Recruit Journal Quebec 188 Week: Ø7

Recruit Journal Quebec 188 Week: Ø7
Formed: July 23, 2013
Graduate: September 13, 2013

Ø2SEP13 Monday
We were all nervous to start week Ø7, but it turned out to be a pretty good day. All of our chow times are pushed back and hour or two, so that’s a pretty refreshing change. It was terrible having your first meal at Ø545 and your last at 163Ø. So now we’re eating at normal times. We had time before breakfast to go to the gym as a company, which also made starting the day a little better. After breakfast, we spent all day until evening chow with Petty Officer Herms learning about First Aid and CPR. We divided into small groups where one shipmate strapped on a bunch of fake wounds and lacerations and the rest of the team properly dressed and splinted the “wounded” shipmate. On big cutters, there’s usually only one Health Services Technician so it’s important everyone knows something about First Aid. Next came CPR lessons. We went into the gym and each got a plastic adult torso and plastic infant to practice resuscitating. The little infants were kind of scary; it was like a small army of alien robots with no eyes.
When we left class and came back to the squad bay, it was time to weigh in on the scale. There were a few shipmates who were worried about being too heavy, but I think we were all within our weight standards. It’s actually a little surprising that no one was too heavy because we stuff our faces like Olympic food eaters every day. Those daily fire drills must really be working in our favor. This evening after evening chow, we went for a company run with Petty Officer Endicott. We didn’t run off base through the neighborhood; this time we ran down by the water as the sun was getting low and the view was beautiful. There were boats and birds and a pink and orange sky. I liked running in a secluded area more than off base because it just felt like a Quebec –only activity. We got to run with just us. It was good bonding time, and we also all bonded in the fact that we were all struggling not to throw up. It was a pretty and peaceful run, but it was definitely not fun to run immediately after eating. I think some of us pigged out a little more than usual because we made weight, so that didn’t help either. Lesson learned!

Ø3SEP13 Tuesday
This morning is probably the only morning we have considered fun so far. We hopped out of our racks and Petty Officer Ruff marched us outside to a couple of trucks waiting on us. Chief Warrant Officer (CWO2) Brzuska, the one who takes the boot camp photos, was waiting on the back of one of the trucks to film us running and singing cadences. We ran up and down the streets singing until the sun finally rose and we were drenched. The video is going on YouTube so we’re all looking forward to seeing it when we get home.
Seamanship class this morning was also fun. We practiced proper technique for throwing lines off a boat for mooring or rescue purposes. We took our final exam for seamanship and I think we did really well as a company. I think our last class with Petty Officer Thompson is tomorrow and we’re all pretty sad about that. He’s been an amazing instructor and made everything we’ve learned incredibly fun.
This afternoon was the time we’ve all been dreading and stressing over. We had a Tropical Dress Blue uniform inspection by the Battalion Officer Lieutenant Stiefel, then a close order drill test by our Section Commander Chief Johnson. The uniform inspection went very well. Ms. Stiefel was very nice to us and gave us advice about keeping up our appearances once we’re in the fleet. She said we were one of the best looking companies she’s inspected and we wore our uniforms well. We changed back into our Operational Dress Uniform and lined up for our drill test.
We were told to study hard for this because we would be lined up and called at random to stand before Chief Johnson and answer general knowledge questions about everything we’ve learned in boot camp, and anyone who got an answer wrong would be reverted. We were all sick with nervousness. The drill test began and we marched all over the regiment and executed various drill movements. When we finished, Chief Johnson acted thoroughly disgusted with our performance. Our stomachs sank as the terror set in that Petty Officer Williams is going to beat us to death for this. After Chief Johnson had his fun terrorizing us, he said we scored 1Ø out of 1Ø and that we “March like bosses.” What a relief!
As for the questioning, he only asked one person a few easy questions and that was it. We’ve been frantically studying and cramming for this moment for days – we thought for sure people were going to be reverted and today would be terrible and thankfully it was the opposite. As a reward, Petty Officer Williams is now allowing us to have a dessert at chow, and we got to clap once more. That’s a total of Ø3 claps for us! Quebec is doing great, but we still have a few more obstacles coming our way before we graduate.
Ø4SEP13 Wednesday
Week Ø7 has treated us nicely thus far. We earned a seamanship pennant to put on Suzie-Q (our company flag) for doing so well on our final yesterday. That’s another “one clap” for Quebec! Four so far! We’re all upset that today was our last seamanship class. Although we’ve overcome a lot of obstacles this week, we still have a random squad bay inspection that we can get hit with at any moment, so that’s definitely keeping the tension high. This is another big thing Week Ø7 recruits get reverted for, or so we’ve been told. If your shoes are not lined up straight or your rack isn’t made properly it could mean Romeo Company for us, and nobody wants that. Aside from class and chow, we’ve had a bit of open time to contact our units or arrange traveling. We’re also currently trying to decide where to take our company photo, which we can order at graduation. The end may be near, but at the same time it’s like balancing a glass on your nose. If you’re careful everything will be fine, or one little bump and everything shatters. It’s exhausting to have so many mixed emotions, being constantly stressed and excited and nervous and scared, but I know Quebec will do great.

