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cadet blogs

Singing at the Academy

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Just for Fun, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Eshleman Photo I love the fall. I love the excitement of going back to school, the leaves changing color in Connecticut, and the transition into colder weather. My favorite thing about autumn though, is getting back into singing after being away from the group for the summer. As my profile says, I am involved in multiple singing groups at the Coast Guard Academy. One of these is called Fairwinds, which is a group of 12 girls that practice weekly and do acapella songs. Each year we strive to learn new music. We vary from Michael Jackson to doo wop to Johnny Cash. We then get to perform at various local restaurants, ceremonies, banquets, and more. Traveling with a small group of people (we also commonly perform with the guys’ group the Idlers as well) really creates a close-knit circle. This niche I have found at CGA has made the school feel like home. It gives me something to look forward to every week when we get to sing for an hour or two. It takes my mind off any anxieties I may be having about tests, military inspections, etc., AND the best part is that you get to travel. What young person doesn’t want that? This year is my last year in Fairwinds before graduating, and I intend to make it as great of a time as possible.

 

More about Hannah.

 

Back to School and After-School Activities

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Just for Fun, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Hosley Photo I can’t believe this is my first blog back at school for my last year at the Academy! It’s crazy how time flies! So here we are back at school for another exciting and challenging year at the CGA. I had heard that some people were interested in some of my other extracurricular activities here at school (which are a blast!), so here is a little bit about what the CGA has to offer outside of everyday cadet life.

 

This semester, I happen to be the Executive Officer of Golf Company. It is an honor to be in charge (along with my Company Commander) of leading and guiding a company of 124 other cadets. On top of being XO, I am also captain of the varsity women’s lacrosse team. As a lacrosse player and a captain, I am very busy organizing team events, practices, and team bonding time. As a varsity athlete much of my time is spent at practice every afternoon and at away games on the weekends. Some of our games are around two hours away but the time spent with my team on the bus is priceless. It is an amazing and humbling opportunity to be able to test out my leadership skills while playing the sport that I love.

 

When I’m not playing lacrosse or working on company logistics, you can find me at Yoga Club, Women’s Leadership Council, with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes organization (FCA), or Asian Pacific American Council (APAC). I know it probably seems like it is impossible for me to do all of these things, and sometimes it seems like it is, but the beauty of being here at the CGA is that everyone understands the limits on our time and thus clubs are very flexible with scheduled events (unlike varsity sports obligations which are mandatory). When the clubs are hosting big events, club members can sign up to attend if their schedule allows. For Yoga Club, we have the unique opportunity to travel off-base to Mystic Yoga Shala for hot yoga once a week. If I’m too busy with homework I’ll skip out on yoga, but otherwise the classes are a great stress reliever and a hard workout. For Women’s Leadership Council, we do a mentoring program and have other fun events that I choose to attend based on whether or not my schedule allows. FCA is great also because we have lunch excusals every couple of weeks, so it doesn’t take any time out of my day, but instead I get to eat lunch with my fellow classmates and athletes. It is a great time to relax, reflect, and discuss our faith. Lastly, being a part of APAC is really fun as well! The council usually does big events with delicious food, like Dim Sum Sundays at a local restaurant. Overall, the Academy has a ton of unique and fun extracurricular activities to offer and I only do just a few. If you have any other specific questions, please don’t hesitate to ask! Cecelia.K.Hosley@uscga.edu

 

More about Cece.

 

A Summer Summary

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018, Civil Engineering) Permanent link
Haerr Photo Hi, future cadets!

 

I’m here to give you a little insight on the four Academy summer experiences. Each summer you will be integrated into the fleet in a different way.

 

The first summer will be your Swab Summer experience, which provides you the opportunity to gain basic indoctrination knowledge in a high intensity environment. This summer will give you confidence in the skill sets that you already have and attention to the skill sets that still need developing. You’ll be amazed by how much you can do and learn with the help of your shipmates who become like family by the end of it.

 

The second summer we call “3/c summer” and it is broken into five week and six week programs. One half is spent with half of your classmates on the USCGC Barque Eagle, which is the only commissioned tall ship in the U.S. military. It allows you to experience sailing at on incredible scale, obtain basic qualifications in engineering or deck, and gain basic damage control training. The other half is unique to each of your classmates. You will either go to an active cutter or small boat station in order to learn from the fleet while practicing your military courtesies. I went to the small boat station Ponce de Leon Inlet in New Smyrna, Florida. There I learned an incredible amount from the boatswain mates and machinery technicians about splicing lines, chart work, boat checks, and boat driving, all while participating in search and rescue (SAR) cases in the Jacksonville area.

 

The third summer is called “2/c summer” or commonly referred to as “cadre summer.” It is by far one of the most dynamic summers you will have at the Academy. During this time, you will be with your class the entire summer, which allows you to further create an unbreakable bond with many of your already established friends. You will start with having an intense week being trained by the Cape May Command Cadre on how to be a cadre yourself, and by the end of the week you will say the oath with your class to recommit to two more years at the Academy and five year payback service. You will also gain a basic pistol qualification, test on Rules of the Road (ROTR) course, drive and practice drills on training boats (T-Boats), experience the Cadet Aviation Training Program (CATP), and have a two-week sailing experience on 44-foot yachts (Coastal Sail). Then, what everyone looks forward to is the three-week cadre experience in support of the Swab Summer, CGAS, or AIM programs. You will transition from a role model to a mentor this summer and realize how far you’ve come when you are giving basic indoctrination to the incoming classes.

