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cadet blogs

Developing Identity and the Coast Guard Family

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2020, Government) Permanent link
Hill Photo So, it is October now – my Dad’s birthday is on Halloween, and so far this Florida girl has yet to transform into an icicle from the cold (miraculous, I know). However, my poor friend from California was shivering on the way back from a Government major dinner with honorable guest Mr. David Guergen who worked under four presidents, one of them being Richard Nixon. He shared his insights on leadership with us and what our country’s future holds – he said we are a tough bunch and there is hope. I have been enjoying my classes this semester and the only math I have is Probability and Statistics! It has been interesting to delve further into the subjects of government, public policy, and current events – trust me, I thought that stuff was boring before, too. Class time consists mostly of my classmates arguing (intelligently) over current controversies. Diversity of opinions is crucial in government, but learning to compromise is even more important. So, yes, this semester has also been filled with plenty of naps, golf and badminton classes. Not to mention, my awesome roommate who is now my “sister,” after our adventures together on USCGC Eagle.

 

I have also been developing great relationships with the new 4/c, Golf Company, and the corps. The family atmosphere is ubiquitous. Additionally, cheerleading is going well – we are becoming more progressive with the stunts that we raise up into the air and are also getting issued (much needed) new uniforms!! The teamwork and social skills I have developed since my journey began on the Spirit Squad have helped shape my identity in a positive way. So, I will celebrate my Dad’s birthday from the sanctuary of the watch office as Junior Chase Hall Duty Officer on Halloween.

 

HAPPY ALMOST BIRTHDAY, DAD!

 

More about Kelly.

 

Fast Forward to the Future: Homecoming is a Peek into What We May Be and Could Be?

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Noble Photo The USCGA’s Homecoming is a great tradition for the school that serves many purposes. Although many think of Homecoming as an event for the alumni, cadets also are very involved in the festivities.

 

For the alumni, it is a momentous weekend – a much-awaited time to reminisce, reconnect and revitalize bonds. For those who are still active in the service, Homecoming offers a chance to relax in a place close to their hearts. For those who have retired, Homecoming is a time to cherish the good (and perhaps not-so-good) memories that have become a part of their lives. To the families of graduates, it is a time to reflect on the service of their spouses, parents and siblings.

 

For the cadets, it’s a glimpse of the future five, 10, 20, 25 or even 50 years from now. That’s how we might look. That’s how we might walk and talk. It’s a foretaste of the kind of family that we might have. That’s us…someday.

 

No matter how much we are struggling at CGA, we will miss the institution when we depart. No matter how many petty tensions we have with our classmates, we will miss them and long to be reconnected with them after graduation. Why? Because the bonds that we develop will be very strong, borne by the struggles that we have overcome together as roommates, classmates and schoolmates. That bond is going to endure for years and over distances.

 

For these reasons, the Homecoming parade is always a special time. At that moment, the alumni are the stars and the families are their fans – and that’s something that no one gets tired of watching. No matter how many times we may have heard the songs, cheers or announcements, they take on a special meaning at the Homecoming because they celebrate those graduates who came before us.

 

As an international cadet, Homecoming is an extra special event for me. I look forward to seeing the international alumni, especially those from my country – the Philippines. They are the chosen few from their country – like me and my fellow international cadets. I try to look for them and find out what became of them after graduation. Did they go home or did they stay in the U.S.? Did they go back for a while and decide to come back? I track their footsteps and consider whose path I would want to follow. For the international cadets, the alumni are our forerunners and benchmarks. They are role models, but we don’t just want to emulate them. We want to surpass their legacies.

 

We hear about their stories and escapades and we make the comparison. Now that they have retired, they said that they never forgot what they learned in New London. I enjoy talking to them and listening to their advice and tips. I especially take to heart their biggest lessons from the Academy and how they used it in their careers in the Philippine Navy and the Philippine Coast Guard.

 

During this 2017 Homecoming weekend, I was privileged to meet a ’77 grad and an ’82 grad who was the former Commander of the Naval Sea Systems Command for the Philippine Navy and was a classmate of Admiral Paul Zukunft, the commandant of the USCG. He majored in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering and during his time at the Academy. He told me back then it was not a Swab Summer, but a swab year. What a horrible thought.

 

The Philippines’ alumni are great men and I was very sad when they had to leave. However, I will continue to keep in touch with them and they will always be an inspiration to press on in service to our country and our people.

