Papa 194 Recruit Journal Week 07

International Maritime Signal Flag Papa


Papa 194 Recruit Journal

Formed: May 23, 2017

Graduates: July 14, 2017

For Papa 194 Graduation Program:  Will be posted on Thursday



Warm greetings from Cape May; friends and family! Morale is, understandably, at an all-time high for at least one company on this regiment. The dawn of our final week is upon us. Not that we haven’t all enjoyed our little “vacation” but now that we are basically, basically trained Coasties, we are itching to get out of the gauntlet and into the fleet. But first, for your reading pleasure, a little recap from the ides of week 07:

Our penultimate week of training started with the recruits of Papa Company saving an infant! You heard right adoring fans. An INFANT! Actually, we saved like, 80 infants. The fact that these youngsters were completely terrifying to look at AND were made out of plastic is completely irrelevant. Heroes we remain. Needless to say, our CPR and first aid class went well enough. It was a crash course at best but fear not general public; we should be able to keep you alive(ish) enough until we can get you to actual medical professionals.

Miraculously, our company commanders have mercifully throttled back the intensity and a taste and smell of humanity is back in the air. This signifies one of the most important times in our training evolution as we recruits, now more than ever, are expected to maintain strict military discipline but also, know when to turn it off and normalize. This has been a unique and rewarding exercise and our respect and devotion to our company and its esteemed leaders has grown exponentially. This concept of normalization is best represented by the highlight of the week: and it started with a sweat session… At night, any disciplinary or customs and courtesies issues are meted out on the quarterdeck with intense incentive training and a hell-of-a lot of screaming. This previous Monday’s sweat session was a little bit different however. Instead of yelling, the otherwise hapless sweat-ees had a seriously epic rap battle. A RAP BATTLE?!?! In Coast Guard Boot Camp? There was a lot of head scratching going on that night, but the rhymes were spit, the insults hurtled, and the mics dropped. Apart from subtle (or not so subtle) evolving of the evolutions, we also found ourselves less anxious in what, just mere weeks ago, would have been petrifying and intensely scathing situations. (Read as: we are getting quite a kick out of watching our Company Commanders ream out less-than-squared-away recruits from the junior companies. We are becoming experts in choking back laughter.)

As we may have mentioned last week; we are SINGING! Boy, are we singing. Everywhere we march, we sing clever cadences crafted by the minds of the very Company Commanders who are leading us. It’s a glorious little exercise in camaraderie and its morale boosting properties are a cure-all to whatever may ail us. We get to sink other company’s ships (formations) and we scream the verses at the top of our lungs. In fact, we “laughed as we watched Romeo Company drown” just a few days ago. …So damn satisfying to finally be the kings of our campus.

And then Friday rolled around. The last major milestone (or hurdle, depending on how you look at it) in our training: Finals day. All of a sudden, the vast majority of the company is right back to being the scared little civilians we were 07 weeks ago. To add nerves to anxiety, our Manual of Arms and Close Order Drill Test was to follow immediately after… In front of a terrifying section commander… Nauseating. But, in spite of the healthy dose of fear, our beloved Guidon, Peggy, went on a mega pennant binge that day: Academic Achievement Pennant, BOOM; Section Commander Pennant, BOOOOOOOOM; and most important to us, The Lead Company Commander Pennant, CLICK CLICK BOOOOOOOOOOOOM. Papa rocked it. We walked the walk and talked the talk and everything in between. BUT, Petty Officer Ventura, Ace-Ventura, The Grand Adventura, The man of Damage and Control, still kicked our butts that night… Right up until the time he pulled up a chair, sat us down, and had a normal, almost cordial, conversation with us. We almost died of shock. This particular evolution is called “Debrief” and it was as eye-opening as it was unexpected.

In between pumping dummy’s chests and learning about STD’s from one of Papa 194’s favorite instructors, Chief Wolfe, a lot of reflection has taken place regarding our growth as individuals as well as a company. Our outlook on training went from trying to hide from adversity, then to tolerate it, and now we aim to rise up to our challenges. However, through all this growth some things will never change. DC2 Ventura will send recruits packing, YN1 can reduce anyone to a stumbling mess in just a short conversation, and EM1 Placencia can make you laugh and then make you pay for losing your military bearing. Another thing that will never change is the pucker factor in the galley. No matter how good the food is (it’s always good), transiting to and from your seat through a pack of sharks is never going to be a good experience. Now it’s your turn. On Thursday, many of you will have the opportunity to come to Training Center Cape May for a meal with our beloved Company Commanders. Our hope is that you can get a glimpse into the minds that have shaped us into better versions of ourselves. And just a heads up, if they make you push make sure you sound off, keep your back straight, fingers together and eyes in the boat.

Normally we (the historians) would write our own bios in regards to what you should expect from our Company Commanders but instead we decided to give our fellow recruits a shot at it. We asked them to write down a few memorable moments for each Company Commander as well as some bits of advice to surviving the dinner. Here’s what Papa had to say.

EM1 Placencia-

“If he can make fun of you with a movie or song reference, he will.”

“A hysterical Electricians Mate whose devotion to duty has led our company to success. May or may not have been electrocuted in the line of duty”

“If you get caught looking casual or not standing up straight maintaining military bearing around EM1 Placencia or you might hear something like, ‘What the hell are you? A JC Penny model?’ Or maybe ‘Peter Pan where the hell is Tinkerbelle?’

