Tango 188 Recruit Journal: Final Entry

Formed: Aug. 20, 2013
Graduated: Oct. 11, 2013

To download the graduation pamphlet, please click here.

29 SEP 13
SUNDAYS TEND TO FEEL LIKE LONG DAYS COMPARED TO THE REST OF THE WEEK. OUR SCHEDULES SEEM TO PASS MUCH QUICKER DURING THE WEEK SINCE OUR SCHEDULES ARE PACKED. WE HAD OUR USUAL DIVINE HOURS, A LONGER OFF BASE RUN AND PRACTICED FOR OUR CLOSE ORDER DRILL TEST ON TUESDAY. THE RUN WAS THE LONGEST SO FAR IN BOOT CAMP. A FEW SHIPMATES EXPRESSED CONCERN AS TO WHETHER THEY COULD RUN THE ENTIRE COURSE PRIOR TO LEAVING THE BASE. CHIEF BLACKMAN ADDRESSED THE COMPANY REGARDING THE CONCERN. HE TOLD US THAT FEAR CONSUMES PEOPLE. BASICALLY, IF WE LET FEAR TAKE OVER, WE ARE SETTING OURSELVES UP FOR FAILURE BEFORE WE EVEN START. WE MERGED WITH UNIFORM-188 FOR THE RUN WHICH WAS NEAT. THERE WERE QUITE A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS ALONG THE ROUTE, WHICH MOTIVATED THE RECRUIT COMPANIES.

IN THE EVENING, WE WERE GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE A DISASTER OF OUR SQUAD BAYS! WE HAD TO REMOVE ALL OF OUR PERSONAL BELONGINGS PRIOR TO TOSSING SOAP, PAPER TOWELS AND TOILET PAPER ABOUT THE SLEEPING QUARTERS AND HEADS. THIS WAS A PRACTICE ROUND. NEXT WEEK WE WILL BE EVALUATED ON OUR ABILITY TO WORK AS A TEAM AND GET THE SQUAD BAY INSPECTION READY. WE RACED AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE WITH THE DIVISION OF DUTIES TO SWEEP UP THE TRASHED FLOORS, SWAB ALL OF THE DECKS, CLEAN THE DISHEVELED HEADS, ORGANIZE ALL RACKS AND BRING IT BACK TO THE STATE IT WAS PRIOR. OUR GOAL WAS 45 MINUTES. WE ENDED IN 52 MINUTES WHICH PETTY OFFICER PEREZ SAID WAS DECENT! I THOUGHT WE WORKED REALLY WELL TOGETHER ON THIS PROJECT.

International Maritime Signal Flag Tango

International Maritime Signal Flag Tango

THIS WEEK TANGO-188 LEARNED THE IMPORTANCE OF GIVING OUR BEST, REGARDLESS OF WHAT WE THINK THE OUTCOME MAY BE. WE LEARNED TO NEVER GIVE UP OR GIVE IN. EARNING OUR COLORS WAS A BIG DAY WITH MANY LESSONS. RECRUITS ARE ALSO EXPERIENCING CONSEQUENCES FOR POOR DECISIONS AND BEHAVIOR. STEEPER CONSEQUENCES ACCOMPANY CERTAIN ACTIONS, SUCH AS LOSING ONE’S INTEGRITY. NOT EVERYONE HAS EXPERIENCED PROGRESSIVE DISCIPLINE LIKE THIS BEFORE. BECAUSE OF THIS, NOT EVERYONE IN THE COMPANY WAS ABLE TO PARTICIPATE IN ON-BASE LIBERTY; THOSE WHO DID EARNED IT. ON-BASE LIBERTY TAUGHT US THAT PRIVILEGES MUST BE EARNED, THEY ARE NOT GIVEN FREELY. AS WEEK 06 COMES TO A CLOSE, WE ARE STRONGER AND MORE FOCUSED THAN THE WEEK PRIOR. WE ARE WORKING BETTER TOGETHER EACH DAY. WE ARE EAGER FOR WEEK 07’S CHALLENGES AND LESSONS!

30 SEP 13
TODAY WAS A VERY BUSY DAY. UPON WAKE UP, WE IMMEDIATELY HEADED TO THE GYM. WE PRACTICED THE PUSH-UPS AND SIT-UPS IN THE TIME FRAMES WE WILL HAVE FOR OUR BATTALION COMMANDER PENNANT TEST WITH MASTER CHIEF BERRY NEXT WEEK. IT IS VERY HARD TO JUMP INTO A WORK OUT LIKE THIS DIRECTLY FROM YOUR BED! THE COMPANY IS IMPROVING BUT WILL NEED TO IMPROVE EVEN MORE BEFORE THE TEST

MOST OF OUR DAY WAS SPENT IN CLASS FOR FIRST AID AND CPR. WE LEARNED THE BASICS OF HOW TO RESPOND TO SHOCK, BLEEDING, FRACTURES, BURNS, HYPOTHERMIA, HYPERTHERMIA, DIFFICULTY BREATHING AND HEART ATTACKS. THE COMPANY ENJOYED SPLINTING AND BANDAGING EACH OTHER FOR PRACTICE. WE ALSO PRACTICED CPR ON MANNEQUINS FOR ADULTS AND INFANTS. THE ACT OF GIVING CPR IS ACTUALLY QUITE EXHAUSTING! MOST DID NOT REALIZE HOW MUCH EFFORT IT TAKES UNTIL TODAY. IT IS A GOOD SKILL TO KNOW AND CAN BE USED ANYWHERE, AT WORK OR AT HOME. THIS GAVE THOSE WITH CHILDREN AT HOME PIECE OF MIND FOR WHEN THEY RETURN, AS THEY ARE BETTER ABLE TO HELP THEIR FAMILIES IN AN EMERGENCY.

