Sierra 189 Recruit Journal: Week 04

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


International Maritime Signal Flag Sierra

International Maritime Signal Flag Sierra

This morning, we are woken up with “FIRE FIRE FIRE!” yet again, and are taken outside to make morning muster and be incentively trained. Our Assistant CC teaches us cockroach position (which is exactly as horrendous as it sounds) and makes us plank, along with our pushups, flutterkicks, squats, and crunches. We are definitely awake by the time we step off for chow. After breakfast, we are marched away from the regiment proper, out to where the armory is. There, we are given an introduction to firearms safety and training. We are allowed to shoot a simulation circuit, and our collective score will determine whether or not we get the marksmanship pennant on our company flag. We hope that we’ll get it, but there’s no guarantee. Most of our day is spent there, and after evening chow, we go to the Uniform Distribution Center to have individual portraits in dress uniforms done. Donning the extra, portrait-ready garments, we are still excited about wearing our own soon. The late evening is spent cleaning and I.T.-ing, as per usual, finishing up with showers, mail, and a much-anticipated “lights out”. We are Sierra-189, signing off; good night, and Semper Paratus!06MAY14
Tuesday morning greets us at 0530 here at Sierra-189, and we are progressing further into week 04. Our morning I.T. and requirement to get ready in less than 15 minutes has become routine, more or less. After morning chow, we step off to the classroom, to talk about commitment with our Lead Company Commander. To many, the way our Lead CC talks about commitment to the Coast Guard and our jobs is inspiring enough to make us poke our chests out and ask that we be taken to a unit in the fleet immediately. But we know that we need the next 04 weeks here at Cape May to make it out there. And so we wrap up our class and go to another classroom, this one more like a computer lab. There, we are given our Coast Guard e-mail addresses and are taught the appropriate and inappropriate ways to use government-owned computers (I.E., no eBay, Facebook, or Twitter. We know. Total drag, right?) Afterwards, we take a class of colors, the ceremony of raising and lowering the American flag in order to honor and respect our fallen comrades and shipmates. Then we are taken outside and taught how to carry out Colors, which is a little more complicated than it may seem. When we are brought back to the “house” (our squad bay), our Assistant CC’s make us do another pad lock teamwork drill, this time outside with the locks thrown into the grass. It’s just as fun as it sounds. One of our Assistant CC’s reviews some Manual of Arms (piece positions) with us, but soon after, we are incentively trained until showers and lights out. Tired sierras settled down in our racks, ready to do it all again tomorrow. Good night, and Semper Paratus!07MAY14
Today is Wednesday, and for a pleasant surprise, we are not woken up with “FIRE FIRE FIRE!” However, give Sierra-189 an inch, and we’ll take a mile, for the entire company is unable to make a single time objective. We are asked by an Assistant CC if the “stupid fairy” came in the middle of the night and sprinkled “stupid dust” on us. Through stifled laughter, we’re not sure how to respond. After chow, we step off to the classroom to learn about enlisted careers (or rates) in the Coast Guard, and then about housing. More lessons that pertain more to our future life as “Coasties” than our current ones as “Lazy E-1s”. That afternoon, we go to back to the gym to complete our “Mid-Term” physical fitness test. Most succeed with no troubles, but some of us fall behind. No worries, shipmates, it’s not the end of the world! Physical Fitness Enhancement, an intense early-morning workout, will help our shipmates pick it back up again. For the rest of the day (1500 on), we are I.T.-ed, made to clean, square away our racks, and make sure our squad bays are inspection ready, because our Section Commander will probably drop by tomorrow for a squad bay inspection. Our aching feet, sore muscles, and red faces hope that our squad bays are up to par. We can’t imagine the type of mess we’d have to clean up, or the type of incentive training we’d have to do if we failed! The Chaplain stops by our squad bay to update us on current events, sports, movies, and music. We are extremely thankful for the downtime, but 30 minutes later, it’s back to business with our Lead CC. Shortly after, we mount our racks and shut it down, though the watch is just getting started! Keep alert, shipmates! Semper Paratus!

