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cadet blogs

The Unbelievable Summer

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link   All Posts
Beck Photo We’re all finally back at the Academy and I can’t believe how many different experiences my classmates had over the summer. Returning as 3/c is exciting but not nearly as great as the summer that’s quickly coming to a close. For the first five weeks of the summer, I served on the Coast Guard Cutter William Flores, a fast response cutter stationed in Miami, Florida. In the three weeks we were underway, we took on quite a few Cuban migrants and helped transfer 1,800 lbs. of illegal drugs. I qualified as Quartermaster of the Watch (QMOW) and Alien Migrant Watchstander and was included in the duty rotation just like any other crew member. It was motivating to really feel like I had a noticeable impact and was on the front lines of many Coast Guard missions.


One specific sea story I’ll share takes place off the coast of central Florida one morning around 8:30. I was standing QMOW and the commanding officer was the only other person on the bridge with me, steering and navigating the cutter. It was a calm day and there wasn’t much radio traffic until Sector started alerting us of two small rafts near the coast full of illegal migrants. I sprang into action, plotting the point relayed by Sector that designated the location of the rafts and advised the CO on course and speed to arrive at the location. As great as getting qualified was, it was even more exhilarating to get to use what I’d learned in a real situation. In the end, we retrieved both sets of migrants and began their processing. Crossing from Cuba is inherently dangerous so bringing them on our cutter is as much humanitarian as law-enforcement.


The second half of my summer was spent on Eagle. In six weeks, I traveled from Miami to St Johns, Canada and back to New York. The whole experience was really positive for me and I got to know many of my classmates better. Not many things can beat the feeling of being on deck at 3 a.m. with the engine off and all the sails up under clear, starry skies.


Overall, this summer was the most diverse and exciting I’ve ever had. It was all hard work but so rewarding with great port calls and many things to learn. Over leave I traveled to Europe for the first time and had a blast. After all the running around this summer, it’s a little nice to be back in Chase Hall surrounded by familiar faces and routines.


More about Laura.