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A Lovely Labor Day Weekend

(Just for Fun, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Cantrell Photo Labor Day weekend is one of my favorite long weekends in the fall school year because it still feels like summer and the outdoor activities are endless! This Labor Day weekend a group of eleven of us left on Friday afternoon and drove to New Hampshire. We pitched a tent, made a fire, and went to bed earlier so we were ready for our hike the next day. On Saturday, we woke up early and drove to the bottom of Mount Washington. We started the hike at 0730 and ended around 1500. It was numerous hours of beautiful scenery, beautiful weather, and great friends. I had so much fun climbing up and down the mountain and it was a great day to do it! The weather was perfect, not too hot, but not too cold. After our hike we went back to the campsite ate good food and relaxed. Sunday morning we went tubing down a river, which was a great way to relax and unwind from the previous day. Sunday night we decided to drive back to the Academy because the weather report was calling for rain. Monday I went to the beach with friends and soaked in the rays (almost felt like I was at home).

 

Without a doubt, this was one of the best Labor Day weekends I have had and I was so fortunate to be with my very best friends. I will always remember the hike and cherish the experience of being able to hang out and live with all of my friends. It’s hard to think that in eight and a half months we will all be saying our “see you later” and the unknown of when we will be seeing each other again will set in. I remind myself everyday to enjoy every moment of this place because I sometimes take it for granted and it won’t be this way forever.

 

More about Sara.

 

Back-to-School Blues Following an Incredible Summer

(Athletics, Just for Fun, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Corcoran Photo Back-to-School Blues: (Noun) The act of going back to school when all you really want to do is go to the beach, soak up some rays, and forget that school even exists for the time being.

 

Unfortunately, the back-to-school blues are a very real thing here at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. The whole corps of cadets is lucky to participate in different summer training schedules every year and we are always upset when our time comes to an end. But before I jump into how sad I am that the school year is starting, why don’t I tell you a little bit about what my 2/c summer had to offer.

 

As a 2/c at the Academy, everyone is required to be a cadre in some shape or form. And before you ask, not every cadre is some mean, yelling 20-something year old, making the incoming freshman do push-ups or as we like to call it, “push deck.” There are several types of cadre including: Swab Summer, AIM, CGAS, Eagle, and the best one – Waterfront. I was lucky to be chosen as a waterfront cadre this summer where I spent my days teaching the swabs anything and everything that had to do with sailing. Being a cadre for three weeks was definitely a learning experience not only for the swabs, but for the cadre as well.

 

However, the highlight of my summer came from the Coastal Sail Training Program. In this program, groups of six to eight cadets and one to two safety officers are assigned a yacht and a port call schedule for about eight days and the cadets are in charge of sailing to each destination every day. Not only is this program a learning experience for leadership and followership, but it was also so much fun! We sailed to places that I have never been to before including: Block Island, Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, and other famous places in New England. This was a great way for everyone to be able to bond with their classmates and learn more about each other, while also learning more about nautical science.

 

Of course there were many other things I had a chance to do this summer including getting my pistol marksmanship (and shooting a gun for the first time), becoming Rules of the Road qualified which is a test every cadet must get a 90% on before they graduate, becoming proficient at driving the T-boats down at waterfront, and also spending at week at Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City where we learned more about the aviation side of the Coast Guard. Also, on my three weeks of leave in the beginning of the summer, I got to spend a week in California visiting my best friend who graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and also spent a week in Virginia Beach with my family.

 

Needless to say I had a very busy, but interesting summer this year so I am very sad to see it come to an end. However, I decided to try out for the women’s varsity soccer team this year instead of run cross country so I am excited to see how our soccer team does this year! School on the other hand…that’s a different story.

 

As always if you have any questions about anything feel free to email me! Samantha.E.Corcoran@uscga.edu.

 

More about Samantha.

