As I return from leave and start CAP Week for my third time, I have been spending time reflecting and remembering my 2/c summer. My classmates and I did so many amazing and thrilling things that not only created lasting memories, but also helped me hone my leadership skills in preparation for this year.
I started off the summer with 100th Week when Cape May company commanders came and instructed us in the art of discipline and leadership. We learned a lot about mental stress and alternating styles of teaching to get our AIMsters or swabs to learn what we are trying to teach them. After that a group of us went to a week of Rules of the Road, or ROTR, and in that class we learned the rules of boat driving and how to react to dangerous situations. The test we took at the end of the week is not only a graduation requirement, but is the first step in learning how to drive cutters in the Coast Guard. Following ROTR a group of my classmates and I went onto the Academy’s T-boats to practice and learn basic ship handling skills. I was able to command the vessel and pull into and out of a dock, work through a man overboard drill and anchor in the Thames River. That week really helped me develop my command confidence that I would be using for the rest of the summer.
Range Week followed ROTR and I was able to get pistol qualified. It was really difficult to get used to the pistol, but once I did I really enjoyed the time we spent practicing and taking the test. Coastal Sail started the Monday after range, and it was definitely the best experience I’ve had in my time here at the Academy. My group was awesome and everyday was filled with hours of intense sailing. My group ended up using the least amount of engine hours because we were so determined to sail during every hour we could. I was able to explore awesome places like Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, Newport, and Cuttyhunk. Every day someone else was in charge of commanding the yacht, and trying to command in 20-knot winds and 5-foot seas is an experience in and of itself.
I traveled to Sector New York in Staten Island for the marine safety training program (MSTP). Two of my classmates and I spent the week inspecting foreign cargo vessels, sailing shuttles, and the Staten Island ferry. We also explored NYC and Staten Island while learning about the sector side of the Coast Guard. We drove back to start the AIM preparatory week when the AIM cadre cleaned and prepared for the 2015 AIM year.
Being AIM cadre was the best decision I could have made. Introducing high school seniors to the Coast Guard Academy and displaying bits of swab summer and the school year gave me the opportunity to become a leader and develop myself. I had AIMsters coming up to me after graduation on Fridays thanking me for changing their lives and making them want to come the Academy even more. After those three amazing weeks, I felt responsible and well developed in leadership and extremely prepared to lead in the corps for the upcoming year.
More about Emily.