LUNCH TIME AT THE GALLEY SHOOK THE COMPANY UP A BIT TODAY. AFTER ON-BASE LIBERTY, WE DID NOT RETURN OUR CELL PHONES. THEY ARE TO REMAIN WITH OUR PERSONAL BELONGINGS IN OUR RACKS FOR THE REMAINDER OF BOOT CAMP. IT IS A TEST. WE ARE NOT TO USE THEM. THERE WAS A POST MADE ON A SOCIAL NETWORKING SITE WHICH INDICATED ONE OF THE RECRUITS MAY HAVE BROKEN THIS RULE. EVERYONE WHO STOOD WATCH DURING THE SUSPECTED HOURS OF THE NIGHT WAS CALLED TO THE FRONT OF THE GALLEY TODAY IN FRONT OF THEIR PEERS AND QUESTIONED AS TO WHAT THEY SAW. NO ONE SAW ANYONE MAKE THE OFFENSE. THEY THEN CALLED THE RECRUIT WHO THEY BELIEVED TO BE THE OFFENDER. THE RECRUIT LOOKED BEWILDERED. SHE POURED HER HEART OUT; WE KNEW BY HER CHARACTER SHE DID NOT COMMIT THE OFFENSE, WHICH IS AN AUTOMATIC 02 WEEK REVERSION. SHE WAS TOLD TO SIT DOWN. WE HELD OUR BREATHS, NOT WANTING TO MOVE A MUSCLE TILL THE END OF CHOW. YOU COULD CUT THE ANXIETY WITH A BUTTER KNIFE IN THAT GALLEY! WE FORMED UP OUTSIDE AND WAITED. WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN TO OUR SHIPMATE? PETTY OFFICER LACHARITE WALKED OUTSIDE SLOWLY. HE THEN TOLD US THEY KNEW OUR SHIPMATE WAS TELLING THE TRUTH FROM THE MOMENT SHE OPENED HER MOUTH. IT HAD ALL BEEN A MIX UP; HER SPOUSE HAD USED HER SOCIAL NETWORKING ACCOUNT UNDER HER NAME AT HOME. WHAT PETTY OFFICER LACHARITE SAID SECURED OUR CONFIDENCE IN THE SYSTEM. IT SOLIDIFIED OUR FAITH IN INTEGRITY, A CORE VALUE OF THE COAST GUARD. HONESTY DOES NOT HIDE, IT SHINES THROUGH. WE SIGHED IN RELIEF. PETTY OFFICER LACHARITE COULD SEE OUR CONCERN. HE LIGHTENED THE MOOD WITH AN UPBEAT CADENCE ON THE WAY BACK TO THE SQUAD BAYS. EACH VERSE ENDED WITH, “THE U.S. COAST GUARD IS THE BEST.” YES, WE AGREE.

01 OCT 13
WE BEGAN OUR DAY WITH “FIRE! FIRE! FIRE!” IT ACTUALLY FELT KIND OF REFRESHING! WE WERE WIDE AWAKE WHEN WE GOT DRESSED THIS MORNING INSTEAD OF FUMBLING AROUND IN A SLEEPY SLUMBER. WE SPENT THE DURATION OF THE MORNING AT SEAMANSHIP CLASS. TODAY’S CLASS WAS ABOUT HEAVING LINES AND MOORING AND UNMOORING EVOLUTIONS. THE TRAINING CENTER HAS A SHIP PROP WHICH WE PRACTICED ON TO LEARN THE PROPER WAY TO TIE KNOTS, FOLD UP THE LINE AND HEAVE IT TO THE PIER. THE COMPANY ENJOYED THE EXERCISE. WE DISCOVERED MANY OF US DO NOT HAVE MUCH NATURAL ATHLETIC ABILITY WHEN IT COMES TO AIMING AND THROWING! YET AGAIN THOUGH, THE MORE TIMES WE PRACTICED, THE BETTER WE GOT.

AFTER LUNCH WE HAD OUR CLOSE ORDER DRILL TEST WITH CHIEF FREDERICKSON. UNLIKE LAST TIME, NO CLIP BOARDS WERE THROWN! WE SCORED 09 OUT OF 10. WE WERE GIGGED ON ALIGNING MOVEMENTS DUE TO INITIATING MOVEMENT TOO EARLY. I THINK THIS WAS DUE TO NERVES IN THE BEGINNING OF THE TEST. CHIEF FREDERICKSON SAID OUR MARCHING LOOKED VERY GOOD THOUGH, WHICH WAS A NICE COMPLIMENT. AFTER OUR CLOSE ORDER DRILL TEST WE PREPARED FOR OUR TROPICAL BLUE UNIFORM INSPECTION WITH LIEUTENANT STIEFEL. EXCEPT FOR SOME OUTSTANDING COLLAR THREADS AND SOME OTHER FIXABLE DISCREPANCIES, SHE APPEARED PLEASED. IT WAS A SUCCESSFUL INSPECTION. OUR UNIFORMS ARE READY FOR OFF-BASE LIBERTY! THE DETAILS WHICH ARE POINTED OUT ON OUR UNIFORMS AFTER EACH INSPECTION HELP US TO LOOK A LITTLE SHARPER FOR THE NEXT.

