Recruit Journal Hotel 188: Week 05

Recruit Company Hotel 188 Week: 05

Formed: May 7, 2013

Graduate: June 28, 2013

 

International Maritime Signal Flag Hotel

International Maritime Signal Flag Hotel

03JUN13 – We woke up this morning with fifteen minutes to go from our racks to eating chow across the regiment: a generous time frame when compared with the five minutes a small boat crew has to get underway when the SAR alarm sounds, but still quite challenging for us. Our uniform inspection moved from this morning to 1800 which caused us to worry about the polish on our boots for the majority of the day. At seamanship today we learned about radio communication: frequencies, channels, pro-words, forms of addressing persons over headset and much more. After a very early evening chow (we eat at 1620 this week) we headed back to the house with Chief Johnson to cram a few more bits of required knowledge into our heads and put one more coat of polish on our boondockers. 1800 rolled around to find us decked out in our inspection ready Operational Dress Uniforms in front of the “house” (barracks) for Master Chief Berry (The Battalion Commander) to inspect us. The seconds crawled by as each one of us waited for our individual verdict. On the whole, we did very well! Master Chief Berry told us that our inspection was the best week 05 inspection he has conducted since he has been here (over a year)! He told us to keep working, keep pushing, and keep moving forward. He warned us that missteps now mean being sent back a week in training. We managed to keep our military bearing long enough to make it inside the squad bay before cracking small smiles and exchanging fist bumps. We felt great! We had just made a good first impression on our Battalion Commander. Unfortunately, we got a little too relaxed, and a few of us laughed during mail call – a huge departure from the military bearing expected of us. Chief Johnson warned us that we would pay tomorrow and then sent us to bed. Apparently, they’re not allowed to send us to bed sweaty, otherwise we would have been doing IT in our racks.
04JUN13 – After our early chow, we paid for last night’s mistake by reading the definition of discipline at the top of our lungs while holding our Blue Jacket’s Manual straight out in front of us. We also did some piece incentive training (various calisthenics with our pieces for those keeping score at home). In the morning we headed over to the uniform distribution shop to be fitted for our dress uniforms. Three hours of inventory, fittings, and study times – not a bad way to spend the morning. The highlight of our afternoon was the live demonstration of signal flares our seamanship instructor gave after we finished the in the classroom. Chief Johnson picked us up after evening chow. Since we paid for yesterday’s mistake this morning, we started with a blank slate and managed to take full advantage of it. We managed to hit the rack still in Chief Johnson’s good graces.
05JUN13 – Another 0545 chow down. We struggle in the mornings. Our voices are still a bit rusty from their seven hour reprieve and our minds are still a bit dull…two problems we’ll have to fix before we head out to the fleet. People don’t stop needing to be rescued just because it is early in the morning. We had classes on boat crew duties, PFDs, and risk management. They were all interesting, but many of us struggled mightily with heavy eyes. Our company is so small that many of us have had to pull double watches this week over at Sexton Hall where the forming company (Kilo this week) stays. Many of us are beginning to worry about learning all of our required knowledge. Every time we go to the galley, we are pounded with questions from our Company Commanders, other Company Commanders, and sometimes even our Section Commander. We’re not safe even while we’re sitting to eat. Our Company Commanders will call a name and that person must swallow, stand up, and answer a question on nautical terminology, ratings, knots, the eleven general orders, shoulder boards, or one of several other topics we must know by rote. Several of us who screwed up earlier in the day had to report for extra incentive training instead of personal time this evening…no fun at all and a big incentive to learn our required knowledge ASAP.
06JUN13 – We flipped our schedule a bit today to help set up for Foxtrot’s graduation tomorrow. It’s exciting for them and us since it doesn’t seem like all that long ago that Foxtrot was a week 05 company. After setup we, in the words of Petty Officer Milligan, “busted a move” and motored over to the auditorium for a presentation by a D-Day veteran who recounted his experience at Normandy 69 years ago today. He told of the heroism and suffering of the day, focusing specifically on the assault on Omaha Beach. It was moving for us to hear about this pivotal moment in history from someone who lived it at our age, 18. After this interlude, we headed back into our normal training routine with classes on personal finance and contacting our first unit. We’re all waiting for our orders. They came in this evening, but Petty Officer Garver hasn’t shared them with us yet. He got us all on line and asked us where we wanted to go. He dropped hints, but told no one where he or she is going. He told us if we behaved this evening he would tell us tomorrow…this evening returned some of the most diligent work by Hotel Company yet.
07JUN13 – Big day for Hotel Company! We got our orders! We know where we’ll be stationed. The day started rainy and fast. We were up at 0530 and shoveling food down in the galley by 0545. Since graduation was inside, we had a slower morning. In the afternoon we had a class about the various ways we will be allowed to travel to our new units. The class put all of our minds squarely on the mystery of where we’ll be going. When we got back to the house, Petty Officers Garver and Milligan took us down to the classroom and revealed our orders to us via slide show with pictures of all of our new units. As expected, almost all of us will be going to cutters. We’re headed everywhere from Maine to Alaska to Florida to Michigan. On the whole, we’re happy with our orders and excited to be one step closer to joining the fleet. In the evening, we took turns making five minute phone calls home to let our loved ones know where we’ll be going in the near future. It was really hard for many of us to get a sound bite from home and then drop straight back into training. As the shouts of “Fire, Fire, Fire” echoed out of the ladder well (Kilo Company just moved in) Petty Officer Garver gave us a talk about staying the course. Even though we have our orders, the pressure will be on us until we walk out of Cape May’s Gates in 21 days.
08JUN13 – Last day of SAR week wake-ups. Tomorrow we get to have chow at 0700 and get our extra 30 minutes of sleep! We spent the morning cleaning and preparing for the arrival of our company mentors: Vice Admiral Currier and Master Chief Isherwood. They, along with their staff, joined us for lunch. It was a bit intimidating eating lunch with the number two ranking officer in the entire Coast Guard. We managed and learned a bit about the areas where we’ll be stationed. After lunch, we all had a chance to ask Admiral Currier questions. Most of us wanted to know about our units and what to expect when we arrive. Between Admiral Currier and Master Chief Isherwood, we had close to 70 years of Coast Guard experience in the room. Admiral Currier did a wonderful job of making all of our assignments sound good. He emphasized that there is no such thing as a bad assignment and that our attitudes will make all the difference. He also talked to us about becoming adults and making mature decisions that will leave options open for us down the road. We really appreciated Admiral Currier taking time out of his incredible busy schedule to come speak with us. Master Chief Isherwood graciously stayed even longer to answer more of our questions. Before he left, we performed our manual of arms for him. It was one of our best performances to date (still a bit rough, but definitely getting better). Before he left, Master Chief Isherwood made us promise to earn our colors before he and Admiral Currier return for our graduation. We’re still a little inconsistent, but on the whole we’re becoming a tight knit, well functioning team.

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 to ensure authenticity of the content and messages.

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