Whiskey 193 Recruit Journal Week 07

International Maritime Signal Flag Whiskey

Whiskey 193 Recruit Journal

Formed: December 6, 2016

Graduates: January 27, 2017

Coast Guard Recruit Company Whiskey 193 Graduation Program

 

Week 07 summary

“Mom of all the things you see, what the Coast Guard’s done to me. I used to drive a Cadillac, now my sea bag’s on my back.”

The company marched proudly to those words yesterday, left foot stricking the deck at the beginning of every line, as we approached the taxis that waited to take us off base for liberty. We had finally ditched the plain white flag that was adorned by a large black “W” and replaced it with our colors.

Our colors, our Company Commanders told us, we finally earned while in Washington D.C., marching for our new Commander-in-Chief. We left for the inauguration on Wednesday night, unsure of how the rest of the weekend would go. All we knew was that we were sleeping on cots in a gymnasium and that we’d be returning to the regiment on Friday evening. We loaded the two buses and started towards the Capitol, blue lights from cutters and small boats streaming through the windows. It didn’t take long for our jaws to drop into ugly ovals as we fell asleep. In what felt like no time at all we had already made it to the Coast Guard base in Alexandria, Virginia and were standing shoulder to shoulder in a line from the bus to the gymnasium passing our cots sea bag incentive training style until each of us had one. Make your racks then hit them were the orders Chief Gallego barked at us. We had a long weekend ahead.

We each expected to march for hours upon hours the next day, callusing and blistering our heels and toes along the way. After forming up tallest to shortest in 09 squads we stepped off for marching practice. “Get in Step!” our company commanders shouted from all directions. “I don’t know why you’re bobbing right now!” Petty Officer Howell would yell at a shipmate as Petty Officer Babot pulled shipmates out of formation to critique their awkwardly tense arm swinging. Chief Gallego and Petty officer Burke called cadence from the bow of the formation and we recruits tried helplessly to just align to our right and stay in step as we were told. By the end of practice our company commanders gave us positive feedback and even told us we looked good (which was a first). We were ready but also nervous for the following day.

On the morning of the inauguration we hurriedly packed our seabags with our linens, got the final coat of shoe-shine on our low-quarters, and taped-off lint from our uniforms. The day is best described as a long, exciting game of Hurry up and Wait. We rushed to the bus, but then waited for what had to have been an hour before we got off. We rushed through screening and then returned to the bus before we could form up in our 09 squads. We bolted to our Jimmy John’s cookies and chips when we had a break only to return to formation to…wait.

When we finally stepped off and began our march down Pennsylvania Avenue we listened as hard as we could to the bass drum ahead. “Align, Left foots strikes the deck with the bass. Left. Right. Left Right. Align.” I said those words over and over again to myself as I’m sure my shipmates did. As we got closer to the President, the louder our surroundings became. A presenter over an intercom would introduce the groups marching in the parade which completely muffled the sound of the bass. Petty Officer Hawkins and Petty Officer Howell would swoop in and quietly call cadence, relieving the recruits who could hear them of their anxiety.

We could tell we were getting close when stage lights started to blind us. “Eyes Left!” Petty Officer Burke called it. The most important moment of the entire weekend had come. “45 Degrees. Align. “Oh my God, he looks exactly like he does on the TV Screen. Look at Melania Trumps Coat! 45 degrees. Align.” In a matter of seconds each of those thoughts raced through my head. The moment had passed by that quickly.

I asked one of my shipmates what I should write about today. She told me that I should say that were all honored to be there in Washington D.C., representing the entire Coast Guard. Whiskey-193 has had the opportunity of a lifetime and we’re all so grateful to be here. It might have taken us until the end of week 07 to earn our colors, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

 

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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