Victor 193 Recruit Journal Week 05

International Maritime Signal Flag Victor


Victor 193 Recruit Journal

Formed: November 29, 2016

Graduates: January 20, 2017


VICTOR 193 Week 05 Summary

As the case has been with Saturdays past, we find ourselves with a day that is metaphoric of the entire week. And we find our phrase of the week: Self-Mastery.

We awoke in our Sexton Hall racks Flashbacks of those first sleepless nights a far distant memory. No one had a hard time sleeping. We were well rested and ready to go. Perhaps a stratagem designed to show us how far we’ve come. If it was, it worked. A morning filled with sweat did not faze us. As a ship, we leaned into the pain. It was going to come whether we whined about it or not, so why not just own it?

So it was this whole week. The company leaning into the sweat. Owning the mistakes. Enduring the heat. And the heat was on. All week we were heated with incentive training, then cooled with class and preparation to go to our stations. And as the heat was on, the four horsemen who brought apocalypse to our civilian lives decimated our impurities. War brought us constant conflict, wrecking our trays in the galley, dangling incentive only to snatch it away at the slightest sign of weakness. Pestilence brought the sickness of sweat to our lazy and haphazard attitude. Famine starved us of our privacy, of our personality, of our free-time. And death ended our domestic, comfortable, ignorant lives.

And yet, this week, we leaned into it. To receive our orders. To call home. To charge ahead and never look back. The yelling, the demoralizing, the incentive training. All of it leaned into. All of it owned. All of it paid for. And as we spoke with our mentors today we got another glimpse of why the fire need be so hot, and the shaping process so refined:

Because the Coast Guard is small, and every member must be trusted. That trust must be earned. It must be deserved. Paid for in pain and sweat. And that’s what boot camp is for. It has taught us to be unquestionable in our integrity. We have had “the easy way” burned out of us. Left only with the stuff of heroes.

Though not all will make it, we know that the formula for doing so is simple: Give 110%. Nothing less will be good enough. Nothing less is acceptable. Nothing less will do. Here we are either full throttle or not fast enough. Here we don’t avoid the sharks in the water. We dive in, get chewed up, spit out, and keep on moving. But why must it be this way? Why must we go through such hellacious, borderline torture? Why must we function in a perpetual state of fear and anxiety? The answer is simple: To get to where we are now. Unafraid. Able to dive (not jump) into the shark infested waters and emerge, victorious, on the other side.

“But aren’t you afraid? Doesn’t it make you anxious?” Yes, of course it does. The only people who don’t feel fear are stupid people. What we have learned, however, is that fear does not rule us. We have learned to choke out that fear. Think Through it. Function? No. Thrive under stress. Stand Bravely and accept what comes. Yes, we may be scared. But we are unshaken. We have learned that, fear or not, the sharks are coming anyway, so there’s no sense in locking up.

And now that we have overcome our pathetic, unbridled, undisciplined fears, we can move on with our training. We can start understanding what we need for our stations and our duties. Apparently we will have to use our time much more wisely. We will be split between administrative time, maintenance time, and training. We will be the senior company at the end of the coming week. Time to step it up.

Still though, the burning question for many of our family members: Why? Why must you choke down the natural reaction for self-preservation? Why must it be so hard? Why put yourself through all of this?

Because those natural feelings are in conflict with our mission. Because there’s nothing natural about riding into danger to save someone. Because the job isn’t going to be easy, and hard things only get done by people who have learned how to do hard things. But most importantly, and what we have been able to accomplish this week: We put ourselves through this nightmare because, though far away, our eyes can now see the days when the lightning and thunder will come. We’ll feel the rage of a firefight, or heat of a helicopter crash, or intensity of a rescue, and in that moment, we will remember the pain of a lifetime lived in 58 days, and through the fire and the flames we’ll carry on.


SR Semanski


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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