Whiskey 188 Recruit Journal: Week 05

Formed: Sept. 10, 2013
Graduates: Nov. 1, 2013

07OCT13

Today was just one of those days where absolutely nothing went particularly well. Almost all of us we’re standing up in class, we were so tired; our marching was off, and it included a lot of incentive training that makes us feel like crazy people.

We only have 10 minutes to get fully dressed in uniform, boots, perfect hair (females), shave (males), brush teeth, use the head, make your bed and be on line outside ready to go. Obviously this is training us to be faster, but it’s hard either way when we’re already falling asleep standing up.

The company feels like we’re spinning our wheels a bit and getting stuck doing incentive training in between every scheduled thing, and sometimes finds it discouraging to feel punished every other hour, or every hour if it’s after dinner. We know everything has some sort of purpose, but when we hear that our ‘sister company’ is getting 90 minutes in the evening for ‘personal time,’ we become frustrated wondering why we are so much worse of a company, that we are still only getting 05 minutes, and feeling like nothing we do is right. We hope we can make our Company Commanders proud, and like us, because right now, we have completely forgotten about our victory this past weekend.

International Maritime Signal Flag Whiskey

International Maritime Signal Flag Whiskey

It’s a lot of work to pick up all the heads hanging low the last two days, but hopefully we start improving so we can stop doing incentive training like a week 02, and actually feel like a week 05!

No one got a pass on uniform inspection or their rack inspection either. It’s a good thing we pray together before taps, we need it right now.

08OCT13

Today was the hardest day we have had so far. Physically, mentally and emotionally, it challenged each and every one of us beyond what we thought was possible.

After breakfast, the day began with a long fitting for our dress uniforms, it’s quite complicated and done in stages, so it took a while but we enjoyed it. Once they fit us and prepare for tailoring, we keep the uniforms and don’t wear them until graduation- but luckily we have a re-fitting next week since we’re all different sizes then when we arrived.

From that point on, the day was chaos. We arrived home with a huge seabag full of uniforms and shoes, hats, belts and coats, and took time to put it all away, measured folds, and in exact placement according to our rules book. We didn’t meet our time objective to have it all properly secure so we had “fire, fire, fire” and they sent more of our company to ramp for about 72 hours of constant incentive training and yelling. We always get sad when a shipmate goes to ramp because boot camp is already hard, and it’s painful to see them possibly get reverted. On a good note, everyone gets something out of it that helps you grow, and that’s what we’re here to do.

Since we failed our mission earlier, we had to pack up every single thing we own, including shoes/ sneakers, minus dress uniform jacket, hat and shirt, and added our pillow, all linens, blankets to our sea bag. We had to put our seabag on our back and rucksack on our front and march to lunch, class, back to dinner, all around the parade field and baseball field, in place, with both our seabag and rucksack. Our seabag probably weighs a rough 50 pounds and our rucksack on top of that. It was torture, but we maintained our military bearing and just did it. We were all hurting, but knowing it has to end at some point, kept us being stable and focused.

After dinner chow, we had to drop our seabags outside and run up 03 flights of stairs, stow one article of clothing at a time, run across the building and back down, grab 01 article at a time up and down the stairs. We’ve done this before and it’s completely miserable, but today we worked together as a team, tried hard together, and failed at our time objective, but succeeded at the purpose of the exercise.

We worked hard enough to receive an evening routine where we have specific time allotments for showering, cleaning, writing and ironing/ polishing. We are so excited to be trusted with this responsibility of handling our evenings and hope we keep them! One mistake and they’re gone. Another day down, another lesson learned, and a bit more sleep deprived. Hurting, but it means we’re getting stronger, rebuilding, and growing.

09OCT13

We have learned so much the last 03 days. We feel like we’re finally starting to come together, make time for company meetings to get on the same page, willing to help each other out and developing some patience with each other. We really enjoy going to our seamanship classes because our instructor makes the courses interesting and fun by sneaking in a few stories related to what we’re learning. His experiences he shares puts the situation into reality for us and always makes for a good smile, laugh or proud moment knowing we too, are in the Coast Guard and will be able to save lives.

In seamanship today, we had a competition to see who could un-secure, put on, and properly secure a personal flotation device. The top two in each Whiskey and Victor come down to 14 seconds, and Whiskey won. It was interesting to see all that can be done in just 15 seconds!

For the first time Victor and Whiskey came together to complete a mission. We had to make all 04 squad bays, racks and showers inspection ready. We all spread out through each other’s squad bays and completed the time objective mission complete. We felt proud, accomplished and relieved that it is possible if we do it together. Finally! Even little things, such as teaching the males how to sew a button back on a uniform, or sort laundry- and males organizing and sorting through our heavy seabags and helping them on female’s backs. Together everyone achieves more and it cannot be more true. We may have taken a step back on Monday, but we took two steps forward today and will go to sleep feeling successful, for now.

