Tango 188 Recruit Journal: Weeks 05, 06 & 07

Formed: Aug. 20, 2013
Graduates: Oct. 11, 2013

16 SEP 13
TODAY STARTED “SAR” WEEK. THIS STANDS FOR SEARCH AND RESCUE. WE WAKE UP AT 0525, TAKE MORNING MUSTER AND MUST GET IN OPERATIONAL DRESS UNIFORMS, PREPARE FOR THE DAY AND BE AT MORNING CHOW BY 0545. THE EXERCISE SIMULATES THE SPEED AT WHICH WE MUST MOVE ONCE WE GET OUT IN THE FLEET. THE COMPANY MADE THE TIME OBJECTIVE, HOWEVER ARRIVED IN DIFFERENT FOOT WARE. THIS ILLUSTRATES HOW IMPORTANT CLEAR DIRECTIONS ARE FROM OUR SHIPMATES AND ALSO THE IMPORTANCE OF LISTENING TO DETAIL. WE PAID FOR THIS WITH INCENTIVE TRAINING! WE PRACTICED PULLING LINES AROUND THE QUAD. THIS EXERCISE REQUIRES EVERYONE TO BE MOVING AT A CONTROLLED PACE AND UTILIZING THE CORRECT LINE HANDLING TECHNIQUES. IN AN ATTEMPT TO MEET TIME GOALS, OUR COMPANY LOSES FOCUS ON BOTH. WE NEED MORE PRACTICE AT THIS!

LATER IN THE MORNING WE HAD OUR FIRST UNIFORM INSPECTION. AS WE STOOD OUTSIDE IN AN OPEN RANK FORMATION, IT FELT LIKE WE WERE STANDING IN A SHARK TANK AS CHIEFS WEAVED IN AND OUT OF THE RANKS INSPECTING RECRUITS AND QUIZZING THEM ON GENERAL KNOWLEDGE. UNFORTUNATELY, OUR COMPANY DID NOT IMPRESS. ATTENTION TO DETAIL WAS OUR FAILURE. QUITE A FEW MISSED BELT LOOPS, HAD LINT ON THEIR UNIFORM OR DID NOT HAVE THEIR SLEEVE ROLES TO THE APPROPRIATE LENGTH.

International Maritime Signal Flag Tango

International Maritime Signal Flag Tango

THE COMPANY HAS NOW BEGUN TO MARCH ITSELF TO CERTAIN PLACES AROUND THE REGIMENT. ONE OF THE RECRUITS LEADS THE COMPANY AND CALLS THE CADENCE. WE WERE HAPPY TO TAKE OURSELVES TO SEAMANSHIP CLASS AND RETURN TO THE SQUAD BAY AS A UNIT. CHIEF BLACKMAN MUST HAVE CONFIDENCE IN OUR PROGRESSION TO AFFORD US THIS STEP IN OUR TRAINING. AS WE MARCHED I FELT A SENSE OF PRIDE. IN AN EFFORT TO SHOW RESPECT TO OUR COMPANY COMMANDERS AND THE COAST GUARD IN GENERAL, WE PUT OUR BEST FOOT FORWARD! WE STILL FALL OUT OF STEP FROM TIME TO TIME. AT ONE POINT, FROM ACROSS THE PARADE FIELD AND INSIDE OF MUNRO HALL, WE HEARD A BOOMING, “GET IN STEP!!!” CHIEF BLACKMAN DOES NOT MISS A BEAT! HE LATER TOLD US WE DID A GOOD JOB. THE COMPANY SIGHED IN RELIEF.THE COMPANY WATCHED THE COLORS TEAM PERFORM EVENING COLORS TODAY AT REGIMENTAL SUNSET. THE TEAM APPEARS TO HAVE IMPROVED ON THEIR COMMANDS, HOWEVER IS STILL WORKING ON TIMING WHEN IT COMES TO LOWERING THE FLAGS. THEY ARE PROGRESSING EACH TIME. LASTLY, ARTISTS FOR THE COMPANY WERE SELECTED TODAY. THEY WILL DESIGN VARIOUS TANGO-188 ART AND CREATE A T-SHIRT DESIGN FOR THE COMPANY. WE WILL VOTE WHEN THE DESIGNS ARE COMPLETE!

17 SEP 13
THIS MORNING WE MARCHED TO THE UNIFORM DISTRIBUTION CENTER TO PICK UP OUR TROPICAL BLUES, BRAVO JACKETS, TRENCH COATS, GARRISON COVERS AND OTHER VARIOUS ACCESSORIES. WE WERE EACH SIZED BY THE TAILOR. LOOKING AT OURSELVES IN THE MIRROR WEARING THE UNIFORM WAS MOVING. IT IS A SIGN OF HOW FAR WE HAVE COME. IT IS A SIGN THAT WE WILL SOON BE A PART OF SOMETHING MUCH BIGGER. WE FELT PRIDE AS WE LOOKED AT OURSELVES AND OUR FELLOW RECRUITS.

IN THE EVENING WE DID AN EXERCISE WITH PETTY OFFICER PEREZ REGARDING LINE HANDLING ONCE AGAIN. WE LEARNED THE CONCEPT OF FAKING LINES, WHICH IS BASICALLY A WAY OF LAYING LINES IN FOLDS SO THEY PAY OUT EASILY, DIRECTLY AND WITHOUT TANGLING. WE HEAVED THE LINES IN, FAKED THEM AND THEN PAID THEM OUT, OVER AND OVER. THERE ARE FOUR VERY SIMPLE RULES TO LINE HANDLING REGARDING SAFETY. ALTHOUGH SUCH SIMPLE RULES, WE HAVE TROUBLE FOLLOWING THEM! THEY INCLUDE PLACES NOT TO STEP, WHAT NOT TO WEAR ON YOUR PERSON AND USING HAND OVER HAND TECHNIQUES. IN ADDITION, ALTHOUGH THE RULES ARE SIMPLE, BREAKING THEM IN THE FIELD COULD HAVE CATASTROPHIC EFFECTS; IT COULD MEAN OUR LIVES! SINCE THE SKILLS DO NOT JUST COME NATURALLY, WE PRACTICE, AND WE PRACTICE… AND WE PRACTICE. ON A POSITIVE NOTE, THE COMPANY WAS WORKING BETTER AS A TEAM DURING THE EXERCISE TONIGHT.

THE COMPANY IS BECOMING MORE CONFIDENT AS WE FORGE THROUGH WEEK 05. RECRUITS ARE GETTING USED TO EXPECTATIONS AND SCHEDULES. CHIEF BLACKMAN REMINDED US TODAY TO BE CAREFUL WITH THIS CONFIDENCE. HE RELAYED THAT THIS IS WHERE THE DETAILS BECOME VERY IMPORTANT. THOSE WHO DO NOT PAY ATTENTION TO DETAIL AND STAY FOCUSED WILL NOT REMAIN WITH TANGO-188. OUR COMPANY IS CONSTANTLY CHANGING. WHILE RECRUITS FROM OTHER COMPANIES JOIN US, SOME OF OURS REVERT TO COMPANIES BEHIND US AS WELL. WE MUST QUICKLY BUILD BONDS AS THE DYNAMIC CHANGES EACH TIME. THIS IS A GOOD LESSON AND GOOD PRACTICE FOR THE FIELD. WE MUST STAY FOCUSED AND WORK TOGETHER TO SUCCEED, WHICH BECOMES MORE AND MORE IMPORTANT THE FURTHER WE GET.

18 SEP 13
TODAY BEGAN WITH AN OPPORTUNITY TO SERVE OUR COMMUNITY THROUGH VOLUNTEERISM. TEN RECRUITS WERE SELECTED FROM OUR COMPANY TO VOLUNTEER AT THE LOCAL FOOD BANK. LEAVING THE REGIMENT AND VENTURING OUT INTO THE CIVILIAN WORLD FELT STRANGE! WE PROBABLY LOOKED LIKE ROBOTS WALKING THROUGH THE HALLS WITH TIGHT FISTS, “EYES IN THE BOAT”, AND SQUARING OUR CORNERS. PETTY OFFICER SMITH TOLD US TO DESIST WHILE WE WERE THERE FOR THIS REASON! WE HELPED THE FOOD BANK BY SORTING AND LABELING A LARGE DONATION OF CANNED GOODS. I THINK WE WERE ALL SURPRISED TO LEARN HOW MANY PEOPLE AND ORGANIZATIONS THE FOOD BANK IS ABLE TO SUPPORT. IT IS NICE TO SEE ALL OF THE GOOD THAT PEOPLE CAN ACCOMPLISH WHEN THEY WORK TOGETHER. IT FELT GOOD TO BE IN UNIFORM AND REPRESENTING THE UNITED STATES COAST GUARD IN SUCH A POSITIVE LIGHT. THIS WAS AN EXCELLENT PREVIEW OF ALL OF THE LIVES WE MAY HELP AND SAVE, IN ALL DIFFERENT FASHIONS.

LATER IN THE DAY, THE COMPANY TOOK OUR SEAMANSHIP MIDTERM. WE WERE PROVIDED WITH AMPLE REVIEW TIME YESTERDAY AND MOST SEEMED PLEASED WITH THEIR SCORE. WE MUST HAVE A CLASS AVERAGE OF 93% (COMBINED WITH OUR FINAL) TO ACHIEVE THE BATTALION COMMANDER PENNANT. THE COMPANY IS ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT THIS CHALLENGE AND IS WORKING HARD TO ACHIEVE IT.

AFTER THE SEAMANSHIP MIDTERM, WE HAD A SHORT LESSON ON PERSONAL FLOTATION DEVICES (LIFE VESTS). WE LEARNED ABOUT THE DIFFERENT TYPES AND HOW TO DON IT QUICKLY. WE PRACTICED FIRST IN THE LIGHT AND THEN IN THE DARK. WE ARE EXPECTED TO BE DONNED IN TWENTY SECONDS; THAT MAY BE ALL OF THE TIME WE HAVE IN AN EMERGENCY SITUATION. SOME OF US WERE BETTER AT THIS THAN OTHERS! LIKE WITH FAKING LINES, THE MORE WE PRACTICED, THE MORE EFFICIENT WE BECAME.

