Quebec 194 Recruit Journal Week 06

International Maritime Signal Flag Quebec

Quebec 194 Recruit Journal

Formed: June 6, 2017

Graduates: July 28, 2017

 

12JUL17 DAY37

The rite of passage for Quebec-194 has been as seemingly intangible as the ocean since we have arrived at TRACEN Cape May. We hear the roars of the waves; we smell the salt and the seaweed. We’ve come to know that the small partition of greenery that separates the base from the beach may as well be a mountain range. We long to be a part of the fleet like we’ve longed to see the beach. We see signs of each all around us, but as recruits, we’re still so far away. Last night Quebec-194 was presented with our colors on the beach. We sweat for them, cried for them, and bled for them as a company. The yellow flag represents how we’ve transitioned from a junior to senior company. The yellow flag represents our Company Commanders. The yellow flag represents the trials Quebec-194 has experienced in the past 06 weeks. When we first got here and had to stand next to one another holding canteens above our heads so tightly that we became drenched in each other’s sweat, we were repulsed by the strangers around us. Now when Quebec-194 has to sweat, we pile in as tightly as we can and we’re motivated by one another because we’re shipmates. When we first got here, we fought and we couldn’t stand one another. Now we have each other’s backs, we help each other out. (We still bicker, but it’s like how siblings fight. Everything resets at reveille.) Quebec-194 is healthy and Quebec-194 is quarantined. We’re all here to stay. (Henry, you’re welcome back… We can make a lil’ quarantine exception for you, Shipmate.)

Before the glory of receiving our flag on the beach under a bright moon, before we huddled around chanting, “QUEBEC!” and the Coast Guard Ethos, before our eyes filled with tears of pride, before we sang cadences and marched alongside glittering fireflies… We sweat. We sweat and we sweat and we sweat. Quebec-194 got really hardcore. Chief Grote was playing Tool, The Pixies, and a variety of metal music that I didn’t recognize. It was FIRE FIRE FIRE after FIRE FIRE FIRE! We were packed on the quarterdeck for what seemed like an hour changing in and out of our operational dress uniform over our gym clothes counting down tight time objectives. AMTC, IS1, and MK2 were picking people off of the wall for special incentive training… Recruits on line against the bulkheads were changing clothes and shoes as quickly as possible. Other recruits were holding mattresses in the middle of the passageway. Some held M-1’s in sniper position or did slow squats until they could hardly stand. It was madness. Chief Grote walked around the tight space with his megaphone yelling and sounding various alarms, Petty Officer Taylor was probably just like “IS IT ME?! IS IT MY FAULT, QUEBEC?!” over and over, while Petty Officer Karnya picked out recruits for a good ol’ fashioned beat down. Then we stood on the flag we were told we didn’t deserve with our canteens overhead for the longest take we’ve had yet. “Are you tired?” was the question our Company Commanders threw around for what seemed like an hour.

“Are you tired? Do you think Douglas Munro was tired? Do you think Joshua James was tired?! Do you think our customers care if you’re tired? Are you tired, Quebec? ARE YOU TIRED, QUEBEC?!”

“NO, CHIEF GROTE! NO, PETTY OFFICER TAYLOR! NO, PETTY OFFICER KARNYA!” The company screamed, and then moaned under the weight of our canteens that were getting heavier by the minute.

“GET OUTSIDE RIGHT NOW.” Chief Grote roasted us with one more FIRE FIRE FIRE before we departed—Oceanside. We double timed down the same paths we always take around the regiment until we reached a dusty rock trail that wound into the greenery that has shielded the beach from our sight. We raced the sunset getting to the sand. We were told to find some real estate for FIRE FIRE FIRE! By this point, most of the company was crying. Some people cried because everything hurt, but most of us cried because we were finally by the sea- our future office. When we stood up, Petty Officer Taylor and Petty Officer Karnya were behind us with the yellow Quebec flag. We made it to the ocean and we’re one step closer to making it to the fleet.

“I feel like sangin’. Like Beyonce!” You go, Chief Grote. Our Company Commanders sang us back to OUR HOUSE. #flawless

<3 The Worst Seaman Recruit,

SKIDMORE, M.A.