 

This year’s Homecoming had a special bonus for me. One of the alums brought a special friend with him – my father, Police Superintendent Eric Noble. My father is the newly installed Police Attaché at the Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco. I am truly grateful for CDR Crabtree and the Officers’ Christian Fellowship for hosting them at the Shepherd’s Fold.

 

This year’s event surely hit a home run for me, the corps, the alumni and the CGA community as a whole. To the project officers and CGA staff who labored over Homecoming, your efforts were not in vain! Year after year, Homecoming is a testament to the Academy’s investment of time and talent in the corps. Homecoming is a great tradition, and I look forward to many more Homecomings as a cadet and (hopefully) an alumni.

 

More about Eric.

 

The First Full Month

(Athletics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Farlow Photo September started off with a long weekend for Labor Day (yay!). I took the train to Washington D.C. to spend some time with my grandparents. We toured the Capitol building and all the big monuments and memorials as well as Arlington National Cemetery. It was a great way to spend the first long weekend of my 3/c year. Upon returning to school on Monday, I felt as though I never left and began preparing for the short, but busy, week ahead. We had a uniform inspection, an unexpected power outage due to a storm, and our first regimental drill of the season.

 

The next two weekends, I played a couple of rugby matches, one against the University of New Haven and one against the University of Vermont. On the 18th after morning the colors, there was a small service honoring the 70th birthday of the Air Force that I attended. Before I knew it Parents’ Weekend had arrived. I had a non-traditional Parents’ Weekend this year. It overlapped with my dad’s 30th reunion at West Point so I could join my family in New York for that instead of them coming to visit me here.

 

The temperature is finally dropping and fall is officially here! Go Bears!

 

More about Francesca.

 

1/c Life

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Martorell Crespo Photo So far, life as a first class cadet is not bad. As a 1/c cadet, I am held to a higher standard than everyone else and we, as a class, are the leaders of the Corps of Cadets. I was given the opportunity to be a division officer and actually have the authority to set high expectations for our division members and even myself to complete our division’s goals. Although it is nice to lead, it is also a challenge because not only do I have to be aware of the members in my division, but also manage my own responsibilities.

 

As a firstie, I have a lot of work to do in the barracks but also in academics, especially with my Capstone project. In your last year at the Academy, you get assigned a major project that you have to work on throughout the semester and it’s not easy. Not only will you have to put a lot of work into it to finish with a successful project, but it will require some late nights and even no sleep on other nights. But overall, life as a 1/c cadet is fun and challenging. Even though you have a lot to worry about, the motivation to graduate and become an ensign is what keeps everyone’s hopes up!

 

More about Irene.

 

Coastal Sail

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2019) Permanent link
Friedman Photo 2/c summer is a big transition for cadets here at the Academy. It’s when you transition from a follower to a leader and go through different training programs to help you discover your leadership style and ultimately develop a leadership philosophy. One of the highlights of 2/c summer is the Coast Sail Training Program.

 

The Academy has 44-foot leadership sailboats that our awesome alumni bought for us to use. Seven or eight cadets under the supervision of a safety officer will take the sail boat out for two weeks and sail around to some of the best ports in New England like Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, Block Island, and more. It’s not a vacation though. There are jobs on the boat that everyone will rotate through as well as permanent collateral. My collateral was commissary officer so I was in charge of making sure we had enough food, water, and making a meal plan for the sail. The rotating jobs vary from deck hand, cook, navigator, etc.

 

The most notable day is the day you are watch captain. As watch captain, you are in charge of the boat for the day. You need to work with your navigator to make sure you get to where you need to be because the safety officer is just that, a safety officer. They only step in if they feel a situation is going to become unsafe, otherwise they’ll let you sail in the wrong direction or make other mistakes so you understand what it feels like to be in charge and have everyone look to you if things go wrong.

 

On my watch captain day, we hit a storm coming out of Martha’s Vineyard. We had about 3-foot seas and winds sustaining 15 knots, with gusts up to 20, which is pretty notable on a 44-foot sail boat. On top of that, our sister ship had a steering casualty so we had to divert course and quickly prepare to pull into a new port. It gives you the “oh no” moment when all of your classmates look at you for a decision on what to do next, but that’s the point. It puts you in the spot where you have to make a quick decision with a safety officer who is there to stop things when they can potentially become dangerous. This is so when, not if, you are put in a stressful situation later in your Coast Guard career that it’s not unfamiliar and you’re used to making decisions under pressure. It was a stressful day but was an experience I learned a lot and grew a lot from.

 

If you have any questions feel free to email me Jill.M.Friedman@uscga.edu.

 

More about Jill.