19 SEP 13
THE PACE OF OUR DAYS HAS CHANGED. ALTHOUGH MUCH MORE IS EXPECTED OF US, THE STRESS LEVEL FROM WEEKS 02 AND 03 HAS DROPPED CONSIDERABLY. OUR UNIFORMS MUST LOOK SHARP, BUT WE HAVE AMPLE TIME TO PRESS AND IRON. REQUIRED KNOWLEDGE LENGTHENS BY THE WEEK, BUT WE USE OUR BREAKS TO STUDY AND QUIZ EACH OTHER. OUR TIME OBJECTIVES HAVE LENGTHENED AND WE ARE ALSO MUCH QUICKER; THE COMBINATION OF THE TWO MAKES US MORE SUCCESSFUL IN ACHIEVING OUR TIME OBJECTIVES. WE HAVE ACHIEVED OUR “SAR” WAKE UP TIME OBJECTIVES THE LAST FEW MORNINGS. THE GROUP IS IMPROVING TIME MANAGEMENT SKILLS. MANY NOW REALIZE AND STICK TO WHAT IS NECESSARY TO ACHIEVE THE GOALS. THE FEMALES CAN TOUCH UP THEIR HAIR LATER IN THE DAY AND THE MALES CAN SHAVE ON WATER BREAKS. DISCOVERING WHAT IS NECESSARY IS HELPING US TO FOCUS AND ACHIEVE TASKS FASTER AND MORE EFFICIENTLY.

THE COMPANY DID NOT RECEIVE ORDERS TODAY. WE WERE REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS! MOST COMPANIES WILL RECEIVE THEM BY NOW. THE EXCITEMENT AND SUSPENSE IS BUILDING. HOPEFULLY WE WILL FIND OUT TOMORROW.

INSTEAD OF MARCHING IN TOMORROW’S GRADUATION CEREMONY FOR ROMEO-188, WE WILL BE THE GRADUATION SUPPORT. WE PUT OUT THE STATE FLAGS THIS EVENING AS WELL AS THE TABLES AND CHAIRS. TOMORROW WE WILL STAND POSTS AT VARIOUS INTERSECTIONS AND DOORS TO DIRECT TRAFFIC AND GREET. THE GRADUATION SUPPORT ROLE HOLDS MUCH RESPONSIBILITY. WE MUST APPLY ALL LESSONS ON PROPER IDENTIFICATION OF ENLISTED, OFFICERS AND MILITARY PERSONNEL, SALUTING AND PROPER GREETINGS. YOU COULD FEEL THE NERVES IN THE GROUP WHEN PETTY OFFICER PEREZ EXPLAINED THE IMPORTANCE OF OUR ROLE.

THE COMPANY WAS GIVEN ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY TO HELP THE COMMUNITY TODAY. THE SPIRIT OF VOLUNTEERISM AND DEDICATION TO HELPING OTHERS BECOMES MORE AND MORE EVIDENT. THE COMPANY WAS ABLE TO DONATE BLOOD TO THE RED CROSS TODAY. ALL WERE ENCOURAGED TO PARTICIPATE. OUR ATTENDANCE AT THE BLOOD DRIVE ALSO COUNTS TOWARDS THE BATTALION COMMANDER PENNANT. THE COMPANY ENJOYS THE FACT THAT WE ARE NOT JUST TOLD WHAT WE SHOULD DO; WE ARE GIVEN OPPORTUNITIES TO ACTUALLY GET INVOLVED AND DO IT. TANGO-188 TAKES A LITTLE MORE PRIDE IN ITSELF AND IN KNOWING WHAT WE CAN ACCOMPLISH TOGETHER EACH TIME WE GET OPPORTUNITIES SUCH AS THIS.

20 SEP 13
TODAY’S DETAIL AS GRADUATION SUPPORT WENT WELL AS PER CHIEF BLACKMAN. THE COMPANY DISCOVERED WE WERE MUCH MORE NERVOUS THAN WE NEEDED TO BE. WE KNOW THE INFORMATION BUT FOR SOME REASON PUTTING IT INTO PRACTICE SEEMED INTIMIDATING. CHIEF BLACKMAN REMINDED US SEVERAL TIMES TODAY TO NOT OVER COMPLICATE WHAT WE NEED TO DO. THIS INSIGHT IS ALSO APPLICABLE TO OUR MANUAL OF ARMS PRACTICE. WE ARE CONTINUING TO IMPROVE OUR EXECUTION OF COMMANDS; HOWEVER TEND TO START ACCELERATING THEM THROUGHOUT THE MOVEMENTS. WE CONTINUE TO PRACTICE ON TIMING, WHICH IS GETTING BETTER. DURING OUR TEST WITH CHIEF FREDERICKSON NEXT WEEK, THERE WILL BE A GENERAL ORDER OF COMMANDS; HOWEVER WE HAVE BEEN WARNED IT SOMETIMES CHANGES DURING THE TEST. SINCE WE HAVE LEARNED THE ROUTINE, RECRUITS OUR ANTICIPATING FUTURE COMMANDS AND EITHER MOVING TOO SOON OR EXECUTING THE WRONG COMMANDS. WE WILL NEED TO LISTEN AND THEN REACT DURING THE TEST. WE HAVE LEARNED A QUIRKY CADENCE WHICH WILL IMMEDIATELY PRECEDE THE TEST. RECITING THE CADENCE GETS US LOUD AND PROUD AND ALSO RELAXES OUR NERVES A BIT BEFORE BEGINNING. EACH DAY THE MANUAL OF ARMS IS A LITTLE BIT SHARPER; WE NEED TO REMEMBER CHIEF BLACKMAN’S ADVICE AND NOT OVER COMPLICATE IT!

TANGO-188 IS A FEW LESS RECRUITS THIS WEEK. CHIEF BLACKMAN EXPLAINED THIS IS NOT ABOUT WEEDING PEOPLE OUT; IT IS ABOUT PROVIDING A PRODUCT TO THE FLEET. SEMPER PARATUS MEANS ALWAYS READY. RECRUITS THAT ARE NOT READY TO BEGIN SERVING CANNOT BE TURNED OVER TO THE FLEET. IT WOULD BE A DISSERVICE TO BOTH. WE WERE REMINDED AGAIN TO FOCUS ON THE DETAILS. IF WE CANNOT REMEMBER TO SQUARE KNOT OUR SHOES, HOW CAN WE BE TRUSTED TO SAVE LIVES? WE ARE WORKING ON REMEMBERING THE SMALL THINGS TO BE ABLE TO ACCOMPLISH THE BIG THINGS.

AFTER CHOW TODAY, WE BEGAN MARCHING IN A NEW DIRECTION. THE COMPANY WAS EAGERLY AWAITING THEIR ORDERS ALL DAY AND HOPED THIS MAY HAVE SOMETHING TO DO WITH IT. WE MARCHED OFF THE REGIMENT AND THROUGH THE STREETS OF CAPE MAY ALONG THE BAY. EXCITEMENT AND ANTICIPATION FILLED THE SPACES BETWEEN US. WE LISTENED TO THE SWOOSH OF OUR FINGERS ALONG OUR TROUSERS AND THE RIPPLES OF THE BAY HIT THE ROCKS AS WE MARCHED, WAITING FOR THE WORDS WE SO DESPERATELY WANTED TO HEAR! WE FINALLY CAME TO A SMALL MEMORIAL AND GATHERED AROUND IT. CHIEF BLACKMAN HAD THE ORDERS! HE TOLD HE RECRUIT, WHO HAD TO THEN REPEAT IT BACK. WE WERE SO EXCITED; THAT COMBINED WITH THE COMPLEXITY OF SEVERAL OF THE STATION AND SHIP NAMES MADE IT STRANGELY DIFFICULT TO REPEAT! WE HAD SEVERAL CHUCKLES AT THE ATTEMPTS. THE MAJORITY ARE PSYCHED ABOUT THEIR FUTURE JOURNEYS. CHIEF BLACKMAN REMINDED US THAT THIS IS NOT ABOUT US AND HOW WE FEEL ABOUT OUR ORDERS; THERE IS A BIGGER PICTURE. WE LOOKED CLOSER AT THE MEMORIAL. IT WAS FOR ALL OF THE LIVES LOST AT SEA. WE ARE HERE TO SERVE AND TO SAVE, WHERE EVER AND WHENEVER.

21 SEP 13
THIS SATURDAY WE ATTACKED THE CONFIDENCE COURSE FOR THE FIRST TIME. THE COMPANY HAS BEEN LOOKING FORWARD TO THE EXERCISE FOR WEEKS. THE COURSE INCLUDES OBSTACLES WE MUST JUMP OVER, CLIMB UP, SLIDE DOWN AND SWING OVER. OUR COMPANY COMMANDERS DEMONSTRATED EACH PART OF THE COURSE PRIOR. THEY SEEMED TO GLIDE EFFORTLESSLY OVER EACH OBSTACLE. THIS WAS NOT THE CASE FOR THE COMPANY. IT WAS VERY CHALLENGING. THE COMPANY WAS ABOUT TO CHEER EACH OTHER ON AND OFFER ENCOURAGEMENT TO FELLOW SHIPMATES AS THEY PROGRESSED THROUGH THE COURSE. WE HAD A BLAST! WE FINISHED THE COURSE WITH A ROPE CLIMB. IN ORDER TO MAKE IT TO THE TOP, YOU HAD TO WRAP THE ROPE AROUND YOUR LEG AND LOCK IT BETWEEN YOUR FEET. YOU WOULD THEN ADVANCE UPWARDS. THIS PROVED DIFFICULT FOR MANY. ALTHOUGH NOT EVERYONE WAS ABLE TO CLIMB UPWARDS IT WAS CLEAR THAT EVERYONE WAS GIVING IT 100%! THE COMPANY IS STRONGER EACH DAY AND MORE COMFORTABLE PUSHING THEMSELVES HARDER. CHIEF BLACKMAN SEEMED PLEASED WITH OUR EFFORTS. OUR MENTOR ARRIVED EARLY ENOUGH TO WATCH THE EXERCISE AND ALSO APPLAUDED OUR DETERMINATION AS WELL.