Ø5SEP13 Thursday
Today has been pretty exhausting. We went to the gym first thing in the morning and worked out hard. Then immediately after morning chow we spent at least Ø3 hours marching and singing cadences while being filmed again. It was fun and I can’t wait to see us online, but by the end of filming our feet and voices were killing us. One cadence was particularly touching: it was about a Coast Guardsman who died last December. He sacrificed his life to save his shipmate and he had a pregnant wife with two kids at home. The cadence is directed toward Rachel, the wife.
This afternoon we signed our orders to finalize them, and then we had a class about STD’s. Myself and Ø7 shipmates missed that class to go get qualified on M16’s because we are participating in a September 11th ceremony with a 21 gun salute. I’m not sure where it will be held, but I’m pretty excited and honored to take part in such a big event. We learned about all the different types of ammunition, how to load, unload, field strip, and emergency procedures. After that, the company helped set up for the graduation of Papa-188 tomorrow. After tomorrow it will be Quebec’s turn at last.
We still haven’t had our random squad bay inspection but I feel pretty confident about it. We’ve been scrubbing away at everything. If we don’t do well, we’ll probably receive excessive amounts of incentive training sessions, but hopefully no reversions. Tonight we had a contest to see who would win the manual of arms award at graduation. A company commander from Romeo-188 came into the squad bay to call our orders and choose a winner by process of elimination. So far we have a seamanship award winner and manual of arms winner. There’s several more left, we’re all excited to find out who‘s getting what. Just one more long week until we find out.

Ø6SEP13 Friday
Today Papa-188 graduated, which means we are now the senior company. This afternoon after Papa left, our company commanders marched us to the regimental flag pole where we proudly raised our colors to the top. We also earned two more pennants today: one for our company averaging over 9Ø% on the final exam and one awarded to us from our company commanders. Petty Officer Williams said we are one of the best companies he’s ever had. We’ve done well on every test, inspection, marksmanship, seamanship, and we came together as a team faster than the average company. It felt great for us to hear those words. If someone told me four or five weeks ago he would say that, I probably wouldn’t believe them. We truly have transformed and bonded. We got another “one clap,” so that’s five so far! Afterwards we got to do the confidence course again. Many of us improved and did parts of the obstacle we couldn’t do before. This evening was a blast at choir. Almost the entire company went and we got to stand up on the stage together to sing in front of all the other companies. It was a special moment for us and it felt great for everyone to applaud us and yell “Go Quebec!!!” this evening we plugged our phones back in to get ready for off base liberty tomorrow. We’ve also selected the award winners for most improved, best shipmate, and myself and another shipmate are finalists for the physical fitness award. We will determine the winner on Sunday by running. Wish us luck!

Ø7SEP13 Saturday
Today was our off-base liberty! It was an exciting day to wake up to. We ate breakfast, changed into our Tropical Blue Dress uniforms, and Petty Officer Williams briefed us on all the rules we must follow. We sang cadence as he marched us off base and released us to the “circling vultures” (the cab drivers anticipating us). We split up into a few groups as well wanted to see different towns. Some shipmates just rented a room to sleep in. The group I was with walked along the boardwalk in Cape May and looked at all the shops. We went to a coffee shop and the people there applauded us and thanked us for our service. I’m not going to lie, the attention we got everywhere we went felt great. Before we blended in and now after receiving countless beatings and constantly rebuilding, we’re shaping up to be real Coasties and the public noticed. We definitely felt humbled in our blue uniforms.
We had lunch at one of the local cafes and enjoyed walking around the Cape May area. After being in boot camp in Cape May, it was hard to realize that it’s actually a beautiful place. It doesn’t feel too beautiful being confined to these walls, but it’s starting not to look as bad as it used to. We left Cape May to go to Rio Grande for dinner at Five Guys and meet up with more shipmates. I talked a few of my male shipmates into getting manicures and pedicures and eyebrow waxing with me. I guess females aren’t the only ones who feel a little ugly after Ø7 weeks of boot camp. It was a fun, relaxing day and thankfully no one did anything stupid or got hurt. It’s hard to believe that most of us who have grown so close may not see each other again in a few days. We can only hope our team work and bonds at our first duty station can be as strong as Quebec’s!

Quebec 188 roster:

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.