Tango 191 Recruit Journal Week 02

International Maritime Signal Flag Tango

International Maritime Signal Flag Tango


Tango 191 Recruit Journal

Formed: August 18, 2015

Graduates: October 9, 2015






“Into the Shark Tank”


76 brand spanking new, fresh out of the box recruits in a rooms, sitting at the position of attention. They sit there, waiting as a Coast Guard Captain prepares to surrender them to their Company Commanders for the first time, like a fisherman ready to throw a bucket of chum to sharks.

“Are you ready?” he asks.

“SIR YES SIR!” reply the recruits.

It was at this moment that recruit company TANGO-191 was formed.

What followed is known to Training Center Cape May as “indoctrination weekend.” Translation: Three days of grueling physical training and time-objective tasks designed to stretch TANGO-191 to their farthest limits. What emerged were a bunch of kids with shaved heads, swimming in big blue blouses with sleeves that aren’t rolled quite right, trousers that sag with belts that are too big, and sweat dripping off their tired, aching bodies. They looked the part now. That is, if by “the part” you mean the part of uncoordinated freshmen on their first day of high school.

The hours and hours of hard physical training called “I.T.” (incentive training) take their toll quite quickly. Three square meals a day seem to remedy it, but eating—while a basic task at face value—is quite difficult when you have a Company Commander screaming out every small error you make. You got to the table too slow. You waited in line wrong. Eat your food, NOT LIKE THAT! The recruits were the equivalent of a newborn baby deer trying to swim through a pool of Jell-O, completely out of place.

Of course, sleeping is quite wonderful–a few hours of peace and complete silence in darkness to recuperate. You see, night descends on Training Center Cape May like a wolf pounces on a rabbit. The chase is exciting, rigorous, and full to the brim with terror. Then suddenly, it is time for sleep, and yes, death is an exaggeration, but the recruits of TANGO-191 would argue that they feel like death, up until their heads hit the pillow. Each day seems to stretch on for an eternity, all of them longer than the last. At only a few days into basic training, each one is its own spicy, meaty, sweat-filled sandwich, where tomorrow’s is always harder to swallow than yesterday’s.

The recruits are learning, but still fumbling. For every bit of yardage gained, they are knocked back twice as much, but that is how this is supposed to be. This is the beginning. Only a few days ago, they had no idea one another existed. But now, they are one body. One big, lively, undisciplined, unable-to-stand-still-without-being-forced-to-do-pushups living being. They are now TANGO-191 and like any other newborn, they must learn to walk, talk, and eat…well…march, sound off, and chow.


-It Takes Two to Tango

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