AT THE END OF THE NIGHT WE VOTED AS A COMPANY FOR TWO AWARDS THAT WILL BE GIVEN AT GRADUATION: BEST SHIPMATE AND MOST IMPROVED PHYSICAL FITNESS. IT WAS NICE TO NOMINATE AND HONOR THOSE SHIPMATES THAT TRULY HAVE PUT THEIR BEST FOOT FORWARD. THOSE THAT EARNED THE TITLE HAVE WORKED HARD, DAY IN AND DAY OUT, NOT ONLY FOR THEMSELVES, BUT FOR THE SUCCESS OF THE COMPANY. THEIR EFFORTS WILL BE RECOGNIZED ON GRADUATION MORNING, BUT I’M SURE THEIR LEADERSHIP AND MOTIVATION WILL CONTINUE TO SHINE OUT IN THE FIELD AS WELL.

02 OCT 13
OUR DAY BEGAN WITH A WORKOUT IN PREPARATION FOR THE BATTALION COMMANDER PENNANT. WE RAN 300 METER REPEATS AND DID PULL UPS AND DEAD HANGS ON THE BAR IN BETWEEN. WE WERE ALSO GIVEN A LIST OF THE EVENTS AND RELATIVE SCORING FOR EACH. THE EVENTS CONSIST OF A 100 METER SWIM, 60 MINUTE CYCLE, 02 MILE RUN, PUSH-UPS, PULL UPS/DEAD HANG AND SIT UPS. THE TEST WILL BE MONDAY MORNING. EACH RECRUIT WILL CONTRIBUTE POINTS FOR EACH EVENT. WE NEED EVERYONE TO PARTICIPATE AND GIVE 110% TO ACHIEVE THE MOST POINTS POSSIBLE. THE COMPANY IS EXCITED FOR THE CHALLENGE! ONLY HALF OF ALL COMPANIES RECEIVE THE BATTALION COMMANDER PENNANT. WE WILL FOLLOW UP THE PHYSICAL PORTION OF THE TEST WITH A VERBAL REQUIRED KNOWLEDGE TEST ON WEDNESDAY.

WE PRACTICED MOORING AND UNMOORING AGAIN IN SEAMANSHIP THIS MORNING. TODAY’S EXERCISES WERE PARTNER RELATED. THE COMPANY ENJOYS PRACTICAL EXERCISES. WE TOOK OUR SEAMANSHIP FINAL AS WELL. THE COMPANY AVERAGE WAS A 90%. THE GOAL WAS 92%, BUT THIS IS STILL A DECENT SCORE. WE DID NOT EARN A RIBBON FOR 90%. AFTER THE TEST WAS COMPLETED OUR INSTRUCTOR FIGURED THE FINAL AVERAGES IN CLASS. IT WAS A 03 WAY TIE AT 97.6! OUR INSTRUCTOR HAD THE 03 RECRUITS FACE OFF TO SEE WHO WAS QUICKEST AT TYING KNOTS. IT WAS FUN-SPIRITED. ONE OF OUR RECRUITS DID EXCELLENT! SHE WAS ABLE TO TIE HER KNOTS WITHOUT EVEN LOOKING AT THE LINE. THIS RECRUIT EARNED THE SEAMANSHIP AWARD WHICH WILL BE PRESENTED AT GRADUATION.

THE REST OF THE DAY WAS SPENT TYING UP LOOSE ENDS. RECRUITS CAME AND WENT AS THEY CONTACTED THEIR UNITS, FINALIZED TRAVEL PLANS, RESIZED UNIFORMS AND DID OTHER VARIOUS ADMINISTRATIVE TASKS. THE MOOD WAS LIGHT-HEARTED TODAY. CHIEF BLACKMAN IS PREPARING US NOW FOR LIFE IN THE FLEET. ALTHOUGH WE MUST MAINTAIN A MILITARY BEARING, WE ARE ALLOWED TO SMILE OR MAKE EYE CONTACT AT APPROPRIATE TIMES. THIS FEELS AWKWARD AT THE MOMENT. IT IS GOOD WE ARE PREPARING NOW SO WE CAN BE COMFORTABLE WITH IT IN THE FIELD WHEN WE ARRIVE TO OUR NEW UNITS. IT WOULD PROBABLY WE OFF-PUTTING IF WE APPROACHED OUR NEW CHAIN OF COMMAND WITH AN EMOTIONLESS, ENDLESS STARE AND SCREAMING AT THE TOP OF OUR LUNGS!

