Recruit Journal Quebec 188 Week: 05

Recruit Journal Quebec 188 Week: 05
Formed: July 23, 2013
Graduate: September 13, 2013

International Maritime Signal Flag Quebec

International Maritime Signal Flag Quebec

WEEK 05
19AUG13 MONDAY

IT WAS A ROUGH MORNING FOR QUEBEC COMPANY. WE WERE WOKEN TEN MINUTES EARLIER THAN USUAL, DID OUR MORNING INCENTIVE TRAINING SESSION, AND HAD MAYBE TEN MINUTES TO CHANGE INTO OUR UNIFORMS AND BOONDOCKERS (BOOTS), SECURE OUR HAIR (OR SHAVE), MAKE OUR RACKS, BRUSH OUR TEETH, AND LINE UP OUTSIDE. IT WAS INTENSE, BUT WE WERE EXTREMELY FOCUSED AND WE SURPRISINGLY GOT IT DONE AS A COMPANY. WHEN WE GOT TO THE GALLEY FOR MORNING CHOW, PETTY OFFICER RUFF LINED US UP AND ASKED EVERYONE TO ANSWER QUESTIONS. SINCE IT’S NOW WEEK 05, WE WERE ASKED A WHOLE LOT OF NEW QUESTIONS WE’VE NEVER BEEN ASKED. ABOUT HALF OF THE COMPANY HAD TO FILL OUT PERFORMANCE TRACKERS FOR NOT KNOWING REQUIRED KNOWLEDGE (BAD RECORDS FILED IN OUR TRAINING RECORDS). IT WASN’T A GREAT START, BUT IT WAS A GOOD SLAP IN THE FACE TO WAKE US UP TO HOW THIS WEEK WILL BE. WE’RE GETTING THE “FIREHOSE TREATMENT,” AS THEY CALL IT, TAKING IN INFORMATION AS IF DRINKING FROM A FIREHOSE.

THIS AFTERNOON WE WENT TO OUR SEAMANSHIP CLASS AND LEARNED HOW TO SPEAK OVER THE RADIO LIKE WE WOULD AT A SMALL BOAT STATION. WE PRACTICED ON WALKIE-TALKIES AND RECORDED WHAT WAS SPOKEN ONTO RADIO LOG SHEETS. IT WAS A TYPICAL DAY UNTIL ONE OF THE CHIEFS STORMED IN THROUGH THE DOOR AND TOLD ONE OF OUR SHIPMATES TO “PACK HIS CRAP” AND GET OUT BECAUSE HE WAS BEING REVERTED. IT WAS STARTLING; WE FELT SAD FOR HIM, BUT THAT’S HOW RECRUIT TRAINING GOES SOMETIMES. WE RECEIVED A NEW SHIPMATE AS WELL.

THIS EVENING WE SPENT THE MAJORITY OF OUR TIME PRACTICING DRILL WITH OUR PIECES (RIFLES). THE SECTION COMMANDER IS GOING TO EVALUATE US AS A COMPANY ON OUR DRILL ABILITY, SO WE’VE BEEN CRITIQUING EACH OTHER EVERY DAY. PETTY OFFICER RUFF FOUND TRASH IN THE MALE HEAD THIS MORNING, SO WE ARE PAYING FOR IT. IT’S NO FUN TO HAVE AN INTENSE INCENTIVE TRANING SESSION BEFORE BED. PETTY OFFICER WILLIAMS SAYS IF WE TIGHTEN UP, HE’LL LOOSEN UP. ONLY TIME WILL TELL.

