Meet Starry the Bear

Coast Guard Compass

Official Blog of the U.S. Coast Guard

Starry the Bear

Posted by Seaman Jennifer Nease, Wednesday, May 31, 2013 

CAPE MAY, N. J. – Over the past four years, Starry the Bear has endured boot camp four times, sailed with the Coast Guard Cutter Dependable, and spent almost a year with Station Cape May.  He recently graduated from basic training for the fourth time a week ago with Coast Guard Recruit Company, Echo 188 on May 24, 2013.

Ms.Ann Griffith’s (left) third grade class at Cape May City Elementary School. Teacher’s assistant Sharon Fruchtman, right.

Ms.Ann Griffith’s (left) third grade class at Cape May City Elementary School. Teacher’s assistant Sharon Fruchtman, right.

 Starry began serving in the Coast Guard as part of Partnership In Education.  He visited his first 3rd grade class in 2008, and they coined the name “Starry.”  Since then, Starry has embedded with Coast Guard units and gone to boot camp to educate children about the Coast Guard, its culture and its values.

Seaman Recruit Starry the Bear undergoes remedial swim class while attending boot camp at Training Center Cape May. Coast Guard photo by Seaman Jennifer Nease.

Seaman Recruit Starry the Bear undergoes remedial swim class while attending boot camp at Training Center Cape May. Coast Guard photo by Seaman Jennifer Nease.

 “Starry the Bear is not a new concept for Partnership In Education, but it is unique here in Cape May because Starry goes to boot camp every single year,” said Lt. Cmdr. Scott Rae, regimental officer of Training Center Cape May. 

 Ms. Ann Griffith’s 3rd grade class participated in the Starry the Bear program this year.  Coast Guard members visited the class and shared Starry’s adventures in the Coast Guard with the children monthly.   

“Some of the students even felt, although they never wanted to be a Coast Guard recruit before, it’s amazing and exciting,” said Griffith.  One even said, “that it’s inspired them to one day be in the Coast Guard, like their Dad.”

From left to right, FN Nathan Yonren and SN Patrick McGinnis bring Starry along as they conduct their annual water survival exercise on January 29, 2013 off the Cape May inlet in the Atlantic Ocean.  U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of Station Cape May.

From left to right, FN Nathan Yonren and SN Patrick McGinnis bring Starry along as they conduct their annual water survival exercise on January 29, 2013 off the Cape May inlet in the Atlantic Ocean. U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of Station Cape May.

Starry not only gets to enjoy all the fun with kids, but he must also endure the pushups and squats directed by the company commanders at boot camp. 

 “Starry the Bear made significant progress, avoiding reversion, in order to graduate on time with Echo 188,” said Starry’s Company Commander, Petty Officer 2nd Class Lyle Mattei.  “In the beginning, he struggled to conform to military lifestyle, but he quickly turned it around.”                                         

Starry was an inspiration to his fellow recruits as well, and he marched everywhere with them for eight weeks.  He primarily floated from class to class in the yeoman’s bag, and he was taken out for company incentive training.   “Basic Training is tough, but when you get through it, you realize that it wasn’t so bad,” said Starry’s shipmate, Seaman Recruit Kaimi Naone.  “Plus, if a stuffed toy bear can do it, you can do it!”

SN Jessica Elder makes sure Starry is wearing his life jacket while Staion Cape May conducts helicopter operations. Coast Guard photo courtesy of Station Cape May.

SN Jessica Elder makes sure Starry is wearing his life jacket while Staion Cape May conducts helicopter operations. Coast Guard photo courtesy of Station Cape May.

Lt. Scott Farr, commanding officer of Station Cape May, enjoyed visiting the classroom with his crew and taking Starry the Bear out on real operations here in Cape May County, like search and rescue, boardings and port security patrols.

 Farr said the junior members from the station seemed to be the most energetic and involved in teaching the students what they themselves have so recently learned.   

   “We all enjoy embracing the kids through the Partnership In Education program, but the Starry the Bear tradition has been one of the staples that keeps it going,” emphasizes Lt. Cmdr. Scott Rae, regimental officer of Training Center Cape May.

 

 

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5 Responses

  1. Victoria Zelenak, Cape May Elem. Superintendent says:

    This is such a wonderful educational program for our students. We appreciate the opportunity to have this in our school. The photo album with the Coast Guard uniform as a cover for Starry Bear’s adventures is amazing Again, thank you…Mrs. Zelenak

  2. Rachel Samuelson says:

    Oh I love Starry the Bear. What a great idea!

  3. jnease says:

    Thank you Mrs. Zelenak for all or your school’s commitment to Echo 188! Semper Paratus!

  4. John Cooke says:

    I am trying to remember if I saw Starry the Bear running with ECHO in the Great Cape May Foot Race? I think he was there does he run? It was great of the Recruits to join us in the run. Hope fully we will do that again next year.

    John Cooke,

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