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CADET BLOGS

cadet blogs

Truly a Family

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Wheeler Photo Being away from my home in Maple Valley, Washington for so long has caused me, like many others, to form bonds and friendships far beyond that of a normal college. We here in the Corps of Cadets at the Coast Guard Academy truly are family in its purest meaning. Everyone here is going through the same trials and challenges as everyone else, so it’s easy for us to sympathize and help one another whenever the need arises. Encouraging and friendly are just a couple words that define Academy cadets. This comradery and kinship truly began to form for me last year at prep school at Marion Military Institute in Marion, Alabama. The roughly 40 of us there became fast friends and very close over our year as Coast Guard Academy Scholars. Many, if not all, of the friendships I formed at MMI have carried over to the Academy and I know without a doubt in my mind that these bonds will be lifelong. The United States Coast Guard Academy is a family. We are a family away from family back home, sharing in the hard times as well as the good.

 

More about Pat.

 

Intelligence at the Academy

(Academics, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Tousignant Photo There are several opportunities to study intelligence at the Academy. There is the Security Studies track in the Government major, which helps students gain an understanding of intelligence basics as well as determine whether they want to pursue an intel career. Our main intelligence classes at the Academy are Intelligence and Democracy and Strategic Intelligence. In those classes I have had the opportunity to learn about the different types of intelligence such as IMINT, SIGINT, GEOINT, etc. We have also discussed the problems of biases that affect intelligence products such as mirror imaging and group think. The main thing I have learned through my intelligence classes is the importance of analysis and exploitation.

 

As an elective I am currently taking a GIS course in the marine and environmental sciences (MES) department, which is essentially taking data and overlaying it on a map using the computer. I would suggest taking this class for anyone that wants to go into the intelligence field because you can learn how to create heat and density maps and other useful visuals that convey your intelligence products to the rest of the Coast Guard. I also recommend taking the intro to Arabic course at Connecticut College. The management department offers a class in cyber security and a capstone complimenting this course. Also, going through the electrical engineering (EE) department is another way to gain useful skills for intelligence; EE students have received internships with the NSA and other government departments working with intelligence. There are intelligence internships offered over 1/c summer that expose cadets to real Coast Guard intel and help foster understanding of the different intel paths that are available.

 

There are different ways to get involved in intelligence, and you do not have to necessarily be a government major to do so. In the fleet I have met intelligence officers who were ORCA majors, EE, or MES majors. It depends on the skillset you have and how you want to approach the field of intelligence. If you want to understand why adversaries act the way they do and get exposure to a language, then the Government major would be best suited for you. If you would like to do a lot of data analysis then you may want to look into ORCA. If you are more interested in cyber security, then the EE department would be best. There are currently a couple of positions being offered for cyber coming right out of the Academy. However, unlike other service academies, you cannot become an intelligence officer right away; this is because the Coast Guard wants us all to get an understanding of the operational side. Once you have an understanding of law enforcement operations, then you will have a basic understanding of what intelligence is needed in order to better support the mission.

 

More about Jackie.

 

Chasing Dreams

(Academics, Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2019) Permanent link
Kearney Photo This past semester I sat in my room, lights off with only a yellowed bulb desk lamp, while I stared at math problems, listening to music with a pencil in hand. Time would pass with problems unsolved and my eyes would wander toward the guitar sitting in the corner, or the pack of crayons I bought on the way to a cross country meet, or the pumpkin sitting in the window sill I had so doodled on with sharpie images such as Winnie-the-Pooh or the flag raising on Iwo Jima. I’d proceed to take my headphones off and glance at my roommate behind me watching Netflix. It was quiet. A large contrast to the adventure I had during the past summer. I’ll be honest; I had forgotten why I had come to the Academy. I knew it was the right choice, but I couldn’t remember why it was right. The loudness of my thought was lost in struggling to understand linear algebra (no, this is not the same as regular high school algebra it’s a lot harder as I found out) and multivariable calculus (yes, this is also a lot harder than regular calculus).