20AUG13 TUESDAY
TODAY WAS A BIT OF A TRAIN WRECK FOR OUR COMPANY. THIS MORNING, IT WAS DISCOVERED THAT A FEW OF MY SHIPMATES SLIPPED UP: ONE SHIPMATE LEFT HER WATCH DUTY EARLY, ONE SHIPMATE CHANGED HIS WAKE UP TIME TO WAKE UP EARLIER THAN HE WAS SUPPOSED TO, AND ONE SHIPMATE LEFT HIS SHOE-SHINING KIT UNDER HIS RACK INSTEAD OF INSIDE IT. PETTY OFFICER WILLIAMS WAS PRETTY FURIOUS AT US. WE HAD TO WALK AROUND THE REGIMENT DISORGANIZED WITH OUR HANDS IN OUR POCKETS.
IT’S TRULY EMBARRASSING WHEN WE WANT TO PRIDEFULLY MARCH, BUT INSTEAD LOOK ENTIRELY UNMILITARY. AT THIS POINT IN OUR TRAINING, WE WANT TO BE THE LOUD PROUD COMPNAY, BUT WE STILL HAVEN’T HIT OUR STRIDE. AFTER MORNING CHOW (AND A BIT OF PUNISHING) WE WENT TO THE UNIFORM DISTRIBUTION CENTER AND GOT FITTED FOR OUR DRESS UNIFORMS.

IT WAS EXCITING TO SEE OURSELVES IN SUCH NICE UNIFORMS. WE GET TO WEAR THEM FOR OFF-BASE LIBERTY; OUR COMPANY WANTS TO GO EAT AT A NICE PLACE AND BASK IN THE FEELINGS OF BEING REAL MILITARY PERSONNEL IN PUBLIC FOR THE FIRST TIME. THIS AFTERNOON IN OUR SEAMANSHIP CLASS, OUR INSTRUCTOR PETTY OFFICER THOMPSON KNEW WE WERE HAVING A ROUGH DAY AND GAVE US AN ENCOURANGING TALK ABOUT PULLING OUR SHIPIMATES UP WHEN WE MAKE MISTAKES AND GET A BEATING, INSTEAD OF TURNING ON EACH OTHER AND PLACING BLAME.

IT MADE A LOT OF SENSE, BUT APPARENTLY NOT TO EVERYONE IN MY COMPANY. THIS EVENING ONE OF OUR SHIPMATES GOT REVERTED FOR THREATENING ANOTHER SHIPMATE. SOMEONE TOOK CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM PERSONALLY AND IT ESCALATED FROM THERE. IT WAS SO UNEXPECTED CONSIDERING HOW HARD WE’VE BEEN TRYING TO COME TOGETHER AS A TEAM.
MORALE WAS LOW TODAY AND IT BROUGHT OUT THE BAD IN A FEW OF US, BUT NOW IN WEEK 05, WEAKNESSES LIKE THAT ARE NO LONGER TOLERATED. IT’S EXTREMELY UNFORTUNATE WE LOST ANOTHER SHIPMATE, BUT WE’RE ROLLING WITH EVERYTHING BOOTCAMP IS THROWING AT US AND AS A WHOLE WE CONTINUE TO STRENGTHEN.

21AUG13 WEDNESDAY
TODAY WAS AN INCREDIBLY POSITIVE DAY FOR QUEBEC COMPANY. WE OPERATED LIKE CLOCKWORK THIS MORNING. AFTER THE MORNING INCENTIVE TRAINING SESSION, WE RAN UPSTAIRS TO OUR SQUAD BAY AND GOT DRESSED; WE WERE MAKING EACH OTHER’S RACKS, AND FOLDING EACH OTHER’S CLOTHES, AND ZIPPED BACK OUTSIDE TO MEET OUR TIME OBJECTIVE OF GETTING READY IN LESS THAN TEN MINUTES. UP UNTIL THIS POINT, OUR SQUADBAY WAS LIKE A HURRICANE OF CLOTHES, HAIR GEL AND SHEETS. DURING THE MORNING, WE MADE A CONSCIOUS DECISION TO MAKE TODAY AWESOME AND IT WORKED.