WE HAVE NOT SEEN OUR MENTOR IN SEVERAL WEEKS. AFTERWARDS WE SPOKE WITH HER ABOUT WHAT HAVE ACCOMPLISHED AND LEARNED SINCE OUR LAST VISIT. SHE WAS INTERESTED IN OUR FUTURE ORDERS AND SHED LIGHT ON MANY OF THE CUTTERS AND STATIONS OUR COMPANY WILL TRAVEL TO, SHORTLY. THE NEXT TIME WE SEE HER WILL BE AT GRADUATION. LATER IN THE DAY WE DID A NEW TYPE OF PHYSICAL TRAINING WITH PETTY OFFICER PEREZ. IT INCLUDED A PERIMETER RUN WITH PERIODIC STOPS FOR CALISTHENICS. RUNNING THE PERIMETER WE COULD SEE JUST HOW BEAUTIFUL CAPE MAY IS ALONG THE WATER. AS ALWAYS, THERE WAS A LESSON. MANY SHIPMATES WILL BE ON CUTTERS WHEN WE DEPART CAPE MAY. WE MAY NOT HAVE FANCY GYMS WITH TOP OF THE LINE EQUIPMENT. WE MUST REMAIN DILIGENT AND BE CREATIVE WITH OUR FITNESS. THE COAST GUARD TAKES ITS WEIGH STANDARDS AND FITNESS VERY SERIOUSLY. WE MUST BE (AND REMAIN) IN EXCELLENT SHAPE TO BE THE BEST AT OUR JOBS. WE DO NOT NEED A FANCY GYM WE JUST NEED THE MOTIVATION.

AT THE END OF THE DAY THE COMPANY WAS ABLE TO MAKE OUR FIRST 05 MINUTE PHONE CALLS HOME TO FRIENDS OR FAMILY. IN THIS TIME WE INFORMED THEM OF OUR NEWLY RECEIVED ORDERS AND DISCUSSED FUTURE TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS. 05 MINUTES FLIES BY! IT WAS WONDERFUL TO HEAR THE VOICES ON THE OTHER END. THERE WERE MANY SMILES AFTERWARDS. THE CALLS REJUVENATED THE COMPANY!

22 SEP 13
TODAY FELT LIKE A PRETTY LONG DAY FOR MANY. WE HAD OUR USUAL SUNDAY DIVINE HOURS, AN OFF BASE COMPANY RUN AND AN INFINITE AMOUNT OF MANUAL OF ARMS PRACTICE. WE ARE MUCH BETTER AS A WHOLE, BUT CONTINUE TO MAKE SMALL MISTAKES THROUGHOUT THE ROUTINE. OUR COMPANY COMMANDERS WANT A SCORE OF 10 OUT OF 10 ON TUESDAY. THE COMPANY LONGS TO BE DONE WITH THIS TEST!

WEEK 05 WAS A WEEK OF PROGRESSION. OUR “SAR” WAKE UPS HELPED US TO MAKE CONNECTIONS AND RELATE A SENSE OF URGENCY TO THE LIMITED AMOUNT OF TIME WE HAVE TO GET READY FOR A TRUE EMERGENCY. WE ARE MUCH FASTER THIS WEEK COMPARED TO ONLY ONE WEEK PRIOR. APPLYING PRIORITIZATION HAS ALSO HELPED US TO ACHIEVE TIME OBJECTIVES. IN RELATION TO TEAMWORK, THE COMPANY LEARNED SOME DIFFICULT LESSONS. THE COAST GUARD CORE VALUES ARE LIVED AND BREATHED BY EACH COAST GUARDSMAN; HONOR, RESPECT AND DEVOTION TO DUTY ARE INTEGRAL. WE HAVE LEARNED TO SUPPORT AND HELP EACH OTHER IN PRIOR WEEKS, HOWEVER THIS WEEK WE LEARNED TO HOLD EACH OTHER ACCOUNTABLE FOR THOSE CORE VALVES. IF MEMBERS OF THE COMPANY WERE NOT ACTING IN LINE WITH THE CORE VALUES, WE UTILIZED THE CHAIN OF COMMAND TO REPORT THE DISCREPANCY. THIS WAS NOT EASY. THE COMPANY DOES NOT FEEL COMFORTABLE DOING THIS, BUT UNDERSTANDS IT IS WHAT IS BEST FOR THE FLEET. WE HAVE LEARNED TO NOT ONLY TAKE OWNERSHIP OF OUR OWN BEHAVIOR, BUT DEMAND THE BEST OF OUR SHIPMATES AS WELL. WE MUST BE UNWAVERING IN SUPPORT OF THE CORE VALUES.

23 SEP 13
TODAY STARTED WEEK 06. TIME FEELS AS IF IT IS FLYING BY! MOST OF OUR DAYS ARE PACKED THIS WEEK SO IT WILL CONTINUE TO PASS QUICKLY. WE HAVE AN INTERESTING WAY OF KEEPING TIME HERE AT BASIC TRAINING. THE SAYING IS “CHOW, CHOW, CHOW, CHEWY BAR.” WE JUDGE HOW LONG WE HAVE LEFT IN THE DAY BY HOW MANY MEALS REMAIN. OUR INFAMOUS CHEWY BARS COMPLETE THE DAY!

WE STARTED THE FIREFIGHTING PORTION OF BASIC TRAINING IN CLASS TODAY. I THINK MOST OF US PICTURED RAGING FIRES, HOSE LINE AND AN ACTION PACKED MORNING. TODAY HOWEVER, WE LEARNED ABOUT THE CHEMISTRY OF FIRE, DIFFERENT TYPES OF FIRE AND DIFFERENT METHODS OF EXTINGUISHMENT. IT WAS PRETTY DRY; OUR INSTRUCTOR SYMPATHIZED WITH US! TOMORROW SHOULD BRING SOME PHYSICAL CHALLENGES AS WE WILL BE DONNING THE FIRE PROTECTIVE GEAR AND PUTTING WHAT WE LEARNED INTO PRACTICE.

WE FOUND OURSELVES OUT BESIDE THE PARADE FIELD FLAKING AND PAYING OUT LINES AGAIN THIS AFTERNOON. WE ARE GETTING QUICKER BUT NOT QUITE MAKING THE TIME DEADLINES SET. WE HAVE MANY PEOPLE WHO ARE EAGER TO BE INVOLVED IN WHAT WOULD APPEAR TO BE THE “SHOWY” POSITIONS. THIS CAUSES US TO BUNCH UP WHEN WE NEED TO BE SPREADING OUT. PETTY OFFICER PEREZ REMINDED US THAT BEHIND THE SCENES SUPPORT POSITIONS ARE JUST AS IMPORTANT IN THE COAST GUARD.

LEADERS HAVE BEGUN TO EMERGE IN TANGO-188. OUR SQUAD LEADERS THEMSELVES HAVE CHANGED SEVERAL TIMES SINCE INDOCTRINATION WEEKEND. IT IS INTERESTING TO SEE THEIR DIFFERENT LEADERSHIP STYLES AND WHICH ARE MORE EFFECTIVE. THE SQUAD LEADERS LEARN HOW TO LEAD AND MOTIVATE A LITTLE BETTER EACH WEEK. SOME LESSONS ARE LEARNED THROUGH OBSERVATION AND OTHERS BY TRIAL AND ERROR. THE COMPANY IS STILL STRUGGLING ON THE CONCEPT OF WHEN TO LEAD AND WHEN TO FOLLOW. WE SOMETIMES HAVE TOO MANY DIRECTIONS COMING FROM TOO MANY LEADERS, CREATING CONFUSION. THIS HAPPENS FOR ACTIVITIES SUCH AS PAYING AND FAKING OUT LINES, AS MENTIONED EARLIER. PETTY OFFICER PEREZ’S ADVICE IS ALSO APPLICABLE HERE. PROGRESSION IS STEADY BUT NOT ALWAYS AS QUICK AS WE WOULD LIKE IT TO BE.

WE ENDED THE NIGHT WITH A CLASS ON DRESS UNIFORMS. WE THEN DRESSED IN OUR TROPICAL BLUES, WHICH ARE NOW TAILORED. THE COMPANY FOUND HUMOR IN THE “SHIRT STAYS” WHICH CONNECT THE BOTTOM HEM OF OUR DRESS SHIRTS TO OUR SOCKS UNDERNEATH OUR TROUSERS WITH ELASTICS. NONE OF US HAS WORN SHIRT STAYS BEFORE. THE COMBINATION OF THE TAILORING AND SHIRT STAYS MADE THE TROPICAL BLUE UNIFORMS LOOK SHARP! WE LOOKED PROFESSIONAL. IT REMINDED US HOW QUICKLY WEEK 08 WILL BE HERE!

