Recruit Journal Golf 189: Week 02

Recruit Journal Golf 189: Week 02
Formed: Dec. 3, 2013
Graduates: Jan. 24, 2013

International Maritime Signal Flag Golf

International Maritime Signal Flag Golf

“FIRE, FIRE, FIRE!!!” For the newly formed Golf-189 company this phrase has become our daily and sometimes nightly (dependent upon weather) lives. Since Friday evening G-189 learned this painful yet important training phrase, which includes military high intensity pushups, crunches, squats, flutter kicks…albeit also second intervals between faces and bodies flat on the floor; front and back. If anyone ever thought the United States Coast Guard was weak or lazy compared to our other military counterparts…they were WRONG!
The seaman recruits of G-189 have gone through a whirlwind of physical and mental changes since arriving at the USCG TRACEN Cape May, NJ boot camp. Since forming into our respective companies from a group of almost 50 to 21 and our civilian lives have been torn away, and the hopeful transformation into the one day soon (7 weeks from now) Coast Guard men and women has begun.
We can proudly say to our families and loved ones we now know how to push past bad habits (i.e., neglecting to make the bed, leaving our shoes and belongings everywhere, taking “forever” showers) have quickly gone out the door. When we return home (Mom and Dad) we will take out the trash and know how to iron!
Sadly, even in light of the privilege and honor to be one of those accepted into the USCG’s boot camp, this experience is HARD. Simple pleasures we once took for granted, such as enjoying a hot meal, have been replaced with high stress twenty minute yelling, keeping your eyes in the boat and head erect, backs straight, “PLEASE don’t let me forget to step off with my left foot!” times.
Every day includes a new endless list of information to remember, marching pivots and commands, and physical challenges or “torture” as some would put it.
Friday began with our first Physical Fitness (PT) test that went well for some and not so well for others. Our lead company commander, Chief Griffin reminded us that and ever since we WILL fail and likely be brought to tears (knowingly, when we receive mail from home), but through it all we will learn and become that Coast Guard man/woman who pulls a 200 pound man out of the water.
We need to give 100% every single second and day we are here whether that involves heavy classroom times such as Saturday, or detail to the inch organizing as today. Through this challenging time we reverently hold onto the love strength, and support of those who helped us begin this journey in the first place and there cheering us on at graduation on January 24th if we’re not reverted!.
The first snowfall today gave many of us a glimpse and reminder of you all. We love you and miss you, and will continue to work hard for you and our country…our Coast Guard…EVERY day.
“Semper Paratus!”

Imagine picking up and placing down a inkstick (pen)in between popping up to the position of attention and responding with “aye aye” for thirty minutes…or holding your bed linen over your head shouting, “I’m Making my rack!” in only a 3-4 minute time frame…or repeating endless sneakers/”Go Fasters” with white socks to military boots/”Boon-Dockers with black socks exercise. We certainly did today!
Our day began as usual with our 0600 “FIRE, FIRE, FIRE!!!” drill in the freezing cold Cape May rain, but a hot whole wheat pancake breakfast warmed us and helped us temporarily forget our later anticipated day of pain. This Monday in particular was very challenging, because in addition to our taxing physical drills and poor weather conditions, we also had to begin memorizing more required knowledge we could be quizzed on and penalized for forgetting. Details from the Training Duty Officer of the day to the time of sunset were crammed into our brains as quickly as we could try and memorize them. Every ten minute bathroom/head break is diced to help us jam new rules, names, and make us successful recruits.
Several of us have started waking up in the middle of the night popping to attention or mumbling our eleven general orders. It’s hard for us to find any “free time” or true moments to rest, but we were fortunate today to spend time in base chapel discussing stress management. Father Fronk sagely reminded us of the artificial SUPER high stress training environment we’re in and its purpose in our hopeful transition to a small yet hard working and dedicated military group dating all the way back to August 4, 1790. Father Fronk also helped us laugh and cry, allowing our walled-in feelings to come out. We are all home sick and hurting a bit from this experience, but we hold onto the strengths of each other to be stronger and better…and you know what…we are.
Each time we fail we quickly try to improve, and usually are better the next go around. Tomorrow is another tough day, but one in which we aim to succeed, and make to some of our happy times…”Chow, Chow, Chow, Chewy Bar, and BED!”

Another cold, snowy, and tough day at Cape May Coast Guard boot camp. Though the weather may be frightful our Company Commanders are MORE SO! This Tuesday we twirled like Coast Guard ballerinas for almost an hour doing right and left face movements while reciting the Coast Guard’s core values, “Honor, Respect, and Devotion to Duty”. D-189 and F-189 companies joined us in another painful pen picking up session after we sat and stood to attention for close to thirty minutes. It seems everywhere we go or what we do for the majority of our time here is drench ourselves in sweat.
Thankfully, we do have class time with instructors who allow us to sit with our backs to our chairs for a few moments. Our class today consisted of effective communicating skills and civil rights…all topics we’d love to share with our Company Commanders, but cannot.
Everyone is feeling very exhausted and discouraged from the mounting responsibilities and physical pressure. Most of us had NO idea how hard Coast Guard boot camp would be, but we continue to try and pray we may reach our goals leading up to our January 24th graduation date and futures as Coast Guard men/women.
We’ve officially all been in boot camp for one full week and boy has it been a LONG one! Here’s to reaching week 8 and being with you all again!!!

