Quebec 190 Recruit Journal Week 03

International Maritime Signal Flag Quebec


Quebec 190 Recruit Journal

Formed: November 18, 2014

Graduates: January 9, 2015


“Old longings nomadic leap. Chafing at custom’s chain; again from its brumal sleep Wakens the ferine strain.”

The Call of the Wild

“Despite all my rage, I am still just a rat in a cage.”

-Smashing Pumpkins

Week 03, in which there was much screaming, sweating, and soul shattering…

…to give you a better picture, imagine a tombstone with the inscription: “Here lies Quebec-190, once a solid square and now a yellow puddle. May the Almighty One rest what is left of their shattered souls. 2014-2014.” Oh, and if you were to stumble upon that grave, you would also notice lots of gulls, which are the vultures of Cape May. White blurs against the misty sky and vibrant grass.

If James Hall (“the house”) were a circus, Petty Officer Uitdenhowen – that is YOU-TEN-HOW-WEN – would be the ring leader, taming Quebec with time objectives and harsh incentive training. Like Nurse Ratchet in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, she pulls our strings, commanding us with her bulldoggish nature. Petty Officer Uitdenhowen can also manipulate time, speeding up the clock when we have to get dressed in our Operational Dress Uniforms (ODUs) as well as make our racks, and slowing down the clock when we do incentive training for missing our objectives. This happened every day this week. When WE weren’t being destroyed by her, our racks were. We were attending classes or scarfing down food the rest of the time.

The classes varied in how they appealed to us – gym, assignments, Seamanship, and others. In Assignments Class, we began filling out our dream sheets. It was surreal, to say the least. We are only in Week 03, after all. It was nerve racking and exciting dreaming of small boat stations and megalithic cutters, practicing drills and securing lines, of saving lives and standing watch. We thought of our families and how much they meant to us, how it was our duty to defend them as proud Coastguardsmen. In History Class, Petty Officer Allen educated us on the birth of the USCG and key figures and vessels. The most interesting figure we learned about, hands down, was Douglas Munro – the only Coastie to receive the Medal of Honor. Petty Officer Allen taught us that the brave men and women that made (and make) up the Coast Guard were (and are) Semper Paratus. They strived (and strive) to be the best, and that’s what made (and makes) them great. Seamanship Class offered us a gynormous amount of nautical stuff such as watch quarter and station bills, parts of a line, and helm commands. It was the closest we could be to the fleet. There were so many models of patrol boats and cutters. It was like an exhibit. We imagined ourselves on the real things finally doing what we’ve been preparing for, for so long.

In gym class, we learned how to sweat a whole lot more – especially during our circuit workout where we sounded off together as we were sweating. “Honor. Respect. Devotion to Duty. Semper Paratus. Quebec-190!” We shouted, and it was fun shouting and sweating because we were disciplining ourselves as a team, without a Company Commander teaching us the Law of Club and Fang. In a separate gym class, we used those bike machine-thingies in the weight room (i.e. a weight palace) with all kinds of machines (including the one Frank Underwood used in House of Cards). The back bulkhead is adorned with the colors (flags) of the 50 states. While we biked, Petty Officer Babot and Petty Officer Gunther did, as well. Neither of them showed any signs of sweat because they are machines – cold and indestructible. We, on the other hand, were melting and dripping sweat, mucus, and phlegm.

Like Buck in Jack London’s Call of the Wild, we’ve been making a powerful effort to adapt to the feral world around us. The CC’s are the men riding the sleds, and we, Quebec, are the ones pulling it. Petty Officer Babot loved to march us all over TRACEN Cape May. He drove us like we were his prized sled team. Flanking us. Oblique-ing us. Countering us. Opening ranks. Closing ranks. Dressing and aligning us. It never ended. He would call commands just to ensure we were paying utmost attention and remaining in step at any given moment. Change step. To the rear. Over and over and over and over. And then we learned the purpose of the command “As you were”… after he almost marched us into a parked vehicle.

Petty Officer Gunther , our Lead Company Commander (AKA our “Sea Daddy”), proved to be quite a jokester this week. It was so hard not to chuckle while he taught us how to shine our boondockers and fold our Operational Dress Uniforms. Smiles are few and far between here in Basic Training, but when your Lead Company Commander makes a joke and makes the room explode with laughter (and says it’s “ok”), you know you have a great leader. However, we quickly learned that there is a time and place for everything.

AND, no Week 03 summary for TRACEN Cape May would be complete without RAMP… For those who don’t know what that is, you know how in Dante’s Inferno the gate to limbo reads “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”? Well the gate to RAMP simply says, “Time is fluid here. All Echo-1s are welcome.” Those who go to RAMP never return the same, like in Stephen King’s Pet Sematary – but worse. Quebec got to visit that cursed place many times this week, and we will continue to go until we all become ghouls or night gaunts, forever bound to suffer in that twisted realm…

This week has made us a little stronger and a little faster. But will it be enough to help us through Week 04? Will we finally be able to sound-off? All we need to do, we can do. We have the potential but not the full potential as of now. It’s time we started building ourselves up again. Quebec has to learn quickly because there’s a storm coming, and it will take us if we let it. This week may have hollowed us out and stuffed us with challenges, but once we began picking up the Law of Club and Fang, it drove us to the finish. So now, we prepare and hope for the best. Buck strived to be the best sled dog, and ultimately he became King of the Wild. The wolves and even the moose were his vassals. Right now, we are sled dogs – broken but not beaten, exhausted but not dead. Someday we will be the senior company, Someday Quebec will be King.

SR McKenzie

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.