 

Cadre Summer: Coastal Sail

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Stowes Photo Hey there CGA blog readers. As promised, I said I would write a blog about my coastal sail experience. Coastal Sail is a program with two objectives in my mind. First, we have to learn how to sail a 44-foot sail boat on our own. Second, we have to learn the most difficult type of leadership: leading peers.

 

The Coastal Sail program is two weeks long. The first few days are spent learning how to set sails, what lines control what, how to moor up to and depart from a dock, and recover a man overboard. Also, we load on all of the food we will need for the voyage. After that, we set sail. The voyage is from the Academy to Block Island, Block Island to Falmouth, Massachusetts, Falmouth to Martha’s Vineyard, Martha’s Vineyard to Nantucket, Nantucket to Hyannis, Hyannis to Woods Hole, Woods Hole to Newport, Newport to Stonington, and Stonington to the Academy. As you can see, we sailed a lot. We pulled into a different port every day, so we never had to sail at night, and we got to see some of every port.

 

I can’t say I had a favorite port. Every one of them was unique and cool. I’ve been to some of those places before, but seeing the marina side was totally different. I loved walking around the piers, seeing the different types of boats and people. I spent every port call with my buddy doing pretty much the same routine. We go for a run first to get a sense of the scene. Then we would walk around looking for ice cream spots and people watching. After we got ice cream, we would check out the boats, talk about the ones we would want, and imagine a life with enough money to afford some of the gigantic yachts we would see. I had a ton of fun in port, and my “routine” is a little bit of an oversimplification, but it makes the point.

 

My true passion during the trip was sailing. I had never sailed before Coastal Sail but I developed a passion for it. I didn’t learn everything there was to know about sailing a boat by the end, but I learned a ton. My passion underway was below decks doing navigation. I liked trying to figure out the optimal course to make us go faster, while trying to keep us in the relative direction we wanted to be going. My most memorable experience underway was sailing from Hyannis to Woods Hole. We were in 20 knots of wind and high seas. Everyone that went below decks was getting sea sick from the rolls, and we were heeled over almost thirty degrees. I spent about three to four hours below deck making sure we weren’t going to run aground, because we were transiting through a lot of shallow water, and with the wind and rolls it was hard to stay on course. It was a rough day. I have no idea how I didn’t get sea sick. But, we ended up making it safely to Woods Hole, so I felt like my efforts were worth it.

 

My leadership developed even more during coastal sail. I had two main lesson learned. First, leadership can be simplified down to accomplishing the mission and motivating people. Most people can tell someone else to do something that needs to be done, but that is only half of leadership. The other half is people. You have to be able to motivate people to want to do their job, and you have to take care of your people. If you can accomplish the mission and if you can figure out how to motivate your people, you will be a great leader. The second lesson I learned was more about what attributes people use to lead. For instance, one of my friends on my boat came into the program knowing how to sail. He had what is called expert power. His knowledge of sailing helped him to lead the rest of us because we didn’t know what we were doing for the first few days. Even after that, we still looked to him for his advice on specific sailing maneuvers. There are many other types of leadership. I’ve seen good leaders and I’ve seen bad leaders. As a result, I’ve tried to make myself the best leader I can be by reading books and reflecting on my experiences.

 

In the end, I loved Coastal Sail. I had a ton of fun, and I learned a lot. I would go again in a second. Looking back over the whole summer, I grew tremendously. That is a testament to the Academy as a 200-week leadership development program – it really works.

 

More about Hunter.

 

Small Boat Station Life

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Ritchie Photo For the second half of my summer training program, I went to small boat station Ponce de Leon Inlet in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. Officers in the Coast Guard don’t get stationed at small boat stations, so this was the only opportunity I would get to experience one. My friend, Katie Neubig, and I were lucky enough to be stationed together, and we had a blast in our six weeks there. We earned our Communications Watchstander qualifications in the first two weeks and then spent the next weeks trying to get boat crew sign-offs, standing watch, and helping the crew around the station.