03 OCT 13
THIS MORNING STARTED OFF WITH A BANG! RECRUITS IN THE COMPANY WHO WANTED TO COMPETE FOR THE PHYSICAL FITNESS AWARD ASSEMBLED IMMEDIATELY AFTER MORNING MUSTER. THE STRUCTURE WAS AN ELIMINATION TYPE CHALLENGE. AFTER SEVERAL ROUNDS WE WERE DOWN TO A SMALL GROUP. SLOWLY, THE GROUP DWINDLED, UNTIL 02 DETERMINED RECRUITS WERE LEFT. NEITHER WOULD GIVE UP! ARMS WERE SHAKY AND THE SWEAT POURED FROM THEIR FACES, HOWEVER THEIR HEARTS CARRIED THEM ON. THE CHALLENGE RAN OUT OF TIME LEAVING THE NEXT FACE OFF FOR SR MCCORMACK AND SR URNAITIS UNTIL TOMORROW. WHEN PETTY OFFICER PEREZ ASKED SR MCCORMACK HOW HE REMAINED IN THE COMPETITION, HE REPLIED SAYING HE WOULD NOT BE BEAT BY A GIRL! THE COMPANY LAUGHED. ALTHOUGH A COMPETITION, OUR COMPANY KEEPS A SUPPORTIVE FUN-SPIRITED ATTITUDE. WE MAY COMPETE INDIVIDUALLY FOR AWARDS, BUT WE RECOGNIZE AT THE END OF THE DAY, WE ARE STILL ALL ON THE SAME TEAM.

WE FOUND OUT THAT OUR WEEKEND EVENTS ARE STILL TO GO ON AS PLANNED THIS EVENING. THE GOVERNMENT SHUT DOWN THREATED OUR SCHEDULE DUE TO BUDGET CUTS. TOMORROW EVENING, THE CITY OF CAPE MAY HAS INVITED TANGO-188 TO A DINNER. THE DINNER PRECEDES A 5K AND 10K RACE WHICH WE WILL PARTICIPATE IN ON THE BASE ON SATURDAY MORNING. TANGO-188, UNIFORM-188, VICTOR-188 AND WHISKEY-188 WILL BE COMPETING IN THE COMMUNITY RACE. OUR TOP 03 MALE AND 03 FEMALE TIMES WILL BE AVERAGE IN AN ADDITIONAL CHALLENGE. MASTER CHIEF BERRY TOLD US WE BETTER WIN THIS! THIS RACE WILL NOT BE IN FORMATION, GIVING US THE CHANCE TO STRETCH OUR LEGS OUT AND PUSH HARD. WE HELPED CLEAN UP THE COURSE THIS AFTERNOON IN PREPARATION.

THE COMPANY OFFICIALLY SIGNED THEIR ORDERS TODAY. IT WAS ANOTHER TANGIBLE REALIZATION THAT GRADUATION IS GETTING VERY CLOSE! WE SPOKE TODAY ABOUT ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURES INVOLVING GRADUATION, SUCH AS HOW OUR NAMES WILL BE ANNOUNCED AND WHO WILL BE PRESENTING OUR CERTIFICATES. SEVERAL RECRUITS WILL HAVE FAMILY MEMBERS IN UNIFORM PRESENT THEIR CERTIFICATES. IT IS NICE TO SEE A MILITARY FAMILY TRADITION BEING CARRIED ON. I AM SURE THEIR FAMILIES ARE VERY PROUD.

04 OCT 13
THE COMPANY’S SPIRITS ARE HIGH TODAY AFTER A GREAT DAY! OUR COMPANY FLAG IS NOW FLYING HIGH OVER THE PARADE FIELD, RECOGNIZING TANGO-188 AS THE SENIOR COMPANY ON THE REGIMENT! WE RETRIEVED THE FLAG AFTER ANOTHER ROUND ON THE CONFIDENCE COURSE. MOST RECRUITS IMPROVED THEIR PERFORMANCE FROM THE LAST TIME. SR MCCORMACK AND SR URNAITIS FACED OFF AT THE END FOR A FUN-SPIRITED CHALLENGE IN CONTINUATION OF THE PHYSICAL FITNESS AWARD COMPETITION. WE FINISHED THE EXERCISE BY ASCENDING THE ROPES ONCE AGAIN. MORE RECRUITS WERE EITHER ABLE TO MAKE IT TO THE TOP OR PROGRESS HIGHER THAN THE LAST TIME. ONCE TO THE TOP, WE YELLED “SR ___, TOPSIDE!” OUR SHIPMATES ACKNOWLEDGED OUR SUCCESS WITH, “AYE, AYE! SHIPMATE!” OUR LEADERSHIP AWARD WINNER COMPLETED THE EXERCISE BY RETRIEVING OUR FLAG AT THE TOP SO IT COULD BE RAISED ABOVE THE PARADE FILED. IT FELT GREAT TO SEE OUR FLAG SWAYING IN THE WIND.

LATER IN THE EVENING WE BOARDED A TROLLEY TO HEAD OFF BASE FOR THE PRE-RACE DINNER AT THE CONVENTION CENTER IN CAPE MAY. IT FELT GREAT TO GET OFF BASE. THE DINNER WAS FABULOUS! WE ENJOYED THE FOOD AND I THINK MOST OF US OVERATE A BIT! WE WERE ALLOWED TO CHIT-CHAT QUIETLY TO EACH OTHER WHICH WAS NICE. THERE WERE NO DISTRACTIONS (LIKE CELLPHONES), JUST CONVERSATION. WE TRADED STORIES AND FUNNY DETAILS ABOUT OUR LIVES OUTSIDE OF BOOT CAMP. THERE WERE MANY OTHER PERMANENT PARTY MEMBERS THERE, SUCH AS LIEUTENANT COMMANDER RAE, COMMANDER GIBBONS, AND MASTER CHIEF BERRY. COMMANDER GIBBONS TOOK THE TIME TO SPEAK TO EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US THROUGHOUT THE DINNER. SHE ASKED US WHERE WE WOULD BE STATIONED AND OFFERED LOTS OF SUGGESTIONS ON WHAT TO DO AND WHERE TO EAT FOR OUR OFF-BASE LIBERTY TOMORROW. SHE MADE US FEEL LIKE FAMILY. CHIEF BLACKMAN LATER TOLD US THAT SEVERAL PEOPLE APPROACHED HIM THROUGHOUT THE EVENING TO TELL HIM HOW “SQUARED AWAY” WE LOOKED. WE HAVE COME A LONG WAY. WE WERE HAPPY TO BRING HONOR TO THE COMPANY AND OUR COMPANY COMMANDERS.

