Echo 191 Recruit Journal Week 04


Echo 191 Recruit Journal

Formed: April 14, 2015

Graduates: June 5, 2015

As things progress here at Cape May, so too does Recruit Company Echo-191. Each week feels like a singular, significant step. Each day leaves significant marks on each recruit –either a positive or negative. Regardless, most of the time spent after lights out is spent contemplating how to become a better company or individual.

This week offered plenty of chances to do just that (and a couple of opportunities solely unique to Echo-191). This was primarily because Echo-191 has progressed past the Company Formation and is finishing up with the basics, into the Practical Training phase. What this means for the company is more classroom time, more hands-on training and higher stakes. Echo-191 is no longer thought of as the young group, learning and given breaks for mistakes. Instead, punishment is quick and severe for missteps.

Classes this week involved Firearms Training and our practical tests on Helm Lookout and Knots, as well as informational classes on subjects like Housing, Careers, Pay, and Commitment. Firearms Training with the standard issue firearm for the United States Coast Guard, the Sig Sauer P229R DAK, including nomenclature, weapon safety, range safety and a firing course (with a modified system that mimicked weapon firing without a projectile). The Helm Lookout and Knots Practical provided the entire company a measured amount of stress until passing with flying colors. These classes, in addition to classes from previous weeks culminated in the Company Mid-Term test on Friday afternoon. As expected with a group of men and women so focused on the task at hand, every participant passed.

Two decisions were made by every member of Echo-191 well before they arrived by bus to Cape May, New Jersey. What do I want to do in the Coast Guard and where do I want to live in the Coast Guard? The first question remains to be seen, but this week the company filled out their “Dream Sheets,” a piece of paper that, when filled out, listed the desires of each recruit for their first assignment as a non-rated Seaman/Fireman Recruit or Seaman/Fireman. And no one could keep quiet about it. It seemed as if every head and water break found one recruit telling another they wanted to work in this or that district, on a cutter or small boat station. It will surely feel like the longest week for Echo-191 as they await confirmation as to whether their wishes came true, or they’ll end up doing something completely different in the absolute opposite side of the country.

The week’s end centered everyone’s attention on festivities for a special event in Cape May. The city was announced in grand fashion by local and state government, as well as many important members of the Coast Guard, including the Commandant of the Coast Guard, Admiral Zukunft. A battalion parade and review saw thousands out to celebrate the event in style with fanfare and flyovers by Coast Guard Helicopters, plus a 21 cannon salute. Echo -191 was entrusted to stand guard throughout the Training Center on Saturday to direct the general public, as well as a large contingent of Coast Guardsmen and women here to celebrate. It afforded a terrific opportunity to practice identifying the many grades and ranks of the Coast Guard.

Echo-191 is making its way past the halfway mark, but things will not get easier from here. The expectations will forever rise and the punishment for infractions and errors only get stiffer and more severe. The popular saying around here is “The only easy day was yesterday,” which has held true every day in training thus far. Time has to be spent wisely and mistakes have to be limited and progressed from. Next week is the beginning of another, very large step.

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.