24 SEP 13
TODAY WAS ONE HECK OF A DAY! NERVES FLARED TODAY AS WE PREPARED FOR OUR MANUAL OF ARMS TEST. PETTY OFFICER SMITH WOULD BE CALLING THE COMMANDS AS CHIEF FREDRICKSON LOOKED ON AND JUDGED OUR PERFORMANCE. HAVING PETTY OFFICER SMITH CALL THE COMMANDS WOULD HELP US TO RELAX SLIGHTLY, AS IT IS A FAMILIAR VOICE. WE KNOW BOTH HIS SPEED AND STYLE AND HAVE PRACTICED THE MOVEMENTS WITH HIM FOR WEEKS. ANY “HOME FIELD” ADVANTAGE SUCH AS THIS WOULD BE BENEFICIAL. WE MARCHED OUT TO THE PAVILION A LITTLE AFTER LUNCH. WHEN CHIEF FREDRICKSON ARRIVED HE INFORMED US THAT WE BETTER IMPRESS HIM THIS TIME (HE DID OUR UNIFORM INSPECTION EARLIER IN TRAINING). AND SO WE BEGAN. WHEN THE MOVEMENTS WERE COMPLETED HE BEGAN TO ASK INDIVIDUALS REQUIRED KNOWLEDGE QUESTIONS. UPON HEARING A WRONG ANSWER, HE THREW THE CLIPBOARD DOWN IN DISGUST AND PROCEEDED TO WALK AWAY. WE HAD FAILED. WERE OUR MOVEMENTS THAT POORLY EXECUTED? WAS THAT LAST QUESTION WHAT DID US IN? WE HAD ONLY A SECOND TO STAND THERE IN SHOCK BEFORE WE WERE DOING INCENTIVE TRAINING WITH OUR PIECE (SHOULDER PRESSES, CHEST PRESSES, PUSH-UPS, ETC.) EMOTIONS RAN HIGH. OUR COMPANY COMMANDERS APPEARED FURIOUS WITH US. TEARS STREAKED THE FACES OF MANY. THIS IS THE FIRST TIME MANY OF OUR YOUNGER COMPANY MEMBERS HAVE WORKED EXTREMELY HARD FOR SOMETHING AND FAILED; IT WAS NOT A COMFORTABLE FEELING. I WONDERED WHO THE STRONGER MAN IS: THE MAN WHO HAS ALWAYS WON OR THE MAN WHO HAS FAILED BUT RESTRUCTURED, COME BACK HARDER AND STRONGER AND ACHIEVED THE GOAL. I BELIEVE IT IS THE LATTER. WE WOULD HAVE ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY TO PASS THE TEST ON SATURDAY AFTER MORE PRACTICE. WE KNEW OUR DAYS WOULD NOT BE EASY UNTIL THEN HOWEVER! WE DID INCENTIVE TRAINING A FEW MORE TIMES THROUGHOUT THE AFTERNOON. WE LOST SOME OF OUR PRIVILEGES; WE HAD TO SQUARE OUR MEALS IN THE GALLEY, WALK WITH OUR HEADS DOWN IN FORMATION, ETC. AS WE MARCHED, NO CADENCES WERE TO BE CALLED. PEOPLE FELL OUT OF STEP AND COLLIDED ON TURNS. IT FELT LIKE OUR TEAM, OUR UNIT AS ONE, WAS FALTERING. MORALE WAS LOW, FOR WE WERE DISAPPOINT IN OURSELVES.

LATER IN THE EVENING, WE GATHERED SINGLE FILE ON THE SIDE OF A LINE LAID OUT BESIDE THE PARADE FIELD. WE USUALLY START WITH THE LINE ON OUR RIGHT SHOULDER, PRESS IT STRAIGHT UP AND THEN ON TO OUR LEFT SHOULDER, REPEATING THE PROCESS, WHILE SHOUTING THE CADENCE, “HONOR! RESPECT! DEVOTION TO DUTY!” TODAY, WHILE SIMULTANEOUSLY WALKING THROUGH THE REGIMENT (NOT EASY!) WE HAD TO YELL INSTEAD, “NO HONOR! NO RESPECT! NO DEVOTION!” IT WAS CRUSHING. WE WANTED SO BADLY TO SUCCEED, NOT JUST FOR US, BUT FOR THE COAST GUARD AS A WHOLE. WE WANTED THE COAST GUARD TO ACKNOWLEDGE AND KNOW THAT TANTGO-188 WOULD CONTRIBUTE TO THE SUCCESS OF THE ORGANIZATION. CLEARLY, WE WERE NOT THERE YET. WE FOLLOWED ROADS CONTINUING THE CADENCE AND EXERCISE FOR WHAT SEEMED LIKE FOREVER. FINALLY, WE ENDED UP ON THE BEACH. WE FAKED LINES AND PAID THEM OUT AGAIN, ALL THE WHILE BEING TOLD TO MOVE FASTER, FASTER, FASTER AND GET LOUDER, LOUDER AND LOUDER. RUNNING THROUGH THE SAND IN BOONDOCKERS IS LIKE SWIMMING THROUGH A POOL OF MOLASSES; YOU ARE GIVING 100% BUT ONLY MOVING AT A SNAIL’S PACE! WE THEN LINED UP ALONG THE COAST FOR SIT-UPS, PUSH-UPS, PLANKS AND FLUTTER KICKS IN THE SAND. THE SKIERS WERE NOW DARK AND THE WAVES CRASHED IN FRONT OF US. CHIEF BLACKMAN TOLD US THIS IS WHERE PEOPLE HAVE LOST THEIR LIVES: IN THESE WAVES AND IN THIS SEA! IF WE ARE GOING TO BE COASTGUARDSMAN, WE CANNOT GIVE UP! WE NEED TO PUSH HARDER! HE WELCOMED US TO OUR NEW “OFFICE” AND SAID WE MUST NEVER GIVE UP IN RESPECT FOR THE SOULS WHO HAVE PERISHED IN THE SEA AND FOR THE LIVES THAT WILL BE CHALLENGED BY THE SEA IN THE FUTURE. HE THEN LET US IN ON A LITTLE SECRET. WE HAD ACTUALLY PASSED OUR MANUAL OF ARMS TEST EARLIER. THE WHOLE DAY IN FACT, HAD BEEN A TEST! WHAT A SURPRISE. HE TOLD US TO TURN AROUND. UP ON TOP OF THE BEACH, ILLUMINATED BY THE NIGHT SKY AND LIGHTS FROM BENEATH, WERE OUR COMPANY COLORS. WE HAD EARNED OUR COLORS! WHAT A MOMENTOUS OCCASION! WE ROARED! WE SPRINTED TO ACHIEVE THE GUIDE ON WITH OUR COLORS AND CELEBRATED TOGETHER. THIS WAS AN AMAZING END TO A VERY CHALLENGING DAY. MANY LESSONS WERE LEARNED TODAY, AN IMPORTANT ONE BEING TO NEVER LET THE POSSIBILITY OF DEFEAT STAND IN OUR WAY; WE MUST PRESS ON, WITH HONOR, RESPECT AND DEVOTION TO DUTY.

25 SEP 13
TODAY WAS A MUCH LESS STRESSFUL DAY! WE HAD OUR LAST FIREFIGHTING CLASS OF THE WEEK IN THE MORNING. WE PRACTICED AN EVOLUTION FROM START TO FINISH. THIS INCLUDED RECEIVING THE ALARM IN THE CLASSROOM, GETTING QUICKLY TO THE FIRE PROTECTIVE GEAR ROOM, DONNING THE FIRE PROTECTIVE GEAR AND A SELF-CONTAINED BREATHING APPARATUS, GONG TO THE EMERGENCY LOCATION AND FINALLY OPERATING THE HAND LINES TO EXTINGUISH THE FIRE. ALTHOUGH THE FLAMES IN THE SHIP PROP WERE SIMULATED, THE COMPANY STILL EXPERIENCED THE EXHAUSTIVE NATURE OF ADVANCING CHARGED HOSE LINES. WE ALL ROTATED THROUGH MULTIPLE POSITIONS, SUCH AS NOZZLE MAN, BACK-UP MAN AND PLUG MAN. THE COMPANY AGREED THE HARDEST PART WAS DUCK WALKING WITH THE HOSE LINES! MAINTAINING A SQUATTING POSITION FOR JUST A FEW MINUTES CAUSED OUR LEGS TO TIRE QUICKLY! YOU MUST MAINTAIN SUCH A LOW STANCE FOR TWO REASONS: SMOKE RISES AND ALSO, THE DECK ON A STEEL SHIP WILL HEAT UP, SO OUR KNEES CANNOT TOUCH THE DECK. OVERALL, THE COMPANY REALLY ENJOYED THE PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE.

WE HAD A CALISTHENICS INTERVAL WORK OUT IN THE GYM LATER IN THE DAY. TODAY, WE ADDED SPRINTS ON THE TRACK AFTERWARDS. THE INSTRUCTOR ADDED EXERCISES WHICH WE HAD TO DO BEFORE RACING IN OUR LANES, SUCH AS COMPLETE 05 PUSH-UPS BEFORE TAKING OFF. WE ENJOYED THE FUN COMPETITIVE SPIRIT. IT ALSO GAVE DIFFERENT RECRUITS AN AREA TO SHINE IN; SEAMAN RECRUITS OSMON AND NINK ARE SPEED DEMONS WHEN IT COMES TO SPRINTS! FOR MOST OF US THOUGH, OUR BODIES FELT PHYSICALLY TIRED FROM YESTERDAY! WE PUSHED THROUGH AND GAVE OUR BEST, NONE THE LESS.

WE HAD MULTIPLE HOURS TODAY FOR UNIFORM MAINTENANCE, RACK ORGANIZATION, SQUAD BAY CLEANING AND STUDYING. IT FELT GOOD TO CATCH UP AND GET ORGANIZED. RECRUITS ALSO BEGAN CALLING THEIR UNITS TODAY TO INTRODUCE THEMSELVES AND ASK QUESTIONS ABOUT THE UNIT OR CUTTER, QUALIFICATIONS, RELOCATION, ETC. RECRUITS WERE GIVEN A CHANCE TO CALL HOME TO START ARRANGING TRAVEL PLANS AS WELL. IT SEEMS SYMBOLIC; THIS CHAPTER IN OUR LIVES DOES HAVE A FINISH LINE AND IT IS QUICKLY APPROACHING. AS RECRUITS GET MORE TIME TO RESEARCH INFORMATION ABOUT THEIR NEW ORDERS, EXCITEMENT BUILDS. WE MUST KEEP OUR FOCUS FOR THE REMAINING FEW WEEKS!