THE FINAL CHALLENGE FOR THE PHYSICAL FITNESS AWARD WAS HELD WHEN WE RETURNED TO BASE. IT WAS NO EASY ON OVERLY FULL STOMACHS! AFTER ONE OF OUR SHIPMATES SECURED THE WIN, PETTY OFFICER PEREZ TOLD US TO TAKE A SEAT. WE WERE ALLOWED TO ASK HIM QUESTIONS ABOUT THE COAST GUARD, HIS CAREER, WHAT IT IS LIKE TO BE A COMPANY COMMANDER, WHAT WERE THE FUNNIEST MOMENTS FROM OUR TRAINING AND OTHER RELATED QUESTIONS. WE GAINED A LOT OF INSIGHT TO THE AFOREMENTIONED TOPICS. WE ALSO SHARED SOME LAUGHS, WHICH WAS NICE.

05 OCT 13
WE STARTED OUR DAY OFF WITH THE 5K AND 10K RUN THIS MORNING. TANGO-188 HAD ONE RUNNER IN THE 10K, WHO WON HIS AGE DIVISION! THE REST OF THE COMPANY COMPETED IN THE 5K. THE COURSE WAS FLAT AND FAST. IT WAS NICE TO SEE SOME PERMANENT PARTY MEMBERS RUNNING AS WELL, SUCH AS CHIEF FREDRICKSON, LIEUTENANT COMMANDER RAE AND PETTY OFFICER OYOLA. WE CHEERED THEM ON THROUGHOUT THE RACE. WE REALLY GAVE IT OUR ALL ON THE COURSE AND ENCOURAGED EACH OTHER TO PUSH HARD. SOME OF US ACTUALLY SET PERSONAL RECORDS! UNFORTUNATELY, OUR TOP 03 MALES AND 03 FEMALES DID NOT BEAT THE WEEK 04 COMPANY, WHO HAD SOME INCREDIBLY FAST RUNNERS! WEEK 04 EARNED A PHONE CALL HOME WITH THEIR WIN.

AFTER THE RACE WE HEADED BACK TO THE SQUAD BAY TO SHOWER AND DON OUR TROPICAL BLUE UNIFORM IN PREPARATION FOR OFF-BASE LIBERTY! CHIEF BLACKMAN WENT OVER THE PARTICULARS, RULES AND REGULATIONS AND GAVE US SOME ADVICE FOR THE DAY. HE THEN MARCHED US TO THE MAIN GATE. THERE WERE SEVERAL PARENTS AND TAXIS WAITING ON OUR ARRIVAL. TEARS CAME TO THEIR FACES WHEN THEY SAW US. IT WAS NEAT TO SEE HOW PROUD THEY WERE OF US ALREADY. WE THEN DISPERSED TO BEGIN THE DAY’S ADVENTURES. MOST OF US WENT TO CAPE MAY, RIO GRANDE OR WILDWOOD. THERE WERE LOTS OF THINGS TO KEEP US BUSY, SUCH AS FESTIVALS IN THE AREA AND THE BOARDWALK. WE ALL HAD A LOT OF FUN. IT ACTUALLY WAS DIFFICULT TO DROP OUR MILITARY LANGUAGE IN THE CIVILIAN WORLD. FOR EXAMPLE, MOST OF US FOUND OURSELVES SAYING “AYE, AYE, SIR!” REPEATEDLY THROUGHOUT THE DAY! THERE ARE OTHER THINGS THAT STUCK WITH US: WE ALL STAND A LITTLE TALLER AND A LITTLE STRAIGHTER. WE ARE MORE RESPECTFUL IN THE LANGUAGE WE USE. WE WALK WITH A SENSE OF CONFIDENCE AND PRIDE. WE ARE CHANGED PEOPLE. I FOUND MYSELF THINKING HOW INCREDIBLY GRATEFUL I AM TO BE WEARING THIS UNIFORM AND AFFORDED THIS OPPORTUNITY SEVERAL TIMES TODAY. THE COMPANY WAS OVERWHELMED WITH THE AMOUNT OF ATTENTION WE DREW THROUGHOUT THE DAY. MANY PEOPLE APPROACHED US IN GRATITUDE AND SHARED THEIR THANKS FOR OUR SERVICE. CITIZENS ACTUALLY PAID OUR TABS UNBEKNOWNST TO US WHILE WE ATE LUNCH AND DINNER. THEY ASKED TO TAKE PHOTOS WITH US AS WELL. IT FELT GOOD TO BE APPRECIATED. WE REALLY WANT TO GET OUT IN THE FIELD TO TRULY EARN THEIR THANKS.