Who knew Wednesdays could be magical days?!?! Although this day began rough in part due to our continued physical challenges, we were blessed by several kind gestures.
Our breakfasts of hot oatmeal raisin pancakes came in handy for our first forty minute cycling sessions…this CC’s were actually a bit (REALLY stressing the “bit” part!) gentler…the weather wasn’t as bitter cold or wet…yet we were all pensive today further torment we had experienced earlier this week would continue.
The saying, “You DON’T beat the puppy!” rings in our minds constantly, but today’s events helped click a different understanding in our experiences here in USCG boot camp. We are not “puppies”. We’re young men and women, and though we are all in THE MOST stressful experiences of our lives right now it’s for a purpose greater than ourselves.
As we walked along a new and beautiful path in the fresh winter air to collect our 9.8 pound de-militarized pieces, the message sunk in a bit more. We’re here for a reason…we’re here for more than ourselves.
Though we’ve all failed many times already, and today began with heavy hearts of fear and hopelessness that message will keep us going, along with the letters some of us received from loves ones today!!! In G-189 we were officially spoiled by our Lead Company Commander, Chief Griffin, who allowed us to read our mail for thirty instead of the usual five allotted minutes. Sadly, we’ve had virtually no free time to write these past few days, except for this past Sunday when we had a few moments in between organizing and cleaning our racks. We’re truly sorry we can’t read or write to our loved ones more, but your letters today were just what the sore Coastie recruits ordered!
A dry eye was hard to find in G-189 after reading your letters. There are no words that can express how much we cherish and deeply appreciate them!
Aside from today’s other blessings receiving mail brought a new and stronger lift to our spirits and actions here. “Thank YOU!” to each and every one of you. We love you, miss you, and will continue working the hardest we ever have for YOU!

The cold weather whirled back in today…just in time for our swim test! Thankfully, we swam inside, but we could still feel the cold breezing by our soaked swim suits. The pool water was warmer than the metal benches we sat on, nervously waiting for our turn to swim the length of the pool in five minutes. We all did well, except for two shipmates needing a bit more guidance. Those of us who passed our swim test also passed our five minute water treading test too, and happily ran back to HOT showers.
The simple pleasures we can capture every day really lift our spirits; putting a little extra fuel into our drained “tanks”. It’s amazing how hard our CC’s push us and our ability to try and meet their orders. We really all do try to give 100% or more every day, and though we continue to falter and feel as if we’ll break, we actually improve a bit every time we continue to try.
The pace and demand for us to excel is daunting…sometimes more than possible, but giving our all is what we must do in addition to having little to no “recharge” source. Five minute head and water breaks, tasty food served in the galley, minute conversations with shipmates, and especially the letters we’ve begun to receive are our main sources of comfort and self care.
We’d all like to stress again…USCG boot camp is horrifically hard! Imagine any other boot camp or military training related movie you’ve seen and put it on steroids! This realm continues to be our reality for the next six-seven weeks. We REALLY can’t wait for it to be over and start accomplishing our “REAL” USCG lives.
Till then, we send you all our love and hopeful “soon to be true one day…in seven weeks” dreams.

Fridays are usually happy days for most folks, but ours turned into a pure nightmare by 1600 (4pm)! Most of the shipmates in G-189 signed up for choir that has practices during Friday evenings. This to us meant less beating time, and we had been looking forward to this time all week.
Instead we moved! We moved after cleaning our squad bays to near perfection…and our move was NOT easy. Imagine us marching back and forth in endless circles with nearly over 100 pounds strapped all over our bodies. We heard soon after the news we’d be moving, our new home would be Munro Hall…something fairly typical for week 2’s…and the possible revival of our former home, James Hall.
Everything else we did this morning was a blur. Only our sore, scratched, and beaten bodies’ pound through us, and the desire to NEVER ever, ever, ever move again!!! Both of our chewy bars will come in handy tonight!

What we would all give today to enjoy the creature comforts of a SATURDAY! Sleeping in, brunches, maybe some “light” house cleaning, spending time with the ones we love and cherish the most…”UGH!”
As per usual, today began like many others since we joined our respective companies. “FIRE, FIRE, FIRE!!!” morning call and stairwell run, body weight and added almost ten pound piece exercise drills, chow, chow, chow, torture, chewy bar, and torture.
Though we all survived last week’s indoctrination Saturday/weekend, things really haven’t gotten easier…just harder. We were all much worn this morning from last night’s move, and though our focus to do well is still present, overcoming physical and mental strain (as well as emotional missing our loved ones and doubting ourselves) is sometimes seemingly impossible.
Thankfully, today we met our company mentors, members of USCG Station Barnegat Light Chief Fisher, Seaman Brazwell, and Seaman Morris. Chief Fisher has been in the Coast Guard for fifteen years, while Seaman Brazwell has been in for two and a half years, and Seaman Morris graduated the USCG TRACEN boot camp two months ago. Each mentor provided insight and advice based upon their experiences, and assured us the “REAL” Coast Guard is nothing like boot camp. Our mentors allowed us to spend a fair amount of time introducing ourselves, which actually brought our company and sister company F-189 closer. The time with our mentors today gave the extra zest we needed to shrug off and protect our pains while we continue to try and grow in a harsh and unforgiving place.
We all are looking forward to tomorrow’s Divine Hours/”Free” Time when we may be able to finally have enough practical time to clean, study, and write/read letters. Till the next “FIRE, FIRE, FIRE!!!” drill (tomorrow morning), we’ll be dreaming of you all.
Looking back on our first week in G-189, we all have grown significantly from the time we arrived on the bus. We recounted today how excited and terribly nervous we were when we first met each other in the Philadelphia USO. We talked about the hopes and dreams we sought to accomplish in the Coast Guard, and our most immediate goal of making it through the USCG’s boot camp. We drank our last soda, and enjoyed our last slow paced meal.
It’s really striking how far we’ve come from just a week or two ago, and how far we will go in the coming weeks.

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.