Recruit Journal November 188 Week:03

Recruit Journal November 188 Week: 03
Formed: June 25, 2013
Graduate: August 16, 2013

International Maritime Signal Flag November

International Maritime Signal Flag November


Saturday June 29th was the first full day of the newly formed company, NOVEMBER-188. Our company commanders, Petty Officer Matthews and Petty Officer LaFrance donned us with wisdom and instruction through virulent shouting and intensive incentive training. We shivered in our “go-fasters” whenever we interacted with these leaders of ours. Some of us were tactless enough to call our female company commander “sir”. It is remembered by Petty Officer LaFrance calling “fire, fire, fire” each time the mistake was made. The hours were long though we moved ‘double time’ from objective to objective. By TAPS we hit our racks faster than ordered. “The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will” – Vince Lombardi. This is our company motto; hangs in the Quarterdeck of James Hall between our squad bays. Our strength and knowledge have already begun to be put to the test – shoved into the fire – but if we are going to make it, the main mast of our success must be perseverance- not lack of will.


Today was a remarkable day for the recruits of N-188. Our morning began with a fire drill – which is really more of an atrocious incentive training session. Following that, we had our usual chow at the Galley. Petty Officer Matthews’ “choirs” always make chow a special experience. As recruits invariably mess up one thing or another, he yanks them from the company and instructs them to chant reminders to the company not to repeat their mistakes. By stacking 03 recruits together, he is really effective at making eating a thoroughly unpleasant experience. Today was also our first gym class – no, not dodge ball, just more PT with less rabid instructors. Following the days routine of classes and chow, we had an exciting afternoon and evening at James Hall, running endless fire drills. No matter what, we seemed unable to meet time objectives. One objective we missed that really started a downfall was our divine hours work list to get racks squared away. We had 5 hours and somehow got next to nothing done. The night ended with a rare pep talk of sorts from Petty Officer Matthews. After it was over, we had another fire drill. During it, we screamed NOVEMBER until our voices were raw. I could tell the company had genuinely taken in what Petty Officer Matthews said. We want to serve. We want to be here. We. Will. Not. Fail.

Monday 01JUL13

The First day of week two began with our backs on the pavement and the sea roaring at our sides. Fog rolled across the compound as our Section Commander, Chief Damage Controlman, Johnson, barked “flutter kick position take!” or “Push up postion, take!”. We grit our teeth through the pain knowing that chow was just around the corner, our rough morning was met with reprieve; we march to Munro Avenue and proudly witnessed the hoisting of colors. Filling the air as well as our hearts, the National Anthem poured over Training Center Cape May. While the sun dipped behind the horizon one of our company commanders engraved discipline into the core of our being. That lesson left our vocal cords raw, bodies sore, and clothes drenched with sweat and tears. Once I set my head on my pillow, I believed that most, if not all, of my shipmates in November-188 would face tomorrow with the right attitude.

Tuesday 02JUL13

Today was one of those days when nothing went right. Sure, we keep our heads up, but only because time marches on. The morning seemed to drag on, but not to our company commanders. For some reason, they can’t seem to grasp the concept that getting things done right takes time. Petty Officer Matthews wants 70 people showered in 15 minutes, the math doesn’t add up. One high point of the day was Civil Rights and Sexual Harassment training. (You know it bad when those are the highlights of your day). The instructor was an actual person speaking in a human voice tone. In retribution for that great two hours, Petty Officer LaFrance played “games” with us. Whether it’s rapidly sitting and standing for endless time period, or pick up an ink stick over and over. They are painful games. Sometimes doing these mindless acts gets to us, and it becomes hard to swallow.

Wednesday 03JUL13

Today was a surprisingly good day. Of course the morning started with a fire drill, and some morning “fun” with Petty Officer LaFrance. However, after the typical rude awakening, today was productive. A number of recruits came up with a great metaphor for boot camp today, so morale was high. You see, this company is a herd of peaceful gazelle, loping along. The Company Commanders are a bunch of hungry lions. As long as you stay with the herd, the herd with protect you. Lions will seize the sick and weak and gorge themselves. Speaking of sick and weak, we got to witness RAMP (Recruit Aptitude Motivational Program) today. Ramp is basically a punishment detail you don’t want to go to. Petty Officer Matthews had us watch them work-out the RAMP recruits, literally causing some of us to cry in sympathy. We all knew these were the sick gazelles. For a man of small stature, Petty Officer Matthews knows how to keep a group of people cowed in terror.

