Recruit Company Romeo 188 Week: 02
Posted by Seaman Jennifer Nease, Thursday, August 15, 2013
Recruit Company Romeo 188 Week: 02
Formed: July 30, 2013
Graduate: September 20, 2013
July 30th. Romeo-188 has arrived at Cape May, New Jersey. Spirits were high as each member met each other at the USO office at the Philadelphia International Airport. We sat around eating food, enjoying each other’s company and Watching Step Brothers. Once everyone had arrived we got the 30 minute check in and everyone started placing final calls to their loved ones. Boarding the bus everyone was quite but once on board spirits were high again. As we came close to the end of our hour and a half we became nervous and anxious. We were met at the gate by a police vehicle that escorted us to where we would get off. Waiting for us were five company commanders. Next thing we knew, our bus is getting boarded and they are yelling at us to get off the bus in 15 seconds. We make a mad dash to find our bags in all the confusion and in the darkness of night. We stayed up until 0130 completing paper work and getting situated in our racks.
July 31th. We were woken up at 0600 by yelling and screaming. “You have 10 minutes to shower and shave!” Complete chaos is all I can think of to describe it. 25 males all trying to squeeze under 8 shower heads. We continued on with the rigorous paperwork process. We were taught basic military bearings such as “standing at attention” and basic marching commands.
Aug. 1st. Today we were introduced to the cafeteria and if you think it’s uncomfortable eating with ex’s or in-laws you would be in for a definite treat. “Heels together!” “Elbows tucked in!” “Square your meals!” This basically means eat like a robot; you bring the food out a foot away from your face, straight to your mouth then straight back down to the plate, hence making a square. That evening we were informed we would be forming our Boot Camp Company of “Romeo-188” the following day. We had no idea what we were in for.
Aug 2nd. No one seemed to be worried as we were forming up to meet our Company Commanders. We had been yelled and screamed at for the last 3 days and had handled it pretty well. How much worse could it get? We had a ceremony to introduce our Company Commanders and they took an oath to train us to the best of their abilities. After the ceremony it was 100x more intense than we could have imagined. Everything we said we had to scream at the top of our lungs, which they call “Sounding Off”. We were finally introduced to our work regiment and began doing pushups and crunches when we would mess up. It was a long day, but all in all not too bad, still keeping our spirits high.
Aug 3rd. “Fire, Fire, Fire!!!” Don’t be alarmed, it wasn’t a real fire, that’s just the nice way they like to wake us up. We throw on our athletic shoes, move fast down 3 flights of stairs and begin doing incentive training, “I.T.”. It is a series of up/downs, push ups, crunches, squats and flutter kicks. Throughout the day we did 5 sets of these for not reaching time objective goals. We don’t know if our group is bad or if they are setting unreachable goals for us on purpose. We had a stress management class with the Chaplain that helped to reassure us we will get better and how to handle this anxiety and stress. We are pretty exhausted today, but looking forward to 5 hrs of personal time tomorrow.
Aug4th. We woke up to more “I.T.” today, seems like this is something we will have to start getting use to. The majority of the company went to church today and others spent their personal time fixing their rack and writing letters home. Everyone is starting to get a little home sick. It’s disheartening to think we’ve only been here 5 days and we are already counting down the days until graduation.
Aug 5th. Romeo is officially starting to free fall. People are starting to question why they are here. The training is tough, when we complete something we get no recognition and when we don’t we begin more “I.T.” If we are instructed to make our racks in 4 minutes and we attempt to make them perfectly we don’t make the time objective but when hurry then we get in trouble because they are not perfect. There is always something wrong and the only advice we get is to work as a team. If we can’t find out how to work as a team soon, I don’t know what is going to happen to us.
Aug 6th. Every day it feels like we take one step forward then 15 steps back. Making the same mistakes over and over again. It’s the simple things too: not being loud enough, not addressing people properly or squaring our meals properly. Funny story though, one of our shipmates got caught not squaring their meal so every time he took a bite he had to stand up and yell, “Shipmates don’t forget to square your meals!” at the tops of his lungs in front of everyone. Our Lead Company Commander took us into the class room today to have us wrtte down why we joined the Coast Guard and it got pretty emotional. People said everything from wanting to provide for their family to wanting to save lives and help others. We need to keep our eyes focused on why we came to help us get through this.
Aug 7th. Finally we did something we thought we were coming to training for. We received our decommissioned M1 today! The only bad thing is, our company commanders have a way of turning any positive into a negative. We now use them mostly to hold above our heads and do squats with them. The worst is holding it at a sniper position while sitting cross legged for 15 minutes. We did get 30 minutes alone with the Chaplain. He updated us on current events and answered any questions we had. He keeps reassuring us that things will get better but as of right now, it’s hard for Romeo to see that.
Aug 8th. Romeo-188 is mentally and physically drained. We finally got to rinse off today by doing our evaluation swim. Mentally we are just completely gassed. Every minute of every day we are being critiqued on something and never receive a positive comment. They also have very interesting ways to motivate us when we are not being “well behaved”. Such as picking our pen up off the floor and setting it down for 10 minutes straight or sitting up and down in our classroom desk for 15 minutes straight.
Aug 9th. Spirits were getting high as we have begun to start reaching time objectives. 90% of the company went to worship tonight and it seems to help out with moral afterwards, but it also distracts us from keeping our military bearing when we come back. When we arrived back from worship, Petty Officer Milligan was ready to get us back into action. He had us line up in the hallway and pull out the required items that we must carry on us all the time. If you did not have one of the items you were instructed to fill out a performance tracker. A performance tracker is basically a written record of something we’ve done wrong. We keep these records so that in the future we are to remember not to make the same mistakes over and over again. Many in the company worried about getting held back another week, but with your letters you are sending, you have given us courage to keep fighting on. We all miss our families very much.
Aug 10th. The weekend is finally upon us! Not really though. We still have full days of physical fitness awaiting us. The first half of the day went by pretty smoothly, but once we were left in the care of Petty Officer Saporito we knew we were going to sweat and sweat a lot. 3 ½ hours straight of physical fitness activities were lined up for us. Anything you can think of we did. One popular reading is the definition of discipline while holding the book straight out in front of you for 10-20 minutes. This was an unnatural form for our arms and harder than it sounds. You are going to have very physically fit sons, daughters, girlfriends and boyfriends when you see us at graduation.
Aug11th. Today only had two things planned on the schedule, personal hours and a track run. You can take a wild guess of what we did the rest of the day. We are literally doing something every second of the day and when there is nothing planned they just pull something out to do to motivate us. One of the company commanders actually bases how long we do an activity off of how much effort we put into it and it seems like the other two just like to watch us suffer and sweat. Either way, it is building the character we need to do this dangerous job. How to fight through pain and do things you may not necessarily enjoy, but must complete. In the long run, this will help us but it just hurts right now!
Editor’s Note: This blog post was written by a recruit currently involved in Coast Guard basic training. The thoughts and opinions expressed in this Journal do not necessarily reflect those of Training Center Cape May, the U.S. Coast Guard or the federal government and are the sole opinion of the author. Recruit Journals are written by personnel in a high-stress environment with little time, so please excuse grammar and punctuation in the above article. The staff at Training Center Cape May do not edit the journals in any way, so as to ensure authenticity of the content and messages.