Golf 193 Recruit Journal Week 03

International Maritime Signal Flag Golf

Golf 193 Recruit Journal

Formed: July 26, 2016

Graduates: September 16, 2016

 

WK 03 Summary

 

08AUG16

 

I did not think it would be possible until graduation day, but there are 96 happy recruits tonight in Golf-193. We kicked butt today. It has been a beautiful beginning to week 03 and it’s only been one day.

Honestly though, the morning started out pretty rough. There are a handful of us who are required to take remedial swim, which required us to wake up 45 minutes earlier than the rest of the company. Somewhere along the lines of communication, the wake-up list was not executed, which made everyone late to swim or they did not go at all. It was a rough start, but I thought of it as a practice in the fleet. It does not matter if a situation arose, you still have work to do and there are zero excuses.

After morning chow, we all (the entire company) went back to the pool for a required survival swim class. We got to put on the survival suits, which are the suits that are worn in rescues in the fleet. It was actually pretty cool (and relaxing….. a word we do not use here) to wear them and learn some survival techniques. I know one of the recruits dreams of being an Aviation Survival Technician and she was ecstatic to get a little taste of it.

We did sweat today, of course. What would boot camp be without it? I have noticed that my shipmates and myself are slowly gaining more self-discipline and learning teamwork every day. Instead of allowing the shipmate next to us to drop their piece when it gets heavy, we encourage them to keep it up. It boosts the morale of the company and it’s starting to reflect on us. Finally!! It’s becoming pretty clear who the shipmates that are lacking self-discipline, who are sandbaggers, and who lack motivation. But we are only as strong as our weakest link, so instead of getting pissed at them, we need to help them. If one fails, we all fail.

After afternoon chow, we had a bike workout with Mr. Schena at the gym. I like the gym. Not only does it get us away from the screaming, but it allows us to relieve stress in a healthy way, which is SO important here. We had a class taught by Petty Officer Karpf on Roles and Missions. My shipmates and I enjoyed it; I think it reminded us of why we are here and all the amazing things we get to do out in the fleet. Petty Officer Karpf even shared a personal experience story of him out in the fleet, which was really motivating to hear to remember that people need us to protect, defend, and save them.

The entire regiment is still sick, so we spent this afternoon cleaning and disinfecting or squad bay and quarterdeck. However, apparently other companies are having recruits dropping left and right from the illnesses and Golf-193 is still going strong, so I guess that’s kind of a win for us. Our other class of day was Sexual Assault. The Coast Guard has zero tolerance for it and we learned about reporting sexual assault, our privacy rights, how to prevent it and how common it actually is. I feel so proud to be joining the Coast Guard because their values make me proud. I am so proud to be a recruit of this branch and how important stopping sexual assault is here.

Our evening was spent SUCCESSFULLY achieving the multiple challenges Petty Officer Karpf gave us. For our first challenge, we had to move racks around the 04 squad bays to get ready for a new company that is supposedly moving in…. However, Petty Officer Karpf told us that if we did it successfully, (which means without hurting anyone, anything, or breaking something) in the time he gave us, he would try to send that company elsewhere, which would be amazing. I have never seen Golf-193 work so diligently. Of course we met the challenge. Because one of our shipmates decided not to take orders seriously, the entire company got a beating afterwards. If one fail, we all fail.

We got over that and had our daily evening muster. This is where things changed for us. Petty Officer Karpf gave each squad bay leader a schedule of times and orders for us to meet. We had a specific time for showering, cleaning, uniform maintenance, rack organization, mail time, and prayer time. If we hit the first objective we got to move on to the next one. If we failed, we would spend the rest of the night sweating. Every single time our list was successfully achieved and we earned the opportunity to strive for evening routine again. Golf-193 is learning how to come together as a team and meet goals as a unit instead of individuals. We had such an amazing night here (as amazing as boot camp could get) and everyone is starting to consistently meet our goals.