“FIRE FIRE FIRE!” is our alarm clock this morning, and we form us outside, as always, for morning muster. Shortly thereafter, we are incentively trained, of course, and then we are rushed back into the squad bay to complete our morning routine. Our first item of the agenda is to go to Seamanship, where we will complete our helm command and five basic knots practical. Sierra-189 is successful, and we all note that it was a lot easier than we had initially feared. After returning to the regiment and having lunch chow, we head to the classroom, where we fill out our Assignment Data Sheets, also affectionately referred to as “dream sheets”. This is where we list a geographical preference for our first duty station, and the excitement throughout Sierra-189 is nearly tangible. We hope against hope that we get our first picks, but we know that we must go where the Coast Guard needs us. For most, it doesn’t matter, just as long as it’s not home. For others, closer to home is the aim. Either way, we will be buzzing with curiosity until next week, when we actually get our assignments. Later, an Assistant CC takes us back to the “house” very briefly before taking us back outside, to review Manual of Arms. After evening chow, our Assistant CC reviews some marching movements with us, before taking us to the track for a workout circuit. Admittedly, it was intense, but definitely worth it. Back at the house, we clean, shine our boondockers, conduct uniform maintenance, and take evening muster. Our CC even gives us time to study for our midterm tomorrow! We all are so nervous for this test, but deep down, there is a confidence saying that we can do it! And so, Sierra-189 bids you good night, good luck, and Godspeed. Semper Paratus!

“FIRE FIRE FIRE” is our wake-up call yet again this morning, and early morning I.T. is our coffee. We rush through the rest of the morning routine, completing every time objective and (maybe) impressing our Company Commanders. It seems as though Sierra-189 is getting it together, which is a load off the shoulders of the company. We must tread lightly, though—we are no nowhere near out of the woods. For most of the morning, we are given time to study, which is greatly appreciated. Our midterm is today, and we are all aiming to ace it! Eventually, we find out that that class average was a 92.25, which sounds good to us. After, our Lead CC allows us to sit down and talk to a Chief Warrant Officer that used to be stationed with one of our Assistant CC’s. We ask him about the daily life of a Coastguardsman, and about what life would be like at a duty station we want to go to. He is well-versed in afloat life, with 15 years of sea time and 23 years in the Coast Guard altogether. We are glad to get come answers, and he seemed to be glad to provide them. Into the evening, we stay at the squad bay and clean, perform uniform maintenance, and even review some Manual of Arms. Fortune seems to have smiled down on Sierra-189, because today was a very good day. With minimal I.T., study time, and 20-minute showers, Lights out is not only welcomed, but adored. Good night from Sierra-189!

Early morning comes again for Sierra-189, and we are incentively training by our Lead CC. This comes as no surprise, and we are on our faces and pushing the Earth on his command. The morning routine—brushing our teeth, doing our hair/shaving our faces, and getting dressed in about ten minutes—is ran through, and after morning chow, we return to the Squad Bay to do some “Sniper Position”, a sort of I.T. that doesn’t sound that bad until you’re doing it for 15 minutes straight. You’re sitting on the deck, legs crossed, with your “piece” propped up as if ready to shoot. Try it with a broom stick, the effect is the same. Also, you can’t let your arms touch any other part of your body; not your side, not your thighs, nothing. Gets tiring after a while, right? Right. So afterwards, our Lead CC takes us to Sexton Hall (the building we stayed at when we got here) to instruct us on how to stand watch there, since we will start doing just that very soon. Later we review marching movements with an Assistant CC, and we are made to do a drill that involves packing up all of our things, taking them out of the squad bay, and then taking everything back in, one object at a time, to make our racks inspection-ready. By creating a sort of assembly line, we are able to meet the time objective and get everything squared away. After, our evening routine proceeds: cleaning, uniform maintenance, showers, mail, lights out. We are excited for divine hours and “sleeping in” until 0600 tomorrow morning. Good night and Semper Paratus!

It’s Sunday, and as per usual, we are woken up mater than 0530 and are not immediately I.T.-ed. Instead, we get dressed and step off for chow, and our Assistant CC decides to wait until after chow to sit us down in sniper position and quiz us on required knowledge. It goes about as well as a mild car accident, and ends with “FIRE FIRE FIRE”. We are in the middle of piece I.T. when our CC stops us and tells us we were “saved by the grace of God” and to commence divine hours. We definitely don’t question that and go up to the squad bay. Once there, we iron our uniforms, shine our boondockers, write letters home, or do whatever else we need to. 5 hours pass like 30 minutes, and we are back on company time. We do our first company run today, around the track for 45 minutes, running in formation and shouting cadences back to our company commanders. Most of us loved it and want to do it again. After showers, we review marching movements, and after, Manual of Arms, which also ends with “FIRE FIRE FIRE” and piece I.T. This time, we are saved by evening chow, which we also don’t question. The evening routine is commenced, while our “shipwreck” crew does I.T. and drills because of their less than satisfactory performance as recruits. Lights out—good night!

Week 04 passes in what seems to be a flash for Sierra-189, and we notice that Basic Training is coming a little more naturally now. We are meeting most of our time objectives, maintaining military bearing (most of the time), moving faster, and yelling at the top of our lungs. It seems as if nothing ever slows down here, but then that’s half the fun! We are Sierra-189, now down to 47, and we know that we can do this! 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.