Recruit Journal Sierra 189: Week 03

Formed: April 15, 2014
Graduates: June 6, 2014

Today is the start of week 03, and the recruits here at Sierra-189

International Maritime Signal Flag Sierra

International Maritime Signal Flag Sierra

couldn’t be happier. We drill, I.T., get dressed, and step off for chow all before 0700. The gym is next, where we complete a Survival Float Test. We don suits called “Mustangs” and lower into the pool, the suit’s buoyancy keeping us afloat. Later, we are in the classroom, learning about our educational benefits and the roles and missions of the Coast Guard. Later that evening, we start learning Manual of Arms, or positions in which we hold our “pieces”. 2200 comes quicker that we expect, and so we lie down, still wired from our day. Semper Paratus!

0530, second day of week 03. Today, the base is on lock for a drill, from 0930 to 1200. Some of our company is able to participate in the Mass Casualty Drill, helping “injured” shipmates get medical attention. Later, we are in the classroom yet again, this time learning about safety out in the fleet, and the history of the United States Coast Guard. As the oldest maritime agency, it’s important to know one’s roots. That night, we are instructed how to shine our boondockers by our Lead Company Commander. 2200 greets us again, and so we sleep. Today has been tiring, and we are sure we will only work harder tomorrow. Semper Paratus!

Early morning comes to wake Sierra-189, and after our morning routine, we are off to the gym for a circuit workout, one hour spent running and doing all sorts of exercises. Afterwards and into the late evening, we are in the classroom, learning about Rate and Rank Advancement, Leave and Liberty, and Health Benefits. These lessons don’t apply to us much now, but in due time, they will be very important things to know. Chewy bar time and lights out rush at us once again. Good night, shipmates! Semper Paratus!

We are well into week 03 here at Sierra-189, and still Basic Training doesn’t seem to be getting any easier! Although we are making must time objectives now, the losses and consequent I.T. seem to be as taxing as ever. This morning, we go to the gym for another bike workout, where we are expected to spout required knowledge and pedal as hard as we can at the same time. Our brains and bodies are tested, resulting in a workout only the United States Coast Guard can provide. The rest of the day is spent in the classroom, learning about the military Code of Conduct, and the Coast Guard’s own Standards of Conduct. Military life is so vastly different from civilian life, it’s a little difficult to wrap our heads around! But these are the lessons we need to survive this lifestyle. Then, we are introduced to Seamanship, a class that teaches us practical skills that we will use out in the fleet. Today, we are taught Vessel Terminology, and being frank, almost every little object, space, and protrusion on a vessel has a name and a purpose. Nothing is superfluous! It’s amazing to think that in five short weeks, we’ll be a part of it! That evening, we are rushed back to the squad bay for an impromptu rucksack (or backpack) inspection. It is needless to say that our rucksacks weren’t perfect, but then we are still learning! The late evening hours are filled with I.T., cleaning, mail, and showers. 2200 sneaks up on us again, and we love the feelings of the rack mattress under our backs. Good night, and Semper Paratus!

The morning, the regiment if alive with activity, civilians and servicemen and –women alike coming together to see the senior company, Oscar-189, graduate Basic Training. Sierra-189 is not allowed to attend, but we are excited for our shipmates nonetheless. On our end, our day is fairly routine, classes in the morning, with our “free time” filled with killer Incentive Training sessions. Our Company Commanders are unrelenting, but we are up to the challenge! We march across the regiment to Seamanship, today’s classes on lines (or ropes) and the five basic knots. Our instructor allows us to try tying knots, which proves to be both practical and fun! That evening, at chow, we are able to witness part of Tango-189’s (the new company) Indoctrination Weekend. As we watch them speed around the galley, get yelled at by their new CC’s, and generally look terrified, we wonder if that’s how we looked our first Friday in company. Something tells us the answer is yes. The evening progresses as per usual, complete with I.T., mail, showers, and cleaning. Sierra-189 is on its slow but steady climb to becoming Coastguardsmen, and we feel the need and want to be in Oscar-189’s shoes. With that thought, Sierra bids you good night, and as always, Semper Paratus.

Most of today is spent in Seamanship, where we learn more practical lesions that we will use out in the fleet. Our instructor informs us that, more than likely, we will be manning the helm of a vessel sometime in our early Coast Guard career. The thought has us fit to burst, but little did we know, manning a helm is not so easy. You must know how to steer the vessel, using the rudder, and a;; of the commands that a senior Coastguardsman would give to put the vessel on its course. It’s a little more complicated than it sounds, trust us. After our day-long class, we return to our squad bay to find it completely trashed! Toilet paper, paper towels, tissues, and rags thrown about, ironing boards hanging from ceiling tiles and bathroom stalls, rack mattresses flipped, and cleaning products spilled everywhere! We are not allowed to clean any of it at first, as one of our Assistant Company Commanders gives us yet another random rucksack inspection. This one goes slightly better for some, fairly worse for others. But we can only hope that next time, we’ll be ready. Either that, or hope that our CC’s don’t give another one! Afterwards, we are given a (surprisingly) short 35 minutes to clean up the phenomenal mess our CC’s have made. Tensions rise and tempers flare in the squad bays, but eventually we pull it together and get it all done. Once again, we spend the evening with friends: I.T. and showers. 2200 sneaks up through the sweat and toilet bowl cleaner and we are glad to be lying down once again. Good night, and Semper Paratus!

It is Sunday here at Cape May, and once again, we are able to “sleep in” until 0600. Our Lead Company Commander wakes us up with a whistle and “FIRE FIRE FIRE!” We run outside to form up and take morning muster, or roll-call. The company Yeoman barely has time to finish the last shipmate’s name when our CC tells us to “find some real estate”, boot camp jargon for “We’re about to I.T., spread out!” Soon afterwards, we eat morning chow and then are rushed back to the squad bay for even more drilling and I.T.-ing! We are introduced to “Medusa”, a very large (and heavy) portion of line that 08 of us are expected to lift over our heads and on our shoulders, back and forth, while shouting “Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty!” The other 41 of us are yelling the same thing, but are performing Right Face (a marching movement) over and over again in sync with our “cadence”. Our Company Commander assures us that if we don’t clean our act up, we will drill like this repeatedly and for many days to come. We take this as a threat, not a warning, and are on our best behavior. After divine hours, afternoon chow, and plenty more drilling, we are passed off to an Assistant Company Commander, who teaches us more Manual of Arms lessons, and drills our teamwork skills with the help of a crate and a bunch of unlabeled pad locks. We’ll let you imagine what we did. Into the late evening, we clean, are I.T.-ed, and shower, as always. Although today has been tough, we are still excited for next week, the start of week 04. Good night, and Semper Paratus!

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.