Recruit Journal Papa 188 Week: 03

Recruit Journal Papa 188 Week: 03
Formed: July 16, 2013
Graduate: September 6, 2013

International Maritime Signal Flag Papa

International Maritime Signal Flag Papa

Sunday’s are quickly becoming a company favorite. Every Sunday every company gets from 0800 to 1300 to do whatever they’d like. This is called ‘Divine Hours’. It’s not a free for all where TRACEN turns into Cancun during spring break by any means. Instead recruits are given the time to attend protestant or catholic services at the on- base chapel, or be bussed off base for other services. The other option is to spend the entire time in the squad bay catching up on everything you missed the week prior and preparing for what’s coming next. Most of our recruits ironed our Operational Dress Uniforms, got our racks inspection ready, shined our boots, studied, wrote and read letters. It’s an important time because it helps PAPA-188 to get to know each other a little better as well as work on bettering our teamwork skills.

But, as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. And so we began our day of training at 1300 with lunch. Today was going as you’d expect for a Sunday “Half- Day” until PAPA was instructed to get on our Physical Fitness gear and form up outside. We mostly assumed it would be a track run or some sort of Incentive Training run. We were all wrong. The company formed up and marched onto Munro Ave and started marching towards the armory. I’m going to take a minute to describe the joy ‘heading to the armory’ brings us recruits. We have spent roughly 15 to 16 hours a day in the same exact spot in a one to two mile radius everyday for the past 12 days. These aren’t ‘fun’ hours, they are hard hours (physically) and even harder hours mentally on most of us. The armory, however is on the outskirts of TRACEN. There are roads that take you back roughly a mile. It has lush green hills, beautiful views of the ocean and bay that surrounds us everyday, but we are only allowed to glance at it from our squad bay windows. Basically marching towards the armory is heaven and it’s the best stress reliever on this base thus far in training.

Now back to the march. Marching with us was Chief Hollenbeck, Petty Officer Garver, and Petty Officer Phillips was in front of the company, a position we don’t usually see the Company Commanders in. It felt different marching this way until Chief Hollenbeck brought the company to a jog. It was our first company run! Few things bring goose bumps more than sounding off loud while running in-step with the entire company in formation. It wasn’t a long run, most likely 2 miles, but it was amazing. We took a route that ran us by the bays edge where we saw civilization! People enjoying their Sunday by boating and fishing, cars driving the interstate, the sky was blue and the water never looked so good. I’d guess about half of the company’s heads were permanently stuck to the right taking in all they could for the next time we need to find our happy place. We finished the run and PAPA-188 was JACKED!

We felt recharged, excited and motivated! The day after that came and went as normal, I.T.’s, remedial, and dinner and PAPA began losing focus. If you’ve read this journal from the start you probably know that when PAPA loses our focus, we sweat for it. And we did. Petty Officer Garver had us doing all kinds of crazy exercises with locks and boots and books trying to hammer home some discipline. By the end of the night he had seen enough. We got a talking to that may have changed our focus for the better.

Petty Officer Garver acknowledged that we are all mostly homesick. We miss our families and friends. He also said, we took an oath to defend this country and its people and it’s time to focus on our oaths and begin training. I believe the timing was perfect. The company really took hold of that, something so obvious, but something that needed to be verified. It’s ok and good to focus here. To ‘forget’ the families and friends we love so much for a few weeks. As our squad leader Seaman recruit Lee later said to all of PAPA- 188, we are life savers now. We are here to prepare for the next 9/11, or Boston Marathon. And we need to be here 100% and train and learn so we can all be ready when the time comes.

Today, we are motivated and ready to let go of all that holds us back from being truly ‘here’ and focused. Later, as the company was standing at attention reciting as a group our phonetic Alphabet, we sounded off as usual, ‘Mike, November, Oscar…’ and as we came to ‘P’, as one company and as loud as we could carry our voices we screamed ‘PAPA!!!”

Today we are motivated and proud, and ready for another week. As Petty Officer Garver said, “Be proud you’ve made it this far, now all you have to do is shower and go to sleep and tomorrow you’re in week 03. Training is just beginning!” Aye, Aye Petty Officer Garver!!
Recruit journal entry written by Seaman Recruit Weeks, T.R.

PAPA-188 Monday Week 03- “Dancing and Hallmarks and Blankets Oh My!”

Lookie here! PAPA-188 is officially in week 03 of training! This part starts now right? Right? … Well, maybe not, but it’s still an accomplishment we made it this far.
Week 03 begins with a run around the quad as the sun bleeds into the sky. We finish up safely and do a quick rinse off before heading to chow. While some straggled off to medical, the rest of the company headed off to the gym. There we got changed out into our swimsuits and scurried off to the pool. It was survival suit time!The company had to slip on the survival (Mustang) suits within 2 minutes. Luckily everyone made the time limit. Otherwise there would have been quite a few fish out of water.There were two different positions that were taught. One was the ‘help’ position which is where the person curls into the fetal and floats on their back. The other one is where everyone floated on their back and held onto each other’s shoulder. Don’t want anyone to go adrift!