Something we have heard here is “do the right thing, because it’s the right thing to do.” For some reason that’s been stuck in my head all day. I use it as motivation and a reminder that I need self-discipline. It’s definitely something I will start using daily and start demonstrating. You don’t do the right thing to win or to please others-You do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do.

 

09AUG16

 

Just keep on push’in! That’s how I go about my days down here. The light at the end of the tunnel is slowly approaching. If you try to focus on the positive of this, you are just fine. Everything we are doing right now is a positive, whether or not the feedback we get makes us feel like it. We all signed up to serve this country. BOOM! I can’t think of something more positive than that.

Today, the idea of securing my country became very real. Half of our company made their way over to the Administration building to get our Military Identification Cards. That’s when it really hits. We chose to do a really good thing, and you must keep telling yourself that. All the sweat, and maybe some blood and tears, will be worth it in the end. Looking back on this experience, my shipmates and I are going to laugh at how much we have changed. I’m pretty excited to see that evolution actually. Going from a plain old civilian to part of the Armed Forces in 8 weeks. That’s what makes training that much tougher. But stay positive, think about the goals, and you are golden.

This nasty “Cape May Crud” as I’ve heard it called is still going around and doesn’t seem like it’s going to slow down. All of our Company Commanders make us clean our squad bays sometimes 02-03 times a day. Because of this, the medical clinic has noticed that Golf-193 remains one of the “healthy” companies here. I put healthy in quotes because sometime the coughing overwhelms the speaker in the room to the point where you can’t hear them. Pretty bad stuff really. Remember kids, always wash your hands thoroughly and use hand sanitizer. Really though, that helps….. And could be the reason why no one has been seriously ill (knock on wood).

Tuesdays are the nights when the Chaplain comes to give us about an hour away from our Company Commanders. It’s a great hour, let me tell you. But tonight, instead of Father Brown, a Navy Chaplain came. LT Clark filled in and I have to say he did a really good job. He filled us in on current events, top songs of the week, status of the Olympics, and he also told us life stories about his family. This hour a week we get to sit and relax with the Chaplain is definitely needed. It’s refreshing to hear the outside news, after hearing “LEFT, LEFT, LEFT” all day. Getting back to the Olympics though, we heard Michael Phelps is killing it as usual. That guy is an animal…. Like to the point where he may be another breed, he should have been a Rescue Swimmer; he’d be a pretty good one.

Anyway, back on track with recruit training. Last Monday we started classes and have had a lot since. They were all really important for us, but they tended to deal with benefits of being in the service and sexual assault/prevention, etc. However, today we had a pretty cool class down at the Seamanship building. We started learning about the different parts of a ship, big and small. So other than learning about rates and ranks last week, this was our first taste of the Ocean. The Seamanship building has a bunch of awesome Coast Guard Cutters models, which really give a recruit a good idea of the many different options out there. I know for me, I am trying to get on either an 87’ or 110’ patrol boat out of boot camp. Who knows how that will work out.

That’s how you have to live everyday of your life. Whether it’s here at boot camp of down the road when a loved one is ill, always look at on the sunny side, take a negative and make it a positive, and just keep on rolling.

 

10AUG16

 

All good things must come to an end….. And that ending for Golf-193 was way sooner than we all hoped. 2200, bedtime, could not come soon enough today.

The morning started out pretty typically, remedial swimmers reporting early to the gym then meeting up with the company for morning chow, the shipmates not in remedial swim getting ready for the day and getting the beloved Incentive Training before breakfast. It was after this, that hell apparently broke loose and its destination was Golf-193. Half the company still needed to get their military ID cards, so away we went for 04 hours in the administration building. The other half of the company stayed at the house and did some cleaning and organizing of their racks…… then Chief Williams our Section Commander and some other Company Commanders showed up. That’s when you know the “Crap” is about to go down. One of our shipmates got reverted into Hotel-193 and about 12 others got put on Probation after rack inspections. Racks are, as I’ve learned, one of the most important things here at boot camp. A bad rack equals instant punishment.