 

On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, we and the crew ran, played ultimate Frisbee, or surfed in the morning before boat checks. The work day went from around 0730 to 1500. Day-workers were done after the work day; people on duty had to stay at the station all night. Katie and I lived on the station, but we alternated which of us day-worked each day, so one of us could technically leave after 1500. Usually we just ended up staying at the station and catching up on sleep, though. We had our fun on the weekends. We had the opportunity to go to Disney World and a NASCAR race. For the NASCAR race, we were given free tickets and went to participate in the flag unfurling ceremony on July 5. It ended up being rained out, but we got to go back the day after in civilian clothes to watch the postponed race since we had the tickets. While in uniform on the first day, we went to victory lane and ran into a group of men who each had a medal of honor. We were star struck. These were real American heroes. We looked one of them up, and found out they’d fought in Vietnam. I think Sergeant First Class Gary Littrell ended up saying, “Gentlemen, start your engines!” the next day.

 

The most exciting thing that happened at Station Ponce while we were there was a migrant case. It is unusual to have migrants around central Florida, but we had a case of Haitian migrants one night. It was a weekend, so Katie and I were off. When we arrived at the station, there was only one crew member there, standing the communications watch. She asked us to come help her and explained the case to us. I relieved her at 2000 and stood watch until 0300 the next morning when Katie relieved me. I found it so fascinating to listen to the case progress over the radio and log all the information I heard. It was awesome to be a part of a real Coast Guard mission.

 

More about Sarah.

 

Great to be a Senior

(Academics, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Cantrellt Photo It has been a busy, but GREAT start to the year! I finished up the summer at home in sunny Florida and then I was on my way (in my car) back to the Academy. It is great to be a senior, to have a car, to have liberty on Thursday nights, and to hold a leadership role within the corps. I already know this year will be the best year yet! Classes started yesterday so it was a lot of organizing and planning skills to get off on the right foot. I had previously had or met most of my teachers so it wasn’t a huge deal to start school. Although, I do know how the fourth class feel because that was me on my first day three years ago.

 

Last weekend I went to southern Maine with a group of girlfriends and we stayed at my friend’s house. It was a short trip, but I had so much fun! We went to watch Keelan Donovan sing and play the guitar with MamaDear then we explored Portland. We also walked on the beautiful beach and ate a great home cooked meal! It was a great first weekend back with all of my friends. This weekend is Labor Day so the corps will have Monday off and a group of girls and myself are off to hike Mount Washington in New Hampshire! The most hiking I have done was in Hawaii so we will see how this nine-mile hike goes...I might need some encouraging words from my friends half way up! Either way it will be an adventure and I can’t wait.

 

Of course I am staying focused on my studies and trust me the homework has already started. Lots of readings to do before bed so I should probably start that!

 

I hope everyone has a great start to the year and you hit the ground running with schoolwork and sports, but don’t forget to take some time to relax and enjoy the moment (it goes by faster than you think) I am always available for questions at Sara.E.Cantrell@uscga.edu.

 

More about Sara.

 

Returning Home

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Corbett Photo It was a long 142 days to be away from home. Then again I am only from Philly so I don’t have much room to talk as there are cadets from Alaska and other faraway lands. As I ventured out this summer, I kept track of what I needed to do to finally arrive home. I started my journey in Milwaukee. A small station, but a great station. I drove 45-foot and 25-foot boats that could zoom through the water and slice through waves at speeds upwards of 50 mph. (45 knots for those who are nautical.) I saved a life. I lifeguarded for four years in high school and had pulled struggling swimmers to the side, but this was different. A man’s life depended on the training I had. The “wealth” of knowledge one could accumulate in a whole year being in the Coast Guard. I sat in the radio room and answered the call and I sent out our boats with our crew. Everyone knew their position and there I was the rookie, calm, collected and managing the pickup of a 52 year old man who fell into the Milwaukee river system. I did my job and a man’s life was saved.

