Bravo 191 Recruit Journal Week 06



Bravo 191 Recruit Journal

Formed: March 17, 2015

Graduates: May 8, 2015

Liberty, as members of the U.S. military, this word has two important meanings. First, it s one of the ideals of our country for which we are all prepared to fight. Second, it is time off work. In boot camp, the idea of “time off” seems completely foreign. Yet at the end of week 06, that’s exactly what we had the chance to earn: on base liberty. But first we had to get through the week.


We started off a bit rocky, still a bit out of sorts from our move to Healy Hall and to a senior position on the regiment. But we soon got our bearings and gathered our wits. As Chief Hollenbeck told us, it is time to be confident, but not cocky. For the most part, this describes BRAVO-191. And with each passing day, our confidence grows.


This week started off with three straight days of firefighting training, culminating in a firefighting practical. For the practical, we donned approximately 327 pounds of firefighting gear and duck walked for an eternity while spraying fire hoses in a dark “smoke” filled room. Tiring to be sure, but fun and an important learning experience. We were also issued our military ID cards, which made us all feel nice and official. On Thursday, however, we had some real fun: pugil stick bouts. Basically, pugil stick bouts involve putting on protective gear, arming ourselves with wooden sticks covered in padding, stepping into a ring and then proceeding to try to beat the hell out of each other. During these two person fights, the entire company cheered and shouted encouragement. Overall it was a very fun experience that allowed the recruits of Bravo Company a rare opportunity to release some tension and blow off steam.


On Friday afternoon, feeling good about the week and confident as a unit, we stepped out of a class only to be accosted by all three of our Company Commanders. They turned up the heat on us, and for a minute it seemed we were heading for a second “reckoning”, a la week 05. Chief Hollenbeck informed us we were being “ridiculous”, and as punishment we were going to march down near the beach and remove dirt that had been piled on a mound of clean sand. The catch? We were to perform this excavation with tiny plastic Dixie cups.


We all wondered what exactly we had done wrong to incur this wrath. As we slowly moved dirt, the scene grew more and more chaotic. With our Company Commanders screaming and giving constant contradictory orders, we struggled to maintain cohesion. Then, just as the situation threatened to spin out of control, something unexpected happened. Out of the sand, we unearthed our red Bravo flag guidon. The entire company erupted into cheers. This flag symbolizes our seniority, and grants us the privilege of singing cadence while marching. It was a proud moment for BRAVO-191.


Finally, Saturday arrived, and with it something we had all been awaiting since March-on base liberty. Granted use of our cell phones, we were granted 06 delightful hours of contact with the outside world and the ability to act more or less like a normal person. Talking to family and friends, relaxing in the Harborview Club, and cramming copious amounts of junk food down our gullets, we thoroughly enjoyed every blissful moment of it. As one could guess, it was over all too soon and we had to snap back to the reality of recruit training.


We must now remain “locked on”. We have off base liberty to look forward to next week, and graduation the week after that. But we must remain focused on the task at hand. We will be under ever increasing scrutiny, both individually and as a unit. We still must all prove ourselves worthy of graduating on My 08. There are no guarantees here. But we are Bravo Company. We are loud, we are proud, and we are confident. Together, we will reach our goal.


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.