Our Seamanship class today was hands on. Which was a nice change of pace. We learned how to tie a few different knots which we will continue to practice. One of our shipmates got to march us to class today and another one marched us back to house after class. Our shipmates did a great job and I was so proud to be a part of their formation. Marching is something we do daily, but we have never practiced calling cadence.

Pretty much our day consisted of sweat, Seamanship class, sweat, chow, sweat, and then more sweat. I’ve noticed that most of our sweat sessions are now because of one shipmate’s mistake. Now of course anytime we are late or we act up as a company we sweat, but now the entire company sweats because just one person acting up or being lazy. IT all goes back to teamwork. If one fails, we all fail. We have to work together as a team to accomplish tasks and challenges. We have to watch out for eachother and help one another learn and correct them when they mess up. It’s about coming together as a company…… and it’s not always easy. But looking at where we are now on Wednesday of week 03 to where we were when we first stepped on the Regiment is pretty cool. We have a lot of work to do, but being called “GARBAGE-193” is horrible, so I can only hope we get to work soon. I’d say tomorrow could only be a better than today, but that’s not necessarily true. Anything is possible at TRACEN Cape May and I mean that in every way it can be taken.

 

11AUG16

 

Today was different… The first few hours were typical with remedial swim and the wonderful “Fire, Fire, Fire” followed by a good hearty breakfast in the galley. Afterwards most of our day was spent down at Seamanship classes. One of the instructors called the class “Death by Power point”, which is so true. Everything is the same royal blue background Power Point for every single class we are here. However, I’ve noticed that the Seamanship classes are as interactive as they can be. The instructors encourage a lot of participation and those who never volunteer to read or answer or ask questions still get called on. I’m pretty sure all 96 recruits in class today participated at least once.

We got to learn about lookouts, watch quarters, and how to be a Helmsman, There’s a station in the back of classroom set up with an interactive means of practicing. It was pretty tricky getting used to the language. We also got to practice tying our knots today. It seems like everyone enjoys tying knots because it’s hands on learning and not just note taking.

We were away from the house for most of the day… but the house was definitely not empty. Our Company Commanders took it upon themselves to help us straighten up a little bit while we were away. We got to come back to our squad bays and quarter deck absolutely trashed with shredded papers and by shredded papers I mean papers from an industrial paper shredder in industrial volumes. Our racks were all over the place, lotion sprayed in the heads, toilet paper thrown everywhere, soap-written messages on every single glass and metal surface, and shoes thrown everywhere. Petty Officer Martinez so graciously gave us 25 minutes to clean everything to “Inspection Ready” standards. Of course we failed so we got to sweat. Then we got another 15 minutes to clean… and we failed that too so we sweat some more. After a third and final try of trying to clean everything… we failed so we sweat some more.

Honestly though, most of us, or so that I’m aware, weren’t even that upset about the entire evening. The house being a mess made me laugh (internally of course, because there’s no laughing at boot camp) and the sweat sessions were not even that bad. There’s something about Petty Officer Martinez that makes us want to work harder. It’s very obvious that he enjoys what he does here and that pushes us to work harder. We don’t really know much of anything about our Company Commanders, but we spend enough time with them to be able to decide that Petty Officer Martinez loves what he dows and loves calling cadence. Today he said that Golf-193 looks like smashed whale crap when we march…. Whatever that means.

12AUG16

 

It’s safe to say the Golf-193 was a disappointment today. The recruits responsible for sending out the laundry were late, we were not being loud, we were not being fast, and the entire company still cannot march in step. Petty Officer Karpf literally gave up on us today-talk about a crappy feeling. After morning chow he had us march (not in step of course because not everyone can do that yet) around the Regiment shouting “We’re Week 3, we don’t care, we have no self-discipline!” over and over. He then gave us almost three hours to do whatever we want (which sounds cool but it was that moment we knew we were in trouble. We were all silent for hours out of fear and disappointment in ourselves. I can only hope that company can take that lesson and learn from it.

