Recruit Journal Hotel 188 Week: 06

Recruit Journal Hotel Week: 06

Formed: May 7, 2014

Graduate: June 28, 2013

International Maritime Signal Flag Hotel

International Maritime Signal Flag Hotel

09JUN13-We got to sleep until 0600 and didn’t have chow until 0700. During divine hours we made a run to the exchange to pick up items that couldn’t wait until next weekend when we have a shot at earning on base liberty. At chow we were a bit off our game and missed a few required knowledge questions. We also struggled to make formation on time. We pulled it back together before the end of divine hours, and were dressed out in PF gear for our run. We had a change in plans and changed back into our operational dress uniforms without the blouse. We headed over to the confidence course and ran through all of the obstacles in groups of three. After we finished, we wrapped back around the course to cheer on our shipmates.
Petty Officer Garver told us that more people made it to the top of the climbing rope than any of his previous companies on their first times on the confidence course. On the march back to the house, we turned left and marched toward the beach, down a gravel road away from the regiment to a beach access point. We ran out single file on the beach and formed up facing the ocean – our new office. We dropped to the sand and did pushups, crunches, squats, flutter kicks and planks. Covered in sweat and sand, we stood panting as Petty Officer Garver asked us to think about how much we have changed over the past 4.5 weeks, and how many changes we have left to make over the next 3 weeks and our careers.
Petty Officer Milligan exhorted us to think about the two names on our uniforms (our family name and the United States Coast Guard) every time we make a decision. Then Petty Officer Garver told us to turn around. Planted in the sand behind us were our colors (the red and white hotel flag)! We sprinted to the colors, raised them high, and began chanting “HOTEL-188.” After an ear shattering rendition of the Coast Guard Ethos, we turned our colors over to our guide on bearer and marched back to the Regiment shedding sand – ten feet tall and bullet proof!
10JUL13 – We had our first fire fighting classes today. We learned a good deal of terminology and a bit of fire science in preparation for our hands on training tomorrow and Wednesday. We really enjoy our time down at Seamanship / Firefighting.
We had a chance to sing cadence on our way down to seamanship because we now have earned our colors. This makes marching incredibly enjoyable. Some of the cadences are pretty funny too – at least to recruits working on six weeks of sleep deprivation. One verse that causes many of us to fight off smiles is:
(For the record, food is actually pretty good here.)
In the afternoon we had a swim circuit. We broke up into three teams and raced each other. We really enjoyed cheering each other on as each person swam a 100 meter leg. In the evening we practiced a manual of arms a good deal since our test is tomorrow.
11JUL13 – Pretty darn good day for Hotel Company! We had our first practical firefighting class. We practiced using portable water extinguishers to put out a controlled but very real (DO NOT STEP PASS THE RED LINE!) fire.
We also learned how to don and off our firefighting gear. We motored back to the house so we could practice a bit of manual of arms before chow. We shoveled down chow so we could get back to the house and warm up for the test.
Our stomachs were full both of food and butterflies (not a particularly comfortable combination) as we warmed up. Petty Officer Garver gave us a great pep talk “you know this like the back of your hand. Take a deep breath and knock this out of the park!” We marched in, did our staggered left face and extend march – two moves not required for the test that we added to impress Chief Johnson. We nailed our performance! Chief Johnson described it as “Baller.”
We earned a perfect 10! Petty Officer Garver and Petty Officer Milligan were quick to emphasize that we still have a long way to go and that we have set the bar incredibly high. We still have several inspections, our close order drill test, and our final exam. Even so, we felt great!
12JUL13 – We had a really interesting morning out at fire school. We learned line handling techniques and how to operate as a fire team. Then it was time to put what we learned over the past couple of days into practice. The company lined up at the back of the classroom, our instructor called Fire! Fire! Fire! And we motored over to the change out room and conducted a full firefighting drill: dressing out, going on air, entering the compartment with the simulated fire, extinguishing the fire, and cleaning up.
Most of us soaked our uniforms during the 5-10 minutes we were fighting the “fire.” After chow we had a class on carrying forth the Coast Guard Legacy where we learned about Coast Guard Heroes and tradition. It is humbling to wear the same uniform as these individuals.
We missed a time objective to pack to go to the uniform distribution center, which led to a sweat filled evening of Incentive Training, packing everything we own in our sea bags, and running one item back to our rack at a time shouting “SHIPMATES, MOVE WITH A SENSE OF URGENCY, SHIPMATES!”
