Recruit Journal November 188 Week: 05

Recruit Journal November 188 Week: 05
Formed: June 25, 2013
Graduate: August 16, 2013

International Maritime Signal Flag November

International Maritime Signal Flag November

22JUL15 Monday
Today began week 05. Week 05 is known as SAR (search and rescue) week because learning about the life saving aspect of the Coast Guard is the main focal point this week. Also, Reveille is at 0530 and our breakfast is at 0545. This gives our company of 70+ people 15 minutes to get up, take muster, get into our uniforms, shave, brush teeth, make racks, and get to chow. This tight timeframe simulates an actual SAR call, where we will have to get ready to roll in no time. While we moved with a sense of urgency, most of the company was late for formation. The mornings are starting to be more consistent. We do work detail, clean, and then go to class. November was tasked with raising the regimental colors this morning. 06 shipmates flew old glory in front of the Commanding Officer. The afternoon was filled with seamanship classes and marching. However, the big highlight (or lowlight for some) was the uniform inspection by the Battalion Commander. We got all swagged out in our operational dress uniforms and spit shined our boots. 1830 was game on. In walked the Battalion Commander, he gave us a quick genuine pep talk then got down to business. He found minor flaws in everyone’s uniforms, which is normal, but he did find those sick gazelles. The people who ironed their uniforms with a rock, and polished their boots with chocolate bars got an earful and then we all got a dose of piece IT from Petty Officer LaFrance. After that, the rest of the night went smooth with some evening routine and our first night of watch at Sexton Hall. Tomorrow marks day 02 of SAR week; one more day to saving actual lives in the fleet.

23JUL15 Tuesday
We’re all losing our minds. We came to this realization after breakfast today when we were talking about how we slept. Apparently, the recruits of November Company are either insane or haunted by ghosts or Company Commanders. What is happening is a little chilling. A dozen or so recruits report feeling like someone comes into the squadbay at night and tells them to do things, like assume the push-up position or go to attention in the rack. Sooo…is it Petty Officer LaFrance covertly terrorizing us in the night? We don’t know. We just know that our bunkmates do push-ups in their sleep and wake up screaming “attention on deck!” Overall, today was a remarkably routine day. After breakfast, we were issued our dress uniforms which took hours. After that, we marched down to Seamanship for the remainder of the day. In the Evening, Petty Officer Matthews took us out for a treat – to watch our company colors detail do evening colors. Well, as “first call” sounded, a recruit proudly hauled the Prep Pennant to the top of the flag pole….above the national ensign…on the wrong halyard. The steam was visible as it boiled out of Petty Officer Matthews’ ears. In the aftermath, one squadleader was fired and the whole colors detail got a THOUROUGH workout. Tomorrow we spend the day with our Battalion Commander. In other words, we’re going to get destroyed. We are betting at least one person gets reverted. We’ll get lots of workout time in. When the Battalion Commander shows up – anything that is wrong will be noticed, and it will get us sent to Oscar-188.

24JUL13 Wednesday
I never thought I would say it…but I miss our Company Commanders. Having the Battalion Commander run our life for a day is the most stressful thing imaginable. Today, he woke us up at 0440 and told us to put on our Operational Dress Uniforms. For about an hour he let strangers (Company Commander School students) march us around. They still need much training on marching. Our feet itched for Petty Officer LaFrance’s loving cadence. Overall though, today was a fairly easy day. Once you can mentally get past the fact your Battalion Commander is on you all day long, there wasn’t much asked of us. We did a 15-mile bike workout, and took our seamanship midterm. Tomorrow half of us receive orders to our new units. It’s getting tense in the squadbay.

25JUL13 Thursday
This morning’s 0530 reveille felt like a late wake-up compared to yesterday’s 0440 wake-up call. By now, putting an operational dress uniform, making racks, and brushing our teeth in less than 10 minutes doesn’t seem like an impossible task. Today, not one single member was late to formation! Also, we had French toast bake for breakfast; the single greatest food item in the galley. It’s like the wedding cake of breakfast food items. Our morning class was on risk management and assessment. We learned about charts to fill out (GAR model-green, amber, red) and that tell you if you should “risk it for the biscuit”. Over the past few days, we have had classes taught by the Coast Guard Auxiliary members. These are volunteers who all served in the military then joined the Auxiliary to continue helping. They are very knowledgeable, have great stories, and remind me of my Grandfather, although not all are my grandfather’s age. Every Thursday, the week 05 company has a blood drive put on by the Red Cross. A vast majority of the company bled into a bag for the greater good. The best part was they gave us cookies and we couldn’t do any heavy lifting, which meant no I.T.! But our Company Commanders tossed our racks and trashed our squadbays instead. The night ended on a more somber note. 02 of our shipmates got reverted tonight. After being with them for 05 weeks now, we have grown close. Losing a shipmate is like having a friend move to a new school. One of the shipmates that got reverted was my rack mate and we have become very close. This is the real deal; As Petty Officer LaFrance says “they don’t call this Camp Cape May” for a reason. Tomorrow we hope for a better day, we will be marching in Kilo Company’s graduation tomorrow. Waiting for our day to come where we can be official Coast Guardsmen!

