Lima 190 Recruit Journal Week 07

International Maritime Signal Flag Lima

Lima 190 Recruit Journal

Formed: September 16, 2014

Graduates: November 7, 2014

 

Week 07

The most terrifying roller coaster I’ve ever been on? Week 07 of Coast Guard Boot Camp. This was LIMA’s most exciting and miserable week we’ve had here. To try and fit everything into a few hundred words isn’t an easy task (probably an impossible one for a fatigued recruit) but we’ll give it a go.

The week was our busiest yet. We took our First Aid/CPR course and practical, our Seamanship Final, and got our “High and Tight” haircuts. (Quick disclaimer: not all of us have enough hair on top for “High and Tights” so we were able to find a bit of humor in what was a very stressful week at the expense of the thinner haired recruits). And while all of these things were great, Friday weighed heavily on our broken bodies. Friday of Week 07 was our Manual of Arms/Close Order Drill Test, and our Final Exam. To put it simply, a Company either succeeds or fails after the chaos is all said and done. Understandably, the build up to the big day brought about an enormous amount of stress and tension to the company, and each day it just kept building. It didn’t help that two shipmates were pulled out of formation outside of the galley and reverted on the spot by our Section Commander. Just like that, they were gone. It was a harsh reminder that despite being so close, it can all go wrong at any moment.

Already unsettled from the reversions and the upcoming tests, we couldn’t seem to find a rhythm as a company, especially when practicing for our tests. Petty Officer Uitdenhowen, who trained with the Coast Guard Honor Guard, is pretty much the master of anything marching, Manual of Arms, and Sleeve Rolls. With her training us, the pressure was on to not just perform well for us, but to show off for her too. But the pressure got to us, and we lost our cool. We couldn’t quite get the movements down smoothly, we couldn’t stay in sync with each other, and the few advanced moves Petty Officer Uitdenhowen incorporated into our performance were quickly being pulled due to the fact we couldn’t perform them. We were convinced we were set to fail.

Finally, the stress hit a breaking point. Thursday night during our nightly Muster, a few shipmates couldn’t hold in their frustration anymore and began to vocalize (loudly) how they were feeling. This set off the rest of the members in the company and before anyone knew it, we were at each other’s throats. It got so loud that Chief Mckenna had to come in and basically break it up; something you never want a Company Commander to have to do. Quickly, the frustration and aggression turned to shame and embarrassment as we realized what we had allowed ourselves to do. LIMA company doesn’t break. We may trip and stumble every now and then, but our Company Commanders worked far too hard to make us the meanest company on this regiment for us to be slipping like that. Thankfully, Chief Mckenna is the best at his job, and quickly identified exactly what we needed to do: relax. After a quick, but stern, pep talk from him, our heads were set back on straight and we were able to move on with our night and try and get some sleep before the big day.

Despite Chief Mckenna’s advice, we were all still as nervous as ever. We had one chance to really show our Company Commanders how much we cared and wanted to succeed, and no one wanted to blow that. Quickly, the Final flew by and before we knew it, we were formed up for our Manual of Arms and Close Order Drill test in front of Chief Cain, our Section Commander. But Petty Officer Uitdenhowen, not about to lead her company into the Lion’s den without being properly armed and ready, marched us in front of our audience and got us going. How did we do? We nailed it.

We made a few mistakes here and there, but Petty Officer Uitdenhowen’s advanced moves and guidance landed us 9 out of 10 on both tests. Not only did we dominate that, but we also received a Section Commander pennant for “reflecting a true respect for ourselves and our Company Commanders.” To top it all off, Chief Mckenna awarded us a Company Commander Pennant, the Midterm Pennant, the Marksmanship Pennant, the Blood Drive Pennant, the Seamanship Pennant, and the Final Pennant. The scuttlebutt is that the Final Pennant is one of the most challenging Pennants a Company can obtain, especially after the Final Test switched to being an online version instead of paper. Safe to say we all had our chins a little higher as we saw the long, colorful ribbons drape down our Black and Gold flag.

In a moment we will never forget, we marched back to Healy Hall, singing to the sweet remedies of Petty Officer Russo’s “LIMA Train Rolling” cadence (none of us knew Petty Officer Russo knew how to do anything else but make us sweat, but she certainly can lead a cadence) as the Lima Flag was hoisted by Chief Mckenna up the Flag Pole for all the regiment to see that LIMA Company is finally top dog.

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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