13JUL13 – Today was one of our roughest and simultaneously best days yet. We started the day with a lackluster muster and it went downhill from there. We made so many mistakes that Petty Officer Garver had to sit down and make a list of all the things we screwed up prior to chewing us out just so he could remember all of them.
That was the beginning of a very long afternoon and evening. Petty Officer Garver taped our colors to the flag pole, and we lost pretty much every privilege we had earned to date. We had to take off our operational dress uniforms and wear PF gear just like forming week. We also had to walk instead of marching, making us look really bad to all of the other companies on the regiment.
In the galley we went back to squaring our meals. When we weren’t at chow (which covered all but about 30 minutes of the afternoon and evening) we were doing some form of Incentive Training (IT) or remedial training. It all pretty much blurred together, but we definitely did sea bag drill, packing everything we own in our sea bags, taking them outside, and sprinting one item at a time back to our rack while shouting “I’m making my rack” at the top of are lungs.
We also screamed from our blue jackets manuals, stared at life boats while shouting “EYES IN THE BOAT!”, sat in sniper position, and right faced over and over again yelling “NAME, RANK, SOCIAL, BIRTHDAY” after each turn. In between all of the remedial training was a healthy helping of IT (pushups, sit ups, squats, flutter kicks, planks, dead cockroaches, and supermans.)
However, in the face of this onslaught we came together as a company in a big way. While one group that was resting from IT they counted with the working group, making them much louder. We also started sounding off in unison making it hard to hear Petty Officer Milligan tell us to get louder.
We didn’t point fingers for the mistakes of the morning. Instead we picked our shipmates up and forged through one of our toughest evenings yet. Before bed, Petty Officer Milligan told us tomorrow will be a new day. We’re ready to make the most of it.
14JJUN13 – What a difference a day can make! Chief Johnson woke us up and told us that our company commanders called him and told him about yesterday – our stomachs immediately sank. He also said that our Company Commanders were proud of the way we handled yesterday afternoon and evening.
The first part of the morning was pretty relaxed since there was no graduating company this week and Week 06 usually has graduation detail. At midday chow we had a chance to eat with some visiting Senior and Master Chiefs and pick their brains about life in the Coast Guard and in many cases the units to which we have been assigned.
The Master and Senior Chiefs were incredibly nice and very informative. Everyone truly enjoyed this meal and opportunity. In the afternoon we had a second round of shots and hit the gym for a swim circuit. It’s incredibly nice to workout instead of being punished with IT. At evening chow, we were allowed to drink coffee for the first time! Even though it was 1700, about half of the company got coffee…certainly hope everyone sleeps tonight. Before muster we got our cell phones back so that we could charge them for on-base liberty tomorrow. We sang Semper Paratus – the official Coast Guard Song – before bed for the first time tonight. It gave me goose bumps.
15JUN13 – Coffee this morning was great! The day went really well! After morning chow, part of the company headed out to Harbor Fest, a local fair with several thousand visitors. We taught kids how to tie knots, run an obstacle course, and use a fire hose to put out a simulated fire. The people there were incredibly happy to see us.
The moral where we were was extremely high. People liked talking to and seeing us, which was a pretty cool feeling. We all had a great time. We spent an hour touring a unit at Cape May similar to the unit where we’ll be stationed. Some of us toured the small boat station, others got to see an 87 foot patrol boat, and the rest of us toured a 210 foot cutter.
It was really neat to be able to see spaces similar to where we’ll be working and living in a little over two weeks. It really helped to see spaces and equipment arrangements that we have been learning about in class.
After the tour, it was time for what we had been looking forward to all week: on base liberty. We headed over to the Exchange, bought all the supplies we needed and more snack food than we have seen in 06 weeks. After that we broke out our cell phones and called home.
We grabbed dinner as a company at the Harbor View, then headed to the Pavilion for more time on our phones. It was wonderful to catch up with our loved ones and friends and we’re all looking forward to speaking again next week as long as everything goes according to plan. We made it back to the house, stowed our cell phones, cleaned, and hit the rack. Excellent day for Hotel-188.

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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