Our senior chief was happy with us and said our squad bays looked pretty good and we all lit up like Christmas tress inside. There’s something particularly inspiring and motivating when he is around and you just want to do better because you know he genuinely appreciates it and is proud of us. He’s pretty tough, but we all learned a lot from him today, and we have no regrets.

10OCT13

So it’s been raining, windy and cold the past few days and since we march everywhere we go all day, from place to place, we’ve been saturated. The toughest part has been when you have to wait outside in formation for the entire week 05 company of about 95, and just stand still as the wind and rain is so strong. At least when we march in the puddles it sounds cool, and when we’re moving, sometimes it’s not that bad.

Overall today was not that bad. We worked out in the gym with our physical trainers, had a few classes, did a lot of cleaning, and thought we’d get our orders today, but since our company (companies combined) was about 100, it took longer. We’re all so anxious and eager to find out where our first station will be! We’re so excited just to get the assignment that today felt so long and tomorrow can’t come fast enough.

Sadly, we’ve had 02 from our Whiskey Company that have been reverted back to the junior company. Back 02 weeks, so I think this was a real eye opener and reality check for all of us. Since this happened, you can already see those few that have been “under the radar” for a while, try harder and make an effort to do better. I can say today, we had no slackers, and the company was awake, as far as paying attention to directions and so on. Still and always tired though- but that’s expected and won’t change.

We’re all really starting to know each other, and appreciate each other now. We really love our company and still have 03 weeks here, but we already know parting ways will be bitter sweet.

11OCT13

Today was quite the rollercoaster. Anticipation has been building to receive our orders and we’ve been so anxious and excited that today felt like it was 50 hours long. Well, we finally got them! All of our company commanders brought us to the flag pole, one at a time called us up to hear our orders, and we repeated them and rang the bell 03 times loudly. It was really cool to give everyone a moment of attention and respect as we went through the company. There we’re some big surprises for a few who requested northwestern or Midwestern districts and received Alaska, or some who put down anywhere and received Hawaii, but overall we’re all so honored to be going anywhere. We know no matter where we are, it’s what we’re doing that’s important, and who we’re with while we’re doing it. We have no doubts that these units are exactly where we’re supposed to be. It won’t be easy at first, but just like we had to adjust to this madness, we will eventually adjust there too. On a different note, other than getting our orders, it’s still raining as it has been this whole week, and marching all around in the rain, getting soaked and cold isn’t the most glorious of all things, but this is boot camp, so it’s supposed to be miserable. Almost all of us have some sort of cough, cold or low iron (as we found out yesterday) and this prevented our ability to participate in the blood drive. I’m not sure why they would want our blood now, since we are all sick, but you can’t donate when you’re sick, so we at least attempted. To our 03 or 04 shipmates who did, they made a difference for the better.

Speaking of shipmates, since people have been late for or missing appointments, not following rules and missing time objectives, on top of doing things they know they are not supposed to do, all the squad leaders and yeoman got punished bad. They had to shoulder press over head, right, center, left 04 winds of line that totaled about 100 feet and braided. Doesn’t sound like a lot, but it is heavy and our primary torture device on the quarterdeck for the ‘bad kids.’ While bringing this from shoulder to shoulder, they had to yell “thank you shipmates, thank you” while the others sat and watched all their leaders get put through a nightmare because of their actions. After that mess, the leaders had to do our piece incentive physical training, more shoulders. Basically everything we do is shoulders, shoulder press, shoulder raise, and push-ups so squats are actually a bit of a relief. Well after that, we did more abuse on the nautical line. Dinner chow saved us because; any more of that and one of us would end up at medical or passed out per usual. I’m not sure punishing the squad leaders and yeoman helps those that just aren’t up to speed, and keep messing things up- because they aren’t learning this way. Some shipmates just watched, dozed off, and as soon as “the show” was over, went back to doing the same careless mistakes. It’s frustrating for those of us that really are trying and really want to be here, to have to pay for others mistakes, when they continue even then, not to learn from them. I don’t know what it will take, but tonight didn’t work. It just made all the leaders even more frustrated and created tension among the company. No one likes to be yelled at all the time, nothing productive gets done that way. Maybe in the moment you think it does, but long term, it ends up holding you back. We don’t want to have to yell at each other to get things done or hold people accountable for things, but it’s getting to that point where it’s our only option, otherwise all the leaders get a beat down for everything mistaken. We have enough people yelling at us, we just wish we can focus on encouragement and motivation, but on days like today it’s just yelling and irritation.