Pool time soon ended and the company marched back to the house. There were a few remedial, but we had a sexual assault class and then a class about the Montgomery GI Bill. The company had the choice of sticking with that bill or going with the post 9/11 bill.We had a surprise visit from our Section Commander and Battalion Commander. They went through racks and asked general knowledge questions from the required knowledge that we should know. Some of us passed and some of us didn’t. Those that didn’t pass went through a pseudo- RAMP (Recruit Aptitude Motivational Program) session. It was a special gift to PAPA- 188 after our squad bays had their own parties. Meaning, the head vomited all over the squad bay. Toilet paper was streaming from the ceiling and the racks. The Go Fasters and Boondockers tried to tango with one another; and the racks wanted to square dance. It was a quick lesson in teamwork as well as a sort of ‘Welcome’ to week three.

There was manual of arms training close to sunset. Actual training! Look at you now, PAPA-188, growing up so fast. But the positions we learned included port- arms, parade rest, and trail arms. We practiced these movements until the colors were lowered. From there we returned inside, had a spit shining shin-dig and a mail call. There was quite a bit this time! Some of it on the funny side… Not that we laughed or anything. But remember, whenever you head home, don’t leave without your awesome blanket.
Recruit journal entry written by Seaman Recruit Waitman, C.L.

PAPA-188 Tuesday Week 03-
Today was an awkward day. After two weeks of doing mostly nothing but I.T. and remedial, the last two days have been busy with training and classes. We began the day like most others, a fire alarm at 0530 followed by I.T. (incentive training). From there and after breakfast we had our first of 04 classes. “Family Benefits”, it was useful information and actually kept the classes attention. Our next stop was a ‘core strength’ class in the gym. PAPA broke up into 04 squads at 04 different stations. Each stations had 04 exercises, there was the pushup station with 04 variations of pushups, the crunch station with 04 variations of crunches, the leg station and the cardio station with burpees, mountain climbers, etc. Each exercise was was 01 minute followed by 01 minute of a cardio exercise (Jumping-jacks, high knees, and glute kickers). The workout was an hour long. Our next stop was the classroom for a 02 ½ hour class on safety followed by the most intense part of the day.

PAPA went back to the gym and get on the cybex bikes. Three of our four Company Commanders were leading the class. We were told we had 40 minutes to burn 400 calories. And for added incentive, the first male and the first female to reach the 400 calorie goal would get to call home later in the day. As you can imagine, within ten minutes every recruit was sweating as if we were in a sauna. By the time we were done, we looked like we had gone for a swim in our physical fitness gear. Everyone tried hard, but there can only be one winner. Seaman Recruit Reyna went into beast mode and hit the mark first, he beat out Seaman Recruit Kierstead by 10 calories! For the girls, Seaman Recruit Hegar turned on the turbo jets and got it done fastest. The rest of us had nothing to show for our effort besides dusted leg muscles and funny walks. But, the company was happy for our shipmates. They earned their calls and I’m sure that was awesome for them and their families.The day wound down with two more classes, History I and II. We learned about Coast Guard History, Coast Guard Legends, and ships. And we studied the Coast Guard’s role in every war from WWI to our role today within the Department of Homeland Security. It was a day with roughly 06 ½ hours of class work and two tests. PAPA 188 was excited to continue this trend of actual training.
Recruit journal entry written by Seaman Recruit Weeks, T.R.

PAPA-188 Wednesday Week 03- “Doughnuts not Bagels”
Today was a day of ‘manys’. First off, it’s the last day of July. Who’s excited about that? Huh? We only have a hotter month ahead of us. We are also half way through week 03. To come this far with most of our company is an accomplishment.We were still woken up with a fire drill. And then we ran around a piece of the parade field lining up our boondockers, within a certain time objective of course. After chow we had a workout session on the weight machines. While we were in there, QUEBEC-188, the company that formed after us, was on the bikes. We had to double time it back to the squad bays when we were done to get changed back into our uniform of the day.

There was a short manual of arms class with Chief Hollenbeck where we learned how to carry our piece on our right shoulder. He emphasized that our grips had to be doughnuts, not New York Bagels. He even allowed one of our shipmates to call cadence and march us to our next class.Our classes consisted of advancement in the ranks, and another about leave and liberty. As soon as we were done with those, there was an I.T. session afterwards. Then there was another manual of arms session, only this time the permanent party personnel in Company Commander school taught us. We learned how to salute with our pieces, carry them on our left shoulder, present them and how to rattle off the nomenclature. It was definitely a change of pace, but worth it because we will be marching in the Sunset Parade this weekend in honor of the Coast Guard’s birthday.

