’m still in summer break mode. The summer of 2013 has been, I’d say, the best summer of my life. Although a summer full of training, sweating in the Caribbean, and driving small boats may not be appeasing to everyone, but I had a blast!


I began my summer spending five weeks aboard USCGC Barque Eagle. We spent a lot of our time learning basic damage control such as putting out fires and stopping floods. Additionally, we stood four-hour watches every day that consisted of learning about the engine room; steering the boat and standing lookout; climbing up the rigging and furling sails; and using nautical charts. We had four amazing port calls during our phase which included Saint Maarten, Aruba, Guantanamo Bay, and St. Petersburg, Florida. I had a great time during these five weeks and was so grateful for the opportunity the Coast Guard had given me to visit these beautiful places.


The next six weeks of my summer I spent in Coast Guard Station Coos Bay located in Charleston, Oregon. This half of my summer went super quick, but was so busy and exciting! During our time at this small boat station, we had the opportunity to become qualified on the 29-foot "response boat small" or RBS, which took a lot of work but was so worth it in the end. In addition we got communications room qualified, OC pepper sprayed, flew in a Coast Guard helicopter, spent a day aboard the 110-foot USCGC Orcas driving the boat and taking bearings, went hiking on beautiful Oregon trails, and got to do some rescue swimming stuff in case we ever had to pick up someone who was in the water.


I got to spend my last three weeks at home in Pennsylvania enjoying leave. However, I did get to make a trip to Disney World for a week which was the highlight of my summer. :) Despite all of the fun I had this summer, I’m ready to begin another year at the Coast Guard Academy, which thankfully this year does not entail squaring around the building and greeting every person I see. If you have any questions, feel free to email me as always! 


More about Samantha.


Salty Sailor of the Coastal Waters off New England

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Driscoll Photo “On the fore! On the main! On the mizzen! Set all sail in order and unison. Brace the yards two points on a starboard tack!”


“Lower and upper gear, let fall!” “Sheet home!”


Unlike my classmates, who had the swabs or AIMsters sounding off in their ears all summer, I served as a 2/c Eagle cadre. Eagle gave me a great opportunity to train and mentor the Class of 2017, in a more relaxed environment. However, just because it was different doesn’t mean it was easier.


My first week aboard Eagle, I served as the cadet-in-charge (CIC). When I signed up for it, I imagined it to be some sort of glorious leadership opportunity. However, it was rather gritty at times—as the CIC, I was the lightning rod for when swabs or 2/c cadre got in trouble. I still wish the swabs knew when to salute officers before they came aboard. Nonetheless, I had a great time interacting with both my classmates and the wardroom. In those seven days alone, I learned more about peer leadership than I could’ve all summer! Reflecting on that experience, I need to work more on how to communicate with peers when tasking them. Delegation is awkward, especially when you’re tasking a classmate with something that you could do yourself… On the brighter side, I finally stood a qualified Quartermaster of the Watch (QMOW) on the bridge. It was a great feeling to finally be able to put all my training and hard work from last summer into practice.


As much fun as I had the first week, I had as much, if not more, fun the second week. My division was the best—enough said! They were funny and very eager to learn as much as they could about life underway. When their faces lit up while I took them climbing in the rigging, or watching the whales and the sunrise on the 0400-0800 watch, I knew that I’d chosen my cadre experience well. Those moments made the entire trip worth it for me! I loved mentoring them, and plan on checking up on them during the school year.


This year, the Eagle cadre only sailed for two weeks, which meant that we had a week left of cadre when we returned. Poor planning made our return to Chase Hall, and attempted integration with the active Swab Summer cadre, awkward. Nonetheless, I made the most of my assignment: introducing the swabs to basic shiphandling on the Academy’s training boats (T-boats). These old harbor tugs are cadet-proof—something I proved when I conned (instructed a swab at the helm and throttle) one into the pier three times in a row! Despite that small mishap, I am now a T-boat master. I can’t wait for T-boats lab during Nautical Science III this semester. Speaking of this semester, things are off to a running start…I’ve got to get some work done. Email me at with any questions or comments you might have.


More about Peter.