 

I have decided to be an Operations Research and Computer Analysis major for reasons I believe are equivalent to my reasons for coming to the CGA. In high school, my cross country team would talk of chasing dreams and changing the world. We’d talk of courage and taking risks with passion. I want to solve problems, and I couldn’t think of a better major than ORCA to learn how to better optimize systems using very real and applicable methods. From pre-school until now, I have been in a formal education system for basically all my life, and in 2.5 short years, all of that learning will come to the test as my class graduates and become officers in the real world. It sounds classic, but we only have so much time in our life to accomplish the goals and desires we dreamt of as children. I came here to make a difference. I came here to take risks. I came here to chase my dreams. I came here to change the world.

 

More about Alex.

 

Inaugural Parade: Infinitely Proud to Serve

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Cadet Photo Last week I marched in the Presidential Inaugural Parade. It was truly a whirlwind trip! Ninety of us left the Academy at 0200 on a bus and traveled to the Naval Academy. At USNA, we were each paired with a cadet host and got the opportunity to eat in their wardroom and exchange stories of cadet life. I have always been curious about the other academies and it was really awesome to see a bit of how they run. I can honestly say, however, that the USCGA was the best choice for me. USNA was so gigantic…I had a hard time finding my way around!

 

The next day we practiced marching and drilling with our pieces before being bused to D.C. The majority of the day was spent going through security checkpoints, which involved a lot of “hurry up and wait.” It was almost dark by the time we began marching and even then there was a lot of starts and stops. Finally, we turned onto Pennsylvania Avenue. As we marched along the route, we were greeted with cheers of “Go Coast Guard!” and “Thank you for your service!” Even though the march was cold and long, hearing those cheers made me infinitely proud to serve. At the command of “Eyes left!” we snapped our eyes to the left to see the President of the United States saluting us as we passed by. I am so proud to have represented the U.S. Coast Guard and the Academy in front of our great nation! God Bless America!

 

More about Cameo.

 

Inaugural Parade: Representing the Coast Guard, Women in the Military and Our Diversity

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Chen Photo Last week, I had the opportunity to march in the Inaugural Parade. In order to attend, I had to fill out an application and a few days after my submission, I was informed that I was selected to participate. I was very excited and my family was proud of me. I wanted to be a part of history. I chose to go to represent the United States Coast Guard, women in the military, and show the diversity that we as an institution have.

 

Let me tell you, an inaugural parade is very hectic if you’re marching in it. On TV, you see people marching perfectly as if everything was running smoothly. However, in reality, it is a big waiting game of stop-and-go. When we were marching, we would stop from time to time to allow citizens to cross the street. Throughout the whole day, we spent about ¾ of it waiting in tents, on buses, and on the street, while a ¼ of it was actual marching. I may be underestimating the waiting part.

 

The best part of the trip was staying overnight at the Naval Academy. Cadets from all of the service academies were there. I had to chance to meet up with old friends and make new ones. I also got to learn about the various lifestyles that cadets from each academy had. It was amazing getting to know these people and potentially crossing paths again one day.

 

If I could do it again, I would!

 

More about Sarah.

 

Presidential Inauguration: A Humbling Experience

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Krause Photo This past weekend I had the honor to represent the Coast Guard Academy in a historic weekend for the United States. It was truly incredible to be a part of the events that surround the presidential inauguration. One of the most inspiring moments was getting to present arms for the President and the Commandant of the Coast Guard. I can still perfectly envision the blinding bright lights, booming voice of the announcer, and overwhelming pressure for a perfect performance the corps experienced as we passed the official party.

 

However, the inauguration was not only memorable due to our 30 seconds of national fame, but also because of the amazing memories I created with my classmates. It was inspiring to see the past four years of our training come together as the 1/c truly led the cadet contingency. The professionalism and pride that my classmates exuded was mirrored by all of the underclass and ensured that this high-profile event ran flawlessly. Being able to play a part in representing not only the Academy, but also the Coast Guard to the nation was a humbling experience that I will remember for the rest of my life.

 

More about Gretchen.

 

The Inaugural Parade: An Exceptional Experience

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Kimura Photo I, along with 90 other cadets from the Academy, had the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C. and march in the presidential inauguration ceremony. After we pulled into the Naval Academy Thursday morning, we had the chance to go to the pre-inauguration concert accompanied by amazing fireworks behind Lincoln Memorial.