AFTER CHOW, WE RAN AROUND THE TRACK WITH PETTY OFFICER ENDICOTT AND GOT READY FOR CLASS. TODAY WAS OUR SEAMANSHIP MIDTERM EXAM AND I BELIEVE OUR COMPANY’S TEST AVERAGE WAS IN THE HIGH 90’S. AFTER THE TEST CAME THE FUN PART: PFD’S (PERSONAL FLOATATION DEVICES). PETTY OFFICER THOMPSON BROUGHT US INTO A BIG ROOM FULL OF LIFE JACKETS AND WE PRACTICED PUTTING THEM ON. THEN, HE TIMED US FOR 40 SECONDS, THEN 20, THEN 10. I THINK WE WERE ALL DEAD BY THEN.

ACCORDING TO PETTY OFFICER THOMPSON, THE RECORD FOR SECURING IT THE FASTEST IS 08 SECONDS, AND THAT RECRUIT WAS AT RAMP (RECRUIT APTITUDE MOTIVATION PROGRAM) A FEW TIMES (RAMP IS A PROGRAM WHERE RECRUITS ARE SENT TO GET THEIR ATTITUDES AND MOTIVATION ADJUSTED VIA INTENSE INCENTIVE TRAINING, OFTEN WEARING PDF’S).
AFTER CLASS, WE GOT TO MARCH OURSELVES TO EVENING CHOW. WE WERE SO THRILLED FOR THE PRIVILEGE TO DEMONSTRATE OUR ABILITY TO OPERATE UNSUPERVISED, AND FOR NO LONGER HAVING TO MARCH WITH OUR HANDS IN OUR POCKETS. AFTER CHOW, THE COMPANY SPLIT UP. SOME WENT TO DRILL AND CEREMONIAL PRACTICE, SOME WENT TO THE CHAPEL, AND SOME CLEANED CLASSROOMS.

TONIGHT, SADLY, WAS OUR LAST SQUADBAY VISIT FROM THE CHAPLAIN. WE’VE CHERISHED THE VISITS EVERY WEDNESDAY NIGHT, BUT TONIGHT ESPECIALLY. CHAPLAIN ROCHESTER KNEW WE ARE RECEIVING OUR FIRST DUTY STATION ORDERS SOON AND LEFT US WITH SOME OF THE GREATES ADVICE WE’VE GOTTEN YET. MANY OF US ARE NERVOUS THAT WE WILL HATE WHERE WE ARE STATIONED, BUT CHAPLAIN ROCHESTER’S ADVICE TO US WAS THAT WHETHER YOU’RE IN ALASKA, A SANDY BEACH, OR A CUTTER, THE ONLY THING THAT WILL TRULY AFFECT YOUR HAPPINESS AND DEVOTION TO DUTY IS YOUR SHIPMATES.

AS LONG AS CAMARADERIE PREVAILS THROUGHOUT THE COAST GUARD AND WE ALWAYS LOOK OUT FOR ONE ANOTHER, THE LOCATION WILL BE A FRIVOLOUS DETAIL OF OUR LIVES. IT MADE US ALL FEEL A THOUSAND TIMES LESS APPREHENSIVE, BECAUSE HE WAS RIGHT. HE ASKED US ALL WHAT HAS THE HIGHLIGHT OF BOOTCAMP BEEN SO FAR, AND ALMOST IN UNISON OUR COMPANY SAID TODAY. WE’RE DEFINITELY BECOMING QUEBEC-188.

22AUG13 THURSDAY
IT STARTED OFF WITH ANOTHER HECTIC TEN MINUTE MORNING FOR QUEBEC. WE ALL FOCUSED AND HURRIED TO GET READY, BUT IN THE BACK OF EVERYONE’S MINDS WE KNEW TODAY WAS THE DAY WE WERE GETTING OUR ORDERS TO OUR FIRST DUTY STATIONS. IT WAS ALL ANYONE COULD THINK ABOUT.