12OCT13

Without going into detail about why the entire day today was miserable, we just pray to never have another day like today again. Between 0530 and 2200, the two good things that happened were short, but much better than hours after hours of punishment incentive training; packing and unpacking our entire belongings one piece at a time while running them up 03 flights of stairs, one article at a time. And of course, it was pouring rain all day.
The good stuff we were thankful for was the 60 minute bike workout, our 05 minute phone call home to share our orders, and hearing about how to wear, maintain and prepare our dress uniforms. We love working out, and love learning, it’s the punishment for the entire day that really sucks the life out of you. As long as we have the intention to have a better day tomorrow, and the motivation and courage to try, tomorrow is already going to be better.

13OCT13

It felt like a pretty solid Sunday today. We had some time this morning to iron uniforms attend chapel, write letters and study, which always helps. We look forward and are always thankful when this day comes.

It finally stopped raining this afternoon, and the company went on a company run, in formation while sounding off cadence. We love doing this, and wish we could do it every morning. There’s something about traveling in a pack, on the same foot, sounding the same cadence that brings you together. Hopefully we get to do that more often. We also feel proud when we do it and that’s never a bad thing.

Lastly, we were happy to have had the time today to practice our manual of arms test. We’re coming together finally, and learning how to be patient and communicate effectively with each other since we practiced on our won. It has helped develop our company bond and trust in each other and enlisted confidence in us as a team.

07OCT- 13OCT (WEEK 05 SUMMARY)

This week, week 05 was our crazy speed search and rescue week. This means, we were woken up at 0530 and had to be fully dressed, in uniform and boondockers, teeth brushed, shaven/ hair perfect, rack – inspection readily made, trash out, squad bay clean and formed up out back in formation to step off to morning chow by 0544- and this is all after morning muster/ roll call or “fire, fire, fire” so, needless to say, 10 minutes or less to do all that, was insane.

Of course our Company Commanders left people behind every morning, and we had to strag to chow behind them. This really taught us how to move quickly, be efficient, and waste zero time on anything. Some of us even started getting dressed on the toilet so we could go to the bathroom before consuming another 40 ounces of water on a full bladder- no fun. You just learn to make it work, and it’s amazing how right our Company Commanders are- it is possible eventually.

This week we were also issued our dress uniforms, and while trying to measure everything to standards before organizing them in proper sections of our racks, we missed our mission complete. So, because of that, we had to pack everything we own, into our sea bag, take our rucksacks, laundry bag, shoes, rifle, you name it- carry it outside and unpack 01 item at a time, and run it up 03 flights of stairs to our squad bay, unlock our rack, stow it properly, lock it, and run back downstairs until it was all put away. This took forever, and we did it at least 03 times this week. We finally started coming together as a team and tried an assembly line doing one bag at a time. Still took forever, but we worked together which is important we also came together this week with Victor, our sister company. Senior Chief had both of us for about a day and a half and combined us in formation called, the “megatron.” We felt really inspired and motivated by him and responded well to his approach in teaching us, disciplining us, and encouraging us to do well. He was tough, but in an appreciated way.

It rained here all week, so that was pretty miserable. The company wasn’t too fond of hours upon hours of being saturated, waiting or marching in formation in the pouring rain, and being cold on top of it, but we worked through it, like anything else. At least it wasn’t raining when they gave us our orders! It was pretty cool how our Company Commanders all took us to the flag pool and bell, called us up one at a time, read our orders for us to repeat and ring the bell 03 times. Some were in for a big surprise, while others got what they asked for, but at the end of the day, we are all proud because it’s all about what we’re doing, and why it’s not about where. We know we are meant to be where we’re stationed for a reason, and we’ve accepted and appreciated that. It’s exciting to see some shipmates going to Alaska or Hawaii and on large cutters or land. We’re all happy for each other regardless, and now have a lot to look forward to.

We had some really hard days this week of hours after hours of punishment drills and nonstop packing and unpacking, yelling, sniper position and so on. We’re very glad yet another week is over. As of tomorrow we’re week 06! The 39 of us left, are trying to make this all work out for the best. We improve on at least one thing every day, we just need to keep moving forward, be motivated, and inspire ourselves if we don’t feel it elsewhere. We determine our attitude, and we can make this better than it is if we just change the way we think about things. It is interesting what our idea of normal is now, since we’ve been in training. Finally, we all agree that everything has a purpose, and as long as we support each other and work together at everything, we can succeed. No day is a bad day, and no day is wasted.

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.

Tags: ,