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cadet blogs

CATP Week

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link   All Posts
Hosley Photo As I’m sure most of you know, here in the military we really love our acronyms, we practically speak our own language; but, this here acronym is actually one of my favorites and perfectly sums up the last week of my summer: CATP. CATP stands for Cadet Aviation Training Program. I just returned from CATP which was the last portion of my summer training and (maybe the coolest, too). For CATP, seven of my classmates and I traveled to U.S. Coast Guard Base Elizabeth City, North Carolina for a week of learning about aviation. E-City, as we call it, is home to the Aviation Technical Training School, where enlisted Coast Guard personnel go to become trained flight mechanics or rescue swimmers.

 

Touring the facilities was awesome, but the best part was flying. First we flew a C-130, a large cargo transport plane used for long range search and rescue (which I got to fly!!!). The next flight was the hoist where I got to swim out with a rescue swimmer under a hovering helicopter. Swimming out under the helo was insane! The rotor wash created waves that washed over me as I swam and the wind from the blades whipped so much ocean spray into my mouth I couldn’t see and could hardly breathe! Then I crawled in the search and rescue basket and they hoisted me up to the helicopter. After fist bumping the flight mechanic, they lowered me back down and I swam back to the boat. Definitely one of the coolest things I have ever done in my life; it was thrilling, terrifying, exciting and just completely awe inspiring. Our next flight was some practice slope landings in an H-60, the Coast Guard’s larger helicopter model. We also practiced heavy load transport where we landed and I was able to jump out and run clear of the rotor blades. Then the helicopter hovered about ten feet over the heavy load we wanted to lift and we would run up underneath and attach the load so the helo could fly up carrying the load and then come back to drop it off. Running under the helo you experience hurricane-force winds up to 180 mph so you have to run leaning over on the way there and leaning back on the way out, just trying not to fall on your face. It was an absolute blast! I can’t even begin to explain how much I learned and how much respect I have for the rescue swimmers or AST rate in the Coast Guard, as well as the whole aviation side of our service.

 

Before this experience I had no idea if I was even interested in flight school but, after being around the helicopters all week, I truly think that being a helicopter pilot would be the coolest thing in the whole world. I mean I guess technically I’m still undecided, but don’t worry I’ll keep you updated  Go CATP and as Admiral always says, forever Go Bears!

 

More about Cece.