WHEN WERE OUR COMPANY COMMANDERS GOING TO TELL US? HOW ARE THEY GOING TO TELL US? ARE WE GOING TO HAVE TO DO A MILLION PUSH-UPS FOR IT? AFTER MORNING CHOW, WE WORKED OUT IN THE GYM AND THEN WENT TO SEAMANSHIP CLASS. THE ORDERS WERE ON HIS MIND TOO, AS HE EXCITEDLY ASKED US IF WE FOUND OUT YET.

THE DAY DRAGGED ON AS OUR ANTICIPATION BUILT. WE WENT TO ANOTHER CLASS ABOUT PERSONAL FINANCE AND RETIREMENT PLANS THAT WAS PAINFULLY BORING, AND AS THE CLASS ENDED AND WE PACKED UP, IN WALKED ALL FOUR OF OUR COMPANY COMMANDERS. PETTY OFFICER WILLIAMS STOOD AT THE PODIUM, AND THE BIG PROJECTION SCREEN BEHIND HIM HAD THE WORDS “QUEBEC-188 ORDERS.”

OUR HEARTS WERE POUNDING AND OUR STOMACHS SANK. PETTY OFFICER WILLIAMS SHOWED US BEAUTIFUL PICTURES OF COAST GUARD CUTTERS AND ONE BY ONE TOLD US WHICH ONE WE WERE GOING TO. OUT OF QUEBEC-188, I THINK ONLY 02 ARE NOT GOING TO A CUTTER. WHEN WE FIRST GOT HERE, A LOT UF US DIDN’T WANT TO GO TO A CUTTER, BUT AFTER LEARNING ABOUT ALL THE MISSIONS AND LOCATIONS, THE WHOLE COMPANY IS PRETTY THRILLED ABOUT IT (EXCEPT FOR ONE SHIPMATE WHO IS GOING TO A SWAMPY PLACE IN LOUISIANA).

WE WENT TO THE LEARNING RESOURCE CENTER TO DO A LITTLE ONLINE RESEARCH ABOUT OUR STATIONS. AFTER THAT WAS OUR COMPANY BLOOD DRIVE. MANY OF US WEREN’T ELIGIBLE TO GIVE BLOOD DUE TO ALL THE VACCINATIONS WE RECEIVED UPON ARRIVING. WE HAD A BIT OF FREE TIME TO CLEAN AND STUDY AS PETTY OFFICER ENDICOTT AND CHIEF MCKENNA TESTED US ON ALL THE KNOWLEDGE WE HAVE TO KNOW THIS WEEK.

23AUG13 FRIDAY
TODAY RAN PRETTY SMOOTHLY FOR QUEBEC-188, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF A MINOR HICCUP THIS MORNING. IT BEGAIN WITH THE FIRE DRILL AT 0520, IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWED BY MORNING CHOW. USUALLY ON FRIDAYS THE REGIMENT PREPARES FOR GRADUATION, BUT THERE WASN’T A GRADUATION COMPANY THIS WEEK SO WE SPENT THE MORNING PREPARING FOR OUR UNIFORM INSPECTION.

WHEN WE WERE ISSUED OUR OPERATIONAL DRESS UNIFORMS AT THE BEGINNING OF RECRUIT TRAINING, WE SET ONE UNIFORM ASIDE TO HANG IN THE BACK OF THE SQUADBAY, NEVER TO BE WORN. THROUGHOUT THE LAST MONTH WE’VE BEEN GIVEN LOTS OF TIME TO WORK ON THIS ONE UNIFORM (IRONING, CLIPPING LOOSE THREADS, LINT ROLLING, AND MORE IRONING). ALL THAT WORK LED UP TO THIS DAY. IT WAS A BIT STRESSFUL, ESPECIALLY AFTER PETTY OFFICER WILLIAMS WARNED US THAT RECRUITS GET SENT TO RAMP FROM HAVING A LOOSE THREAD ON THEIR UNIFORM DURING INSPECTION.