26 SEP 13
THE UPSIDE OF WAKING UP AT 0525 EVERY MORNING IS THE OPPORTUNITY TO WITNESS CAPE MAY’S SPECTACULAR SUN RISES. AS WE LEAVE THE GALLEY AND HEAD TO CLASS, THOSE SUN RISES REMIND US TO BE GRATEFUL FOR THE SIMPLE THINGS IN LIFE. WE HAVE ALSO HAD WONDER WEATHER FOR THE DURATION OF OUR TRAINING. AS THE WEATHER BEGINS TO CHANGE, THE MORNINGS GET A LITTLE COOLER EACH DAY. THOSE FROM SOUTHERN AREAS SUCH AS FLORIDA, GEORGIA, TEXAS AND PUERTO RICO ARE EXPERIENCING A NORTHEAST AUTUMN FOR THE FIRST TIME. THEY ARE FREEZING ALREADY! THOSE FROM THE NORTHERN STATES SAY THIS ISN’T ANYTHING YET, GET READY!

THIS MORNING TANGO-188 GOT THEIR MILITARY IDENTIFICATION CARDS. THE PICTURES ARE LESS THAN FLATTERING! NO SMILES ALLOWED: ALL BUSINESS. IT IS ANOTHER STEP CLOSER FOR THE COMPANY. HAVING THE IDENTIFICATION CARD MAKES OUR STATUS AS FUTURE MEMBERS OF THE MILITARY MORE TANGIBLE. OUR CLASSES THEREAFTER FOCUSED ON PREPARING FOR OUR CAREERS AND TRAVELING TO OUR NEW PERMANENT DUTY STATIONS. AS PLANS COME TOGETHER AND GET SET IN PLACE, THE STRESS OF MOVING IS DECREASING SLIGHTLY. THE MORNING STRESS OF PLANNING WAS RELIEVED IN THE AFTERNOON WITH ANOTHER ROUND OF PUGIL STICKS, WHICH THE COMPANY LOVES.

IN THE EVENING WE SET UP FOR TOMORROW’S GRADUATION ONCE AGAIN. AS TOMORROW’S GRADUATION IS FOR SIERRA-188, IT WILL BE THE LAST ONE BEFORE TANGO-188. AS OF TOMORROW AFTERNOON, WE WILL BE THE SENIOR COMPANY ON THE REGIMENT FOR THE NEXT 02 WEEKS. A LOT OF RESPONSIBILITY COMES WITH THIS POSITION. WE MUST BE MODEL RECRUITS FOR THE JUNIOR COMPANIES BEHIND US, AT ALL TIMES. TANGO-188 IS EAGER TO ACCEPT THE RESPONSIBILITY AND LEAD BY EXAMPLE.

27 SEP 13
TODAY FELT A LITTLE BIT LIKE ORGANIZED CHAOS. WE HAD MANY ROLES TO FILL THROUGHOUT THE MORNING, SUCH AS COLORS, CEREMONIAL AND DRILL TEAM, GRADUATION SUPPORT AND SOFTBALL TOURNAMENT CLEAN UP. WE ALSO GOT OUR FLU SHOTS AND MANY HAD DENTAL APPOINTMENTS. THE MORNING WAS A STEADY FLOW OF RECRUITS COMING AND GOING. THE GRADUATION SUPPORT WAS A LITTLE LESS STRESSFUL THIS WEEK AS OPPOSED TO LAST WEEK. SOME MISTAKES WERE MADE AS FAR AS GREETINGS AND SALUTING, BUT AS A WHOLE THE COMPANY IS IMPROVING AND FEELING MORE CONFIDENT WITH OUR EXPECTATIONS THE MORE WE PRACTICE THEM.
COMMANDER SMITH, THE TRAINING OFFICER AT CAPE MAY, TAUGHT A CLASS ON SEXUAL ASSAULT IN THE EARLY AFTERNOON. THE COAST GUARD EXPECTS EACH MEMBER TO RESPECT ONE ANOTHER AND THIS WAS ONE OF THE MANY CLASSES CENTERED ON THE IDEA OF RESPECT. WE WATCHED A FILM REGARDING SEXUAL ASSAULT DIRECTED BY THE NAVY. I THINK MOST AGREED IT WAS THE BEST COMPOSED FILM ON THE TOPIC WE’VE SEEN BEFORE, KEEPING OUR ATTENTION THE ENTIRE TIME! IT WAS VERY TRUE TO LIFE. THE FILM ILLUSTRATED THE CRITICAL ROLE THAT BYSTANDERS PLAY IN SEXUAL ASSAULT AND HOW THEY CAN AFFECT THE OUTCOME BY SPEAKING UP. I THINK EVERYONE WALKED AWAY WITH SOMETHING FROM COMMANDER SMITH’S CLASS.

AFTER CLASS WE RAN THE “MUNRO MILE”. THE COMPANY RACE IS IN CELEBRATION OF DOUGLAS MUNRO’S BIRTHDAY. DOUGLAS MUNRO IS HONORED AS THE ONLY COAST GUARD MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENT. WE WERE TO RUN AS FAST AS WE COULD ON A COURSE MARKED OUT THROUGH THE REGIMENT. THE TOP 04 MALE AND 04 FEMALE TIMES WILL BE AVERAGED OUT AND HOPEFULLY HELP US TOWARDS ACHIEVING THE BATTALION COMMANDER PENNANT. WE HAD SOME FAST TIMES! MASTER CHIEF BERRY MENTIONED SEAMAN RECRUITS NINK AND URNAITIS’ TIMES MAY EVEN BE COURSE RECORDS! WE WILL FIND OUT SOON.

LASTLY, TODAY TANGO-188 BECAME THE SENIOR COMPANY ON THE REGIMENT! SELECTED RECRUITS HAD TO DEMONSTRATE AND INSTRUCT CERTAIN TASKS, SUCH AS HOW TO DO CALISTHENICS FOR INCENTIVE TRAINING AND HOW TO ORGANIZE RACKS TO THE NEWLY FORMED YANKEE-188 AND X-RAY-188 COMPANIES. IT WAS INTERESTING TO WATCH THEM. THEY WERE MAKING THE SAME MISTAKES WE MADE. THEY LOOKED AT US IN THE SAME AWED EXPRESSION WE HAD LOOKED AT THOSE WHO DEMONSTRATED TO US. IT REMINDED US THAT EVERYTHING WE’RE GOING THROUGH IS JUST PART OF THE PROCESS AND SHED LIGHT AS TO HOW FAR WE’VE COME IN JUST A FEW SHORT WEEKS. AT CHOIR PRACTICE, AS THE SENIOR COMPANY, WE WERE AWARDED THE OPPORTUNITY TO STAND IN THE FRONT AND FACE THE JUNIOR COMPANIES. THEY LOOKED AT US IN ADMIRATION. THEY SEEMED TO WATCH AND IMITATE OUR ACTIONS. IT SHOWED US JUST HOW IMPORTANT IT IS FOR US TO LEAD BY EXAMPLE AS WELL AS HOW BIG OF A RESPONSIBILITY WE HAVE ACQUIRED TODAY.

28 SEP 13
TODAY WAS AN EXCELLENT DAY FOR TANGO-188. THE MAIN EVENTS OF THE DAY WERE OPERATIONAL TOURS AND ON-BASE LIBERTY. OPERATIONAL TOURS WERE REALLY INTERESTING! WE TOURED BOATS AND CUTTERS ASSIGNED TO CAPE MAY AND WERE GIVEN A CHANCE TO SPEAK WITH MEMBERS OF THE CREW ON EACH. THE TOUR BEGAN AT A 45 FOOT RESPONSE BOAT. THIS HIGH TECH BOAT IS SELF-RIGHTING, MAKING IT A GREAT ADDITION TO THE FLEET. THE CREW SPOKE ABOUT THEIR AVERAGE DAY AT WORK, BOARDINGS, HOUSING, THEIR HISTORY WITH THE COAST GUARD AND WHAT THEY ENJOY MOST ABOUT THEIR CARREERS. WE THEN TOURED A PATROL BOAT. PATROL BOATS STAY OUT FOR SEVERAL DAYS DEPENDING ON THE MISSION. THEY HAVE A GALLEY WITH A FOO DSERVICE SPECIALSIT WHO PREPARES 03 MEALS A DAY. THE CREW LIVES ON BOARD DURING MISSIONS IN A VERY COMPACT BIRTHING AREA. THE IMPORTANCE OF RESPECTING OUR CREWS AND EVERYONE’S BELONGINGS IN SUCH TIGHT SPACE WAS STRESSED TO US ALL. LASTLY, WE TOURED A MEDIUM ENDURANCE CUTTER. THE CREW DESCRIBED THE PROCESS OF SECURING A HELICOPER TO THE DECK, THEIR ASSIGNMENTS ON WATCH AND WHAT QUALIFICATIONS THEY NEEDED TO COMPLETE WHEN THEY FIRST REPORTED TO THEIR UNITS. IT WAS GREAT TO PHYSICALLY BE ON THE BOATS AND THE MEDIUM ENDURANCE CUTTER; YOU COULD FEEL THE EXCITEMENT BUILDING AS WE PROGRESSED THROUGH THE TOUR. IT WILL NOT BE LONG BEFORE WE REPORT TO OUR OWN UNITS! THERE WAS ONE THING IN PARTICULAR THAT EACH CREW MEMBER SPOKE ABOUT: QUALIFICATIONS. THEY SAID TO GET QUALIFIED AS QUICKLY AS WE CAN. WE MUST WORK AS HARD AS WE CAN WHEN WE REPORT TO OUR UNITS. IT WILL NOT BE OUR PLACE TO REXAX. WE SHOULD BE LEARNING AND STUDYING ALL OF THE TIME. THIS WILL SHOW THE CREW WE ARE DEDICATED AND ALSO RELIEVE SOME OF THE WORK LOAD ONCE WE CAN CONTRIBUTE TO THE TEAM AS A FULLY QUALIFIED MEMBER. CHIEF BLACKMAN REITERATED THIS POINT BEFORE WE LEFT. WE MUST GIVE 100% AT ALL TIMES; IT DOES NOT END WITH THE COMPLETION OF BOOT CAMP.

