Uniform 188 Recruit Journal: Week 07

Formed: Aug. 27, 2013
Graduates: Oct. 18, 2013

Click here for the Graduation Program.

Week 07 definitely presented a turning point in recruit training for Uniform-188. We spent a lot of our time this week making arrangements for travel and speaking with our sponsors to learn information about our units and making a plan of action for when we first arrive. We also spent a lot of time getting to know our company commanders as real people, which gave all of us a piece of mind and made recruit training way more enjoyable.

On Monday, we began the week with weigh-ins. Luckily, all the incentive training and physical fitness we did paid off- everyone passed! We also had our CPR and First Aid classes on Monday which we all liked; it was an interesting to learn how to identify different types of injuries and how to handle each situation.

International Maritime Signal Flag Uniform

International Maritime Signal Flag Uniform

On Tuesday, we went to Seamanship for a line handling class where we got to do a practical to experience heaving and securing lines when tying up to a pier and how to properly release the lines when going underway. We also had our Seamanship final on Tuesday, which we did very well on collectively. Then, we had our close order drill test with Chief Hollenbeck. The close order drill test is an evaluation of our marching, ability to properly execute commands, and how sharp we look as a company. We did really well on our test; we got a 9 out of 10 score and therefore earned the close order drill pennant to carry on our colors!

It was raining constantly from Wednesday evening through Saturday so were inside a lot of the time, which we enjoyed because most of it was spent in the learning resource center researching our units and spending time getting to know our company commanders as real people. On Thursday, we signed our official orders which felt like a huge step in the right direction. Chief Gallego even said that he would sign all of our graduation certificates at this point and know that we would do great things in the Coast Guard. It meant the world to our entire company to know that he finally has faith in us, and we all want nothing more than to make him proud in the fleet.

On Friday, Tango-188 graduated, leaving us the senior company on the regiment. With this, we took on a huge responsibility as role models to the younger companies. We raised our colors in the rain on a flag pole for the whole regiment to see, an extremely proud moment for Uniform-188. Another highlight of Friday (and the week) was when Petty Officer Aulph and Petty Officer Williams sat us down in the main muster squad bay and let us ask them questions about anything we wanted. We could have gone on for days. After spending 07 life changing weeks with people who devoted their time to squeezing the civilian out of us, we naturally became curious about them and their experiences in the Coast Guard. For the first few weeks, it didn’t really occur to any of us that they weren’t robots who did nothing but wear scary hats and make our lives miserable for 08 weeks, but as it turns out, they are. They have families and hobbies and normal-people things to do when they’re not here. They told us about where they’ve been stationed and what the Coast Guard has done for them and even a little about their boot camp experiences. Whether they had opened up to us or not, they would always be some of the most influential people in our lives.However, getting to see the “real” sides of them made it easy for us to all look up to them as mentors and role models.

Saturday was a day long awaited for U-188. Off base liberty finally arrived! Of course, it was pouring all day, but we didn’t care as long as we got off the regiment for a few hours. For the most part, we spent our time in Wal-Mart, Starbucks, the movie theatre, restaurants and cafes, and some of us even rented hotel rooms to relax in. Wherever we went, calling our loved ones was our top priority and we took in every second of hearing familiar voices from home. Real beds, cell phones, fast food, and television are a few things we definitely took for granted before boot camp. Coming back on base Saturday night wasn’t the best feeling, but the thought of just one more week was plenty of motivation to keep us in good spirits.

Sunday we immediately had to lock back on to boot camp mode because it was time for us to face the Master Chief Berry Challenge. Master Chief Berry, our battalion commander, created a challenge to evaluate each company’s physical fitness, team work, required knowledge proficiency, and attention to detail. The exercises were difficult because of the high standards, but we motivated our fellow shipmates and finished all the workouts with good results. We also had to destroy our squad bays and unpack everything in our racks into our sea bags, and then were given 47 minutes to make our squad bays and racks perfect again. It took a lot of teamwork, but we only had 06 discrepancies as a company, which means if we get a 94% or above on our required knowledge inspection on Wednesday, we’ll earn the pennant, which less than half of all companies receive.

And now, here we are. Entering week 08, our last week here at Training Center Cape May. It’s been a long, hard road, but we’re almost there now. A few more days and we’ll be off to do what we came here to do: be the best Coast Guardsmen we can be. We owe it all to our company commanders who put so much effort into making us great and our families who supported and believed in us the whole way. As tough as it was, it was worth every minute of pain. As Petty Officer Williams says, “blood, sweat, and stinkin’ tears.” See y’all at graduation!

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.