 

On Friday, we had to bring out our rifles and bayonets to march in the parade.

 

Participating in the inauguration events was an exceptional experience. One of the other cadets there said it was one of the best moments in his life because he was so close to Secret Service members, his dream job. For me, the best part of going down to D.C. was seeing Admiral Rendon and his wife glowing with pride and waving at us as we marched by the President’s box.

 

I was also lucky to be able to meet up with friends from prep school, who attend the other service academies. A friend from USAFA was staying at the Naval Academy to march, and he was hosted by our other prep school friend who attends the USNA. It was reunion no one expected.

 

More about Amy.

 

Finals Week is Really Really… Not That Bad

(Academics, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Opas Photo Finals week at most civilian colleges is academic hell on earth. At least that’s what most of my civilian friends tell me. It’s slightly different here in New London.

 

Maybe it’s because we already live under such academic rigor and lead such regimented lives that the idea of one final battery of tests to round out the semester is no less daunting than the prospect of formal room and wing or personnel inspections that keep us on our toes on a monthly basis. Regardless, finals are arguably the best time to be at the Academy. Because it’s often less regimented, the corps of cadets tends to have significantly higher morale. You’re guaranteed to hear three times as many “ahoys” from the firsties the week before finals than at any other time in the semester cycle.

 

Finals themselves are a breeze. With each exam allotted roughly three and a half hour blocks, it’s not uncommon to leave exams with plenty of time to spare. And the matter of studying? We get a whole day to conference with professors and instructors after classes end. Formation? Only in the mornings. Meals? Buffet style all day, every day. Sure, you still have to square as a 4/c, but you’ll definitely appreciate not having to wait for “seats” to be called every breakfast and lunch. Closed door study hour; something you will surely come to covet in your time at the Academy. This becomes available after noon, so cross your fingers for those morning exams so you can nap. Lucky enough to have a day in between exams? Route through your chain of command for a “short” and enjoy a night away from the Academy to destress. And best of all, if your last final is your last military obligation, you’re free to head off on leave as soon as you’re finished! All in all, it’s a highly rewarding end to the often-strenuous semesters.

 

One word of warning. Good luck finding a single energy drink in either the bookstore or the Exchange during finals week. All the engineering majors tend to sequester themselves in MacAllister with their stashes the last couple nights before their exams cramming and guzzling them like jet fuel.

 

More about Leah.

 

Corrosion Research on the USS Arizona

(Academics, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Williamson Photo December 7th, 2016, marked the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor and the sinking of the USS Arizona. For the occasion, members of the Coast Guard Academy’s corrosion research team (including myself) were invited to Hawaii by the U.S. National Park Service to present research about the corrosion of the Arizona. We were also given the opportunity to dive on the ship to appreciate the Americans who died there and to view the physical condition of the structure.

 

The Arizona is the gravesite for over 1,000 sailors and marines who died on December 7th, 1941 from the attack. The mighty battleship rests on the bottom of Pearl Harbor as a memorial to the sacrifice of these Americans in service to their country. Along with the crew, the USS Arizona took hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil trapped within the hull to the bottom of the harbor. Since the attack (and to this day) leaking oil has been observed from the ship. Since oil in the water is an environmental concern, the U.S. National Park Service has been conducting research to understand the rate of oil leakage and if there are any factors that may impact the long term structural integrity. One of the greatest areas for concern is corrosion, which it the degradation of a material due to chemical reactions with the environment. Corrosion has slowly been eating away the ship since is became submerged. As corrosion wares away the metal, the rate of oil leakage could increase. As a result, on January 23rd, 2015, the U.S. National Park Service gave the Coast Guard Academy custody of hull and rivet samples from the Arizona to conduct corrosion research on.

 

Since given the samples, 1/c Azzari, 1/c Naylor, and I have been working to understand more about the corrosion of this vessel. Along with the guidance and help of Captain Sanders and LCDR Crettol, our corrosion team has conducted many meaningful experiments. These tests include looking at long-term environmental exposure corrosion and galvanic interactions between the hull and rivets. Our results directly related to the long term structural integrity of the Arizona, and therefore were important to the National Park Service. Thus, the Academy corrosion team was invited to present this research and also dive on the ship to visually identify the corrosion that has occurred.

