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Ward Photo Sometimes I think I must live a blessed existence. This summer has only furthered that conviction. For the past 10 weeks, I have been living in paradise – San Juan, Puerto Rico.


Ask anyone stationed down here and they’ll give you a non-committal “yeah, I guess it’s alright”. Their enthusiasm leaves a little to be desired, but I suppose that’s the dual nature of living on an island. Then again, they’ll also say “Oh, it’s awesome for the first three months or so”; quite the co-inky-dink when you consider that I am attached to the unit for approximately three months.


In the time that I’ve been here, I’ve gotten (more than) a few beach days all around the island, I’ve explored the rainforest and climbed a mountain so high that I was walking among the clouds for a few hours. I’ve participated in local traditions and I’ve gone out in a catamaran to spend the day snorkeling and sunning myself on the most beautiful deserted island. From that measure alone I can say that this summer was a resounding success.


Then again, the whole point of my first class summer isn’t to spend time exploring paradise. In the periods that I have been underway with the USCGC Key Largo, I have learned more and participated in more than I had ever thought possible. In the span of a few weeks, I have experienced most of the Coast Guard missions. Throughout my summer, I have been presented with amazing opportunities – I’ve gone on inspections, flown in a helicopter, assisted in a salvage effort, and interdicted the first large sail freighter carrying migrants across the Mona Pass. From there, I have processed and helped repatriate illegal migrants, something I never in my wildest dreams thought I would do.


This summer has been phenomenal, and I’ll be quite sad when I bid the Key Largo and her crew a fond farewell – that is, until I see them again.


As always, I’m available at


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