WHEN WE RETURNED PETTY OFFICER LACHARITE SPOKE WITH US ABOUT WHAT WE DID THROUGHOUT THE DAY. THERE WERE SOME VERY FUNNY THINGS THAT OCCURRED THROUGHOUT THE DAY! ONE OF OUR RECRUITS ATE A BURGER LARGER THAN THE SIZE OF HIS HEAD! HE EARNED A T-SHIRT AND A PHOTO ON THE WALL OF THE ESTABLISHMENT. HE WAS REQUESTED TO WRITE SOMETHING IN KETCHUP ON HIS EMPTY PLATE. IN THE PHOTO, IN THE CENTER OF HIS PLATE, WAS THE WORDS “DEVOTION TO DUTY”. OTHER RECRUITS SAW MOVIES, RENTED GO CARTS, RODE THE FERRIS WHEEL AND ATE AT THE LOCAL RESTAURANTS AND COFFEE SHOPS. THE COMPANY HAD A GREAT DAY. NOW THOUGH, IT IS TIME TO LOCK IT ON AND FINISH OUR LAST WEEK OF TRAINING STRONG!

06 OCT 13
THOSE WHO WISHED ATTENDED CHAPEL SERVICES THIS MORNING. WE WORE OUR TROPICAL BLUE UNIFORM AND TOOK OUR SEATS IN THE FRONT FOR OUR LAST SERVICE AS TANGO-188. AT THE BEGINNING OF THE SERVICE, SEVERAL OF US OFFERED ADVICE TO THE COMPANIES BEHIND US. WE OPENED BY SAYING, “GOOD MORNING, SHIPMATES! MY NAME IS SEAMAN RECRUIT _____, SOON TO BE SEAMAN/FIREMAN _____, AND MY BOOT CAMP ADVICE TO YOU IS…” IT IS THE FIRST TIME WE HAVE SAID OUR NAMES WITHOUT THE WORD RECRUIT; A LITTLE PREVIEW. IT FELT GREAT! THE RECRUITS COULD NOT HELP BUT SMILE AFTER EACH INTRODUCTION! THE PASTOR AND OUR FELLOW SHIPMATES WISHED US WELL.

THE FOCUS OF WEEK 07 FOR TANGO-188 WAS LEADING BY EXAMPLE. WE ATTAINED THE TITLE OF SENIOR COMPANY EARLIER THAN MOST AND ASSUMED THE RESPONSIBILITIES THAT CAME WITH IT. WE SAW OTHER COMPANIES SHADOWING OUR BEHAVIOR FIRST HAND. WE SAW CLEARLY HOW IMPORTANT IT IS TO DO THE RIGHT THING BASED ON THAT. WE WERE ALSO ABLE TO SEE MORE OF A DISTINCTION BETWEEN WHEN TO LEAD AND WHEN TO FOLLOW. LASTLY, THE COMPANY HELPS EACH OTHER OUT LIKE IT IS SECOND NATURE NOW. WE REALIZE THAT EVERYONE’S INDIVIDUAL SUCCESS LEADS TO THE TEAM’S SUCCESS. TEAM SUCCESS CANNOT BE ACHIEVED IF ANYONE IS LEFT BEHIND. WE ARE STARTING TO FEEL MORE LIKE FAMILY. IN JUST 08 WEEKS, WE HAVE DEVELOPED SOME VERY STRONG BONDS.

07 OCT 13
TANGO-188 HAS OFFICIALLY MADE IT TO WEEK 08! TODAY WAS QUITE A FAST PACED DAY; WE WERE UP AT 0500 AND IN THE GYM FOR OUR PHYSICAL FITNESS TEST BY 0530. WE STARTED WITH THE CYCLE CHALLENGE. TO RECEIVE THE HIGHEST SCORE THE FEMALES HAD TO BURN 700 CALORIES IN ONE HOUR AND THE MALES HAD TO BURN 900 IN ONE HOUR. THE COMPANY APPEARED TO AVERAGE 500-600 CALORIES BURNED. FROM THERE WE TOOK OUR WATCH QUARTER STATION BILL PRACTICAL EXAM. A WATCH QUARTER STATION BILL DETAILS WHAT EACH CREW MEMBER SHOULD DO IN THE EVENT OF AN EMERGENCY. OUR EMERGENCY WAS A FIRE. WE FOLLOWED THE WQSB BY RESPONDING AS INVESTIGATORS, HOSE AND PUMP TEAMS, FIRE TEAMS AND MEDICAL PERSONNEL. AFTER SIMULATING PUTTING THE FIRE OUT, WE WERE TOLD THE FIRE CONTINUED TO SPREAD. TEAM MEMBERS WERE TOLD TO GO TO THE MEDICAL PERSONNEL WITH INJURIES SUCH AS BROKEN BONES AND BURNS AND HEAD INJURIES. WHEN WE ENTERED THE MEDICAL ZONE WE HAD TO SCREAM IN PAIN AND CARRY ON CREATING CHAOS. THIS ADDED A CHALLENGE TO THOSE FILLING THE MEDICAL PERSONNEL ROLE. IT IS MUCH HARDER TO THINK AND REMAIN CALM WHEN YOUR PATIENTS ARE SCREAMING. OUT IN THE FIELD WE WILL NEED TO BE PREPARED FOR THAT. EVERYONE DID VERY WELL WE WERE TOLD. AFTER THE FIRE CONTINUED TO SPREAD WE ENDED WITH AN ABANDON SHIP DRILL. THE PRACTICAL WAS A GOOD SIMULATION OF HOW EVENTS MAY GO IN THE FIELD.

