Whiskey 191 Recruit Journal Week 08

International Maritime Signal Flag Whiskey

Coast Guard Recruit Company Whiskey 191 Graduation Program


Whiskey 191 Recruit Journal

Formed: September 1, 2015

Graduates: October 23, 2015


“Fare Thee Well”


Before I left for boot camp my family took me out for a day on the Puget Sound hunting for Orcas. My aunt, a lovable East Coast native who lives a life full of adventure and conviction, spearheaded the trip. She pulled out all the stops, booking us a sea plane ride, a kayaking tour, and topped it all off with a fancy seafood dinner at the end. (#blessed #coolstorybro) Our family spent the time together talking about anything and everything from eating Bull Kelp (which I’ll leave to Bear Grylls) to the unduly sense of entitlement of the younger generation. This sense of entitlement is something that I didn’t expect to find relevant during my 08 weeks at Cape May. While materialistic entitlement was evident among some of the recruits, I found that there was a greater amount of personal growth entitlement. Personal growth entitlement (patent pending) is when a person believes that they will become the best version of themselves just by keep on keeping on. They see their end goal as something that will be handed to them without realizing all the hard work and pain that it takes. As recruits shuffle out of the bus on that first Tuesday, they have an idea of who they want to be at the end of training. Some may want to become leaders, some may want to become better followers, and others may just want to make it to the end in one piece. Whatever the case may be, basic training is in place to force you to confront yourself. It’s this endless confrontation that inevitably begins to make you realize aspects about yourself that you never knew were there. This is where the real work begins. As you’re holding a mattress over your head, sweat soaking the floor around you, and your voice reverberating off the bulkheads, you have to decide whether or not you want to keep taking your potential for granted or change into someone that your future you will be proud of. But like I said, the change doesn’t come easy. Even in the final week of training, we are still being tested in ways that we never quite expected.

Week 08 is the week labeled as “optimal stress” in the Helmsman (An all you need to know booklet that each recruit receives before boot camp). If any future recruit may be reading this, I would take those two pages that outline the flow of your 08 weeks and just draw a line through them. Boot camp is boot camp and regardless of which week you’re in, you’ll be tested in ways that will continue to grow you as a Coastie. Maybe you’re not trying to memorize your sixth general order anymore but simulating a SAR mission out on the beach all night tests you in different ways. Without giving too much away about the final week (because I think that surprises are good fun), Whiskey earned their U.S Coast Guard covers at around 0445 in the morning after spending the entire night working for it. At this ceremony, one of our officers talked to us about how, “The next time you put on that ball cap and respond to a SAR mission in the middle of the night, it’s going to be real. You’ll be searching for actual people that need your help and will be expected to perform at the level needed to do so”. As we took it all in, I know that some of us probably thought about what our first real mission would look like and wondered if we’d be up to the task. What we didn’t know is that later in the middle of that night we would be woken up by that same officer and ordered to help in a real search. With around 03 hours of sleep in the past 48 hours, we were in the middle of our first real SAR experience. That next morning Whiskey Company was allowed a nap or two by none other than our Commanding Officer who thanked us for our hard work and sent us off into the fleet with some great words of wisdom.

These words of wisdom echoed into our night as Whiskey company was afforded the opportunity to watch a new batch of recruits step off the bus. Aside from indulging our newfound somewhat sick sense of humor to see other recruits get “jacked up”, this gives us the chance to see what we had been. It’s a pretty awesome experience and also a pretty big mind trip. The only way to say it is that we are just different now. You can’t pinpoint it exactly but it just is. As our commanding officer gave us our speech he told us that, “You’ll want to go back and see your old friends, be the old you, and try to fit back into where you had been 08 weeks ago but it just won’t be the same. Your values have changed and who you are has ultimately changed”. We are now on a new path with a different set of standards and this may be tough for some people to understand at first. Not too long ago I used my on base liberty to call some of my good friends and close family. It was just what I needed. One of the small things I noticed during these conversations is that people didn’t quite know how to interact with me at first. They waited for me to set the tone of the conversation because after 07 weeks, they didn’t know what to expect. The only other event I’ve had that caused people to approach me with this sense of caution (like when a dog approaches an unknown dog and tentatively sniffs it’s rear to see what they’re dealing with) was after my mom died. It was after making this connection that it began to dawn on me just what a life altering process I had started in my life by joining the U.S Coast Guard.

Whiskey Company has officially made it to the end. Graduation is a day away and that moment we’ve all been waiting for but that didn’t quite seem tangible is here. This time next week we will be out in the fleet, getting checked off on our qualifications, and serving our country to the best of our ability. It’s been a hell of a ride in Whiskey company and we’ve finally made it to the beginning of the rest of our careers. Never stop praying, supporting, and sending those good vibes to your loved ones because this is when the real crucible begins. Whiskey-191 Out!


“Every good sailor knows when to raise the Whiskey flag.”


“I am a coast guardsman. I serve the people of the United States.”


~SR Burns, 21OCT15

-End of Company Log-


Coast Guard Recruit Company Whiskey 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.