WE FRANTICALLY SHINED OUR BOONDOCKERS AND STARCHED OUR TROUSERS, AND THEN IT WAS TIME TO LINE UP. WE GOT INTO FORMATION OUTSIDE OF HEALY HALL (WHERE WE LIVE) AND THERE WAS A BIG GROUP OF CHIEFS, SENIOR CHIEFS, AND MASTER CHIEFS WEARING DRESS BLUES. IT WAS VERY INTIMIDATING, WE HAD NO IDEA WHAT WAS GOING ON. ALL WE COULD THINK ABOUT WAS IF OUR BOONDOCKERS WERE SHINY ENOUGH OR IF OUR SLEEVES WERE ROLLED PROPERLY. WE STOOD THERE FROZEN AS THE CHIEFS APPROACHED US AND STOOD BEFORE US, EYEING US HEAD TO TOE AND ASKING US QUESTIONS ABOUT OUR ELEVEN GENERAL ORDERS, OR COLLAR DEVICES OF DIFFERENT RANKS.

THEY WENT DOWN THE LINE, AND WE DID PRETTY WELL EXCEPT OR A FEW MALES WHOSE FACES WEREN’T CLEAN SHAVEN. THEY TOLD US TO GO BACK TO OUR SQUADBAYS TO SPEAK WITH US AS NORMAL PEOPLE. IT WAS A GREAT EXPERIENCE TO SPEAK WITH ALL OF THEM. AT FIRST WE WERE INTIMIDATED, BUT THEY ALL HAD DIFFERENT RATES AND GAVE US ADVICES ON JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING FOR EACH RATE WE WERE INTERESTED IN.

THEN WE HAD TO DO A FIRE DRILL TO GET BACK TO BOOTCAMP MODE AND PAY FOR NOT GETTING A PERFECT SCORE. WE SPENT THE REST OF THE DAY PRACTICING DRILL WITH OUR PIECES AND LEARNING ABOUT HOW WE WILL GET TO OUR FIRST DUTY STATIONS.

LIFE OUTSIDE OF BOOT CAMP FEELS SO TANGIBLE NOW THAT WE HAVE OUR ORDERS. IT FEELS GOOD TO KNOW WE FINALLY HAVE A MISSION WAITING FOR US; ONLY A FEW VERY SHORT AND VERY LONG WEEKS TO GO. THIS EVENING WE GOT TO MAKE OUR FIRST PHONE CALLS. IT WAS EXCITING, BUT UNFORTUNATELY THERE WAS NO CHIT CHAT ALLOWED, ONLY DISCUSSIONS ABOUT TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS.

EVEN SO, IT FELT GREAT TO HEAR OUR LOVED –ONE’S VOICES IF ONLY FOR ABOUT A MINUTE OR TWO. THINGS ARE HAPPENING VERY QUICKLY FOR QUEBEC NOW. IT’S MORE AND MORE EXCITING EVERY DAY AS OUR ANTICIPATION GROWS TO JOIN THE FLEET.

24AUG13 SATURDAY
IT WAS A VERY EVENTFUL DAY FOR QUEBEC. LIKE ALWAYS, WE RAN OUT OF BED BEFORE SUNRISE TO DO OUR PUSH UPS AND SQUATS BEFORE THE SUN ROSE. AFTER MORNING CHOW, WE PRACTED MANUAL OF ARMS (RIFLE DRILL). AND THEN WE HEARD THE WORDS WE WERE ANXIOUSLY WAITING FOR: “TAKE OFF YOUR BLOUSES, JEWELRY, AND GET A FULL CANTEEN AND LINE UP!” WE FINALLY GOT TO EXPERIENCE THE CONFIDENCE COURSE (AN OBSTACLE COURSE CONSISTING OF HURDLES, BARS TO PULL YOUR SELF OVER, CARGO NETS, A WALL TO CLIMB OVER, AND SOME OTHERS, ENDING WITH A ROPE WITH A BELL AT THE TOP).

