Juliet 189 Recruit Journal: Week 05

Juliet 189 Recruit Journal: Week 05

Formed: Jan. 14, 2014
Graduates: March 7, 2014

International Maritime Signal Flag

International Maritime Signal Flag

Week Ø5. Wow. We are getting there the attitudes of our company commanders have definitely changed. They expect a great deal more from us, but they also trust us a tiny bit more too. For those of us who do not have to go to RAMP (Recruit Aptitude Motivational Program), we have uniform maintenance, squad bay maintenance and personal time at night. Pretty much the last hour before taps. It’s a nice change from the days that we would do incentive training all night. We all just have to stay on our toes and keep up with our required knowledge. Hopefully these next few weeks go by quickly.

One memorable, chilly morning we were asked by our CC’s ()company commanders)  “Do you hear that, Juliet? That’s the Ocean.” It was a dark, early, and quiet, with the exception of the crashing waves we could hear off to our right. More often than not, we cannot hear them, but for whatever reason (likely stormy weather), we could this morning. It was a significant , slightly eerie moment. We were asked to imagine the destructive power and brutal nature of the ocean. A wicked churning ocean could bring down a large vessel in a matter of minutes, a cold ocean could kill a person within the hour.

Our marine environment, spanning  about 70 percent of the Earth, is a great but terrible beauty. This is why it matters when we are a minute late or when we miss a seemingly insignificant detail. It matters now in training because it will soon matter when we’re out in the fleet. Our CC’s are trying to hammer this into our often dense skulls. We’ll have to rely on our training when life saving becomes our job.

Yesterday and today were big steps for Juliet…. Orders are in!!! We all anxiously awaited for their announcement, curious to know where our next chapter with the Coast Guard will begin. Finally we were called outside to stand by the bell that stands between Healy Hall and James Hall. At this point, we all knew what was about to happen. Each of us was called up individually by one of our company commanders. As we stood by the bell, our first unit name and location was called out. We shouted it back as we faced the company and rang the bell two times. It’s one of those moments we might remember forever. Juliet is stationed in all kinds of places. Guam, Alaska, East Coast, West Coast, on a cutter, at a small boat station or an aids to navigation team. Most of us are excited about our new adventures, but it’s still a little surreal.

We can’t forget we are still a few weeks from graduation. Now there is light at the end of the tunnel, but the stakes are much higher as a senior company, there is little room for error. Reversion is a very real threat!! Our goal is to “get through” these next three weeks to graduation. I once wrote in an earlier entry that “optimism” would carry us through, but I think the motto has changed. Optimism suggests something too light hearted. Basic training and our future work is not for the faint of heart (numbers speak for themselves… we’ve lost 27 individuals from the original company). Rather making it through boot camp requires something a little sturdier, perseverance/grit, a willingness to learn from our mistakes, acute attention to detail and knowing that whatever pain we face will end!

We were honored with a visit from our company mentor Admiral Neptun today. He is absolutely fantastic and Juliet-189 could not ask for a better officer to look out for us. For two and a half hours this morning he gave us the opportunity to ask him any questions we wanted , whether it was personal or a more general Coast Guard career question. He was patient with us, never rushing an answer and addressing each of us individually. Being a two-star admiral(rear admiral upper half) with over 40 years in the service, his career is as colorful and impressive as those stars indicate.

He was full of wisdom, insight and encouragement. We learned a ton and most of us found out a bit about our first unit. His level of respect is already outstanding, but what happened in the galley today raised that level even higher, at least in our eyes. Walking back with my tray, I heard quiet chatter from one of the corners of the far table. “Oh no,” I thought (because talking in the galley is a pretty serious offense). However when I turned the corner to my seat, out of the left corner of my eye I saw that Admiral Neptun was sitting there, surrounded by recruits! Needless to say a few of us at the other table were a touch envious of their conversation. It was a mark of a great leader. He could have sat with the company commanders or gone to any dining establishment in the area and been treated with the utmost respect.

Instead, he chose to sit with us showing us kindness and respect. I imagine he’s one of those leaders who would never ask a follower to do something he wouldn’t do himself. Lastly he left us with his motto/advice: Make every decision and move forward with your eyes wide open.

Juliet-189 has turned into a family these last couple of weeks, we sincerely care about each other and respect each other. This afternoon was beautiful here in Cape May, so we went on a company run. As we ran I found myself thinking about how much time was left and where all of my shipmates would be heading. In under just three weeks, we will all be spread out around the United States. Some of us close to one another others thousands of miles apart. Our run was short and sweet, with a beautiful sunset over the bay. The sun rays were falling perfectly over the Coast Guard Cutter Dependable as we approached. Immediately I could feel a different energy throughout the company.

Though we are supposed to look straight ahead and keep our military bearing. Everyone of us looked at that cutter with pride. Each one of us honored to be apart of the Coast Guard. At that moment Chief Cain spoke up “Ø2 more weeks and each of you will be out there.” Wow, almost two weeks and that will be us!! After our run and for the duration of the night I heard multiple shipmates talking about our company run, the sunset and of course seeing the Dependable up close. All of us experienced the same emotional moment and truth be told I think those flickering moments are what brings us closer together. Tomorrow is Pugil Sticks, we will definitely keep you posted on that adventure!!

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.