AFTER THE TOURS CAME ON-BASE LIBERTY! OUR CELL PHONES WERE RETURNED TO US AROUND 1500 THIS AFTERNOON. AFTER A BRIEFING ON THE RULES AND REGLATIONS, WE WERE RELEASED! WE HAD QUITE A FEW OPTIONS: WE COULD GO TO THE EXCHANGE (CONVIENCE/COMMISARY TYPE STORE FOR FOOD, TOILETRIES, ETC), THE GYMNASIUM, POOL, SOFTBALL TOURNAMENT OR THE HARBOR VIEW. THE MAJORITY OF US STOPPED AT THE EXCHANGE FOR NECESSITIES, FIRST. ONCE OUT OF THE EXCHANGE WE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO BEGIN MAKING PHONE CALLS HOME. IT WAS WONDERFUL TO SPEAK WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY IN A RELAXED ATMOSTPHERE. WE DID HAVE TO MAINTAIN PROFESSIONALISM AT ALL TIMES AND A MILILTARY BEARING WHILE MARCHING THROUGH THE REGIMENT. AFTER THE EXCHANGE, WE PROCEEDED TO THE HARBOR VIEW FOR DINNER. WE SAT OURSIDE ON THE PATIO OVERLOOKING THE BAY, WHICH WAS GEORGEOUS. WE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO TALK AND LAUGH WHILE WE ATE AND REALLY GET TO KNOW EACH OTHER. THE COMPANY DISCOVERED TANGO-188 HAS MANY FOLLOWS ON SOCIAL MEDIA WHO HAVE BANDED TOGETHER IN SUPPORT. WE ARE VERY LUCKY TO HAVE SUCH ENTHUSIASM BEHIND US. HAVING A FEW HOURS OF ON-BASE LIBERTY TIME REJUVINATED THE COMPANY. OUR SPIRITS ARE HIGH AND WE ARE READY TO TACKLE THE COMING WEEK’S CHALLENGES.

29 SEP 13
SUNDAYS TEND TO FEEL LIKE LONG DAYS COMPARED TO THE REST OF THE WEEK. OUR SCHEDULES SEEM TO PASS MUCH QUICKER DURING THE WEEK SINCE OUR SCHEDULES ARE PACKED. WE HAD OUR USUAL DIVINE HOURS, A LONGER OFF BASE RUN AND PRACTICED FOR OUR CLOSE ORDER DRILL TEST ON TUESDAY. THE RUN WAS THE LONGEST SO FAR IN BOOT CAMP. A FEW SHIPMATES EXPRESSED CONCERN AS TO WHETHER THEY COULD RUN THE ENTIRE COURSE PRIOR TO LEAVING THE BASE. CHIEF BLACKMAN ADDRESSED THE COMPANY REGARDING THE CONCERN. HE TOLD US THAT FEAR CONSUMES PEOPLE. BASICALLY, IF WE LET FEAR TAKE OVER, WE ARE SETTING OURSELVES UP FOR FAILURE BEFORE WE EVEN START. WE MERGED WITH UNIFORM-188 FOR THE RUN WHICH WAS NEAT. THERE WERE QUITE A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS ALONG THE ROUTE, WHICH MOTIVATED THE RECRUIT COMPANIES.

IN THE EVENING, WE WERE GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE A DISASTER OF OUR SQUAD BAYS! WE HAD TO REMOVE ALL OF OUR PERSONAL BELONGINGS PRIOR TO TOSSING SOAP, PAPER TOWELS AND TOILET PAPER ABOUT THE SLEEPING QUARTERS AND HEADS. THIS WAS A PRACTICE ROUND. NEXT WEEK WE WILL BE EVALUATED ON OUR ABILITY TO WORK AS A TEAM AND GET THE SQUAD BAY INSPECTION READY. WE RACED AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE WITH THE DIVISION OF DUTIES TO SWEEP UP THE TRASHED FLOORS, SWAB ALL OF THE DECKS, CLEAN THE DISHEVELED HEADS, ORGANIZE ALL RACKS AND BRING IT BACK TO THE STATE IT WAS PRIOR. OUR GOAL WAS 45 MINUTES. WE ENDED IN 52 MINUTES WHICH PETTY OFFICER PEREZ SAID WAS DECENT! I THOUGHT WE WORKED REALLY WELL TOGETHER ON THIS PROJECT.

THIS WEEK TANGO-188 LEARNED THE IMPORTANCE OF GIVING OUR BEST, REGARDLESS OF WHAT WE THINK THE OUTCOME MAY BE. WE LEARNED TO NEVER GIVE UP OR GIVE IN. EARNING OUR COLORS WAS A BIG DAY WITH MANY LESSONS. RECRUITS ARE ALSO EXPERIENCING CONSEQUENCES FOR POOR DECISIONS AND BEHAVIOR. STEEPER CONSEQUENCES ACCOMPANY CERTAIN ACTIONS, SUCH AS LOSING ONE’S INTEGRITY. NOT EVERYONE HAS EXPERIENCED PROGRESSIVE DISCIPLINE LIKE THIS BEFORE. BECAUSE OF THIS, NOT EVERYONE IN THE COMPANY WAS ABLE TO PARTICIPATE IN ON-BASE LIBERTY; THOSE WHO DID EARNED IT. ON-BASE LIBERTY TAUGHT US THAT PRIVILEGES MUST BE EARNED, THEY ARE NOT GIVEN FREELY. AS WEEK 06 COMES TO A CLOSE, WE ARE STRONGER AND MORE FOCUSED THAN THE WEEK PRIOR. WE ARE WORKING BETTER TOGETHER EACH DAY. WE ARE EAGER FOR WEEK 07’S CHALLENGES AND LESSONS!

30 SEP 13
TODAY WAS A VERY BUSY DAY. UPON WAKE UP, WE IMMEDIATELY HEADED TO THE GYM. WE PRACTICED THE PUSH-UPS AND SIT-UPS IN THE TIME FRAMES WE WILL HAVE FOR OUR BATTALION COMMANDER PENNANT TEST WITH MASTER CHIEF BERRY NEXT WEEK. IT IS VERY HARD TO JUMP INTO A WORK OUT LIKE THIS DIRECTLY FROM YOUR BED! THE COMPANY IS IMPROVING BUT WILL NEED TO IMPROVE EVEN MORE BEFORE THE TEST.

MOST OF OUR DAY WAS SPENT IN CLASS FOR FIRST AID AND CPR. WE LEARNED THE BASICS OF HOW TO RESPOND TO SHOCK, BLEEDING, FRACTURES, BURNS, HYPOTHERMIA, HYPERTHERMIA, DIFFICULTY BREATHING AND HEART ATTACKS. THE COMPANY ENJOYED SPLINTING AND BANDAGING EACH OTHER FOR PRACTICE. WE ALSO PRACTICED CPR ON MANNEQUINS FOR ADULTS AND INFANTS. THE ACT OF GIVING CPR IS ACTUALLY QUITE EXHAUSTING! MOST DID NOT REALIZE HOW MUCH EFFORT IT TAKES UNTIL TODAY. IT IS A GOOD SKILL TO KNOW AND CAN BE USED ANYWHERE, AT WORK OR AT HOME. THIS GAVE THOSE WITH CHILDREN AT HOME PIECE OF MIND FOR WHEN THEY RETURN, AS THEY ARE BETTER ABLE TO HELP THEIR FAMILIES IN AN EMERGENCY.

LUNCH TIME AT THE GALLEY SHOOK THE COMPANY UP A BIT TODAY. AFTER ON-BASE LIBERTY, WE DID NOT RETURN OUR CELL PHONES. THEY ARE TO REMAIN WITH OUR PERSONAL BELONGINGS IN OUR RACKS FOR THE REMAINDER OF BOOT CAMP. IT IS A TEST. WE ARE NOT TO USE THEM. THERE WAS A POST MADE ON A SOCIAL NETWORKING SITE WHICH INDICATED ONE OF THE RECRUITS MAY HAVE BROKEN THIS RULE. EVERYONE WHO STOOD WATCH DURING THE SUSPECTED HOURS OF THE NIGHT WAS CALLED TO THE FRONT OF THE GALLEY TODAY IN FRONT OF THEIR PEERS AND QUESTIONED AS TO WHAT THEY SAW. NO ONE SAW ANYONE MAKE THE OFFENSE. THEY THEN CALLED THE RECRUIT WHO THEY BELIEVED TO BE THE OFFENDER. THE RECRUIT LOOKED BEWILDERED. SHE POURED HER HEART OUT; WE KNEW BY HER CHARACTER SHE DID NOT COMMIT THE OFFENSE, WHICH IS AN AUTOMATIC 02 WEEK REVERSION. SHE WAS TOLD TO SIT DOWN. WE HELD OUR BREATHS, NOT WANTING TO MOVE A MUSCLE TILL THE END OF CHOW. YOU COULD CUT THE ANXIETY WITH A BUTTER KNIFE IN THAT GALLEY! WE FORMED UP OUTSIDE AND WAITED. WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN TO OUR SHIPMATE? PETTY OFFICER LACHARITE WALKED OUTSIDE SLOWLY. HE THEN TOLD US THEY KNEW OUR SHIPMATE WAS TELLING THE TRUTH FROM THE MOMENT SHE OPENED HER MOUTH. IT HAD ALL BEEN A MIX UP; HER SPOUSE HAD USED HER SOCIAL NETWORKING ACCOUNT UNDER HER NAME AT HOME. WHAT PETTY OFFICER LACHARITE SAID SECURED OUR CONFIDENCE IN THE SYSTEM. IT SOLIDIFIED OUR FAITH IN INTEGRITY, A CORE VALUE OF THE COAST GUARD. HONESTY DOES NOT HIDE, IT SHINES THROUGH. WE SIGHED IN RELIEF. PETTY OFFICER LACHARITE COULD SEE OUR CONCERN. HE LIGHTENED THE MOOD WITH AN UPBEAT CADENCE ON THE WAY BACK TO THE SQUAD BAYS. EACH VERSE ENDED WITH, “THE U.S. COAST GUARD IS THE BEST.” YES, WE AGREE.

