Quebec 190 Recruit Journal Week 04

International Maritime Signal Flag Quebec

International Maritime Signal Flag Quebec

Quebec 190 Recruit Journal

Formed: November 18, 2014

Graduates: January 9, 2015


Week 04, in which Quebec-190 took our physical fitness assessment, received our orders, moved into James Hall (for the second time), and fell off a cliff…

“Oh no don’t, don’t sink the boat, that ya built, ya built to keep afloat.”

-Flogging Molly

“You’d like to think I’m sleepin very peacefully – I’m not…”

-The Old 97s

I heard somewhere in earlier times that companies carried guidons to show they were still alive and to allow the commanders looking down on the battle to issue commands. For most of this week, our Guidon Bearer was instead the Broomstick Bearer. Our signature white flag with a “Q” on it was now a laminated piece of paper attached to a broomstick. This was all due to an earlier issue we had regarding our integrity (one of the main offenses here) and because we failed not only to keep our military bearing in the classroom, but also we did not complete our time objectives. So, Quebec-190 got to look like the doofus parade bus, driving all over the regiment as the command “Broomstick Post” echoed in the distance. (Our bearer also had to shout “Gangway broomstick!” when transiting to and from places.

What’s red, cold, and out of breath after running 1.5 miles on a sludgy track in the middle of winter? A recruit who just completed their physical fitness test in our company – that’s who. The course we ran was like the ninth ring of hell, arctic air and freakish wind sapping us like some malevolent force as we trudged through the many unavoidable hypothermia inducing puddles. And although the presence of our Company Commanders alone scared some of us in to succeeding, they offered plenty of encouragement to spur others on, too. Afterwards, Petty Officer Gunther marched us back home with that really catchy cadence of his – the “forward at-a-double-time” one that left us humming long afterwards in the head.

The next day we received our orders. Quebec knows where we’re going after this. Most of us felt like Charlie did when he won the golden ticket to the chocolate factory. And, we couldn’t have been more pleased to have Petty Officer Gunther there reading off the list of units to us. Of course, he did so in the traditional manner he did things like this; by commending us / humiliating us with outlandishly hilarious remarks regarding our stations and cutters. It was one of the finer moments of this week, but things for Quebec always shifted from fine to messed up in the blow of a whistle.

The following day we took our midterm test. Everything from our Day 01 class until now was on it. We were in a state of perpetual flipping through binders and notebooks as we carefully chose our answers on the screen. We needed to pass. And we all did, thankfully.

Our Company Commanders have been stressing more and more lately that there is a method to all their madness. Petty Officer Allen doesn’t just offer us advice to hear himself talk. Petty Officer Babot doesn’t demand us to “fly” (rush) because he thinks we’re lazy. Petty Officer Uitdenhowen sure as heck doesn’t force our eyes in the boat constantly for her own pleasure. Pressing our tight knuckles against our sides, getting our thumbs on our trouser seams, keeping our elbows tucked in, moving with a sense of urgency, and most importantly SOUNDING OFF. Attention to detail and 100% effort means everything to Petty Officer Gunther and his assistants. If we did not possess or accomplish these, it was “Sweat. Sweat. Sweat!” And Quebec did sweat. At one point, Petty Officer Gunther was more cross than Grendel was at the Danes for making racket in their meadhall. There was no brave, great hero to save us from the wrath of our enraged Sea Daddy. He kicked us out of James Hall, only to have us move back in. Joshua James was happy to re-welcome us and offer his hospitality. Our failure was so severe we might as well have fallen off a cliff. All the good we had done was always undone eventually….

As we look at the other companies – Oscar and Papa – we realize how far we have to go, and Romeo and Sierra Company remind us of how far we’ve come. We relive the horrors of forming and indoc week, but we watched Oscar walk out with their heads held high like Olympians with gold medals. Quebec had no ribbons or medals or anything – but confused pride, really. However, it seemed like it was just yesterday that Oscar was marching around in our squadbay shouting “It’s Week 06 and we don’t care” like a mantra. They made it out, so could we. They stood watch every night like we did, and probably failed harder than us, got shark tanked by other company commanders and incentively trained until the deck was nothing but sweat. But they kept their eyes on the big picture and that enabled them to keep afloat. We’ve made it halfway through training together and even though the next week will demand more of us, our focus will, like Oscar Company, be on the big picture.


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.


5 Responses

  1. Pete Buel says:

    Well written SR McKenzie! Tell Dillon Buel to keep his Eyes On The Boat! You’ll get a chuckle out of him! Best wishes for everyone to make it through and I look forward to seeing all of you at graduation! Semper Paratus!

  2. Sandra Santiago says:

    I am a very proud and grateful mother. Quebec 190 the prize is closer than before, just keep pushing. You are all outstanding young men and women and you will together as a team persevere. Keep the faith,
    the prize is yours!

  3. nanasherline says:

    Am I proud ??? Yes I’m proud !!! Proud of how far Quebec 190 has come. Looking forward to seeing them complete the race. Ready to see families smile….faces beaming with pride when “their” recruit walks across the finish line !!!

  4. Adolfo Valadez says:

    Very good work SR McKenzie! I’m very proud of you and I sent a Christmas card for you to your father’s address, I hope you receive it. Merry Christmas and God bless you -Grandpa Valadez

  5. Anita D. Morann McGahee says:

    Keep up the good work….