 

I was pepper sprayed…yes military-grade pepper sprayed, voluntarily. Probably one of the worst experiences of my life, but it was something that needed to be done. There is oh so little room to expand on all stories so I will leave this one to another day.

 

I left the station in high spirits and boarded the CGC Eagle. I knew Eagle was the last part of my trip. I sailed from Miami through awful weather, long midnight watches, and trainings on trainings, until we reached Nova Scotia. Two port calls down and few more to go. Then came Newfoundland, where I scaled coastal cliffs and jumped into iceberg-filled water, and then NYC where I would see my family for the first time in several months. One port call left. I scaled 15 stories in whipping winds and rain aboard the tall ship Eagle. It was the job that needed to be done and another step closer to that goal. Eyes on the prize and I just kept my thoughts toward that last sight of land.

 

The shores of Bourne, Massachusetts came in sight and I knew my summer was coming to an end. As I disembarked, I looked back on the summer with friends and I came to a conclusion that can best be expressed in the quote, “No one ever said it would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it.” I stepped out of my father’s car and onto the beaches of Jersey where I spent my summers growing up, and where this leave would be spent. The sand lit up beneath my feet as my weight squeezed the water out. I ignored the scientific reason and preferred to think that sand was welcoming me home. As if I was royalty returning back to my land after a long journey.

 

More about Shane.

 

It Would All Be Worth It

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Racz Photo I will admit it is very strange being back. Now that I am 3/c (sophomore), I am not required to do any of the tasks that the newly appointed 4/c (freshmen) have. It’s almost as if all the stress that came with freshmen year has disappeared. The upper-class were right when they said it would all be worth it. I now look forward to spending this year getting to know my fellow classmates and having a little fun in the process.

 

This summer was long, but quite an experience. Following finals, I departed to Savannah, Georgia for the first five weeks of the summer. There, I met the CGC Valiant. Unfortunately, the Valiant was in dry dock, so I was unable to get much sea time (essentially dry dock means the cutter is getting repaired on land). Though I didn’t get the underway experience that everyone talks about, I did learn a lot about the less glamorous side of the Coast Guard. I spent the summer painting, sanding, and making general repairs to the cutter. It was hard work and the days were long, but I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. I had the opportunity to meet a lot of awesome enlisted members that I hope to work with one day once I’m an officer. The second half of my summer was spent on the Barque Eagle, America’s tall ship. For six weeks, my classmates and I sailed up along the East Coast to places like Sydney, Nova Scotia and St. Johns, Newfoundland. The port calls on Eagle were amazing and I made a lot of memories that I will never forget. On Eagle I also got to know my classmates better, some of which I am now great friends with. After my 11 weeks out in the fleet, I went home to Maryland for three weeks of much deserved leave. At home, I spent time with family and friends relaxing and non-Coast Guard related activities. The time home was incredible, but I was surprisingly ready to go back after the three weeks was up. I look forward to this upcoming year and I can’t wait to see what it has in store.

 

More about Benjamin.

 

Guam Greatness

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Sherman Photo After two months on Sequoia and having crossed most of the Pacific Ocean, we finally reached its homeport: Apra Harbor, Guam! What an incredible place! And the third video of my "Pacific Journey to Guam" vlog series will show you some of what I was able to do there. My time there was short, but I got a lot of exploring in and had some pretty amazing experiences. Distinctly unique from the other tropical islands I visited this summer, Guam is home to incredible adventure, warm hospitality, and great memories.

*Special thanks to artist Har Megiddo for the use of his music in this video.

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More about Justin.