 

My experience with both the corrosion research team and the U.S. National Park Service has been amazing and very rewarding. My advisors were extremely knowledgeable and always steered us toward success. They allowed me to struggle through the difficulties of the research, and encouraged me when I felt lost. Additionally, the National Park Service has been extremely welcoming to the Academy, the corrosion team, and me personally. They genuinely wanted to collaborate with us and work toward learning more about corrosion of the Arizona. Specifically, Dr. Dave Conlin, who is chief of the Submerged Resources Center for the U.S. National Park Service, came to talk at the Academy about the Arizona and has consistently provided support to our team. Dr. Conlin is a well-trained diver and has dove on the Arizona many times. With his expertise, he took us on an incredibly meaningful dive on the submerged ship.

 

I am extremely humbled and awestruck by the opportunity afforded to me by the Academy and the National Park Service. Every person I have met and worked with along the way has had an extremely positive impact on my life. After this amazing experience, I only hope to honor the Americans who died by ensuring their sacrifice leads to valuable lessons, both in science and in humanity.

 

More about Cody.

 

Civil Engineering for the Non-Civil Engineer

(Academics, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Kokomoor Photo People expect that the cadets at the Academy have their entire lives planned out; a well-researched sequence of events that will take you from the end of high school until retirement. I can tell you right here and now that that is not necessarily the case. As I dive into my first semester filled with major-specific classes as a Civil Engineer, I am certain that this is not what I imagined for myself as a senior in high school.

 

I chose the Civil Engineering major purely because it sounded cool to me at the time of application. I was open to ideas and I thought, “Hey, I think I could have fun doing that!” And that was it, two and a half years later and I am a Civil Engineer in the making! Spoiler alert: I am absolutely having a blast! I chose the right major and even though it was purely by chance everything seems to have fallen into place this semester. Sure, it’s hard work, but when you get to smash concrete cylinders after a hard day of classes you can’t help but to smile!

 

Long story short, I had doubted myself and my choices up until this point in my studies. The prospective jobs of a Civil Engineer are not always the most glamorous. But I stuck with my gut feeling, just to find out that it was in fact the perfect one for me. Between my professors and my classmates I have never felt more at home here at the Academy and I have never been more eager to go to class to learn about my completely unplanned future and what it has to hold for me!

 

More about Jacklyn.

 

2016: The Year in Review

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Glick Photo This year is one that has been filled with surprises, joys, concerns, and milestones. In January, we began work on preparing for the arrival of the Class of 2020. The spring semester flew by and before we knew it, there were 300 swabs at our doorstep. This summer was excellent, as we trained more swabs than ever with less cadre and resources. This summer I got to see Alaska and the great American west, which was an awesome experience. I went on search and rescue cases, swam with icebergs, and earned my in-port junior officer of the day qualification. This semester I was assigned to the community service logistics division again, and we are in the process of finishing a house for Habitat for Humanity in downtown New London. We are also hoping to sponsor a house in the coming months for the Class of 2018 and beyond to construct.

 

I became very involved in my local United Methodist Church this semester as well. I am taking a 40-week bible study with a group led by our pastor, and I am attending a conference in January for people interested in the ministry. I am also considering pursuing ministry after my commitment to the Coast Guard. One step at a time, however…

 

This semester I also honed my golf game. I spent many hours at the Stonington Country Club golf course, and I found myself a great new hobby to pursue when the weather is fair. Golf is a game where perfection is the standard and effort is the means, but nonetheless I am enjoying my time learning and improving my game.

 

Last month I was selected to serve as the spring Regimental Chief of Staff, which has obstacles of its own that lay ahead. I am looking forward to serving on Regimental Staff again, and graduation will be here before we know it!

 

More about William.

