Lima 189 Recruit Journal: Week 02


International Maritime Signal Flag Lima

International Maritime Signal Flag Lima

Lima 189 Recruit Journal: Week 02
Formed: Feb. 11, 2014
Graduates: April 4, 2014

19 Feb 14
The sheer size of LIMA-189 makes for a polarizing training experience in week two. Marching and sounding off seem to be cautiously approaching the teamwork levels of a junior varsity kickball team but, simple tasks like spending less than half an hour in the gymnasium head are still seemingly impossible.
All is not lost however, with the winter winds settling to a cool breeze and the sun on our faces LIMA-189, led by Chief Arseneaux, made its way to the barracks to receive their “pieces.” Pieces are rubber M16 “non-guns”, which have incentive training written all over them and give the recruits an opportunity to practice their manual of arms.
The experience is so exciting for one recruit, she falls over, clutching her rubberized rifle. With the company commanders rushing to her aid it’s deduced that she had locked her knees. The company commanders led her inside while reminding the recruits of keeping knees bent while in the standing position. There is a lesson to be learned everywhere.
Whether LIMA’s being pushed to meet time objectives in the squad bays, taught the complexities of the Coast Guard rates and ranks, or sweating through excruciating bike workouts, we keep learning. It may be slow and painful but the constant barrage of challenge gives us no other option than to grow. Through repetition or realization, LIMA will meet what’s expected of them.
Yeomen are given the responsibility of keeping track of 100 plus recruits and their paperwork. Squad leaders are instructed to relay the commands of their company commanders to bays of confused recruits. Mail orderlies bring news from home and each recruit has more being asked of them then many of us ever have in our entire lives. As LIMA learns of its weaknesses, the demands on them as a group and as individuals keep coming.
These are the beginning of the challenges the men and women of LIMA must master. “This is easy stuff” yells Chief Johnson, “it’s only going to get harder from here.” The whole company is starting to realize it.

Another fine day at “Spa” Center Cape May. The sky was clear and LIMA-189’s recruits were given an early wakeup call to start their morning off right. The day was filled with incentive trainings, and allowed the Seaman Recruits many opportunities to lie down and “kick back”. Joking (and flutter kicking) aside, this fair Thursday was a hard one for LIMA. An activity filled morning transitioned into a somewhat anticipated event: the swim test. Nearly a hundred young men and women mounted the steps to the jump platform, shivering with anticipation and more than a little nerves. After Seaman Lewis, the class instructor, gave the go ahead, we plugged our noses and stepped into thin air. SPLASH! Four bodies plunged into the water at a time and started swimming frantically. Picture that carnival game with the rubber duckies bobbing around in circles and you get the idea. Many emerged from the waters triumphant; others determined to improve in the next weeks.
After swim, and some quick showers, we hit a few classes on inappropriate relationships and the Coast Guard’s work-life program. The afternoon progressed with more incentive training as the recruits had to “pay their taxes” for the simple things that weren’t clicking. Push-ups, crunches, pure effort and more, for not responding properly. Lock opening practice for not turning them to zero. We marched around the regiment holding our boots out in front of us and yelling “LIMA doesn’t care” for not tying them. Chief Johnson’s favorite punishment is public humiliation. He says if we are going to act like a new company then everyone on the base will know we are a new company. We unpacked and repacked our racks one item at a time for gear adrift. If we didn’t hate taxes before, we definitely do now.
But for our mistakes, we prove that we are a team. We drop what we are doing to help make a rack, fix someone’s gortex hood or even help pack laundry. As sweat hits cement and limbs shake with fatigue, there is improvement. The company commanders know it’s still far, far, really far away from good. But it is better.

Recruits marched from chow to the classroom most of the day. With a pool session in the morning to keep recruits aware of what service they joined, LIMA braved a misty walk to the classrooms between Healy and Munro Hall. Once there, the company was introduced to our country threat response system. An interesting choice of lessons considering the recruits have been instructed on issues as complex as flossing ones teeth thus far in training. None the less, for some recruits, the opportunity to understand the Coast Guard’s threat identification system is exciting. Those found falling asleep in class, however, were treated to a speech aerobics class where standing up and screaming “attention on deck” for 45 minutes was just the wake up they needed.
The pressures of the day seem to just melt away whenever the company gets back to Munro Hall. Vandalized racks and quarterdeck marching await, all those who seem to forget equipment management.
Munro Hall is known for its equal treatment of those racking up in its historic compartments. For a pair of underwear left outside of the owners rack, LIMA gets to pick up and place down an ink stick for 25 minutes. Maybe the company is being treated like any other one. Maybe they are behind in many aspects of training a step ahead in others. All the recruits know is, the company commanders are teaching a 16 hour, nonstop class on the Coast Guard- and nobody is getting saved by the bell.

Week 02 Summary
The first whole week of basic training LIMA-189 experienced an arduous one, and one full of growth. Some aspects of the company took leaps and bounds, such as going from wandering around like a scene from the Walking Dead in formation to marching well enough to rip out some mild compliments from Chief Johnson’s stern mouth.
However, in other ways we recruits feel like we’ve hit a brick wall, or even gotten worse! Throughout the week, time objectives were failed, incentive training and remedial was racked up, and through it all we recruits felt helpless, lost or frustrated. Though disheartened, wiser recruits reassure their shipmates that it’s normal to feel this way. The general consensus is it is bad now, but we will get better. Earlier doubts from the week before, “what have I gotten myself into”, fade to worry and focus on the next task. Before their very own eyes, though they are blind to it, LIMA-189 has already evolved into a much more cohesive, determined group.
The week was filled with everything from “piece” pick-up to swim testing, remedial to incentive training, class upon class of required knowledge. High points like making it out of the galley alive, and low, like having to stand and sit in a 90 degree classroom with a floor literally slick with condensation. As a whole we are feeling beaten and tired, sick of failing. But the interesting change is that we have started looking to the next day, planning and preparing, joking about making it until next chow. We remember why we joined such a prestigious organization, and are using those motivations to fuel us onward towards the light at the end of the tunnel.

*Note from the Lead Company Commander:

Greetings all, as you read our company blog you must be thinking “wow, they are terrible!” However, nothing can be further from the truth. We are exactly where we need to be in training and I can see steady progress but I don’t want them to know that! If I can sum up Lima-189 in one word it would be…Resilient. Keep sending mail and we will ensure they get it. It’s a huge lift for them.

DCC Joe Johnson

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.