 

The last summer is referred to as “firstie summer.” This is another unique experience based on what you think is your preference is for your first billet after graduation and getting your commission. You have the opportunity to have an 11-week cutter experience, air station experience, or internship with the NSA, Army Corps of Engineers, and other government facilities to utilize the knowledge you have gained within your major. This summer is a lot about learning the different career opportunities in the Coast Guard that you didn’t even know existed. For instance, I learned more about becoming a Coast Guard lawyer, physician assistant, and worked within the Intelligence community, as well as experienced the typical Coast Guard associated jobs on cutters, sectors, and air stations. This summer, I had a five-week internship for my major in Civil Engineering at the Training Center (TRACEN) in Petaluma, California. After being selected for this program, my classmate, Jackie, and I worked on developing a drainage design project for three locations on base and, at the end, we presented our proposal to the command to be implemented. It was a great experience to build upon all that we have been learning about civil engineering these past three years. The last six weeks we were on board the CGC Waesche in Alameda, California. On this 418-foot national security cutter, we learned about how to interact with junior and senior officers, the chiefs, and junior enlisted, as well as gained knowledge and qualifications by being integrated in engineering and deck watch schedules.

 

As you can see, no summer will be like the other and no cadet will have the same summer experience as you do, but that’s what makes it all the more fun. By the end, you’ll be wishing you got to experience it all over again in order to make that informed decision about where you want to be first stationed come Billet Night.

 

Good luck with your future endeavors, and please feel free to reach out to me with any other questions.
-1/c Kathryn (Kat) Haerr
Kathryn.M.Haerr@uscga.edu
USCGA Class of 2018

 

More about Kathryn.

 

A Summer Blog from the Last Frontier

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018, Marine and Environmental Sciences) Permanent link
Hosley Photo Greetings from Sitka, Alaska, the most beautiful (and rainiest) place on Earth! I know it’s been a little while since my last blog, but this summer has been a whirlwind of exciting travel and new experiences. This past spring I arrived to my first unit, the great Coast Guard Cutter Douglas Munro in Kodiak, Alaska. Kodiak was very cold, very rugged, and very beautiful. Life on the cutter was a unique and interesting experience. The cutter is a 378 foot high endurance cutter that patrols the Bearing Sea and over to Japan. While on board we got to live the junior officer life, helping out with the cutter’s Change of Command ceremony, morale events, preparations to get underway, and much, much more.

 

After Kodiak, I flew to southeast Alaska to a tiny island town called Sitka for the second half of my summer program. Here in Sitka, I live at the Coast Guard Air Station and work at the Sitka Sound Science Center through an internship provided to me through my major at the Academy (Marine and Environmental Sciences). At the Science Center, myself and the other Academy intern, are working on various research projects, while getting involved in the local community and volunteering at other center’s camps and events. Our time here in Sitka so far has been a blast! Our primary research here has been conducting shellfish surveys for the local tribe in an area crucial for subsistence clamming. We are very excited to be wrapping up this work and have put together a wonderful presentation on the Academy and our time here in Sitka, as well as the results from our surveys and the rest of our research to present to the community tonight at the public library.

 

I have gone hiking, kayaking, fishing, paddle boarding, sightseeing, and much more during my time here at the internship. I have seen the most beautiful mountains, sunsets, and wildlife such as eagles, bears and whales! Alaska is such an incredible and amazing place (with the best fresh fish available anywhere) and I would highly recommend visiting! If you are at all interested in the Science Center or the internship you can find us online on Facebook, Instagram or at our website: www.SitkaScience.org :)

 

More about Cece.

 

The Last Summer as a Cadet

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Williamson Photo This summer has been an amazing learning experience! I spent 11 straight weeks on the 270 foot cutter Spencer stationed at Boston, Massachusetts, completing a successful patrol in the north Atlantic. We conducted over 40 boardings of fishing vessels to ensure the sustainability of the New England fisheries, as well as performing a difficult fueling at sea evolution. I was lucky enough to qualify in basic damage control, advanced damage control, and quartermaster of the watch. I got the opportunity to stand Officer of the Deck under instruction and really learn what it means to drive the ship.

 

Once we pulled into port, I was trusted to plan a retirement for a chief petty officer and act as the master of ceremonies, and it went great! Everyone on the ship taught me a new lesson in one way or another. The officers were always helpful; the crew was welcoming and knowledgeable. When I first reported aboard, I was nervous about being underway, but now I confident I will succeed as an ensign next summer.

 

As my last summer as a cadet comes to a close, I have had some time to reflect on where I’ve come from and where I am going. It’s been a long and amazing three years to get to this point. There have been highs and there have been lows, but I am proud of how far I’ve come. I have never wanted to take the easy way out and I would recommend the same to anyone reading this. Be hungry for a challenge, put yourself in uncomfortable situations, and go to bed a better person than when you woke up. Of course, you will fail every now and again (trust me I have my flaws) but if you are respectful, sincere, and hardworking, people will advocate for you and you will always recover.

 

Looking into the future, I am going to enjoy the time I have left at the Academy. I will never again have the opportunity to live 100 feet from some of the greatest people in the world and my best friends. We are going have adventures and laugh a lot! When I ordered my class ring, I had the phrase “Enjoy it while it lasts” engraved on the inside and I stand by those words. If you are anything like me, you are a high school student dying to get into the Academy and reading these blog entries to try to figure out the secret formula required to get accepted. You should continue to pursue that goal, but please enjoy where you are. Don’t miss the people and events happening around you today while you are daydreaming about tomorrow!

 

More about Cody.