 

14JUL17 DAY38

GRADUATION WATCH: PHASE 02

A couple of days ago Quebec-194 received word that we would be the security* detail for Papa’s graduation. (*greeting, door-holding, knife-pointing lost Papa Facebook Moms straight, etc.)Last Friday, when I was but a young Week 05 recruit, so lost and afraid, I passed Grad Watch: Phase 01 by the skin of my teeth. This week I was determined to be the greatest watch stander to ever step foot on TRACEN Cape May. In the same way the Coast Guard created the Journalist rating for JOC Alex Haley, my dream of being so good that I would be credited for pioneering the rate “Front Gym Door Watch-stander” was realized. Who knows, after 20 years I might be FGDWC Skidmore. #goals. So I took my place next to Shipmate Sovine and we started doing our thang. We looked fly, but made 01 unforgettable mistake… We sounded off, “GOOD MORNING, MA’AM!!!” to someone’s Facebook Granny before we turned our military bearing down. OH, SHOOT! BELAY MY FREAKIN’ LAST—we made 02 mistakes! I may only make it to FGDW2 for this one… The sole member of the most exclusive military, maritime, multi-mission service operating within the Department of Homeland Security approached the gym front doors at a double-time. That’s right… The United States Brost Guard. “GOOD MORNING, SIR!” Sovine and I shouted from the P-of-A. How did we manage such a serious offense as to not greet our Section Commander properly? Here’s the thing… When I see red ropes, I turn my military on so hard that I lose my peripheral vision and sense of smell. Losing my sense of smell has yet to do any damage, but losing my periphs has serious consequences. All I can see are collar devices, nametags, and the boat. It’s bad. As the OSC ran through the door in his gym wear he said, “It’s Chief Brost… But okay.” Doh. So thaaat’s what he looks like. “GOOD MORNING, CHIEF BROST!”

Shortly after grad watch, I met up with my fam—I mean company—to go to chow. We only had 02 shipmates on red belt, which is pretty good, but I think we’d all agree—Probation free is the way to be. I prayed to the Required Knowledge gods like usual when my shipmates get quizzed in the galley. Shipmate Barbera was slayin’ dat RK when Chief Grote throws him a curve ball, “Take out your ink stick. PIECE NOMENCLATURE, GO!” The teeniest, tiniest, most little-bitty, wee-baby Manual of Arms test ever ensued. It was so cute. I choked on a giggle and turned it into a cough (a fairly advanced military bearing maneuver I wish I had learned sooner). Shipmate failed the baby MoA test, but passed probation upon answering the most important probation question correctly. “HOW BADLY DO YOU WANT TO BE OFF RED BELT, BARBERA!” Congratulations, Chief Grote! May Barbera’s first born bring you great joy. #DependentsOnDependents

Post afternoon chow, the Haussler and I prepared for the ultimate boot camp challenge: walking the base just as graduation let out. We had a date with the Legendary Miss Peggy in the Admin building. The mission seems simple enough, except for one detail; our rucksacks were posted right in front of the galley. We set our covers as we stepped through the threshold of OUR HOUSE. “GO TIME.” We were immediately faced with sirs and ma’ams from every direction. We drew salutes left and right to all kinds of officers, and colors, and standards not cased. On the way back from picking our rucksacks up, we even nailed greeting our Lead Company Commander. YAHTZEE! Marching around the regiment and finally getting things right with my boot camp best friend (#BCBFF) felt great.

Facebook Moms! We’ve started finalizing our travel arrangements and can’t wait to see y’all. I’m going to happy cry so much.

<3 The Worst Seaman Recruit,

SKIDMORE, M.A.

P.S. If our uniforms don’t look like “smashed buttholes” we get on base liberty tomorrow!!!!