26JUL13 Friday
Sometimes it is just as important to step back, reflect on where you’ve been, as it is to look forward to where you will go. We did both today. Kilo Company’s graduated this morning. It was almost hard to see them – our former fellow recruits – smiling and reunited with their loved ones. We still have 03 weeks to go – and as the past few days have proven, its hard ball time. Petty Officer Matthews called us into the classroom below our squadbays. He and Petty Officer LaFrance took a good half-hour and gave us all our orders. They’d call a name, crack a joke, before actually giving us our orders, it was enjoyable. (“Hey recruit, are you a baseball fan?” “Yes Petty Officer Matthews, I’m a Yankees fan!” “Eh, I’d keep that to yourself, Coast Guard Cutter Seneca, Boston Massachusetts.) Also today, the recruits of Quebec-188 moved into Healy Hall. Seeing them is a little weird – they’re only 05 weeks newer than us, but miles apart from us. I had an uncontrollable urge to scream “fix your phalanges!” because they seem to be incapable of keeping their hands still. Only week 05 and I am irked by sloppy formations. So November is moving forward cautiously. We’ve weathered 05 weeks, but lost 16 shipmates. We have 03 weeks left, but more is expected of us. There are more companies looking up at us now. It’s not going to be pretty, but we get closer every day, so maybe things will become easier to bear.

27JUL13 Saturday
In our civilian lives, we all at some point said we had a long day. Looking back now, we laugh at our old concept of a “long day”. Today was a Saturday – a weekend! We spent the day on the Confidence Course, and we also got to meet with our mentors again. Even though it was a really enjoyable day, it was really shocking how exhausted we are. Sleep deprivation, or something like it, stalks the company now; some recruits have been caught sleeping, “Piece” in hand. Anyhow, the Confidence Course was a ton of fun. Like Pugil Sticks last week, we got to cheer our shipmates over the obstacles. As usual, our Company Commanders poked some potential good-natured jokes at us (‘I’ll give you a 1 for dismount,’ as I finish wiping dirt from my face after an epic face-plant). After we all finished nursing wounded prides and stubbed toes, our Company Mentors took some time to talk with us about the coming months. We all got a great sense of anticipation – “only” 3 weeks left. Well, there’s a reason “only” is said with quotation marks…even today we lost another shipmate to reversion. N-188 will not graduate as the behemoth it once was. There are empty racks in the back of squadbays, standing silently as reminders: This is the Coast Guard. So tonight, the herd moves on in search of greener grasslands on Week 06.

28JUL13 Sunday
Perhaps it’s appropriate that I have no goofy metaphors or lame puns tonight. Today was a lot of things, but mostly embarrassing. We started the day off in typical November fashion – late. Our morning formation was sloppy, divine hours seemed to slip by, with a lot of chores undone. The afternoon got really bad. See, we stink at marching. We stink at basic military knowledge. Today, we just stink. So for evening chow, we lost the right to wear our operational dress uniforms. We had to wear the goofy indoctrination uniform which consists of our fitness gear and our ball cover. Since we looked like new recruits, and kind of acted like it, we got to experience indoc weekend all over again. The shame of being treated like week 01 and 02 recruits literally hurt. Afterwards, we got to put our uniforms back on for a moment before departing on an off-base run. We called our cadences loud and proud. We got in step. We look liked we cared. Week 06 is reversion week. We lost another shipmate today. For us, it’s time to recommit ourselves to the things that brought us here. This will not be an easy time by any means. The time for jokes, smiles, and puns is gone. If we’re going to survive, we’ve got to be high-speed, low-drag, squared away, and put together. Some of us won’t be able to, and we’re all slowly realizing that fact. Cape May is getting a little scarier.

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.