01 OCT 13
WE BEGAN OUR DAY WITH “FIRE! FIRE! FIRE!” IT ACTUALLY FELT KIND OF REFRESHING! WE WERE WIDE AWAKE WHEN WE GOT DRESSED THIS MORNING INSTEAD OF FUMBLING AROUND IN A SLEEPY SLUMBER. WE SPENT THE DURATION OF THE MORNING AT SEAMANSHIP CLASS. TODAY’S CLASS WAS ABOUT HEAVING LINES AND MOORING AND UNMOORING EVOLUTIONS. THE TRAINING CENTER HAS A SHIP PROP WHICH WE PRACTICED ON TO LEARN THE PROPER WAY TO TIE KNOTS, FOLD UP THE LINE AND HEAVE IT TO THE PIER. THE COMPANY ENJOYED THE EXERCISE. WE DISCOVERED MANY OF US DO NOT HAVE MUCH NATURAL ATHLETIC ABILITY WHEN IT COMES TO AIMING AND THROWING! YET AGAIN THOUGH, THE MORE TIMES WE PRACTICED, THE BETTER WE GOT.

AFTER LUNCH WE HAD OUR CLOSE ORDER DRILL TEST WITH CHIEF FREDERICKSON. UNLIKE LAST TIME, NO CLIP BOARDS WERE THROWN! WE SCORED 09 OUT OF 10. WE WERE GIGGED ON ALIGNING MOVEMENTS DUE TO INITIATING MOVEMENT TOO EARLY. I THINK THIS WAS DUE TO NERVES IN THE BEGINNING OF THE TEST. CHIEF FREDERICKSON SAID OUR MARCHING LOOKED VERY GOOD THOUGH, WHICH WAS A NICE COMPLIMENT. AFTER OUR CLOSE ORDER DRILL TEST WE PREPARED FOR OUR TROPICAL BLUE UNIFORM INSPECTION WITH LIEUTENANT STIEFEL. EXCEPT FOR SOME OUTSTANDING COLLAR THREADS AND SOME OTHER FIXABLE DISCREPANCIES, SHE APPEARED PLEASED. IT WAS A SUCCESSFUL INSPECTION. OUR UNIFORMS ARE READY FOR OFF-BASE LIBERTY! THE DETAILS WHICH ARE POINTED OUT ON OUR UNIFORMS AFTER EACH INSPECTION HELP US TO LOOK A LITTLE SHARPER FOR THE NEXT.

AT THE END OF THE NIGHT WE VOTED AS A COMPANY FOR TWO AWARDS THAT WILL BE GIVEN AT GRADUATION: BEST SHIPMATE AND MOST IMPROVED PHYSICAL FITNESS. IT WAS NICE TO NOMINATE AND HONOR THOSE SHIPMATES THAT TRULY HAVE PUT THEIR BEST FOOT FORWARD. THOSE THAT EARNED THE TITLE HAVE WORKED HARD, DAY IN AND DAY OUT, NOT ONLY FOR THEMSELVES, BUT FOR THE SUCCESS OF THE COMPANY. THEIR EFFORTS WILL BE RECOGNIZED ON GRADUATION MORNING, BUT I’M SURE THEIR LEADERSHIP AND MOTIVATION WILL CONTINUE TO SHINE OUT IN THE FIELD AS WELL.

02 OCT 13
OUR DAY BEGAN WITH A WORKOUT IN PREPARATION FOR THE BATTALION COMMANDER PENNANT. WE RAN 300 METER REPEATS AND DID PULL UPS AND DEAD HANGS ON THE BAR IN BETWEEN. WE WERE ALSO GIVEN A LIST OF THE EVENTS AND RELATIVE SCORING FOR EACH. THE EVENTS CONSIST OF A 100 METER SWIM, 60 MINUTE CYCLE, 02 MILE RUN, PUSH-UPS, PULL UPS/DEAD HANG AND SIT UPS. THE TEST WILL BE MONDAY MORNING. EACH RECRUIT WILL CONTRIBUTE POINTS FOR EACH EVENT. WE NEED EVERYONE TO PARTICIPATE AND GIVE 110% TO ACHIEVE THE MOST POINTS POSSIBLE. THE COMPANY IS EXCITED FOR THE CHALLENGE! ONLY HALF OF ALL COMPANIES RECEIVE THE BATTALION COMMANDER PENNANT. WE WILL FOLLOW UP THE PHYSICAL PORTION OF THE TEST WITH A VERBAL REQUIRED KNOWLEDGE TEST ON WEDNESDAY.

WE PRACTICED MOORING AND UNMOORING AGAIN IN SEAMANSHIP THIS MORNING. TODAY’S EXERCISES WERE PARTNER RELATED. THE COMPANY ENJOYS PRACTICAL EXERCISES. WE TOOK OUR SEAMANSHIP FINAL AS WELL. THE COMPANY AVERAGE WAS A 90%. THE GOAL WAS 92%, BUT THIS IS STILL A DECENT SCORE. WE DID NOT EARN A RIBBON FOR 90%. AFTER THE TEST WAS COMPLETED OUR INSTRUCTOR FIGURED THE FINAL AVERAGES IN CLASS. IT WAS A 03 WAY TIE AT 97.6! OUR INSTRUCTOR HAD THE 03 RECRUITS FACE OFF TO SEE WHO WAS QUICKEST AT TYING KNOTS. IT WAS FUN-SPIRITED. ONE OF OUR RECRUITS DID EXCELLENT! SHE WAS ABLE TO TIE HER KNOTS WITHOUT EVEN LOOKING AT THE LINE. THIS RECRUIT EARNED THE SEAMANSHIP AWARD WHICH WILL BE PRESENTED AT GRADUATION.

THE REST OF THE DAY WAS SPENT TYING UP LOOSE ENDS. RECRUITS CAME AND WENT AS THEY CONTACTED THEIR UNITS, FINALIZED TRAVEL PLANS, RESIZED UNIFORMS AND DID OTHER VARIOUS ADMINISTRATIVE TASKS. THE MOOD WAS LIGHT-HEARTED TODAY. CHIEF BLACKMAN IS PREPARING US NOW FOR LIFE IN THE FLEET. ALTHOUGH WE MUST MAINTAIN A MILITARY BEARING, WE ARE ALLOWED TO SMILE OR MAKE EYE CONTACT AT APPROPRIATE TIMES. THIS FEELS AWKWARD AT THE MOMENT. IT IS GOOD WE ARE PREPARING NOW SO WE CAN BE COMFORTABLE WITH IT IN THE FIELD WHEN WE ARRIVE TO OUR NEW UNITS. IT WOULD PROBABLY WE OFF-PUTTING IF WE APPROACHED OUR NEW CHAIN OF COMMAND WITH AN EMOTIONLESS, ENDLESS STARE AND SCREAMING AT THE TOP OF OUR LUNGS!

03 OCT 13
THIS MORNING STARTED OFF WITH A BANG! RECRUITS IN THE COMPANY WHO WANTED TO COMPETE FOR THE PHYSICAL FITNESS AWARD ASSEMBLED IMMEDIATELY AFTER MORNING MUSTER. THE STRUCTURE WAS AN ELIMINATION TYPE CHALLENGE. AFTER SEVERAL ROUNDS WE WERE DOWN TO A SMALL GROUP. SLOWLY, THE GROUP DWINDLED, UNTIL 02 DETERMINED RECRUITS WERE LEFT. NEITHER WOULD GIVE UP! ARMS WERE SHAKY AND THE SWEAT POURED FROM THEIR FACES, HOWEVER THEIR HEARTS CARRIED THEM ON. THE CHALLENGE RAN OUT OF TIME LEAVING THE NEXT FACE OFF FOR SR MCCORMACK AND SR URNAITIS UNTIL TOMORROW. WHEN PETTY OFFICER PEREZ ASKED SR MCCORMACK HOW HE REMAINED IN THE COMPETITION, HE REPLIED SAYING HE WOULD NOT BE BEAT BY A GIRL! THE COMPANY LAUGHED. ALTHOUGH A COMPETITION, OUR COMPANY KEEPS A SUPPORTIVE FUN-SPIRITED ATTITUDE. WE MAY COMPETE INDIVIDUALLY FOR AWARDS, BUT WE RECOGNIZE AT THE END OF THE DAY, WE ARE STILL ALL ON THE SAME TEAM.

WE FOUND OUT THAT OUR WEEKEND EVENTS ARE STILL TO GO ON AS PLANNED THIS EVENING. THE GOVERNMENT SHUT DOWN THREATED OUR SCHEDULE DUE TO BUDGET CUTS. TOMORROW EVENING, THE CITY OF CAPE MAY HAS INVITED TANGO-188 TO A DINNER. THE DINNER PRECEDES A 5K AND 10K RACE WHICH WE WILL PARTICIPATE IN ON THE BASE ON SATURDAY MORNING. TANGO-188, UNIFORM-188, VICTOR-188 AND WHISKEY-188 WILL BE COMPETING IN THE COMMUNITY RACE. OUR TOP 03 MALE AND 03 FEMALE TIMES WILL BE AVERAGE IN AN ADDITIONAL CHALLENGE. MASTER CHIEF BERRY TOLD US WE BETTER WIN THIS! THIS RACE WILL NOT BE IN FORMATION, GIVING US THE CHANCE TO STRETCH OUR LEGS OUT AND PUSH HARD. WE HELPED CLEAN UP THE COURSE THIS AFTERNOON IN PREPARATION.

