Zulu 189 Recruit Journal Week 02


Zulu 189 Recruit Journal   Week 02

Formed: June 17, 2014

Graduates: August 08, 2014


ZULU blog week 03

Arriving at Cape May was one of the most life changing events in all of our lives. Once the bus stopped on the base our bus driver turned around and said “You guys are in for the ride of your life.” Immediately the company commanders marched out and onto the bus. We all thought we knew what we were in for, but needless to say we had no idea. The change from civilian life to a military lifestyle it us like a ton of bricks. We had to learn a new form of communication, screaming, which is normally considered disrespectful however here it shows respect.

We had to learn so much so quickly that it is hard to remember it all. Simple tasks like saying “Yes” and even stating our own name has become difficult and we look and feel like idiots. Fortunately we have had a few talks to keep us motivated and let us know it is all normal and to be expected. However, these talks have been very brief, 99% of the time is yelling.

On our second day we went to eat in the Galley for the first time and it was extremely stressful. Absolutely everything we do has to be done a certain way such as lining up in the hall and standing in rows of six. The Galley is probably the loudest building of them all. There is so much going on and our company commanders are screaming in our faces. We are not given much time to eat but it is enough to keep us hydrated and fueled. Also we get a snack at night, which is nice. Friday seems to be when it all went downhill. We moved from Sexton Hall to James Hall and received new company commanders. They are tough. Very tough. WE started being punished with intensive training for our mistakes and other people in our company’s mistakes. This is when we started hearing other recruits say they can’t do this and they want to go home. WE are trying to be supportive of each other but it is easy to see the tight living quarters and mistakes are getting on each other’s nerves. Sunday has been the hardest day so far physically but on our third time failing to meet a time limit we started to work together to figures out how to fix our problem. It took three times of sprinting from our living quarters through the fire exit and lining up in correct formation then getting all 89 of us back inside in correct formation in 75 seconds to figure out team work. After that the rest of the evening seemed to be a little less stressful. We are all physically exhausted and it is only the beginning. Other recruits have told us to stick it out because it will get easier. We don’t believe them yet…

It seems like every morning we are woken up to “FIRE, FIRE, FIRE!”; a drill, of course, but still a nerve racking way to start the day. Sprinting out of bed and immediately screaming sure wakes you up better than a cup of coffee. We are getting faster at changing our clothes but still not fast enough. There are so many of us some of the tasks seem impossible. Fortunately, we finally went to the gym today to get a run down on the equipment. I think all of us were relieved to work out on the gym’s floor rather than the concrete outside of James Hall. Not only were the conditions better but the bathrooms were larger and easier to move around in.

After lunch we went to a stress management class to learn about our resources. It was the most fun any of us have had. We got to know each other and experienced our first   inside joke as a company. Hopefully as the bonding begins our team work will strengthen. The later afternoon and evening, however, were hell. WSE ran, had intensive training, and worst of all we had to read and reread a paragraph about discipline out of The Coast Guard Manual while holding it straight out in front of us. It was by far the hardest thing we have had to do and it seemed like an eternity. So of course we had to do it twice. By the end of this we will all be ripped.

They days are beginning to blur, maybe it’s from all of the sweat in our eyes, but one thing is certain, this has become the “normal”. The early mornings, the preciseness of everything, things you used to over look in your old life such as the strings on your bags, you can’t help but to notice to tuck them in, you can’t help but notice that little bit of water left in the sink. Today marks an official week here in Cape May. We are no longer the latest arrivals. That doesn’t mean we’ve gotten any smarter. Even though we had talks from other company commanders about how to survive the first few weeks, you can never prepare for the level of intensity there is every waking minute of every day. We are all still trying to just learn how to speak here. It’s not like the phrases are difficult to pronounce, but let’s see you try and come up to a company commander and tell him or her that you lost an item, when you get screamed at just for scratching your face.

Today seemed to be over just as fast as it begun. Everyone was excited to go to our first spin class this morning, that is until we got there. Everything we do is at a high intensity and it takes the fun out of everything we used to enjoy, even eating a meal. We had two very helpful classes today basically teaching us the new language of “military speak”. Of course we have already picked up on some but a lot of questions were answered today. That might help us, maybe… Also we were issued out simulation M-16s which are not going to be fun to work out with. After dinner was horrible we had to keep changing in and out of our sneakers to our boots in 60 seconds about 15 times. Fortunately just when everyone seemed to be broken mentally and physically the Chaplain came to speak with us. As a group we brainstormed and shared ideas that I think will really help us. After speaking with him everyone’s spirits were lifted and we completed the next two missions our company commanders gave us. If we work together like we did this evening things might start to turn around. Finally, we were given 20 minutes of personal time to write letters and that definitely lifted everyone’s spirits. Hopefully we will start receiving letters soon, only a few lucky ones got mail today and you could tell the ones that did not were disappointed.

Today the whole company had a swim assessment. The idea was simple, swim 100 yards, sounds easy doesn’t it? While some of us excelled and made like penguins in the water, others made more like an anvil.

As a group, the company is coming along, although our company commanders will probably never tell us. WE know we are improving, changes, major changes started happening. We lost shipmates and we gained shipmates. All of us are actually getting a small taste of a sliver of freedom on the regiment. We can now have juice with our meals, not to mention the salad bar. We stood in front of James Hall today and all of us couldn’t help but gaze at the senior company practicing for graduation tomorrow. It can and will be us in a few weeks, but right now it is still too many to start counting.

Another day, another fire drill. Typical morning here at Cape May. Everything we do has a time limit and apparently time flys when you are not having fun. We are so busy and working so hard the days are over just as quickly as they begun. Marching past graduation brought tears to many recruits’ eyes as we saw shipmates be reunited with their families. Six more weeks, six more weeks of the exhaustion and pain. We can do it, we have to do it, and no one wants to disappoint their loved ones.

Almost half of the company went to choir practice this evening and that hour of singing and being able to smile was by far the highlight of the week. Although those of us who went to choir practice must attend church on Sunday. Attending church is not a problem, the problem lies with not having enough time to square away our racks and there is an inspection coming up. We will see how that goes…

The weeks fly by, so does all the memories of our family and friends. Everyday seems to get a little easier but suddenly, as a group, we step on our own toes. And I don’t mean when we are marching. Our company commanders are essentially stuffing our hands with all kinds of information, rules, and regulations, and then expect us to know them off the top of our head. Needless to say, some are taking longer than others. At the same time we are starting to see more of a “laid back” attitude and I use that phrase very lightly. We can tell when the company commanders truly want us to learn what they are showing us. We’ve learned military customs and courtesies, like when and how to salute different marching close orders calls. But no matter what we are doing here we all have the same things on our minds. The things we miss the most. Some of us say we miss our family the most; some even simply miss the feel of grass in between our fingers when we go out to the track and run. We can see the ocean; it is a reminder of two things. One, that there is still life outside the regiment, and it is beautiful and happy. The other thing we notice is that we have a long way to go in order to get a taste of that again. Every day is a positive step in the right direction.

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.