Quebec 194 Recruit Journal Week 05

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Quebec 194 Recruit Journal

Formed: June 6, 2017

Graduates: July 28, 2017

 

07JUL17 DAY32

Boot camp dreams or boot camp nightmares are made from the stuff of yesterday. Boot camp is like living an alternative life from infancy to adulthood compressed into 08 weeks. The rules for growth and advancement are totally different than in real life. Something like losing a rubber mold of an M-16 would be a bummer on the outside, but at boot camp—it will kill you. Forgetting to take out the trash might mean you’re kinda dirty IRL but it’s still ok; in boot camp—that will kill you. If you’re holding the door open for someone in Texas and you flash a smile and wink, you’d be doing swell and have mad game; in boot camp—that crap will definitely get you killed. Today was Q-194’s first time to put our lives on the line as a company and sink or swim. We stood watch for graduation.

My shipmates and I pressed, dressed, bloused, and polished to represent our company proudly. We’d be seen by our Chain of Command, the newest members of the fleet, and the Oscar-194 Facebook Moms. Standing grad watch entails opening doors, guiding lost Oscar Facebook Moms to the bathroom or whatever, and giving the proper greeting to EVERYONE. I know it sounds simple… But the stakes are high in boot camp life, and a slip in military bearing could mean Romeo hardcore. “CHIEF GROTE! SEAMAN RECRUIT SKIDMORE! I REQUEST TO KNOW IF WE ARE PERMITTED TO SMILE AT PEOPLE!” The look Chief Grote gave me made me think I might have to hold a mattress for even asking. “HECK. NO.” So that was that.

Shipmate Smith and I took our posts in front of the gym. We kept our eyes peeled for shoulder boards that signaled a salute, and for members of our Chain of Command to whom we would scream our faces off. Our first encounter was with our favorite IS1. Petty Officer Taylor walked out of the gym. He looked almost like a nice normal guy in his civilian clothes, like someone who goes to Top Golf for happy hour with some buddies. Neither Smith nor I recognized him, so we just popped to attention and gave him a friendly, old-fashioned, “Good morning, sir!” His head turned sharply as he said, “I am NOT a SIR.” We clenched up, popped to attention and screamed, “GOOD MORNING, PETTY OFFICER TAYLOR!” That was close… But we made it by the skin of our teeth. We had one more slip up… The first officer who walked through took me completely off guard. I stood at attention, recognized her power levels by her certified fresh uniform, and froze. I tried for a redo, saluted, but stumbled. “Good morning Comman—Belay my last! Good morning Captain—“ The captain turned so I could read her nametag and smiled at me for trying, but I was sad that my first encounter saluting an officer was so clumsy. I looked at Smith and her face had “S.O.S.” all over it. We shaped up quickly and started giving the proper greetings confidently.

After our watch, we started marching to afternoon chow. The regiment was crawling with Company and Section Commanders. As we waited to pass by a formation, a super fly squad of officers approaches. As they get closer, I start identifying ranks and members from my Chain of Command. A little light bulb goes off when the picture of THE Commanding Officer Smiling Captain Gibbons aligns perfectly with the Walking Right Towards Me Captain Gibbons. I like to pretend like the Chain of Command boards hanging throughout Munro Hall are posters of our favorite celebrities or bands, so this was kind of a big deal. Smith whispered urgently through her teeth, “Thash Captain Gibbonsh.” We were standing behind a couple of senior company shipmates, which was a little disappointing because saluting the Commanding Officer is one of those “boot camp dreams” a recruit anticipates coming true gloriously. Like… The salute is so wonderful, the Captain sheds a tear. It’s alright, my time will come again and my saluting powers will only get stronger.

After graduation watch, the company had a class with Mr. Parocha’s nice twin brother, Mr. Parocha. Those two look exactly alike but are polar opposites. One twin yells at Quebec when we’re a mess, the other twin tells jokes and let’s Quebec use back rests on the seats. Oh, those Parocha brothers. (Facebook Moms, Mr. Parocha is our Battalion Officer!)

So a class with Mr. Parocha and a class with Petty Officer Cagney, the company formed up outside to receive life changing news: our orders. Each recruit was called front and center of the regimental flag pole where we faced our Company Commanders and Master Chief Ingham. The heat, the anticipation, and sweat sessions from earlier in the day made the occasion feel like delirium. After each recruit got their orders, we ran to the bell to repeat our station and ring! Facebook Moms, this is embarrassing… But do y’all remember what I said that I wrote to the detailer? That wasn’t entirely accurate. What I actually respectfully requested was to be stationed near Beyonce’s hometown. I wanted to go to Texas, and I had this intuitive sense that the detailer loved Queen Bey so I went with it. If you saw the Facebook video, you already know… “SECTOR FIELD OFFICE GALVESTON TEXAS! I WOKE UP LIKE DIIIISSSSS!” I knew the detailer loved him some ‘Yonce.

