Recruit Journal India 189: Week 05

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

International Maritime Signal Flag

International Maritime Signal Flag India

Boot camp isn’t fun. How not-fun is boot camp? Here’s some perspective: for many of I-189, the most anticipated event of the week was our dental appointments. Two reasons: There’s music on the radio, and the dentists fully expect us to fall asleep. Sleep deprivation is becoming more and more serious business. Our classes grow more and more interesting, but we struggle to keep our eyes open even though we want to be here. Fortunately we’re taught by petty officers who’ve been in our shoes, and have taken the same beatings, and understand our constant orders to hydrate, and consequentially, constant need to refresh ourselves in the head (bathroom).

Week 05, also known as Search and Rescue Week, presented the challenge to end all challenges for India-189 – a time objective to get out of bed, get dressed, and be on our way to morning chow in 15 minutes. Our whole week was like this, but India-189 has the incentive now of knowing that it is possible for us to meet these objectives we once thought were just cruel jokes our company commanders had a laugh over. Still, with increased physical demands and ever more complicated required knowledge, Search and Rescue Week has been a challenge for recruits of all talents.

Week 05 has been full of challenges, but the privileges have been great as well. Yet even with adequate time to clean our squadbays, maintain our uniforms, and study study study, India-189 still has its bad days. Not that any of us ever expected a day at Cape May to be without stress. But even those of us who hold it together in the face of the mounting pressure feel anxious as we watch recruits reverted left and right. We’ve seen how one wrong step can snowball into an avalanche of consequences, when a person doesn’t concentrate wholly on meeting the standards of being a Week 05 seaman recruit.

If boot camp is a marathon, weeks 01-02 were a sprint. Weeks 03-04 were steady, and week 05 has us beginning to give in to the fatigue, now that the finish line is in sight. We needed our second wind to make it to the end – and we quickly got one, in the form we’d all been waiting for: our orders!

But first: a delay. Waiting a whole day to learn our orders, when we knew our lead company commander had seen at least some of them, added on to the list of reasons why India-189’s tempers were running short with each other. With increased pressure, shipmate’s coping mechanisms aggravate one another, but despite the friction, I-189 has been working hard to put its teamwork into practice.

It helps that the light at the end of our tunnel grew larger this week. We participated in Hotel company’s graduation, and seeing the senior company’s families on the regiment made us all nostalgic for home, and that much more excited for the day when our families will be guided across campus by Juliet-189 for our graduation and departure from Cape May.

Hotel’s departure leaves India 189 the senior company on the regiment, with all the responsibilities involved, and so when we finally got our orders, all the pressure in the world couldn’t keep us down. Many of us were overjoyed at our places in the fleet, while some were disappointed, and others completely surprised to have asked for one thing and gotten entirely another. Emotions ran high as shipmates called their families to give them the news, hearing voices of loved ones we haven’t heard in a little over a month. India-189’s second wind gusted strong – so strong, it threatened to sweep our military bearing away.

India-189’s determination to reach that finish line is still strong. We practice for our Manual of Arms test coming up soon, drill required knowledge into each others’ brains, and push ourselves physically to succeed as soon-to-be Coast Guardsmen. Tempers still flare, but I-189 knows now more than ever that only teamwork will save us.

As links fall from the chain of I-189, those that remain learn to hold on that much tighter to each other. None of us could have gotten this far alone. Some of us would have fallen behind sooner than we did, without our shipmates’ help. Just as a Coast Guard mission is a team effort, so is Coast Guard Boot Camp. India 189 has just 03 weeks left to master that.

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.