 

A Summer in Review

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Stowes Photo Hello CGA blog readers! It’s that time of year again, when everyone returns from their awesome summer assignments with stories to share and classes to look forward to. I was pretty up to speed with my blogs about the 2/c summer experience up until I became a cadre and got pretty busy. So I won’t waste words talking about my first few summer activities: Range, Rules of the Road, T-boats, and aviation training. However, looking back on my summer, the highs and the lows, I have to backtrack to mid-May. In May, I went into the doctors’ office because my shoulder was all out of sorts. I had dislocated it during a rugby match in early May, and I knew it was time to get it checked out. After an MRI, I learned I had severely torn my labrum (shoulder) and chipped a bone in my shoulder as well. With Swab Summer weeks away, I decided to wait to have surgery until after summer training. I don’t write that because I want people to pity the situation, or for people to think that I’m tough. I write that because I chose to forgo surgery to train the Class of 2018, and that passion to train the incoming swabs was more important to me than surgery. I would dare so far as to say that many of my fellow cadre had the same sense of passion about it as I did. So, for all the parents and future cadets out there, please know that your cadre are passionate about training you, and they chose to do your cadre for a reason.

 

Anyway, fast forward a couple months from May, and Swab Summer was just around the corner. I was home for a week off but I couldn’t get Swab Summer off my mind. Instead of living it up for that week, I spent hours reading books on leadership and preparing physically to train the incoming swabs. Additionally, I set goals for myself as a cadre. I wanted to be fair and respectful foremost. However, I also wanted to be a teacher. As cadre 1, it is easy to slip into a role of being a strict disciplinarian, but I wanted to break from that. Additionally, I wanted to instill a sense of pride in the Coast Guard and to teach them about what we do, in the hopes that it would unite them as a team and motivate them to perform.

 

As cadre 1, my job was to break down the civilian identities of the swabs; basically train them on uniform standards and drill; introduce the core values; and basically indoctrinate them. That is a high set of expectations, and I was lucky enough to have an excellent section of cadre to work with. We meshed well with personalities and work well as a team. After about a week, we were rolling as a team, supporting each other, backing each other up, and balancing the work load/responsibilities. By the end of week two, we were exhausted. People don’t realize, but cadre work just as hard as the swabs if they are doing it right. In addition to leading from the front and doing all the physical work that the swabs do, we have to figure out how to train them most effectively, and we have to take care of their physical and mental needs (like clinic visits and chaplain/counselor visits). We would stay up long after the swabs went to sleep, for me often not going to sleep until after midnight. We would discuss the day, what went well or didn’t go well, medical appointments, and we would plan for the upcoming day. As the last week arrived, we were exhausted and spent, but we pushed on.

 

A Summer in Review (Continued) 

 

More about Hunter.

 

Aruba, Jamaica, Ooh I Wanna Take Ya’

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Just for Fun, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Ritchie Photo After San Juan, Puerto Rico; we sailed to Aruba; then Cozumel, Mexico; and ended in Miami, Florida. (Jamaica wasn’t one of our port calls, but we were singing the Beach Boys’ song “Kokomo” all the way from Puerto Rico to Aruba.)

 

My parents met me in Puerto Rico. They flew down from Pennsylvania and spent a week there to see me and to take a vacation for themselves (but mostly to see me). I hadn’t called home much lately since I was preoccupied with studying during finals week, and there’s no cell phone reception at sea, so it was nice to catch up with them. The next day, my friends and I explored the fort in San Juan and then went shopping in the area. We had three days in each port, two of which we had liberty, and one of which we gave tours on Eagle.

 

The first day in Aruba, I volunteered for a community service project repainting an elementary school. The hours I got that day count towards my community service requirement for this semester, and it was a fun opportunity to leave a mark on a foreign country. The second day of liberty, I spent with Eva’s parents at a resort. For dinner, Mr. Sandri caught a red snapper, and we went to a local restaurant called the Old Cunucu house where they prepared the fish as an appetizer for us. The food there was delicious.

 

In Mexico, my friends and I went snorkeling. The water in the Caribbean is so clear in some places that you can see the whole way to the bottom. Being a great vacation spot, Cozumel offered so much to do, but we were limited in our time there.

