Mike Company 189: Recruit Journal

International Maritime Signal Flag Mike

International Maritime Signal Flag Mike

Week 06 was probably one of our busiest weeks we have had so far in boot camp, but it was also one of the most practical in relation to our futures in the Coast Guard. The early weeks began with a few firefighting classes. We changed out into full firefighting equipment and worked together in teams,

taking turns manning the hoses and practicing the cycling process between personnel during firefighting scenarios. While sadly during that drill we only got to put out fake fires, it still seemed somewhat realistic as the room was dark and filled with mock smoke and we were breathing through a self-contained breathing apparatus. It was fun and seemed like a good exercise considering many of us will be getting qualified as fireman in our first units. This week was also filled with a lot of administration time, and mid-week the company went to the Command Mission Support building to get our military identification cards. A lot of recruits were comparing their photos and talking about how tired and miserable everyone looked in them! It seems like we have been receiving less and less sleep with each passing week. However, an exciting thing that has helped keep everyone going was the ability to contact our new units this week! Each individual was assigned a sponsor at their new duty station, and given a phone number to reach them in order to get information on where they would be going. As people have gotten in touch with their units, they have been meeting with the travel department and arranging their methods of travel. It is becoming more of a realization that our lives are heading in a new direction, and it seems everyone is handling this in a different way. Regardless, one thing is for sure, no one can stop talking about making it through to graduation and getting out in the fleet to start their new careers! Making that goal even more attainable is feeling like we are reaching the last stretch of our training journey. That was made to seem true when Mike 189 received our company colors towards the end of the week. During training we had been marching with just a white flag bearing the letter ‘M’. The new flag is even more personable, as it is the International Maritime Signal Flag Mike, with a blue background and a white X. However, the colors were not just handed over to us, we had to earn them. Without any knowledge of what would be happening, we told we were being punished for some small mistakes we had made that day, such as not taking out the trash, and forgetting to wear our covers when we stepped outside. Dreading what was to come, we were forced to march out to the beach in full operational dress uniform and boots, carrying four large heavy lines over our heads, yelling out “Honor, Respect, and Devotion to Duty.” Once we arrived at the beach we had to do line drills in the sand, which were exhausting. We also did pushups, flutter kicks, crunches, planks, and other physical activities. As we were starting to feel defeated, out of nowhere our company flag appeared, and we were told if we wanted it we better go get it! As an extra special surprise, it came equipped with four different colored pennants, representing different things we had earned throughout our training. The black marksmanship pennant was for our company averaging a high shooting score, a red pennant was for at least 95% of the company volunteering to donate blood to the Red Cross, a blue pennant, given to us by our company commanders, was for being adaptable and managing the different and unexpected challenges that had presented themselves to us throughout training, such as losing a company commander and gaining a new one during the middle of boot camp. The green pennant, though, no one is quite sure what it represents. Some heard it was for our midterm scores, and others believe it is for our seamanship skills. Regardless, it makes us feel so proud of what we have accomplished as a team in such a short period of time, and Mike 189 marched back to our building that night singing cadence with our heads held high. Tomorrow starts week 07, and we are now officially the most senior company on the regiment. We still have a lot of work to do to prove ourselves in these final days!

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.

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