AFTER LUNCH WE FORMED UP OUTSIDE FOR A SHORT CEREMONY. WE REMOVED OUR “RECRUIT” COVERS AND OFFICIALLY DONNED THE COVERS WE WILL WEAR IN THE FIELD. IT FELT GREAT. CHIEF BLACKMAN SHOWED US HOW TO PLACE THE PIN THE CENTER AND MAKE THEM LOOK SHARP. IT IS NICE TO START “LOOKING THE PART” AS WE APPROACH GRADUATION AND BECOME SEAMAN/FIREMAN.

IN THE EVENING WE HAD A SQUAD BAY INSPECTION. WE HAD PRACTICED FOR THIS TEST EARLIER IN TRAINING BY REMOVING ALL OUR BELONGINGS FROM THE SQUAD BAY, MESSING IT UP AND THEN CLEANING AND REORGANIZING EVERYTHING. WE MADE THE TIME OBJECTIVE OF 49 MINUTES. UNFORTUNATELY, THE REST OF THE INSPECTION DID NOT GO WELL. MASTER CHIEF BERRY STOPPED INSPECTING AFTER ASSIGNING 13 GIGS IN THE MALE SQUAD BAY. WE WILL NEED TO ACE THE REQUIRED KNOWLEDGE PORTION TO RECEIVE THE BATTALION COMMANDER PENNANT NOW. FROM THERE WE WENT DIRECTLY TO THE GYM AGAIN TO FINISH THE PHYSICAL PORTION OF THE CHALLENGE. WE DID THE DEAD HANGS/PULL UPS, PUSH-UPS, SIT UPS AND 02 MILE RUN. MOST RECRUITS HAVE IMPROVED ON THESE THINGS SIGNIFICANTLY SINCE THE BEGINNING OF BOOT CAMP! IT IS NICE TO SEE THEIR CONFIDENCE AND PRIDE IN SELF RISE AS THEY DISCOVER WHAT THEY ARE CAPABLE OF. MASTER CHIEF BERRY SPOKE WITH US AFTERWARDS ABOUT HOW IMPORTANT IT IS TO REMAIN IN THE SHAPE WE ARE NOW. HE REMINDED US TO NEVER GET COMPLACENT AND TO HOLD OURSELVES ACCOUNTABLE FOR GETTING IT DONE ON A DAILY BASIS: NO EXCUSES!

08 OCT 13
AFTER A DAY LIKE YESTERDAY, TODAY FELT EASY. MOST OF THE DAY FOCUSED ON GRAD PREP. WE TOOK OUR COMPANY PHOTO IN FRONT OF MUNRO HALL AS WELL AS A PHOTO WITH THE COMPANY AWARD WINNERS. IT FELT LIKE WE WERE SOLIDIFYING THE FINAL TEAM. WE ARE TANGO-199; THE ONLY TANGO-188 THAT WILL EVER EXIST. WE LATER RETURNED TO SEXTON HALL TO PICK UP THE DUFFEL BAGS WE ORIGINALLY BROUGHT TO TRAINING WITH US. EVERYWHERE WE MARCHED TODAY WE SANG OUT PROUD IN CADENCE. TWO RECRUITS CREATED THEIR OWN CADENCES THIS WEEK RELATING TO OUR TRAINING. THEY WERE GREAT! EACH CADENCE WAS VERY WITTY; CHIEF BLACKMAN SAID THEY ARE THE BEST HE HAS HEARD FROM A RECRUIT COMPANY!

MUCH OF THE DAY WAS SPENT GETTING OUR SQUAD BAYS IN ORDER AND PREPPING UNIFORMS FOR GRADUATION. WE ALSO STUDIED REQUIRED KNOWLEDGE. OUR REQUIRED KNOWLEDGE VERBAL TEST IS TOMORROW MORNING WITH MASTER CHIEF BERRY. TO SECURE THE BATTALION COMMANDER PENNANT WE MUST ACE THE TEST.

CHIEF BLACKMAN HAD HIS DEBRIEFING WITH US THIS EVENING. HE ANSWERED ALL OF THE COMPANY’S QUESTIONS REGARDING HIS CAREER AND ABOUT TANGO-188. HE DISCUSSED OUR PROGRESSION AS A COMPANY AND SHED MORE LIGHT ON THE PURPOSED OF SOME OF THE THINGS WE DID. HE SAID THAT HE BELIEVES EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US IS READY FOR THE FLEET. ONE OF THE RECRUITS FINISHED THE DEBRIEFING BY ASKING WHAT CHIEF BLACKMAN LOVES ABOUT HIS JOB AS A COMPANY COMMANDER. HE SAID HE COULD H SAVE T100 LIVES OUT IN THE FIELD OR TEACH US TO ALL DO THE SAME AND ONE MILLION LIVES WILL BE SAVED. IT WAS SPOKEN LIKE A TRUE LEADER. HE IS DEVOTED TO PREPARING AND LEADING TANGO-188 TO BE THE BEST PRODUCT POSSIBLE FOR THE COAST GUARD.

TWO FULL DAYS TO GO BEFORE GRADUATION!