Everyone here is still sick….Everyone. Medical came to us today to administer another dose of Tamiflu. Some recruits were required to set up medical appointments to control their symptoms. There is not more the 05 seconds that pass without someone in our company coughing. It’s getting worse, but I hope the medication we were given today will help us.

Our afternoon was spent down at Seamanship. Today we took one of our practical’s consisting of acting as a Helmsman and tying knots in a timed manner. One of the instructors challenged the class today. He said that individual that ties a bowling the fastest will get to challenge him for a chance to earn 05 extra points and the sweet taste of victory. SR Sheck got to challenge our instructor… and he won! SR Sheck tied a faster proper bowling and got 05 extra points.

It’s been decided that Fridays are the worst days to be out on the regiment. Since all graduations take place on Fridays, every week there are SO MANY permanent party members out. We call them sharks and we are the fish they are looking to devour. It’s pretty motivating to see all the graduates with their families here, but with that comes the pressure of all of these super important people that we must respectfully address and it can be a lot of pressure to remember everything we are supposed to do. I’m just glad Friday is over now and it is also the day that is the farthest away next week

Today was more mentally exhausting than it was physically, but sometimes that’s worse. We heard from day 01 that the days here are long but the weeks fly by. My goodness that has proven to be true. It seems like week 03 just started and it’s almost over.

 

14AUG16

 

I’m sure our Company Commanders call it “Sunday Funday” but we recruits call it “Sunday Sweat Day” because that’s exactly what we did today. All day. The fact that it’s around 95º here which is just a guess on my part really, has nothing to do with the sweat we did today.

Regardless of “Sweat Sundays” these are still recruits favorite days because of this magical time called “Divine Hours”. I’m convinced this time frame is what keep recruits going. It’s a time set aside every Sunday form 0800-1300 for recruits to organize their racks, study, write letters, iron uniforms (welcome to boot camp where a bunch of adolescents are excited to iron on a Sunday) and just catch up from last week and prepare for the upcoming week. Our Company Commanders worked on a little project of their own today. Instead of our normal Guidon with the letter “G” we got a mop handle with a picture of Oscar the Grouch and the word “Trash”. It’s Horrific!!

We don’t really get to march anymore, we single file everywhere we go or we march ourselves without cadence while parading around our trash pennant. I just hope that we can earn our “G” guidon back soon. Because we are so terrible, we still get to chant, (We’re week 3 we don’t care we have no self-discipline”) all around the Regiment. Petty Officer Karpf made us a promise today. He said if we could get ourselves together and be on time this morning, we would be on track to have a good day. But if we failed, we would pay. Well of course we failed, and we paid.

As a kid, my mom always told me I changed my clothes too many times a day. Little did I know that I was preparing myself for boot camp. We play a lot of games here. One of those games is called “Change in/Change out”. We all start in full physical fitness gear with a full Operation Dress Uniform in hand on the quarter deck. We are then given between 150 and 180 seconds to put that on over our physical fitness gear. Sounds simple and it is, but we still struggle. The first few rounds are the easiest because you’re not that sweaty. But once that starts, you have a whole new challenge. It’s just not fun at all.

Now that I think of it, we did march today. We marched around the quarter deck multiple times today. We marched with our pieces chanting our new cadence and we marched around slashing all the zeros we hung up on the bulkhead because we still lack basic concepts. The quarter deck was well used today.

Tomorrow officially begins week 04. I’ve seen and experienced the changes we can make in a week, we just need to double that to catch up to where we should be. Nobody is safe in this company meaning things are about to get tougher. Expectations are going to expand and standards will increase. Anyone who fails to meet or exceed the standard will not continue with us. It’s ridiculously stressful but it’ll be worth it in the end. All you have to do is be loud, be fast, follow orders, and know your required knowledge. If you’re not part of the solution then your part of the problems and that’s not good.

 

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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