Victor 193 Recruit Journal Week 07

International Maritime Signal Flag Victor

Victor 193 Recruit Journal

Formed: November 29, 2016

Graduates: January 20, 2017

 

Coast Guard Recruit Company Victor 193 Graduation Program

 

Saturday Summary, Week 07:

 

Opportunity. The chance to make something happen. The chance to do something different. This week has been all about opportunity. Our first full week as the senior company comes to a close and we find ourselves changed by the experience. Check points made. Milestones passed. The road behind us, a windy, convoluted, confusing mess compared to the straight path ahead to victory. And the week that lead us to this point, stressful, but conquered.

Tensions mounted throughout the week as we prepared for these check points. Countless hours of close order drill training- marching to class, to the galley, and sometimes just to train- and manual of arms practice were all leading us to this singular event. This fixed inevitable point in time. And when we get there, we crush it. A perfect score on both the close order drill and manual of arms portions of the test. Because in Victor Company, we don’t practice until we do it right. We practice until we can’t do it wrong.

The mid-term exam is our next obstacle, and a different story entirely from the close order drill and manual of arms tests. The body can be drilled to perfection. It can be taught, through muscle memory, to respond immediately and correctly. The mind can be conditioned to speak in a certain way. Think in a certain way. And the mid-term examination is all about making sure our minds are conditioned properly. 45 minutes to dig through hundreds of pages of information to find the correct answer to 30 questions. And after that 30 minutes to recall, from memory and nothing else, the answers to 20 questions. All randomly selected from those hundreds of pages. It seems unachievable. It seems inconceivable. But we rise to that challenge. We accomplish the goal. We devote time throughout the week to studying. We make sure all of our shipmates devote time to it as well. We make sure that everyone is going to pass.

We see opportunity, for pennants and accolades, so we sprint for the finish. We seize the opportunity to really BECOME the senior company. And as we work towards that goal, there is a significant change in the individual shipmates. We begin to see opportunity everywhere. A chance to help a shipmate. A chance to help a squad bay. A chance to help the company.

No more sneaky waiting in the galley for there to be enough people in line to blend with. Now it’s up, out, and whatever happens, happens. No fear. Only the clear vision of an opportunity to show what we are worth. A chance to prove our metal. A chance to get better if we need to. It’s no longer fear that grips us. Only a heightened sense of things. We’ve become acutely aware of everyone in a room. But not so we know who to dodge. Not anymore. Now we use these skills to swiftly look, process, and identify how to appropriately respond. We move fast, always. But not so that we can stay out of the way or avoid being stopped. Rather, because now we understand what it means to get things done, and be business all the time.

We look for ways to serve. Not because we hope it will help us avoid another incentive training session. But because we have, all of us, chosen a life of service. We are not afraid of bumping into other company commanders or permanent party members. We embrace the chance to tell them that we are acting on behalf of our company.

And what really makes it for us is the way that the junior companies look upon us. They see us fearless, unmoved, level headed in the presence of company commanders, section commanders, officers. And our junior shipmates look at us like we are performing impossible feats of daring and danger. What ARE we doing? Nothing outside of what we have been trained to do. Stay cool under pressure. Think clearly. Don’t break military bearing. All day one concepts. And our junior companions will, no doubt, figure that out. They will come to understand. But what they don’t recognize yet is what we now see- what this place is full of: opportunity. Chances to grow. Chances to be pruned. Chances to be purified, folded, and shaped into the best we can possibly be.

As Victor company took its off-base liberty today, we understood more of why we train the way we do. Walking off base, in the community, and the pride and respect people shower us with is staggering. No one leers or jests. And it makes it that much easier to stand tall, shoulders back, and march on. Who knows what this last week will bring? We do. We may not know the specifics of it. We don’t know what activities or incentive trainings we will be dealing with. We don’t know how hard we will sweat or how much we will get yelled at or how hard we will drill. But we know what the week holds for us: opportunity.

 

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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