P.P.S. Shout out to Mr. Cuomo for roasting me in the Admin Building! Shipmate Bernoski informed me that he is a Quebec-001 graduate, so that’s an honor. #QuebecOG

 

15JUL17 DAY39

>   Uniform-194 joined Quebec-194 in Munro Hall-OUR HOUSE! Shipmate Schenk calls them Unicorn Company. It’s pretty exciting. They’re our brand new baby brothers and sisters! Petty Officer Hardy delivered them yesterday. Boot camp babies are a little different than real life babies. When a 02 week old baby cries, coddle it. When a week 02 recruit baby cries, ignore it. Despite the excitement we’re all feeling about our lil’ shipmates arrival, we have to conceal it to set an example. As much as I want to give tips and tell them they can get through the weeks ahead, I can’t. That’s not what a good boot camp big sister does. So yesterday when I walked into the head, I didn’t look at a single one of them. I stormed in like “GANG-SOMETHIN’!” then washed my hands with so much military bearing I might make an instruction sheet for the next Required Knowledge Pocket Book. After that I marched the heck out. That was just my way of saying, “I love you lil’ shipmate siblings!” They just don’t know it yet. The Unicorn Company was behind us when we were formed up outside of the galley. Q-194 looked ultra fly and sounded off the Coast Guard Ethos as loudly as we could, and Chief Grote marched us out sangin’. If that isn’t boot camp for “You can do it, Shipmates!” I don’t know what is.

>   Chief Grote arranged for the company to tour the Cape May Small Boat Station and for us to see a couple of cutters in-port. Quebec-194 has been feeling pretty good since we received our colors earlier this week, but our spirits were lifted higher still after seeing “the real Coast Guard”. A lot of my shipmates and I had no idea what we were getting ourselves into when we got here. So many of us thought we were invincible, but it was our hubris that led us to our own breaking points. Boot camp reveals an unrecognizable side of oneself; someone too in despair to smile, in my case. Doses of humanity are gradually reintroduced and the result is self-awareness, confidence, strength, and gratitude. But why? Personal growth is invaluable, but what is all of this for? Seeing the station, hearing about SAR cases, boarding the majestic cutters clarified the powerful purpose of recruit training for Quebec.

>   Almost immediately after our field trip, the company finally got liberty! We loaded up on junk food and headed over to the Harborview with our cell phones! It was so wonderful to see my new Facebook Moms, Facebook Dads, and Facebook Girlfriends! (I’ve never had a girlfriend before… So having like 50 should be interesting.) My Shipmates and I love y’all!

> <3 The Worst Seaman Recruit,

Skidmore, M.A.

 

16JUL17 DAY40

“FORWARD MARCH AT A DOUBLE-TIME! MARCH!” Quebec-194 loves to double-time, we do it all the time, mile one just for fun, mile two just for you, mile three… I don’t know. That’s just a lil’ verse from one of the cadence songs we sing. At least I think it is? When I don’t catch the verse I just yell whatever rhymes off the top of my head. I just do what I have to so we stay louder than Romeo. We had another Sunday 03 miles run this morning led by AMTC Grote, IS1 Taylor, MK2 Karnya, and our Section Commander- OSC Brost. Always a good time.

After the run, Divine Hours began. Divine Hours are every Sunday from 0800 to 1300. There are 02 church services for recruits on base, Protestant and Catholic. Here’s the thing about church… Chief Grote made a company rule during forming week: If a recruit goes to choir, a recruit shall go to every choir practice AND every church service for the remainder of training else they shall face boot camp condemnation eternal. Amen. I debated what I considered a moral dilemma for a few days. I’m not religious and I don’t like to sing, but I knew that Petty Officer Taylor would be smote with balls of fire if he set foot in a church. The deciding factor was when I was in week 02 and went to medical and heard one of my favorite songs to two-step to… And cried. #classic. I needed something happy; I needed a break from my fave IS1. I talked to Haussler when I got back to Munro Hall and we committed to going to choir and church, if nothing else to look at the pretty stained sea-glass windows and hide from the CC’s. I think it was the first right decision I made at boot camp. I get emotional every time I see the week 02 and week 03 recruits at the chapel for the first time. I remember feeling what they wear on their faces. It’s just so weird committing adultery on the Required Knowledge gods at first. Quebec-194 is full of churchy mo-fos. We love it there. Now that we’re the senior company, we stand around the podium instead of in the pews. It’s hilarious because there are more than twice as many Quebec recruits as there are recruits from other companies cumulatively. The chapel gets very top-heavy when it’s time to sing hymns. Going to church was a desperate escape that I was hesitant to attempt initially, but now it’s something I look forward to every week. A lot of my shipmates get spiritually recharged and a few of my shipmates just enjoy having somewhere to smile and sing; but regardless of our reasons for going, it’s been a quintessential part of boot camp for all of us. (The Galley still trumps though. #pineapplesoufflé)

I have to go to sleep! Goodnight, Facebook Moms. Goodnight, Real Mom.

