India 189 Recruit Journal: Week 04

Formed: Jan. 7, 2014
Graduates: Feb. 28, 2014

27 JAN 14 – 02 FEB 14, INDIA-189, WEEK 04

Week 04 has brought privileges and punishments that India-189 only dreamed of before.

I say “dreamed of” because boot camp has invaded our sleep. Since early on in training, recruits have been calling “OPEN!” or “AYE AYE CHIEF!” in their sleep, or waking in the middle of the night to go to watch, only realizing by the time one boondocker is already on that, first of all, it is not time for their watch, and second of all, that they probably shouldn’t have put their boondockers on without taking their sweats off first. India-189 thought these sorts of outbursts would be done with by the halfway point in our training, but Cape May has many ways of surprising us.

Week 04 began with the excitement of our first firearms training, but that excitement was tempered by the many things running through our minds. First, we were excited to be closing in on the midway point of our training, and second, our midterm and seamanship qualification gave us plenty to think about academically. This was coupled with the constant fear of reversion, since a number of our company were on probation, and rephasal, since many of us have also become sick or gotten injured. We would lose more shipmates to Juliet company over the week, and each loss reminded us how much harder we have to work to stay with India-189.

And work hard, we did. Our seamanship final and our midterm required time to study – and we were all thrilled when our Company Commanders gave it to us in the form of Evening Routine! With our dress uniform photos, class on Coast Guard careers, and best of all, our dream sheets to complete, India-189 had a lot to enjoy in week 04.

We needed that excitement, and all those reminders of the world awaiting us at graduation to deal with the flipside of all these privileges – the consequences of enjoying them without making our Company Commanders proud. As India-189 prepared to become a Week 05 company, we moved from Munro Hall to Healy Hall, and were presented with the new standards we’d face as a company past the halfway mark. The incentive training has grown more intense, the drills longer and fiercer. Like that great one where we pack up everything we own, run it into another room, and remake our racks running in one item at a time. Our Company Commanders are good at combining drills with serious cardio.

Speaking of cardio, Week 04 brought our second physical fitness test, along with higher standards in the gym. It’s clear that India-189 is becoming faster and stronger by each member, but many of us still have miles to go. We all arrived at Cape May in different levels of fitness, but we will all leave in the best shape of our lives (unless that shape has a cast on it, which is entirely possible).

By Monday, it was already becoming apparent that Week 04 would test our teamwork, and our commitment, with our Company Commanders determined to drill the need for both into us. Teamwork is a big component of boot camp. It not only gets things done and time objectives achieved, but it preps us for the fleet and helps us align to the Coast Guard Core Values. Are you willing to put yourself in harm’s way to help your shipmate when things happen out there in the fleet? Are you able to operate and function correctly with shipmates no matter how you feel about them personally? These are big questions we faced daily while meeting the mounting standards of Week 04.

In between classes and drills, we received reminders that the real world is still moving on. A shipmate lost their grandfather, and our hearts went out to him as we were all reminded of the family time we were sacrificing to be here.

It seems like most of Week 04 was spent in preparation to become a Week 05 company. A lot of us are growing tired with the pressures only slated to increase, but between all the drills we have to dread, we also have a lot to look forward to. Filling out our dream sheets, and hearing about the billets we could hope to fill in the fleet, gave many of us a much needed boost of enthusiasm for life after Cape May. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that boot camp is only a number of weeks out of the many years of quality work life in the Coast Guard has to offer us. Sometimes it’s hard to feel like we’ll have lives outside of bootcamp ever again – particularly when many of us are missing family, friends, and the Superbowl. But with messages from home and hope for the future, and most importantly, a growing understanding of the need for teamwork, India-189 is keeping it together, and battening down the hatches for the storm that is the next three 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.