India189 Recruit Journal : Week 02

Recruit Journal India-189: Week 02
Formed: Jan. 7 2014
Graduates: Feb. 28, 2014

International Maritime Signal Flag

International Maritime Signal Flag India

13 Jan 14, Monday, Week 02

Indoctrination Week Summary

Driving into Cape May at night for the start of Basic Training invokes a lot of awe – as well as apprehension. To wide-eyed recruits, the sight of seasoned company commanders is inspiring, standing at attention, with discipline we could only imagine, knowing that in the coming weeks, it would be our honor to be yelled at by these people.

We immediately found out they were very good at that.

Basic Training is like being in a play and not knowing any of your lines. Those of us not figuring them out fast, had to get faster! Meeting time objectives, we faced many failures, as well as slight successes. We were told to move with a sense of urgency, and are slowly finding our way. But we still have miles to go. We must move faster and faster, and sound off correctly. Sounding off and finding our voices has been difficult. We still have miles to go.

Chow is a minefield of opportunities to learn what not to do by doing it. The fitness regiment is grueling. We go to bed sore every night, and compare bruises in the shower. At least we did, before we got yelled at for speaking in the shower. On Friday 10 Jan 14, we were formed into company India-198 and met our new company commanders. We would all find out the true definition of the word difficult. If we thought the beginning of week 01 was difficult, we had another thing coming. But the more difficult the task, the more opportunities we were granted to learn from our mistakes.

The stress piles up next to new knowledge, challenges set, failed, and occasionally met. We are all asking ourselves questions we were warned we’d be asking. Do we belong here? Will our efforts ever be enough? Is joining on as a new recruit a mistake? We were warned we’d have these questions in week 01, and now we know exactly why. But still, we’re here, learning every minute.

14 – 19 Jan 14
Week 02

Today was another difficult day, but quite rewarding at the same time. It was both tiring, but energizing. We began to learn about Watch, and even got to participate on the Night’s Watch with Hotel company. Though many recruits were red-eyed today, we overcame it and slowly improved our marching skills. Our Lead Company Commander seemed pleased with the way we picked it up, though we still have much to improve on, and become better in unison.

This week has brought the surprise of company jobs. This new excitement not only brings on longer hours, but they just seem to make the days fly by. More information and more material to learn just has our brains turning and constantly working.

I can’t overemphasize how big a deal our first solo watch is. The Battalion Commander even spoke to us personally to emphasize just how important it is that we pull this off with flying colors. It’s our first real experience as a group of having people depending on us, which is a responsibility we all came here to assume in the first place!

They say “the days are slow, but the weeks fly by.” But I’m not so sure about that. The week we’ve been here feels like the longest week we’ve ever lived. Meanwhile, there are whole hours in the day that just seem to vanish, while our company commanders can make 15 minutes seem like forever. It seems more like the days fly by, and the evenings go on and on. We start counting the hours until Taps ( lights out) at evening chow. Evenings, after all, leave our company commanders a lot of time to get creative with their training methods!

Speaking of things that make us feel human, we got mail for the first time today! There were more than a few happy tears as many of us read letters from loved ones and friends, and a few from a lovely Coastie mom who took time out of her day to write a letter for those who hadn’t received mail yet. Sometimes, you take morale where you can get it, but letters from outside are always going to make one of the biggest positive impacts on us as we push though our journey as Coasties.

Though many have questioned themselves, and why they are here, and continue to, one of our classes today showed us just what it means to be a Coast Guardsman. Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty: these are the three Coast Guard core values, and the story of 19 year old Seaman Flores. Seaman Flores was assigned to a buoy tender which was struck by a tanker in Tampa, FL. Flores chose to remain on the vessel while his shipmates abandoned ship, so he could release life jackets to his shipmates and comfort the injured. As the vessel sank, he used his belt to release more lifevests to his shipmates on the surface. This last ditch effort would ultimately be what took his life. The courage shown by Flores that day displayed exactly what it means to be a Coast Guardsman and live by the Core Values. Something we should all aspire to, while here at Training Center Cape May, and throughout our careers.

Editors note: SN Flores and his family were not recognized until almost 20 years after his death due to a letter one of his fellow shipmates wrote to the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard at the time, because his was a life was saved by SN Flores’ efforts.

Today marked the opening for a new fear amongst the shipmates, and that new fear is reversion. ‘Reversion’ is the term given to moving recruit back weeks in training because they are not up to par with the demands of the current week level.
We are all eager and excited but must show our company commanders that we do listen, and are willing to do what it takes.

India-189 is still young, and week 02 is coming to a quick end, but we still have fight left in us. We will see it through until the end.

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.