Recruit Journal Tango-188 Week: 03

Recruit Journal Tango-188 Week: 03
Formed: August 20, 2013
Graduate: October 11, 2013


Today we will summarize the week a bit. We started out making many mistakes. Chief Blackman told us to move fast and pay attention to detail. Many of our mistakes were due to a failure of the two. We have begun to improve on detail, but are still struggling to move fast enough and make time deadlines. We have to practice putting on our uniforms and making our beds repeatedly. Hopefully, we will get it together soon so we don’t have to keep doing this.

Looking forward, we see that responsibility and accountability for ourselves will be at the forefront of this week’s challenges. Proper greetings, saluting, required knowledge, watch standing and all procedures learned apply. Ignorance will be no excuse.
We marched in the sunset parade today on base. Our marching and piece movements have come a long way. When we marched by the people in the stands, they cheered for us. It made me realize how enormous what we are doing is and also how important it is that we represent this organization well.

The company is getting stronger, physically. We are able to do more push-ups, sit-ups, lunges and flutter kicks than when we started. Although, our bodies feel tired. We are eager to continue and see just how strong we can get.

We are beginning to answer personnel correctly and with less panic as the week has progressed. Our teamwork has started, but has a long way to go. Everyone cannot be a leader, and we struggle with that. Chief Blackman told us how important followers are this week. Hopefully this coming week, people will accept this role. Everyone is really excited to see what the new week will bring.

This morning started out with a group run. We are learning to jog in formation. It is a nice change up from “fire! Fire! Fire!” We then had a swim circuit in the pool. It consisted of calisthenics and swimming from one side of the pool to the other side of the pool in short sprints. Everyone seemed to enjoy it. We also went in the water in ‘mustang suits.’ We learned a few way to conserve heat both alone and in small groups. The company enjoyed the activity.

People in the company are still missing attention to detail. Others are having trouble or refusing to sound off. We made a lot of mistakes today. We paid greatly in physically intensive incentive training. The company commanders appeared disappointed in our behavior today. In frustration, some of the company began to bicker. This did not progress our teamwork. Many were tested on their required knowledge today. Some passed, some did not. The company commanders are beginning to contemplate selections for RAMP (Recruit Aptitude and Motivational Program) based on these mistakes.

Both the females and males need to work on accepting positions as a follower still, as Chief Blackman instructed. People need to also work on LISTENING to each other. Most of us were very successful in some way before arriving here. We need to find each other’s strength and learn to use them.

Today we took classes on sexual assault and the Montgomery GI Bill/911 GI Bill. The Post 9/11 GI Bill has so much to offer us. The company is excited to have the opportunity in the future to further our education!

The company is definitely getting stronger physically. We are able to do more and for longer periods of time. Our voices have also returned. We struggled today, but make it through. We will learn from our mistakes and make tomorrow a better day.

There were several big steps today for our company. Some of us were sent to RAMP. This is wildly different from the normal schedule; those who were sent went for a variety of reasons. These included not sounding off, dirty laundry in their rack, and several other similar misdemeanors. Those who went will hopefully come back stronger and enthusiastic about continuing on in basic training.

We also had several classes. I was particularly interested in our first history class on the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard has a long background, but began under several different titles, including the Lighthouse Service and Life Saving Service. It was not until recently that the Coast Guard came under the Department of Homeland Security. With such a rich background, there is a sense of pride in the organization we are attempting to join.
The gym workout was also motivational. Despite its intensity, we were all able to perform and complete a round of exercises, including cherry pickers, squats, diamond push-ups and sit-ups.

All in all, we were able to have a day full of hard work and continued strives toward the levels of excellence our company commanders expect.

Today started out with physical training and our shipmates in RAMP started out with double timing (running). We had a full day today. Classes were instructed for roles and missions of the Coast Guard, leave, liberty and advancements.

Required knowledge was tested today. We were to recall general orders, the chain of command and spell out our names phonetically while under stress. This is an added challenge as opposed to just answering questions in the galley. We held our Coast Guard manuals out in front of us and also our pieces. The idea is that while in emergency situations, we will have various stresses upon us and must still be able to keep our composure and perform. I think the company did well with the added challenge.

We did an exercise today which the company really enjoyed. There were 04 lines; one line for each corner of the quad. One person on each line would hold up a picture of a Coast Guardsman in uniform. Once you gave the proper salute and/or greeting, you would sprint to the next line across the quad. The company enjoyed the exercise and the fact it was interactive and upbeat. It helped solidify some of the information we have been taught this week.
Tonight we saw the Chaplains Assistant. It gave us some time to smile and ask questions about the news, sports scores and boot camp itself. We ended today with more enthusiasm than yesterday. We were louder and stronger. I think we have turned a corner.