IT WAS SO MUCH FUN TO CHEER ON ALL OUR SHIPMATES AS THEY ATTEMPTED EACH OBSTACLE, BUT EVEN MORE FUN TO ACTUALLY GET TO COMPLETE THE WHOLE COURSE. IT WAS ALMOST LIKE BEING ON AN ADULT SIZED PLAYGROUND, MINUS THE PRESSURES OF YOUR COMPANY COMMANDERS AND A CAPTAIN THERE TO OBSERVE.

WE KEPT OUR COMPOSURE AS A COMPANY AND COMPLETED IT IN A MILITARY MANNER, AND THEN THE CAPTAIN JOINED US FOR AFTERNNOON CHOW. HE IS OUR COMPANY MENTOR; WE’VE HAD ONE SESSION WITH HIM 02 WEEKS AGO, WHEN WE WERE STILL PRETTY BEATEN UP AS A COMPANY. HE SAID HE NOTICED DRASTIC CHANGES IN HOW WE INTERACT WITH ONE ANOTHER, AND HOW WE CARRY OURSELVES NOW WITH SOME PRIDE AND CONFIDENCE, AND HOW WE NOW LOOK AND ACT AS MEMBERS OF THE US MILITARY.

IT’S AMAZING WHAT BOOTCAMP CAN DO IN SUCH A SMALL AMOUNT OF TIME. 02 WEEKS FEELS LIKE AN ABSOLUTE ETERNITY FOR US HERE, BUT IN THE GRAND SCHEME OF THINGS, IT’S NOT THAT LONG. BUT THE CHANGES ARE BIG.WE SAT AND TALKED WITH THE CAPTAIN FOR AN HOUR OR SO AS EVERYONE ASKED HIM QUESTIONS ABOUT OUR NEW DUTY STATIONS. THE NEXT TIME WE SEE HIM WILL BE ON OUR GRADUATION DAY.

AFTER HE BID US FAREWELL, PETTY OFFICER ENDICOTT HAD A TEAM BUILDING EXERCISE FOR US. WE RETRIEVED 03 GIANT LINES (ROPES) AND TIED THEM, END TO END, SO IT EXTENDED NEARLY THE ENTIRE LENGTH OF THE PARADE FIELD. THE LINES ARE THICK AND IT WAS DIFFICULT TO DRAG ACROSS THE CONCRETE SIDWALK.

04 SHIPMATES AT A TIME HAD TO DRAG ONE END OF THE LINE ALL THE WAY DOWN ALONGSIDE THE PARADE FIELD UNTIL IT WAS COMPLETELY STRAIGHT, THEN WE HAD 70 SECONDS TO DRAG IN THE LINE AND FAKE IT NEATLY ON THE GROUND. IT’S NOT MUCH TIME TO PULL IN SUCH A LONG, HEAVY LINE ALL WHILE FAKING IT NEATLY. IT REQUIRED SEVERAL DIFFERENT ROLES TO MAKE IT HAPPEN: GENERALLY IT WAS ABOUT 04 RECRUITS ON THE GROUND SECURING THE LINE IN PLACE, 04 HANDING THE LINE IN TO THE RECRUITS ON THE GROUND, AND THE REMAINDER PULLING THE LINE IN. IT WAS A VERY DIFFICULT EXERCISE BUT WE CAME TOGETHER AS A TEAM AND FIGURED IT OUT SO QUICKLY.

IT INSTILLED US WITH PRIDE BECAUSE WE KNOW THERE IS NO WAY WE COULD HAVE DONE THIS A FEW WEEKS AGO. WE DIDN’T MAKE IT IN 70 SECONDS EVERY TIME, BUT WE QUICKLY ESTABLISHED A PLAN AND CHOSE A NEW LEADER EVERY ATTEMPT TO SEE WHICH METHODS WORKED MOST EFFECTIVELY. WE ENDED THE DAY WITH CLEANING, SHOWERS, AND MAIL. TOMORROW IS OUR LAST DAY OF WEEK 05 AND THEN A WHOLE NEW SET OF CHALLENGES WILL MEET US.

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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