 

Hump Week

(Academics, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Turner PhotoMidterms! This past week marks the halfway point of the first semester. Nine weeks of stress, lack of sleep, and late night group study sessions has finally ended, only to lead into another nine weeks of the exact same thing. These nine weeks have been a rough transition from high school. The ability to manage sports with classes, and military obligations, while keeping up your grades is a challenge. One thing that helped me get through the first part of this semester, would be the 4-5-2 class periods. These classes allowed me to effectively plan my obligations and assignments for the upcoming week, and while it may sound simple, it’s extremely helpful. When it comes to getting work done, you need to be able to find those small breaks that you have and use them effectively. Thus, you save so much more time at night, allowing you to do other activities such as going to bed early!

 

In terms of the grading process, the first part of the semester is almost completely homework. You won’t believe the amount of homework that you have. I remember my senior year, I had eight classes and I could get my homework done in a few hours. Now, I have 4 classes and depending on the number of military obligations I have, it can take all night. While it may sound rough, don’t worry it pays off in the end. I told my division head about my progress, and she advised me to push a little harder in the latter half of this semester, and I’ll have a gold star. Now, the latter half of this semester is going to be a little harder. The first half was plagued with homework, and now the latter half is plagued with exams. No worries though, it’s still going to be a good semester!

 

Until the next scheduled programming.

 

Peace,
Anthony Turner

 

More about Anthony.

 

Coast Guard Family

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Kim Photo You’ve probably heard of the phrase “Coast Guard Family” once or twice already. When I was applying in high school, I never truly understood it, perhaps because it just sounded a little too cheesy or simply because I was not part of it, yet.

 

Fast forward a couple months (past Swab Summer!) and here I am as a cadet at the United States Coast Guard Academy. Surprisingly, this once cheesy phrase has slowly become a reality. The family-like environment is truly strange and magical. Being the small service the Coast Guard is, there are just about 1,000 cadets here, in comparison to the 4,000 at the other service academies. That being said, I see and talk to the same wonderful people at all our daily morning and afternoon formations, which have become an amazing routine – and I absolutely love it!

 

Cadets who were once strangers, instantly become like family members. These unique relationships help keep me accountable and in check with the high standards that I am to uphold, here at the Academy. These people motivate me and offer great advice, just as a “real” family would.

 

I’ve felt the same family-like experience outside of the Academy as well. Being from California, my chances of visiting home are slim because it is so far away. Thus, when we were awarded with our first long weekend since had Swab Summer ended, I had nowhere to go. Fortunately for me, however, many of whom I consider family members offered the hospitality of their homes for me to relax in after the grueling seven weeks. Through these great people, I have made incredible memories and have had the opportunities to visit NYC, Boston, Virginia, D.C., and the list goes on and on. I never imagined visiting Times Square or the Smithsonian museums, and, of course, these memories wouldn’t have been made possible without my Coast Guard family.

 

Make no mistake; this Coast Guard family also applies to the other side of the nation. My mother who works at Long Beach, California is constantly making new friends with the Coast Guardsmen stationed at Long Beach. When they mention that they are in the service, she mentions that I am currently a cadet at the Academy and, instantly, a stronger relationship is built. She calls me often saying she loves this Coast Guard family culture, a new idea within our family.

 

I am forever thankful for the family environment within the Coast Guard!

 

More about Matthew.

 

Lighting the World

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2019) Permanent link
Kearney Photo The stars have never burned brighter nor has the water glowed bluer than that which I saw this past summer. You see, I’m fascinated by lights. I saw the green glow of the Space Needle on the Seattle skyline. I saw the orange lanterns of a Hawaiian Memorial Day celebration float across Honolulu’s waters with the shadow of a mountain behind us rising out of the Pacific. I saw the reflections of old London structures off the puddles of rain in the streets. I saw green, purple and gold firecrackers bloom above the Madeiran city of Funchal blanketed in terracotta as people watched with awe. I saw the moon’s glow dance lightly off the cool Bermuda water to the soft beach at my feet. I saw the green sparkle of tiny ocean life riding the waves past the ship’s hull in the pitch black of night. I saw the dazzling lightning bugs glitter the fresh air of the Shenandoah Valley, my home. I have no tales of saving lives or hunting drugs like some of my fellow classmates, but I still got to see the lights of the world. You might be wondering what has this got to do with the Coast Guard? Everything. It’s the little things that matter the most in life. Never forget that.

