Quebec 190 Recruit Journal Week 05

International Maritime Signal Flag Quebec

 

Quebec 190 Recruit Journal

Formed: November 18, 2014

Graduates: January 9, 2015

 

“Take a bottle, drink it down, pass it hey, pass it hey around.”

-Eddie Vedder

 

It was the most brutal of times. It was the absolute worst of times. It was our fifth week. The amount of reversions, probations, and ramp tickets being handed out piled up so high you needed wings to stay above it. We had to say goodbye to our imperfections. Otherwise, we were as good as gone. Quebec felt the weight of it all like a giant magnifying glass being pressed down on us. The eyes of our Company Commanders are sharper than superman’s.

 

Every morning we popped out of our racks like toast and donned our operational dress uniform, boondockers, and Gortex jackets in 07 minutes so we could race to chow like we were on a search-and-rescue mission. The galley’s French toast sticks were the lives that needed saving, and our appetites were the will to save them. The more time objectives we completed, the more evening routine we earned. In that time, we could clean, shower, and conduct uniform maintenance. All of these we seemed to do rather religiously unless we were sent to RAMP, of course. And if you were at RAMP, you got to meet the terrifying Petty Officer Russo (she’s every bit as bull doggish and cruel as Petty Officer Uitdenhowen) or “RussoHowen.” Her methods are twisted and would make Clive Barker’s pin head squirm. I have to shut my eyes every time I see an M1 grand now. “Blood, sweat, and tears” is still ringing in my ears. No ME GUSTA RAMP !

 

This week in Seamanship we played with personal flotation devices, or life vest. We practiced putting them on and taking them off until our instructor got bored. He then allowed us to create a masterpiece of epic proportions with our life vest. Quebec made a “Q” and a giant Christmas tree. We were quite pleased with ourselves. Later, Quebec got to view Coast Guard short films and vote on which ones we liked best. So did Papa and Romeo as well as our Company Commanders. The video that won featured unfitting thumpy music, James Franco, and lots of Go-Pro shots of Coasties on cutters. Captain Prestidge (our Commanding Officer) viewed the films with us and excited us when he said that we’d be getting to do all that stuff in those videos. And, those we’d rescue would hug us and that feeling would be unlike any other.

 

The following day Petty Officer Babot brought us to the gym to help us wake up. We did lots of gratuitous exercises until we had to put up wet deck signs due to the excess of sweat we managed to produce. In the evening, the blood drive vampires came by to let us donate. Those who did escaped Petty Officer Uitdenhowen’s laundry game and RAMP.

 

On Friday, we moved in to Healy Hall. All the blood, sweat, and tears had led to here –more blood, sweat and tears. However, we also reside in purgatory. We stood watch for Papa’s graduation, as we did for Oscar’s. We greeted the civilian’s family as they attended the ceremony, which reminded us of our family. We can’t wait to see you again. Friday evening choir was the first time we could sit in the middle pews and the first time we could lead the closing worship song because we are officially the senior company. Quebec is the “top dog” now, if a Chihuahua could be considered a top dog. The only difference of being on top is that it is easier to fall. We’ve lost too many shipmates to feel proud. Our eyes are on the big picture still, but every now and then it becomes blurred. We don’t know what the upcoming week has in store for us (save for Christmas), but we pray that it will be less painful. Quebec is beginning to understand more and more why we’re here. We have to be the best we can be HERE so we can be the best out THERE. And, we have to figure out how to do that before it’s too late.

 

 

Week 05 Epilogue: COLORS

 

“She’s my sweet little baby. She’s my pride and joy…”

-Stevie Ray Vaughn

 

She has fair gold hair with a red streak, soft gorgeous skin, and she’s sharp as heck. Her name is Rosalita, and she is OURS. Right now she is fast asleep in the rack just above our Guidon Bearer (with her own rack card). Our Guidon Bearer is the only one that can lay hands on her, and when he bears her, he does so with a spring in his step and head held high. Quebec has never felt so complete, so whole. We are a legitimate company – like, for reals. It’s a darn good feeling…

 

We had just gotten our high fidelity pieces. They were harder to hump around than expected and much scarier. Our Company Commanders immediately herded us into the squadbay to practice Manual of Arms. As we were beginning to pick up on “Inspection Arms”, Petty Officer Allen – who happened to be the Training Duty Officer – received a phone call that caused him to flip out on us rather severely. Apparently, one of us had received a package –although it was Sunday – a fairly large one with hearts and kisses plastered on it; the very kind that causes our Lead Company Commander to shout “Fire, Fire, Fire” and I.T. us with our new pieces… here’s what happened…

 

“Merry Christmas, Shipmates. Merry Christmas, Shipmates.” Our chewy-bar cat (the one who received the package) cried out as Petty Officer Gunther commanded us to sweat. The poor red belt was forced to say this, and he knew that the brand new pain we were experiencing was on him; that whatever was in that package was going to kill us all. Eventually he was commanded to open it. “Well what is it?!” they asked the poor recruit who, by now, probably needed a new pair of pants.

 

He finally unveiled it. “It… It’s a… a guidon?” he said.

 

Our Company Commanders broke character for a few seconds, cracking smiles. “That package could have been sent to anyone. You just happened to be the one we picked.”

 

“Well are you just gonna stand there, Quebec? Or are you going to go get your colors?!” Petty Officer Gunther asked us.

 

At hearing that, we all madly rushed to grasp our pride. We were louder and happier than we ever thought we could be. The entire regiment knew what Quebec Company had just experienced. So, our Company Commanders let us celebrate by parading around with our “Rosalita.” Each of them led us in an epic cadence as we passed by civilians and beautiful scenery. There are no words that can describe what we felt. From now on, we’ll let the regiment know “From the East to the West, Quebec Company is the best.” First, we proved ourselves on the Confidence Course, and now we proved ourselves worthy of seniority. We are back at the end of Call of the Wild. We just have to keep things that way for three more weeks.

 

It’s a darn good feeling.

 

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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