There was a study hall today that some of the company went to. Others were at ceremonial and the rest were stuck running around part of the parade field greeting and identifying pictures of different enlisted personnel or officers. It was all practice.Oh, during one of our classes the RAMP Commanders suddenly came in and pulled one of our shipmates out. It startled all of us, and firmed in us the desire to stay out of RAMP, if possible.

At the end of the night, we had a visit from Chaplain Rochester. We got to hear a little slice of the outside world and discuss the day a bit. We cleaned the squad-bay and also had another manual of arms practice with Petty Officer Garver. Luckily no apocalypse descended onto our faces (for tonight) and we had mail / prayer time (there weren’t any musical/singing cards either). Just remember, doughnuts not bagels.
Recruit journal entry written by Seaman Recruit Waitman, C.L.

PAPA-188 Thursday Week 03-
We woke up to a gloomy morning here in Cape May. We had been told by Reverend Rochester Wednesday night that Thursday had 80% chance of showers with thunderstorms. He wasn’t kidding! We were hit with a torrential downpour around 0800 and it never really left. Luckily, (I’m not sure if that’s the right word), the Company was in the gym again, this time we were on the bikes for about a 40 minute session. Seaman Joyner led the class and really pushed us hard. It was nice to see a new face, and not have that face screaming at you! The rest of the day was spent running from meals to classrooms, until the afternoon. PAPA-188 made our first trip out to the “Seamanship” classroom today. Seamanship is along the banks of the bay PAPA was lucky enough to run by last Sunday, so if you read that post, then you know how great of a view it is out there. Upon arrival, we noticed a field behind the seamanship building that was full of moorings, fake piers, a fake Coast Guard Cutter deck with all the fixing to practice knots and other skills on. There was also what looked like a horse stable, but on further inspection turned out to be a gauntlet of ropes of all sizes tied hundreds of ways. It reminded me of an obstacle course and was kind of intimidating. We met our seamanship instructor inside. Petty Officer Douthit knows his stuff and seems to be excited to teach us this imperative knowledge. Which is good, considering he will instruct us for 66 hours over the next 5 weeks.

In the middle of learning about bows, stems, draft and super structures the rain came back, hard. Thunder shook the classroom and we could hear the rain pouring down. The classroom was a great place to hide from the storm. The inside reminded me of a wood shop. It smelled like wood in there and the carpentry stuck out. Not a bad place to spend three hours in a storm. But, like all things here at boot camp, feeling comfortable or content only lasts so long. Chief Hollenbeck came to march us back for dinner, so we donned our gortex rain suits, grabbed our backpacks and set out in the rain. Later in the day (once the rain had stopped again) PAPA took to the parade grounds to practice for our part in LIMA-188’s graduation tomorrow. We will do what we did last week, except this time we will not be the low man on the totem pole. QUEBEC-188 gets that distinction this week.

Practice went well (better than last week) and we headed off to the “house” to practice Manual of Arms outside our building (Munro Hall). We still have a lot of work to do on Manual of Arms. It was kind of embarrassing how sloppy we were tonight. But it will come. The squad-bay was full of recruits practicing moves with their pieces after our session had ended. The night ended with chewy bars and mail-call (best part of the day! Keep sending letters!). We’re all ready to send LIMA off tomorrow because that means we are one week closer to graduation!
Recruit journal entry written by Seaman Recruit Weeks, T.R.

PAPA-188 Friday Week 03- “One Step Forward and Two Steps Back”
This week has really flown by! The days were long, sure, but the overall week…man, we won’t catch it if we tried! We do need to catch some sense in the sounding off department, maybe snatch a little from the getting faster department too. But anyway, on to new stuff.Our morning began like any other, (which isn’t new per se) but we seem to be getting through the drills better. Then our first task of the day was a run around the parade field, four laps. Our first class was with Petty Officer Douthit who taught us the different cutters, boats, aircraft and stations of the Coast Guard. We had a couple of IT sessions, then prepared for LIMA-188’s graduation.

The graduation was spectacular, as usual, and we can only hope that ours will be like that, or even better! Our marching was a bit off this time, though luckily no one fell on their faces or passed out (not that they did the first time). That’s something to celebrate right?After the graduation we had a quick class with some of the Honor Guard. They showed us a clip of what they do and what they are about. Several of us were interested in learning more, so maybe some of our shipmates will be part of those ranks soon!