 

But if you want to know actual Coast Guard work, I did get to do some cool things like needle-gunning, sanding, and painting on the USCGC Polar Star, USCGC Sherman, and of course USCGC Barque Eagle. I drove a small boat en route to drill with an HC-130H (an airplane) and drilled with helicopter basket lowering. I became qualified in standard Coast Guard duties on board a vessel and learned so much from the various crews. I would like thank all of the crews of the units I visited for their immense knowledge, skill, and willingness to help train me and my fellow cadets throughout the summer. In addition to work duties, I got to have the most secluded “pool party” in the world as I literally jumped into the middle of the Atlantic Ocean with 150 of my closest friends. I got to see whales, dolphins, jellyfish, the Seattle Mariners, Big Ben, men dressed in all white pushing people down a hill in baskets, so so many beaches in Hawaii and Bermuda, and turtles – lots of turtles.

 

More about Alex.

 

Hello, It’s Me

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Just for Fun, Class of 2019) Permanent link
King Photo A few months ago, I got a letter in the mail from myself. I had written a letter to my future self two years ago at a summer camp and it was time to open it again. I had nearly forgotten about it, and eagerly ripped it open, excited to hear the wisdom of high school me.

 

The first thing I noticed was the terrible handwriting. It was large and uneven. It was funny – it started in cursive, than quickly switched to print. I guess I figured that I shouldn’t have been too fancy in my own letter. The very first question besides “How are you?” was “Did you get into the Coast Guard Academy?” I’m sure high school me would be happy to hear that I made it in.

 

Reading it, I realized that I couldn’t write letters that well back then. I also realized that I’ve grown so much in those two years since writing the letter. I am much more focused and calm. I have gone on so many adventures like sailing across the Atlantic and lived through Swab Summer. I also went through two years of trials, such as Calculus and 4/c year. Both have helped me learn more about the world and myself.

 

That being said, high school me did have some good pointers. In the letter, I told myself to be persistent and have a sense of humor. Looking back, I wish I could tell my high school self to be more adaptable and careful, but hindsight is always 20/20.

 

A new year and new semester are coming up and, pretty soon, I will be transitioning to be a leader. While I’m proud of how much I’ve learned in the last two years, I know there is much to improve on. I am excited to find out what the next two years and beyond will bring.

 

More about Deborah.

 

Family is What You Make It

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Opas Photo When I first joined the Coast Guard, I considered myself to have an incredibly small family. Biologically speaking, it was just my parents, my two siblings, and me. Throughout high school, I’d expanded to include a handful of incredibly close friends, but even then, I had a small support network. Moreover, I’d subscribed to the school of thought that defined family as the people you chose to surround yourself with. But my time here at the Academy has taught me that family is something you don’t choose, rather it is thrust upon you. Even in the beginning of the semester and after Swab Summer, I didn’t realize how much my family had grown.

 

Sure, I had my company mates ‒ my fellow fourth class ‒ who I’d toughed out Swab Summer with. Yet even among such a group, there were those of us who didn’t click. I was truly lucky to have roomed in fourth deck Charlie fall semester, on a p-way of only fourth class. Somewhat sequestered from the rest of the wing area, we formed a tight-knit bond as our own little unit. Leaning on each other for anything from late-night Statics and Engineering Design homework help to ironing a buddy’s shirt before a formal room and wing because he had a rugby game, we had our own little microcosm. And it ran like a well-oiled machine. Yes, we had our little spats. Two or three of us would be grumpy the whole week prior to an exam, but then we’d all pile into someone’s room and shoot the breeze on a Saturday night instead of going out on liberty, just to decompress as a fam. We had our one practical joker, our resident bookworm, our cynic, our cheerleader, the list went on. Everyone was a piece of the puzzle and that suited each of us just fine. But there was another of my company mates who lived on third deck, far away from the fourth deck biosphere. She has become a sister and a mother to me, through all the first semester’s trials and tribulations.

