Alfa 191 Recruit Journal Week 07

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Alfa 191 Recruit Journal

Formed: March 10, 2015

Graduates: May 1, 2015

 

The End

 

In giving thought on how to package this last post, I figured it would make the most sense to talk about this past week, and then recruit training as a whole.

 

Alfa killed week 07, plain and simple. To kick off the week, it began with flying colors, Alfa’s to be exact. I wish I could quantify the pride we all had standing there on the beach watching Alfa’s Blue and White fly. Immediately prior to earning our colors we had been marched down to the beach which was scary. None of us knew what was going on. Once we hit the beach we had an incentive training session. It seemed to go on forever, feet, back, feet, back, pushups squats, flutter kicks, feet, back and feet again. As we were dying like a fish gasping for its last breath Senior Chief Elliott spoke some words reminding us why we were suffering in the sand. We have joined the oldest maritime lifesaving service. This is not some 0900 – 1700 corporation. Our core values are based on the foundation of Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty, they are not some buzz words and the fiscal bottom line.

Receiving our colors wasn’t about following a piece of fabric on a stick. For many of us it was validation and the realization that it is not just about recruit training. Our colors confirmed transcendence, hard work, sacrifice, fellowship, and ultimately success. The flag, the wind, the beach, the waves, it was epic. Such a change to marching around the regiment with our Guidon flipped upside down to signify our failure as a company – no more. Later in the week our company flag was raised over the regiment for all to see.

Company Commanders both male and female wear a campaign cover. Honestly, it resembles a miniature sombrero, only minus the warm and fuzzy of a cabo spring break. Recruits quickly learn to instinctively fear the cover because they know that some form of physical, mental, or emotional payment will be endured. The lessons that were learned through our company commanders and this experience called boot camp are life changing.

Confidence exudes from us. That’s what 8 weeks of screaming during every interaction will do. Most importantly, it’s about disregarding the fear of failure and embarrassment when you know you can’t hide. Forcing people into the spotlight and having to articulate has created certain poise in shipmate that they didn’t have before. In the vein of confidence, many have commented on the importance of leadership, and feeling as though they are capable of stepping up and assuming leadership roles.

Perspective is a general term, but by far it’s what many of us will take away from our time here. Over the course of 8 weeks we’ve heard the following phrases;

 

Chaplain: Manage your expectations

Master Chief Berry (BC): Make it your goal to graduate, not avoid reversion

Senior Chief Elliott (LCC): Do I have to hold your hand through this whole thing

Chief Arseneaux (ACC): You better dig deep Alfa

Chief Reid (ACC): That sounds like a you problem, and not a me problem

 

Blunt, if not dismissive to say the least. The point though, is to develop self reliance and determination. The ability to emotionally resurrect yourself on a daily basis is what the fleet demands and requires. It demands strong willed, disciplined, and independent people who will finish tasks and missions. So, in many different variations, Alfa stated that adjusting their perspective (and ultimately behavior) to stay in the game is what they will take from Cape May

In our debrief with our company commanders we found out that we were Senior Chief Elliott’s worst company. However, in true Senior Chief Elliott form his shrugged and pulled a Forrest Gumpism “You never know who you’re going to get off the bus” it stung to hear that we were his worst company. However, his approach and his assistants approach is kind of like a technique used by a blacksmith. You take raw material (a recruit) and repeatedly hammer it; continuously folding it back onto itself, the constant working and folding makes the product incredibly strong. So we fell off the bus a raw lump of material, and yet we have been forged into something worthy and usable.

Recruit training is no cake walk; we have failed, worked each other nerves, and have ran around totally confused. However, we have also succeeded, learned teamwork, and learned to eliminate confusion. On graduation day we will enter into the gymnasium as a solidified company. We are no longer naïve individuals we are now a team and committed members of the United States Coast Guard. We implore you to take a long look of what we have become. You will be inspired and you will be proud!

Coast Guard Recruit Company Alfa 191 Graduation Program

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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