From there we marched to the Seamanship building for our next classes. There we learned the different types of line and what it’s used for, five basic knots and how they are used. We even got to practice a couple of the knots!Because we failed as a team, we had to walk ourselves back with our heads down in shame. We even had to start saying all the “ditties” that went along with all the movements we did. It even extended into chow so that we were thrown back into indoc week.

After chow, half of the company went to choir while the other half did remedials and IT. When the choir goers came back, they were put through the same treatment while the others got to work on their racks, get their clothes squared away, all that good stuff.The company was able to get together for about ten minutes to talk some things through. We still need to work on our teamwork, and this talk seemed to help us get into perspective what we should be doing, or at least should be trying to do. With that, we had manual or arms practice with Chief Hollenbeck. We want to get this down for the Sunset Parade. We have to! Let’s not make fools of ourselves PAPA-188. Although, during the training we had a karate chopper who had to stand at the bow of the squad bay and chop with his arm.

We did gain two new recruits, a male and a female. It seems like they just keep popping up out of nowhere! Our recruit that was sent to RAMP made it back in one piece, but others are scheduled for that train next week. If one can do it, the others can too! One day at a time though. Let’s see what tomorrow has in store for us.
Recruit journal entry written by Seaman Recruit Waitman, C.L.

PAPA-188 Saturday Week 03- “To the Rear~”

Our morning started like any other so far with us running around like chickens with their heads cut off. Well…maybe not quite that bad, but it’s still slightly on the comical side. Shh! Don’t tell anyone that was mentioned. Immediately after breakfast chow we marched off to Seamanship. The day was nice, with sun shining, birds singing, Company Commanders yelling…a normal day for us. We had Seamanship for the whole day though. We learned about the watch lookout, the billet roster and helmsman commands. Some of PAPA even got to practice on the simulators before class ended, at around 1700.

There was a break in between for lunch where we were given the opportunity to march ourselves. It seemed like we did rather well, until we got to the galley where we find out we were followed and that several shipmates took a fascination with a plane. Come on people, really? Oh well, we’ll pay for it one way or another. Which it may have happened, at least partially, when we were being marched back from lunch and had to do a lot of rear facing movements. If the goal was to get us dizzy, then that was definitely met!

After evening chow we had a line-up of IT and remedials. It ranged from sniper position, to ‘Fire Fire Fire,’ to holding our books out in front of us reciting ‘Discipline.’ PAPA-188, we need to get it together faster. Let’s stop marching “to the rear” and begin our march forward!
Recruit journal entry written by Seaman Recruit Waitman, C.L.

PAPA-188 Sunday Week 03- “Sing Alongs”
Last day of week 3! Who’s excited? PAPA-188 is~! We are practically halfway through our training. We’re pushing through though!
This morning we had our fire drill which we seemed a little motivated for. Maybe it was just the morning air. Anyway, we had an exciting day today. There was the daily training sessions with our pieces and without. We practiced for the Sunset Parade today, doing a lot of manual of arms drills. It was mainly right shoulder arms, port arms, present arms and then parade rest and attention.

After the practice we quickly had to change into our physical fitness gear. We were heading out on another company run! We started off on Munro Avenue like last time, heading down towards the armory. This time, however, instead of taking the paved road we took the “road less traveled” (really just a dirt road). We circled back around past the armory and down near the water like last time, but we kept going. We passed the security gate, went around the front of medical, by-passed the child care center and the track before making our way around the far side of the quad. It was probably around two, maybe two and a half miles, give or take. The best part about it were the chants (cadences). Chief Hollenbeck, Chief Duncan and Petty Officer Garver all ran with us, and they would call out cadence chants that we would repeat. That definitely put an extra bounce in everyone’s step! At the end of the run, a lot of us were like jelly. Our legs wouldn’t work right so we were kind of wobbling around. We were still invigorated and stepped off for chow in semi-good spirits. At all the chows we were quizzed on our required knowledge. Some of us knew it and some of us didn’t; something we need to work on.

We were I.T.’d before the Sunset Parade but the actual marching in it went well. There was no fire, no one passed out, so all was good. The Sunset Parade was in celebration of the Coast Guard’s birthday (today) when the Lighthouse Revenue Cutter Service was formed over 200 years ago. It was a wonderful parade.We marched with our pieces (hence all that practicing) and it was open to the public as well.

We had some training after the parade then some intense cleaning assignment. We all had to clean our squad-bays, ladder wells, heads and the Quarterdeck. Unfortunately, we failed our time objective, so we had to do a fire drill. When we came back in we learned that the permanent party personnel in Company Commander School would be waking us tomorrow, (they’re using PAPA and OSCAR to train). So we’ll see how that goes!
Recruit journal entry written by Seaman Recruit Waitman, C.L.
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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