“Get caught messing around and there’s a good chance you’ll end up holding a mattress over your head or pulling a 60’ by 3”line to the beat of “I like to move it”. If I ever here that song again it will send me to a dark place”

“Rumor has it there is an entire jar of Olive Oil in his hair. If you get the chance, ask him about “Stealth Mode.”

“Petty Officer Placencia will break you down to the point of mental and muscle failure, then he’ll bring you back and lift your spirits with a joke and then proceed to punish you for laughing.”


YN1 Tilton-

“Beware when she snaps her fingers. Pain follows.”

“The most conduct oriented person on the regiment. ‘THUMBS ALONG TROUSER SEAMS!!’ She definitely bestowed military bearing upon the company”

“Don’t make eye contact or you’ll hear something like “Yuck, get your eyes off me.”

“Soul Thief”

“Despite giving her multiple opportunities to practice by way of Records of Counseling, Performance Trackers and one on one incentive training sessions Petty Officer Tilton still doesn’t know my name. Or, uh, maybe she just doesn’t care.”

“In just one conversation with Petty Officer Tilton I’ve received over 6 Performance Trackers. Five of them were legit errors I made but one of them was ‘Fill out a tracker for that weird shit your face just did.’”

“Don’t let her angelic singing voice fool you.”


DC2 Ventura-

“Just stay clear. You will push earth for any discrepancy.”

“If you mess up around DC2 Ventura he’ll quickly remind you that ‘You aren’t going to make it’.”

“He put his all into us every day. That intensity broke shipmates left and right but it made the rest of us ready for the fleet”

“Right now as you’re reading this know we’re probably doing pushups and being yelled at/reminded that it’s not over yet by Petty Officer Ventura.”

“Under no circumstance should you look this man in the eyes. If for some reason you do, expect to hear ‘You like my baby browns?’ To which there is no good answer. I mean, yeah man, we all think you have pretty eyes. Is it safe to say that?”

“If you make a mistake just go ahead and start doing pushups.”

“You literally might have to sweat/do intensive training just because he doesn’t like your face”

“Petty Officer Ventura summed himself up to us the other day by saying “I’m just an ***hole.” In week 3 I would agree with that but now that we’ve grown collectively as a company and we can see the results of hell he’s put us through I still agree.”

All joking and lightheartedness aside: It is of the utmost significance that we address the purpose of our Company Commanders and why, though they seem absurd most of the time, their methods are effective and of critical importance. There is a keen and well crafted dynamic between our three leaders that started day 01 but did not make itself apparent to us until the later weeks of training.

Petty officer Placencia’s role, of course, is that of the Patriarch: our stern but fair father who, in the best of times and worst of times is a stoical and respected figure that leads the march in our vital training evolutions. He is our backbone and mentor and without him, our time here in recruit training would have been far less effective and meaningful. Our respect and admiration for this man is unparalleled.

As an assistant Company Commander, Petty Officer Tilton’s role, at least initially, was that of an Enforcer. A woman of great charisma and razor-sharp military bearing; corrections and punishments at her hands were swift, and unpleasant in the most vivid of ways. Through her “teachings” we learned how to be the poster-children of the Coast Guard. Sharply dressed, heads high, steel-eyed, and stone faced. Our beloved Yeoman’s role developed dramatically as training progressed: Our understanding and respect for her methods and madness really occurred as her attitude towards us all but about-faced in approximately week 05-06 of training. The human element presented itself and the realization of our Company Commanders “step-down” method finally made itself clear.

And, of course, the Damage Man himself. The Sergeant-at-Arms. Petty Officer Ventura’s blunt-force methodology was, obviously, the least enjoyable, but still critically important nonetheless. The confidence in knowing that we can do NOTHING right in his eyes taught us a lesson of great import: you try your damndest and push your hardest, even in the face of impossible odds and unwinnable tasks. We all will have supervisors (and challenges) in our careers that can never be appeased. It is an inevitable situation that we all must come to terms with. It does not mean, however, that we can rest on a defeatist attitude. Petty Officer Ventura, not so subtly, showed us that even in the face of failure; you must get fast, you must scream loud, and you must do everything in your power to achieve the high standards that are set for you. Petty Officer Ventura embodies the final stage of the “step-down” method.

We are so very fortunate and finally reassured that we are being trained by the most dedicated, hardcore, and badass Company Commander Crew to ever walk this regiment.


Dearest friends, family , and loved ones,

It has been an absolute pleasure and honor being able to communicate with you these many weeks. Writing to you all brought us two historians a great deal of satisfaction and contentment knowing that we were the voice for your beloved Coasties-in-training. It is our sincere hope that we crafted a picture that was honest, enlightening, and thoughtful, and that our words reminded you all of what fine men and women you have raised, or chosen as a significant other, or grew up with. The sailors of Papa Company are among the bravest and most dedicated people we have ever had the good fortune of knowing. We, without question, would sail to Hell and back with any one of them and we commend you all for whatever important roles you have played throughout their lives. When your Coasties are finally reunited with you, they will appear different in both form and function. They will walk differently, talk differently, move differently, and view the world differently. Please know that they are still the fine men and women you’ve always known, only improved in the most important of ways. Henceforth, we live by a simple, yet potent adage: Service Before Self. Know that our newfound dedication to service and country and fellow Americans is out of deference and love for you all. Thank you again for all the love and support. We are a uniquely fortunate group to have all of you in our lives.

                                                          With Warmest Regards,

  1. Reynolds and T. Sizer (Historians for P-194)




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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