Alright, that’s my time. Love you, Facebook Moms.

<3 The Worst Seaman Recruit,

Skidmore, M.A.

 

08JUL17 DAY33

*Ode to morning plays in the background.* Ahhh, sweet morning time. The Cape May bunnies hop in the dewy emerald grass. Flowers bloom with every step the company takes towards the galley, and birds whistle along to ‘Ode to Morning’ which should still be playing in the background. Coffee and chocolate milk were turned on today. Recruits smiled into their mugs like they were in an urban coffee shop taking cute pics for the ‘gram. (Instagram) #love #coffee # cute

Coffee and milk chocolate were on the top tier of boot camp highlights thus far. I thought the only thing that could surpass this ceremonious occasion would be craft beer and gin and tonics getting turned on, but I was wrong. What could be better than coffee, chocolate milk, and beer? Quebec-194 stood on line on the outskirts of the confidence course. Our IS1 and MK2 demonstrated each obstacle with ease. Then it was the company’s turn to give the course a go. My shipmates and I cheered one another on with the highest level of military bearing. *ONE CLAP*. The course was one of the coolest things we’ve done as a company, and we went out on the most perfect day. The weather was hot and the sky was clear. An occasional breeze would waft the smell of the ocean over us. Shipmate Wheat nudged my shoulder and pointed to a Dolphin Helicopter flying on the horizon. “This is so Coast Guard.” He told me nodding his head in contentment. HECK YEAH! But it gets better; the dolphin veers around back towards the obstacle course until it’s directly overhead. “DO YOU HEAR THAT QUEBEC?!” Chief Grote yells over the blades. “THAT’S THE SOUND OF FREEDOM!” Quebec cheers and waves to the flight mechanic signaling a thumbs up from above. THAT REALLY HAPPENED, FACEBOOK MOMS. ‘MERICA.

After the confidence course/ pride check course. (I couldn’t climb the rope at all this time. So disappointing.) We met up with our boot camp parents! Belay my last!!! We met up with our boot camp mentors! (Shout out to Master Chief Ingham and Senior Chief Padilla!) They brought us Jolly Ranchers and good tidings from all y’all crazy Facebook Moms. They gave us insight on what to expect from our first units and beyond too. Happy birthday, Master Chief Ingham! Thank you for spending it Googling pictures of cutters!

*Smoothest segue imaginable*

So on the quarterdeck, all of Quebec-194’s stats are posted on a porthole (window) looking over the ladder well (staircase). The yeomen (Romito, Quinones, and Medina) update the board nightly using a stencil and a Sharpie. Some of the stats include gains, losses, probation, chow times, etc. The other side of the porthole is dedicated to Chief Dementor, the IS1, and the MK2’s sweat debtors. For example, in MK2 Karnya’s section it reads, “ANY RECRUIT OVER 06 FT.” They’re allowed to do that, FB Moms. They just are. IS1 Taylor has yet another section of porthole on the hatch (door) called “IS1 TAYLOR’S BURN BAG”. It’s in reference to some OG Intelligence Specialist ritual where all of the classified paperwork was put in a bag to be burned for security. There are presently 05 names attached. 01 of the names is multiplied x02, none other than the beloved by all-Shipmate Guerra. Shipmate Guerra has had a unique boot camp fear. A fear one can only have if they are pretty much always doing the right thing at the right time, all the time. Camophobia- the fear of blending in too well. “They don’t even know my name! I practice for when I’ll get called at the galley, but…” She actually said something along those lines, I can’t even imagine. I offered to help her get attention by writing about her bodily functions or something, but she said no. Unfortunately her attention came by storm when she hurt our fave IS1’s feelings by not calling “ATTENTION ON DECK” when he entered the female squad bay. “WHAT DO I NOT DESERVE ATTENTION ON DECK?! IS IT ME?!” Poor Petty Officer Taylor. Poor, poor Shipmate Guerra… So she owes him sweat x02.

<3 The Worst Seaman Recruit,

Skidmore, M.A.

 

09JUL17 DAY34

*This post is dedicated to my loyal companion and best beta fish I’ve ever known—Aquifer, heaven couldn’t wait for you. RIP.

So my beta fish died while I’m here at boot camp, but I’m not the only one in mourning. The whole company misses Shipmate Henry. Even though he called cadence like a centennial centurion, he was beloved by the company and even sort of liked by Petty Officer Taylor. (Just realizing that I’m making it sound like Shipmate Henry passed away like my fish… BELAY MY LAST HARDCORE!) Hopefully Romeo treasures Henry and doesn’t mess it up this time like he did with Juliet.