THE COMPANY OFFICIALLY SIGNED THEIR ORDERS TODAY. IT WAS ANOTHER TANGIBLE REALIZATION THAT GRADUATION IS GETTING VERY CLOSE! WE SPOKE TODAY ABOUT ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURES INVOLVING GRADUATION, SUCH AS HOW OUR NAMES WILL BE ANNOUNCED AND WHO WILL BE PRESENTING OUR CERTIFICATES. SEVERAL RECRUITS WILL HAVE FAMILY MEMBERS IN UNIFORM PRESENT THEIR CERTIFICATES. IT IS NICE TO SEE A MILITARY FAMILY TRADITION BEING CARRIED ON. I AM SURE THEIR FAMILIES ARE VERY PROUD.

04 OCT 13
THE COMPANY’S SPIRITS ARE HIGH TODAY AFTER A GREAT DAY! OUR COMPANY FLAG IS NOW FLYING HIGH OVER THE PARADE FIELD, RECOGNIZING TANGO-188 AS THE SENIOR COMPANY ON THE REGIMENT! WE RETRIEVED THE FLAG AFTER ANOTHER ROUND ON THE CONFIDENCE COURSE. MOST RECRUITS IMPROVED THEIR PERFORMANCE FROM THE LAST TIME. SR MCCORMACK AND SR URNAITIS FACED OFF AT THE END FOR A FUN-SPIRITED CHALLENGE IN CONTINUATION OF THE PHYSICAL FITNESS AWARD COMPETITION. WE FINISHED THE EXERCISE BY ASCENDING THE ROPES ONCE AGAIN. MORE RECRUITS WERE EITHER ABLE TO MAKE IT TO THE TOP OR PROGRESS HIGHER THAN THE LAST TIME. ONCE TO THE TOP, WE YELLED “SR ___, TOPSIDE!” OUR SHIPMATES ACKNOWLEDGED OUR SUCCESS WITH, “AYE, AYE! SHIPMATE!” OUR LEADERSHIP AWARD WINNER COMPLETED THE EXERCISE BY RETRIEVING OUR FLAG AT THE TOP SO IT COULD BE RAISED ABOVE THE PARADE FILED. IT FELT GREAT TO SEE OUR FLAG SWAYING IN THE WIND.

LATER IN THE EVENING WE BOARDED A TROLLEY TO HEAD OFF BASE FOR THE PRE-RACE DINNER AT THE CONVENTION CENTER IN CAPE MAY. IT FELT GREAT TO GET OFF BASE. THE DINNER WAS FABULOUS! WE ENJOYED THE FOOD AND I THINK MOST OF US OVERATE A BIT! WE WERE ALLOWED TO CHIT-CHAT QUIETLY TO EACH OTHER WHICH WAS NICE. THERE WERE NO DISTRACTIONS (LIKE CELLPHONES), JUST CONVERSATION. WE TRADED STORIES AND FUNNY DETAILS ABOUT OUR LIVES OUTSIDE OF BOOT CAMP. THERE WERE MANY OTHER PERMANENT PARTY MEMBERS THERE, SUCH AS LIEUTENANT COMMANDER RAE, COMMANDER GIBBONS, AND MASTER CHIEF BERRY. COMMANDER GIBBONS TOOK THE TIME TO SPEAK TO EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US THROUGHOUT THE DINNER. SHE ASKED US WHERE WE WOULD BE STATIONED AND OFFERED LOTS OF SUGGESTIONS ON WHAT TO DO AND WHERE TO EAT FOR OUR OFF-BASE LIBERTY TOMORROW. SHE MADE US FEEL LIKE FAMILY. CHIEF BLACKMAN LATER TOLD US THAT SEVERAL PEOPLE APPROACHED HIM THROUGHOUT THE EVENING TO TELL HIM HOW “SQUARED AWAY” WE LOOKED. WE HAVE COME A LONG WAY. WE WERE HAPPY TO BRING HONOR TO THE COMPANY AND OUR COMPANY COMMANDERS.

THE FINAL CHALLENGE FOR THE PHYSICAL FITNESS AWARD WAS HELD WHEN WE RETURNED TO BASE. IT WAS NO EASY ON OVERLY FULL STOMACHS! AFTER ONE OF OUR SHIPMATES SECURED THE WIN, PETTY OFFICER PEREZ TOLD US TO TAKE A SEAT. WE WERE ALLOWED TO ASK HIM QUESTIONS ABOUT THE COAST GUARD, HIS CAREER, WHAT IT IS LIKE TO BE A COMPANY COMMANDER, WHAT WERE THE FUNNIEST MOMENTS FROM OUR TRAINING AND OTHER RELATED QUESTIONS. WE GAINED A LOT OF INSIGHT TO THE AFOREMENTIONED TOPICS. WE ALSO SHARED SOME LAUGHS, WHICH WAS NICE.

05 OCT 13
WE STARTED OUR DAY OFF WITH THE 5K AND 10K RUN THIS MORNING. TANGO-188 HAD ONE RUNNER IN THE 10K, WHO WON HIS AGE DIVISION! THE REST OF THE COMPANY COMPETED IN THE 5K. THE COURSE WAS FLAT AND FAST. IT WAS NICE TO SEE SOME PERMANENT PARTY MEMBERS RUNNING AS WELL, SUCH AS CHIEF FREDRICKSON, LIEUTENANT COMMANDER RAE AND PETTY OFFICER OYOLA. WE CHEERED THEM ON THROUGHOUT THE RACE. WE REALLY GAVE IT OUR ALL ON THE COURSE AND ENCOURAGED EACH OTHER TO PUSH HARD. SOME OF US ACTUALLY SET PERSONAL RECORDS! UNFORTUNATELY, OUR TOP 03 MALES AND 03 FEMALES DID NOT BEAT THE WEEK 04 COMPANY, WHO HAD SOME INCREDIBLY FAST RUNNERS! WEEK 04 EARNED A PHONE CALL HOME WITH THEIR WIN.

AFTER THE RACE WE HEADED BACK TO THE SQUAD BAY TO SHOWER AND DON OUR TROPICAL BLUE UNIFORM IN PREPARATION FOR OFF-BASE LIBERTY! CHIEF BLACKMAN WENT OVER THE PARTICULARS, RULES AND REGULATIONS AND GAVE US SOME ADVICE FOR THE DAY. HE THEN MARCHED US TO THE MAIN GATE. THERE WERE SEVERAL PARENTS AND TAXIS WAITING ON OUR ARRIVAL. TEARS CAME TO THEIR FACES WHEN THEY SAW US. IT WAS NEAT TO SEE HOW PROUD THEY WERE OF US ALREADY. WE THEN DISPERSED TO BEGIN THE DAY’S ADVENTURES. MOST OF US WENT TO CAPE MAY, RIO GRANDE OR WILDWOOD. THERE WERE LOTS OF THINGS TO KEEP US BUSY, SUCH AS FESTIVALS IN THE AREA AND THE BOARDWALK. WE ALL HAD A LOT OF FUN. IT ACTUALLY WAS DIFFICULT TO DROP OUR MILITARY LANGUAGE IN THE CIVILIAN WORLD. FOR EXAMPLE, MOST OF US FOUND OURSELVES SAYING “AYE, AYE, SIR!” REPEATEDLY THROUGHOUT THE DAY! THERE ARE OTHER THINGS THAT STUCK WITH US: WE ALL STAND A LITTLE TALLER AND A LITTLE STRAIGHTER. WE ARE MORE RESPECTFUL IN THE LANGUAGE WE USE. WE WALK WITH A SENSE OF CONFIDENCE AND PRIDE. WE ARE CHANGED PEOPLE. I FOUND MYSELF THINKING HOW INCREDIBLY GRATEFUL I AM TO BE WEARING THIS UNIFORM AND AFFORDED THIS OPPORTUNITY SEVERAL TIMES TODAY. THE COMPANY WAS OVERWHELMED WITH THE AMOUNT OF ATTENTION WE DREW THROUGHOUT THE DAY. MANY PEOPLE APPROACHED US IN GRATITUDE AND SHARED THEIR THANKS FOR OUR SERVICE. CITIZENS ACTUALLY PAID OUR TABS UNBEKNOWNST TO US WHILE WE ATE LUNCH AND DINNER. THEY ASKED TO TAKE PHOTOS WITH US AS WELL. IT FELT GOOD TO BE APPRECIATED. WE REALLY WANT TO GET OUT IN THE FIELD TO TRULY EARN THEIR THANKS.

WHEN WE RETURNED PETTY OFFICER LACHARITE SPOKE WITH US ABOUT WHAT WE DID THROUGHOUT THE DAY. THERE WERE SOME VERY FUNNY THINGS THAT OCCURRED THROUGHOUT THE DAY! ONE OF OUR RECRUITS ATE A BURGER LARGER THAN THE SIZE OF HIS HEAD! HE EARNED A T-SHIRT AND A PHOTO ON THE WALL OF THE ESTABLISHMENT. HE WAS REQUESTED TO WRITE SOMETHING IN KETCHUP ON HIS EMPTY PLATE. IN THE PHOTO, IN THE CENTER OF HIS PLATE, WAS THE WORDS “DEVOTION TO DUTY”. OTHER RECRUITS SAW MOVIES, RENTED GO CARTS, RODE THE FERRIS WHEEL AND ATE AT THE LOCAL RESTAURANTS AND COFFEE SHOPS. THE COMPANY HAD A GREAT DAY. NOW THOUGH, IT IS TIME TO LOCK IT ON AND FINISH OUR LAST WEEK OF TRAINING STRONG!

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

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