 

One really nice thing about being underway is that you don’t have to worry about money. There’s not much that you can buy when you’re at sea, so all the money you earn is saved for the port calls. This is definitely another benefit of going to a service academy. We not only get our education paid for, but we also get to travel to amazing ports and have some money to spend while there. I wouldn’t say it’s free because we work hard, but it is definitely more than worth it. I felt so privileged when in Aruba, I turned to my friend and said, “It’s okay that we didn’t snorkel today. We can just do it in Cozumel next week.” Just thinking about how much I got to do and see this summer makes me so excited to see what my future in the Coast Guard holds.

 

More about Sarah.

 

Summer Before Graduation

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Subramanian Photo First class summer for cadets is the final one and very rewarding in the preparation to be become officers in the United States Coast Guard. I had the wonderful opportunity to be stationed on the USCGC Adelie, an 87’ patrol cutter out of Port Angeles, Washington.

 

The location was amazing. Port Angeles is home to five Coast Guard cutters, a small boat station, and an air station. The town has a large Coast Guard presence, as well as being close to other Coast Guard locations, including Seattle, Washington and Astoria, Oregon.

 

Port Angeles is the northern point of the amazing Olympic National Park, which is more than 900,000 acres large. The park is ecologically diverse, with the Pacific coastline, the meadows of wildflowers, the mountain vistas, and the rainforests. I soon learned that eleven weeks was not nearly enough time to fully comprehend the beauty of the park.

 

I had a great time conducting Coast Guard missions aboard the Adelie. The Adelie’s primary missions are conducting escorts of Navy vessels, search and rescue, and security boardings of small craft in the Puget Sound. I learned so much from the crew, and I worked hard to get qualified in different positions. For example, I qualified as an in-port Officer of the Day (OOD), the Watchstander for the cutter while in port. This position leaves the entire cutter in my responsibility after the workday after the rest of the crew departs for home. It’s amazing that someone like me, at the young age of 21, was given such a great responsibility.

 

I learned so much in eleven weeks, and I cannot wait to return to the “real” Coast Guard next year. It was very rewarding to do what I did this summer, and I cannot wait to be able to continue as a career.

 

More about Kevin.

 

Kicking Off Fall Semester

(Academics, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Glick Photo With CAP week over, fall semester is about to kick off. The fall semester, so I have experienced last semester, is a term where each cadet, whether returning from leave, completing Swab Summer, or pumped up from coordinating cadre summer, is still learning their new roles as a cadet. The 1/c are either in command positions on Regimental or Company Staff, or are acting as division officers in one of the eight companies. The second class are finding themselves as budding leaders, having completed the execution of the Swab Summer training program, and are either re-buying into the system or growing weary of it, longing for graduation. The new cadets, having completed Swab Summer, wait for classes to start in anxiety, yet are jubilant having completed quite possibly the hardest summer of their lives. As third class cadets, we are still underclassmen, yet not leaders, but not quite followers. We are labeled as “role modelers” or those underclassmen who have been around the block, and need to guide the fourth class cadets to success in their first year. Third class, so I’ve been told by the brass at our meetings, is typically “the missing class” or the class at the Academy that fades into the background. There is an excellent opportunity to do the bear minimum as a third class, but there is also an excellent opportunity to find what you really enjoy, and more importantly, what you do not enjoy. CAPT Pulver, the Commanding Officer on Eagle, encouraged our class to use this precious time to find out who we are as cadets, and to not squander it.

 

I am excited to start the school year, and my schedule is packed tightly. This is potentially my hardest semester at the Academy, with some very challenging courses. Fortunately, I have a few classes that I am looking forward to as I progress into my major. Admittedly, I am nervous for a few of them, but my attitude from Swab Summer remains constant: if thousands before me have done it, so I can too and do it well at that. I am enjoying the privileges of 3/c year, and as one of my mentors put it today after church, I am “entering the final third of my cadet career.” That is to say, that the Academy experience is divided into three parts: swab summer, fourth class year, and the rest. In truth, Swab Summer did feel as long as fourth class year, and the first week of 3/c year was like it never happened it was so fast. This year, I hope to explore my personal interests, while also achieving the same level of academic and military success. I also hope to get into better shape…

 

That is the beauty of the Academy, the reason I wake up and put on uncomfortable leather shoes every day: we are all here for the same reason, and we will help each other out until the day we commission. Some of us struggle physically, others academically, but everyone here has something to offer, and has their own way of helping someone else out.