09 OCT 13
BY 0800, WE WERE STANDING IN FRONT OF MASTER CHIEF BERRY FOR OUR VERBAL REQUIRED KNOWLEDGE TEST. WE STOOD THERE RUNNING EVERYTHING WE HAVE STUDIED THROUGH OUR MINDS AS WE WAITED FOR OUR TURN. AFTER THREE QUESTIONS AND THREE VERBATIM ANSWERS, MASTER CHIEF BERRY WOULD POINT LEFT OR RIGHT. I CANNOT PUT INTO WORDS HOW RELIEVING IT FELT TO SEE HIS HAND POINT TO THE STERN OF THE CLASSROOM. FORTY-FIVE OF FORTY-NINE RECRUITS WERE SUCCESSFUL IN THE TESTING AND STOOD WAITING IN THE STERN. IT WAS A SURREAL FEELING STANDING BACK THERE; THIS WAS OUR LAST OFFICIAL TEST. THE STRESS DISSIPATED LIKE A FOG LIFTING FROM THE LAKE IN THE MORNING. WE TALLIED UP OUR SCORES FROM OUR FITNESS EXAM ON MONDAY AND SUBMITTED THEM TO MASTER CHIEF BERRY AFTERWARDS. THE BATTALION COMMANDER PENNANT DOES NOT LOOK PROMISING AT THE MOMENT, BUT WE ARE CONFIDENT WE PUT OUR BEST EFFORT FORWARD AND HAVE COME OUT STRONGER IN THE END.

LATER IN THE MORNING WE HAD A DEBRIEFING WITH THE COMMANDING OFFICER, CAPTAIN PRESTIDGE. HE ASKED ABOUT WHERE WE WERE FROM AND WHERE WE WILL BE STATIONED. HE ALSO ASKED US WHAT WE LEARNED IN BASIC TRAINING. THE ADVICE CAPTAIN PRESTIDGE OFFERED CAME FROM MANY YEARS OF EXPERIENCE. HE HAS CONDENSED THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS TO REMEMBER INTO WHAT HE CALLS THE “FIVE F’S”. WE MUST REMEMBER AND MAKE A PRIORITY: OUR FAITH, FAMILY, FRIENDS, FITNESS AND FUN. HE SEEMED PASSIONATE ABOUT HIS WORK AND WE COULD TELL HE TRULY ENJOYS IT. HE IS AN ADVOCATE FOR EACH AND EVERY RECRUIT IN TRAINING AND FOR THEIR SUCCESS IN THE SERVICE. EACH PERMANENT PARTY OFFICER WHO HAS SPOKEN TO US AS A COMPANY HAS NOT ONLY MADE US FEEL WELCOME, BUT LIKE WE ARE FAMILY.

IT FEELS STRANGE TO SAY WE ONLY HAVE ONE FULL DAY LEFT. ALTHOUGH IT SEEMS LIKE YEARS SINCE WE ARRIVED ON THE BUS, IT FEELS LIKE OUR TIME HERE AT TRACEN CAPE MAY HAS PASSED IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE. TOMORROW BRINGS MORE GRADUATION PREPARATION AND THE BEGINNING OF CELEBRATION ON TANGO-188’S ACHIEVEMENT.

10 OCT 13
IT’S HARD TO BELIEVE THE LESSONS ONE CAN LEARN IN JUST 08 WEEKS. EIGHT WEEKS DID NOT TEACH US HOW TO BE A BOATSWAIN’S MATE OR INFORMATION SYSTEMS TECHNICIAN. THROUGHOUT THESE WEEKS WE BUILT A FOUNDATION THAT WILL ENABLE US TO BEGIN AND PROPEL OUR CAREER USING THE PRINCIPLES OF HONOR, RESPECT AND DEVOTION TO DUTY. BASIC TRAINING TAUGHT US THE FOUNDATION TO BE COASTGUARDSMEN. THIS HISTORY ACCOUNT FOLLOWS OUR TRAILS, STRUGGLES, SUCCESS AND FAILURES. IT IS NOT SOLELY A DESCRIPTION OF THE EVENTS THEMSELVES, BUT OF THE EMOTIONS ATTACHED TO THOSE EVENTS. IT ILLUSTRATES OUR MOTIVATION, DEDICATION AND UNWAVERING DESIRE TO SUCCEED. TANGO-188 DID NOT ALWAYS SUCCEED ON THE FIRST TRY. WE NEEDED TO LEARN TO WORK TOGETHER AS A TEAM AND UTILIZE EACH OTHER’S STRENGTHS BEFORE WE BEGAN TO ACHIEVE TIME DEADLINES AND WORK AS A WELL-OILED MACHINE. WE NEEDED TO LEARN WHAT FAILURE FELT LIKE IN PRACTICE TO TRULY LEARN HOW TO CARRY ON AND CONTINUE GIVING 100% REGARDLESS OF THE OUTCOME. THE DAY WE EARNED OUR COLORS TAUGHT EACH ONE OF US THIS VERY IMPORTANT LESSON. READ OUR HISTORY AND KEEP THE LESSONS FRESH IN YOUR MIND. APPLY THEM, AS WELL AS THE CORE VALUES TO EVERY ACTION YOU TAKE IN THE FLEET. BRING YOUR HEART AND PASSION WITH YOU TO WORK EACH DAY. I HAVE TRULY ENJOYED PUTTING THIS PIECE TOGETHER FOR ALL OF YOU. IN COMPLETION AND ULTIMATE SUCCESS OF ALL GRADUATION IN TANGO-188 TODAY: GOD BLESS. SEAMAN URNAITIS: OUT.

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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