 

It was roughly 10 a.m. the Saturday of Parents’ Weekend, the two of us standing in the grass before Hamilton Hall with the hordes of parents and loved ones, all related in some fashion or other to different members of the Corps of Cadets. My parents were unable to make it up to Connecticut for the weekend, so I didn’t have anyone to look forward to seeing. To top it off, I was recovering from an injury ‒ just like my shipmate ‒ so we both couldn’t drill. But from the moment she and I waved her parents over to join us in watching the pomp and circumstance of the special drill ceremony, that bond of sisterhood solidified. Her unconditional acceptance of me into her family is one of the things that has grounded me during my time in New London, in an environment where it’s really easy to lose yourself in the stress.

 

Your family here is that which makes you smile and laugh every day in spite of all the class assignments, sports obligations, and military trainings. It’s what makes you get up in the morning instead of rolling over after reveille to sleep in, like any other college kid. It makes getting through the workday an exercise in trying not to laugh at each other’s blunders rather than a string of failures and insurmountable challenges. The idea of family is that which makes the Coast Guard the Coast Guard, and it’s what makes this academy just that little bit better than its sister academies.

 

More about Leah.

 

Life on the Greens

(Athletics, Just for Fun, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Glick Photo This semester, I found a great way to spend my free time—through the Academy Golf Club. Relatively new to the game, I had only played a few times my 3/c year, but this year I really got into it. One of the best kept secrets of 1/c year is the PE class: Advanced Golf. During 3/c year, all cadets take a basic golf class, and during 1/c year you can elect to take Advanced Golf. For this course, you are responsible for playing 10 rounds of 9 holes. Cadets who take this course are free to leave whenever there is no class or military obligation, which was a great opportunity to get away for a few hours each week and enjoy the New England autumn. After playing for the class, I began to play during my own free time and golfed beyond the required amount for the PE class. I discovered that the Academy has many avid golfers, and that there is a special deal at a local country club for cadets.

 

I spent many hours at the country club this semester, and really enjoyed learning the ins and outs of the game with officers, chiefs, and fellow cadets. I have played many courses in the area over the semester. On Veterans’ Day, a few of my friends and I played a local country club for free! Golf has become my outlet for stress this semester, and I am glad that I stumbled upon it! Over this coming winter leave, I will be spending my time with family at a resort in the Dominican Republic, and I can’t wait to check out the courses down there.

 

More about William.

 

Support, Strength, Family

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Wheeler Photo Over the course of my (almost) one semester here, I have noticed something about the Corps of Cadets at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. Something unique to our school and something I have heard translates into the fleet as well. There is a sense of togetherness here that I haven’t experienced anywhere else, a corps-wide bond that is unspoken but mutual. Everyone here treats each other as family and will help each other, regardless of class or age, without a moment’s hesitation. Sure I experienced friendships and support at Marion Military Institute (my prep school), but there is something very special about the Academy, something about its size and the mindset that is shared by each and every cadet that fosters strong ties and connections, promoting a family unit. If there is one thing that sets the U.S. Coast Guard Academy apart from every other service academy, let alone every other college in the nation, it is the support system that can be described as nothing short of family.

 

More about Pat.

 

Saving Lives as a Cadet

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Tousignant Photo One of the main things that I often leave out when explaining my motivation for applying to the Academy was my high school desire to join the Peace Corps. This desire to help people is why I chose the Coast Guard over any other military service. I love the strict military schedule and lifestyle that meshes with my Type A personality. However, the Coast Guard is much more than a military branch. It is a lifesaving service. What recently brought this to my attention was the question of why I donate blood. I dislike waiting for hours while I could be doing homework and being poked and prodded with a needle, but I still keep going back. I realized my action to give blood was driven by the desire to save lives. Even though it is unpleasant, I believe that anyone that is able to donate blood should participate. Though cadets do not have the daily opportunity to conduct search and rescue operations, we can start saving lives without even leaving campus. The Academy is more than academics, military, and athletics. We learn how to be leaders and how to serve the people of the United States. We are required to do community and institutional service. However, cadets usually go way beyond these requirements. Taking a couple hours out of one’s day to help another makes the world a better place even though it is not always apparent.

 

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