 

More about William.

 

Kwajalein “Kwaziness”

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Sherman Photo After departing Hawaii, Sequoia departed to Kwajalein Atoll, which is in the Marshall Islands. This video highlights the buoy tending work the cutter did while we were there. Exploring the small island of Kwajalein was fascinating—what an interesting little place to explore! Not many people can say they’ve been there. I hope you enjoy the second chapter of the “Pacific Journey to Guam” vlog series!

*Special thanks to artist Har Megiddo for the use of his music in this video.

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More about Justin.

 

What We Really Did on Eagle

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Ritchie Photo This summer, I had the opportunity to sail through the Caribbean on America’s Tall Ship. The first five weeks of summer I spent on Eagle with about 150 of my classmates and around 50 permanent crew members. (That’s a lot of people for only 295 feet of ship.) We got on board the day after the last final, and immediately started working. We loaded tons of food into the storage areas and then set sail.

 

While on Eagle, my shipmates and I had to work hard to earn sign-offs and qualifications. We were given packets at the beginning of the summer with lists of tasks to complete. Once we completed a task, a person qualified in that area would initial that we’d done so far. Once we had all the sign-offs for a category, we could take a board, an oral test, to earn that qualification. We were expected to be helm and lookout and engineering auxiliary qualified by the end of the five weeks. On top of these qualifications, we had several hours of damage control training and were able to take a written test at the end to earn that qualification. Additionally, in the first 11 days, while we sailed from New London to Puerto Rico, we had to memorize the names of all the lines on the ship and parts of a sail. We had to pass these two tests to earn liberty in the first port.

 

It was easy to get bogged down by the workload and close quarters, but I tried to stay positive. I was really looking forward to sailing the Caribbean after a long school year, but when I got to Eagle, I was surprised by all the work I found out we’d have to do between port calls. For the first few days, I was exhausted and not in the best mood, but I realized that my attitude would have to change if I wanted to make it through the summer. I took on a more optimistic approach, thinking about the great port calls that lay ahead and just the pure opportunity of it all. No other college students that I know get to take a five week field trip to amazing vacation spots with 100+ close friends for free. This opportunity was incredible, and I wasn’t going to waste it with any more negativity. When you live so close to so many people, though, their attitudes rub off on you. It became hard to not let other people’s attitude affect my goal to stay positive. I relied on the port calls to keep me going, and they made it all worth it. (See more in my next blog post.)

 

More about Sarah.

 

Are You a Sailor?

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Pourmonir Photo Are you a sailor? No? Me either. It is completely okay though, because soon you will be. I don’t know if that sounds exciting to you, but if it doesn’t it definitely should. You are missing out on some of the funniest and craziest times you could ever have. This summer I had the opportunity to sail up the entire East Coast on the Coast Guard Cutter Eagle. Never heard of it? Here it is! It’s beautiful! I have some pictures if you want to check them out. I got to climb all the way to the royals! Those are the highest sails on the entire ship. While over a hundred feet above the deck of the ship, I got to spend time with my shipmates in an environment most people couldn’t even imagine. We sailed all the way up to Sydney, Nova Scotia, and then to St John’s, New Found land.

 

After that we anchored in New York. You guessed it, right in front of the Statue of Liberty. If you haven’t seen New York City at night, imagine how beautiful it looks from 100 feet up right next to the Statue of Liberty. Absolutely beautiful is the only way I could describe it. The things you can do in the Coast Guard are amazing. Don’t worry if you haven’t traveled much, because the Coast Guard can make that dream a reality.

 

More about Keemiya.

 

The Unbelievable Summer

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
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.