Papa-194 is so obsessed with Quebec-194. It’s like this… If the regiment were a playground, Q-194 is P-194’s first crush. Papa chases us around and calls us names and fouls our Company Commanders in their cadences. At first it was kind of cute, but it’s gotten to the point that we’re like, “OMG. Stalker.” I wasn’t going to play, but here goes:

HEY PAPA!

IT’S QUEBEC!

SORRY ‘BOUT THE HOMEWRECK!

YOUR RECRUITS JUST COULDN’T RESIST

ESCAPING ABUSIVE PAPA’S FIST

WE ADOPTED THEM IN OUR COMPANY,

NOW WE’RE ONE BIG FAMILY!

SO YOU MAY BE PAPA,

BUT QUEBEC WILL ALWAYS BE DADDY!

Another notable series of incidents includes Company Commanders Quebec has never met before being released on us like titans from Hades. As a company, we had a flashback to week 02. It felt as though CC’s outnumbered recruits 03 to 01 as they walked around “fixing” us. I had no idea at the time it would be my last time holding Gunnifer in sniper position. After a solid butt kickin’ and rack inspection, the company embarked on a journey to the armory. We turned in our rubber M-16’s. My goodbye to Gunnifer was short and sweet because deep down, we both knew things weren’t working out. I told her I’d never forget her. I told her I wouldn’t get over her for a long time. I lied. Within moments I set sights on my new main piece—Gunnessa. What a beaut. (We upgraded our rubber pieces for the hollowed out real deal!)

After we dropped off our fine, fresh pieces at the house, we got ready for our first off base company run! I’m sure Cape May is beautiful and I would’ve loved to see it. Unfortunately right before we left the house, I turned my most powerful level of military bearing on. The next 300 words are going to be about what I can see when my eyes are in the boat: the freckles on the back of Haussler’s neck. There are 04 medium size, 01 dozen teeny tiny size, and 02 large size. They are random in spacing, but uniform in color. JK, Facebook Moms… I peeked out of the boat a couple of times. (Don’t tell Captain Gibbons!) The course was 03 miles long, and we were lead by our OG Company Commanders and the young thug CC’s we had never seen before and Chief Samuels! It was awesome. Our Company Commanders sang cadence for us to call back as loudly as we could. We took up half of the road and townspeople were lined up alongside to take pictures and cheer. Time flew by; the company couldn’t believe how short the run felt. Running to a cadence behind the yellow Quebec yellow flag (that we haven’t earned yet) puts the company on air.

Facebook Moms, a lot of recruits love the “any recruit” mail y’all send. When I was really down in week 02 and none of the letters from my family had come in yet, I picked up a couple of them to read. Y’all weren’t even my Facebook Moms at that point, but those letters encouraged me and made me feel a lot less alone. Quebec-194 loves our crazy Facebook Moms. Thank y’all for everything you do to lift our spirits.

<3 The Worst Seaman Recruit,

SKIDMORE, M.A.

10JUL17 DAY35

Company Commanders have a way of always getting the answers they seek from recruits. Typically conversations with CC’s have the same outcome (sweat) but there are 03 responses a recruit can use to get there. The responses include: YES, NO, and AYE AYE. But today there was a rare exception… “BATISTA! BATISTA, WHY ISN’T YOUR COFFEE MUG TURNED OVER? DIDN’T YOU FINISH YOUR COFFEE?!” Petty Officer Karnya summons Shipmate Batista to the Company Commander table. Batista is ONLY to respond to the last question that permits 01 of his 03 responses unless he wants to die. “NO, PETTY OFFICER KARNYA!” MK2 Karnya looks shocked by Batista’s answer. “SO WHAT YOU’RE SAYING IS YOU’RE GOING TO WASTE COFFEE, AND THROW IT IN THE TRASH, AND YOU’RE UNGRATEFUL?!” (Serious offenses, Facebook Moms.) Batista answers in the only way he can without being guilty of a serious integrity issue, “YES, PETTY OFFICER KARNYA!” Petty Officer Karnya is perplexed yet again. “WE DON’T THROW LIQUIDS IN THE TRASH, GUY! YOU’RE GOING TO PUT THAT IN YOUR GULLET RIGHT NOW. AYE AYE.” Batista shifts uncomfortably for a second before responding. (Note: the ONLY proper response is, “AYE AYE, PETTY OFFICER KARNYA!”) Batista goes way off course. “PETTY OFFICER KARNYA, SEAMAN RECRUIT BATISTA, I DO NOT WANT TO DRINK IT!” I couldn’t believe it. I waited for my Shipmate’s grim sentencing, but it didn’t come. Petty Officer Karnya showed mercy on him with one last chance, “WHAT?! WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU DON’T WANT TO DRINK IT?!” My curiosity was peaked to a new level now that Shipmate was given the rare opportunity to speak outside of the 03 permitted responses. “PETTY OFFICER KARNYA, SEAMAN RECRUIT BATISTA! I DO NOT WANT TO DRINK THE COFFEE BECAUSE AN ONION FELL IN IT!” That’s probably the first time in boot camp history that a recruit has ever had a valid excuse for anything. Good job, Shipmate.