Thursday 04JUL13

The fourth of July. A day usually spent in celebration, but for N-188, another day of drills and lessons. I am beginning to find these morning fire drills routine, but in case of a real fire, good luck to the last people, because we are really slow. From morning IT, we had our swimming tests. The only thing worse than the actual swim was looking out of the water to see Petty Officer LaFrance skimming the water with her eyes. Even if we were allowed to look at her, I could never stare her in the eyes. After swimming we attended another mandatory class, some of us rather an IT session over classes. Tonight Petty Officer Matthews, who normally had Petty Officer Lafrance take charge of the endless “games” showed us some of his tricks. I could literally see the foam coming out of his mouth as he screamed “LOUDER!” over and over. From Push-ups to the books straight out, discipline speech, to the right facing of “Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty”, we never seemed to get loud enough.

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.


18 Responses

  1. Rene J Pelletier says:

    November 188 don’t be blue Frankenstien was ugly too lol! hang tough because week 6 everyone’s going to wildwood! for a break I Know! Jan 21 1980…November 106 BMC Bass CC ~S~ NUB’s Welcome to the Family!

  2. Wanda Lockhart says:

    Proud of you! Stay strong and courageous!

  3. Beth Rosser Ciborowski says:

    Impressive writing! Thank you for sharing, gives a little taste for us on the outside. I can understand now why you guys already lost someone. Just think how much stronger you will be at the end. You can do it!

  4. Deborah McDonald says:

    Thank you for posting this. Keep up the good work and remember “gazelles”those particular “lions” want you to succeed and become “lions” too. You can do this. Go november!

  5. John Ballner says:

    Keep your heads up N188! Things will get better – you will continue to make progress! We are all thankful for your dedication and committment.


  6. Janet says:

    It is so nice to finally hear from you November 188! You are all very missed but we know you can do this! Keep working together, there is strength in numbers! Keep your heads up, focus and push forward! August 16th will be here in no time!
    “The pain you feel today is the strength you feel tomorrow”

  7. Dad says:

    “Pain is a sign of weakness leaving the body.” And those morning fire drills? Reminds me of a SAR alarm which never goes off until your asleep. The IT that follows is like throwing you sleepy eyed into the “dark and stormy.” Everything has a purpose.

  8. Robert J. Alvarez (Dad) says:

    Keep focused November 188 and persevere ! Everyone at home is behind your effort and dedication.
    “A Man or woman can achieve what the mind can conceive”Press on and make it happen!

  9. Sheila cristofano Johnson says:

    It is a relief to have news from the Nov-188!!!
    From this end, we are all proud of each one of the group. It is a challenge and a beautiful grown. I’m praying for all of you!!
    Missing my dear husband and I can’t wait to see him again!
    Please, keep posting.. We are very thankful for your sharing!

  10. Victor Gatell says:

    Stay focused N-188, help each other to succeed! Long life to those who dare!

  11. Joan Sasser says:

    Good to hear from November 188! We are praying for all of you to make it through. You have a large support group of family and friends cheering for you!

  12. Megan Hudson says:

    Sounds like it was a tough week for N188 but don’t get discouraged and always keep your head up. Tomorrow is a new day and a new task to learn. You guys are doing something great and something to be proud of so never loose sight of that! Stay strong N188!!

  13. Megan Hudson says:

    Sounds like it was a tough week for N188 but tomorrow is a new day and a new task to learn so keep your heads up and stay strong! You guys are doing something to be proud of so never loose sight of that! Stay strong N188! Everyone is cheering for you!

  14. Linda Gulden says:

    Hang in there gazelles!

  15. Rosa Novack says:

    Thank you for keeping us posted so vividly, good job keep up the good work. Stay strong November 188!!!!!! you can do it. Stay together like the gazelles and help each other. We miss you a lot we are so very proud of you, keep your heads up and be proud of what you have already accomplished!

  16. Traci Marie Temples says:

    Thank you for the posting! Please post again soon this is a great link for us to have some sense of what is going on with the recuits that are sons and daughters. Keep up the good work and stay focus November 188!
    Semper Paratus!!!!!

  17. Dawn R. says:

    Stay strong. See you soon, can’t wait. We love you.

  18. Tim Goldsmith says:

    Hang in there as each day is one day closer to graduation. 46 years ago at this time I was there in Company NOVEMBER-69. I remember to this day thinking to myself as I ran up the ladder to Forming Company on 26June67, “Four years and I am out of here.” What is funny? I did get out, went back to college, came back in the CG, and retired after 21 years as a LCDR. I sure ate those words. LOL! Hope you get a chance to post more so we can enjoy your introduction to Uncle Sam’s Cherished Group.
    Semper Paratus!