“Fire! Fire! Fire!” the day began. Many start their day before the rest of the company however. The company yeoman has a huge administrative task. Yeoman are up later and rise earlier than everyone else. They must know where all 54 attached are at all times and file most paperwork. Our three yeoman are getting better each day; the job is growing on them. They are considering striking the position and remaining yeoman for their careers.

We had a hard core cycle workout today with one minute intervals followed by short sprints. Those that had their wisdom teeth removed yesterday filled canteens as we all sweat out the water inside us: good teamwork!

We started seamanship class today. We covered a lot of nautical terms and definitions. The class did well with the material. Unfortunately, we received a very poor review from our instructor and a warrant officer inside the building, regardless of their teaching style, we are to remain with complete military bearing. Many in the class did not do this we lost our bearing both inside lecture and outside the classroom during breaks. The instructor was not addressed properly, corners were not squared, and shipmates were “smoking and joking”. We failed as a team. Those that did not pull them up failed just the same. Both our company commanders and our lead company commander, Chief Blackman, were extremely disappointed we let them down. We will continue with seamanship class tomorrow. The best way to show our respect will be to act appropriately, without flaw. We need to start taking pride in ourselves as a team and as Tango-188. We are the only Tango-188 that will exist, so we need to make the days count and build a better reputation for ourselves.

The days are passing quickly. We practiced this evening for the recruit graduation tomorrow. Another week closer to our own. I saw an improvement in our marching from last week. Small steps forward and big lessons learned today. Tomorrow is another day and another opportunity for us to improve.

We started this morning with our physical fitness exam. After taking it two weeks ago, it was nice to see visible improvement. Not everyone passed all parts. However, all are now closer to the goal. Most of the company left the track in good spirits.

We had 03 seamanship classes today; the classes consisted of vessel and aircraft identification, lines and different types of knots we will use in the field. The company behaved much better today. If we feel tired during class, we are to stand in the back of the classroom. Three of our shipmates fell asleep in class however, which did not please our instructor. The company paid with incentive training. Two steps forward, one step back.

We attended PAPA-188’s graduation this afternoon. Our marching and close order drill looked sharper this week. It was encouraging to see our shipmates become Seaman and Seaman Apprentices.

We moved our squad bays at the end of the evening. We are still in Munro Hall, but one deck higher. We are getting quicker at organizing our racks and cleaning the squad bays. Not only are shipmates beginning to work with a sense of urgency, but our teamwork felt as if it improved today as well. I spoke with the females today to discuss what a sense of urgency is, how it applies to emergency situations and how it directly affects the outcome. We discussed the role of a follower as a listener and how to focus on the task at hand. Another shipmate encouraged the females as well. I noticed a marked improvement as we relocated this evening. As we begin to have small successes in communication and team work, the group’s pride and energy increases. I am eager to see us improve and start making time objectives, as one unit.

Today was a full day. We had seamanship class from 0800-1700. We learned helmsman commands and watch quarter station bills. We got to practice the commands on simulators. It was a neat introduction. Most of us will need a lot more practice before steering a cutter.

We also practiced tying the 05 knots we learned yesterday in class. Our company always enjoys practicing skills and the second half of the day was mostly that. Our behavior in the classroom improved again today. Only one “sleeper” in class today also. We are working as a team to keep an eye on each other and encourage the right behavior. The company is starting to see that if one fails, we all fail.

We have finally found our voices. Chief Blackman reminds us frequently that we can be louder; he wants us to “rattle the windows”. He expects multiple echoes from sounding off, bouncing off the barracks. Well today we were loud. We rattled those windows. It was uplifting. It seemed the more we did it, the more contagious it became. It felt as if we were one.

We had our first rucksack inspection today. There are specific things we must carry in our rucksacks and only those things. The company’s main offense appeared to be trash. The company commanders also check to make sure no one is writing notes to shipmates or letters home in our notebooks for class. None of us were guilty of this offense, which is a major offense.

Petty Officer Perez seemed content that “no one was being sneaky”. He said he can fix the trash issue and straighten us up, but he cannot fix integrity and honor. It felt like we did something right as a team. Integrity and honor are extremely important to the Coast Guard. This company did not, and will not, give that away.

Between our sounding off and meeting some time objectives today, we did less physical incentive training. This means we got to practice as a group with our pieces. The company enjoys practicing manual of arms movements. Visual improvements were seen today. We added “left shoulder arms” to our toolbox this evening; hopefully this will encourage the company to keep getting louder and move faster, so that we can do the stuff we enjoy and continue to learn.

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.