This week the company is going to the range! We had to split in half to be more manageable and safe. Everyone with even roster order numbers went to firearm safety training class! We all wore a holster and got a gun with dummy bullets to practice with. I felt so Laura Croft: Tomb Raider, I thought I was going to cry. After class we headed back to Munro Hall where Chief Samuels handpicked a bouquet of recruits to mourn their own lives. Just think about that. As the rest of the company marched to the gym, we passed said recruits holding M-1’s in sniper position under the hot sun. Chief Samuels was doing Chief Samuels things all around them. (#ChiefSamuelsThings) Petty Officer Karnya’s words played over in my head, “There’s good sweat and there’s bad sweat.” The good sweat the rest of the company reaped was an awesome circuit workout. #swole

After the gym, the company headed back to the house to start evening routine. I was reminded of an old fable about a gnarled monkey’s paw as I got ready for bed. The paw grants 03 wishes but makes the wishes come true in a demented way that ruins the wishers life. It’s a lesson about contentment… ANYWAYS, I had a mild monkey’s paw moment today. Since coming to boot camp, one thing I’ve missed a lot is the companionship of animals. Pets are freakin’ cool. I miss my dog, I miss the family chickens, I miss the tortoises, I miss my dead beta fish… (The family cat is still a piece of crap though.) Yesterday, I wished I had a little boot camp pet to keep me company. Today, I was in the shower rinsing off when Shipmate Sternburg whispers to me that I have a tick on my back! I was mortified. The monkey paw hath delivered me a boot camp pet. My shipmates and I put it down real quick.

<3 The Worst Seaman Recruit,

SKIDMORE, M.A.

 

11JUL17 DAY36

The regiment has been buzzing with Quebec recruits this week 06. Things change after a company gets orders. We’re expected to be a lot more self-sufficient. Quebec-194 got our first company admin time today! Admin time is designated for recruits to research their duty stations, contact their units, make travel arrangements, etc. Big kid stuff. On my way to the Learning Resource Center, I was walking very briskly. (Facebook Moms, the ‘LRC’ is a computer lab for recruits.) I wasn’t double-timing, but I probably would’ve qualified for the Olympic Trials for speed walking. I see what I think might be the worst recruit since SR Skidmore walking towards me. All I can think of is, “Right shoulder to something, guy!” Then as he gets closer, I realize this ain’t no recruit at all! I give him LIPS, big time. Not like that, Facebook Moms… If I pouted at someone in boot camp, I’d be gone as Gramillo. #hegone. L.I.P.S. is an acronym for Look, Identify, Process, and Speak/Salute. It works every time. So I look, “Okay, this appears to be an occifer. Belay my last! An officer.” Then I identify, “Tiny silver oak leaf. Omg, this is my Chain of Command hardcore. It’s Commander Scott!” I processed, “Okay okay, this operation requires a v v loud greeting and military bearing turned to 100%.” And I spoke and saluted, “GOOD MORNING, COMMANDER SCOTT!!!!” Nailed it. “Whoa, I’m going to have to stop and talk to you for a second.” I halted from my speed walk abruptly. What have I done?! What did I do this time?! WHY MEEE! I have seen Commander Scott destroy recruit souls on the regiment for not doing the right thing. I stood at attention and waited for fiery red belts to rain on me from the skies. He surprised me as he spoke in a normal volume, “Look, you’ve got to slow down before you salute!” I screamed my face off, “AYE AYE, COMMANDER SCOTT!” Then he asked me what week I was in to make sure I wasn’t going to fast in my boondockers and sent me on my merry way. #2close. *SR Skidmore double times away.*

Port side of the company went to the range today in Atlantic City. We lined up in front of the bus with our sack suppers and tried to conceal our excitement about leaving the base for the first time in nearly 06 weeks. The bus was pretty swanky—faux hardwood floors and big mushy seats. The company studied, talked quietly, or dozed off. Recruits falling asleep with loaded firearms in hand is NOT good to go, so we were permitted to take a nap for the only time in boot camp. We got to Atlantic City around 1700 and met our instructors from Goff Hall who would be monitoring and teaching us. We holstered up, put on our safety gear, got a tutorial, and started killin’ ISIS. ‘Merica. At first the bangs and pops from the SIG made me a little jumpy, but the more we practiced, the more comfortable I felt. The company shot round after round until we were all competent drawing, shooting, doing proper clearing procedures, and holstering. Yippee-cay-yay!

We got home at almost 2300! So… My time’s out. Goodnight, Facebook Moms!

<3 The Worst Seaman Recruit,

SKIDMORE, M.A.

*********

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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