<3 The Worst Seaman Recruit,

SKIDMORE, M.A.

 

17JUL17 DAY41

“So… Yeah… That’s a tourniquet. Not fun. Any questions? Ok, moving on.” Petty Officer Richardson says something like this dryly as he flips through countless slides of gore. I’m shifting in my desk looking at pictures of third-degree burns, broken limbs, and you name it. For the whole slideshow, my mouth remains open, my head tilts to a 45, and my eyes squint no matter how hard I try resisting. I don’t want to look, but I can’t look away. I’m freaking out because S.O.S. what the heck am I going to do in the fleet if I can hardly look at a picture of someone’s intestines falling out of their body?! Meanwhile the AET2 nonchalantly tells a brief story about a similar case he’s seen for nearly every picture. “So… Yeah… That happens. Not fun.” In my mind, these are way past the threshold of “not fun.” I don’t have any experience with pain that doesn’t fall within the 01-10 happy/frowny face scale in doctors’ offices. I’d be willing to bet the people in these pictures were on a scale of 20-30 with faces distorted beyond recognition… A Picasso face scale. Petty Officer Richardson didn’t even give them a blink. The whole thing got to my head. He calmed a few of my shipmates who shared my concerns and me down in saying that everything changes in the moment, and that we’d be weird as heck if we sat around looking at pictures of this stuff for fun without getting uneasy.

After class we went to the gym to apply some of the lessons on CPR and First-Aid that we had learned. Volunteers were solicited from the company to be the victims and the rest of the shipmates would administer first-aid care. So we started stabbing the volunteer victims and treating their wounds. Just kidding, we did practice CPR and mouth to mouth on mannequins though. Each recruit got 01 infant and 01 adult dummy. I named my mannequins “Baby” and “Husband” to raise the stakes of their survival… Even though Husband probably doesn’t unload the dishwasher with due diligence, I still gave it everything I had to save him.

Facebook Moms, quick question… Based on what I’ve told you about MK2 Karnya, what do you think would happen if a recruit were to ask what he liked to do in his personal time? The obvious answer is A.) Throat Punch. The astonishingly correct answer is B.) Petty Officer Karnya laughs, talks about his family, and goes over some of his favorite hobbies. Crazy, right? A lot of what I’ve been exposed to in boot camp has been totally foreign to me… But after the past 07 weeks, nothing could be more strange than a laughing MK2 Karnya. The company was introduced to a “debrief” tonight. First Petty Officer Karnya pretended the company was going to sweat with canteens above our heads, then gathered us criss-cross applesauce in the middle of the main squad bay. We learned a little bit about the MK2 and a little bit about what’s been going on right over our heads at boot camp. It was a great experience for the whole company and totally unexpected. As Guerra would have us say, “PETTY OFFICER KARNYA, QUEBEC-194, THANK YOU!!!”

<3 The Worst Seaman Recruit,

SKIDMORE, M.A.

 

18JULY17 DAY42

Alright, I don’t remember a lot about today because I didn’t take notes and I have a memory like my dead beta fish, Aquifer. However, what I do remember is worth Petty Officer Taylor’s weight in gold. (I know his weight because the IS1 did his debrief!) Petty Officer Taylor’s favorite pastime is going to Top Golf with some buddies for happy hour. Called it! Additionally he’s a student, husband, carpenter, and purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu! “Wow! A purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu?! I happen to be a red belt in boot camp.”Something I would say if I was clever, dashing, and daring. It broke my heart to leave right in the middle of my fave IS1’s debrief for colors, but devotion to duty amirite? I know I missed out on some primo information from the grins on all of my shipmate’s faces when I returned to the squad bay. They unlocked all levels of secrets an IS1 possesses and achieved ultimate enlightenment; Seaman Recruit Skidmore left in darkness yet again.

<3 The Worst Seaman Recruit,

SKIDMORE, M.A.

 

19JUL17 DAY43

DISCLAIMER: WAS NOT LUCID FOR THE FOLLOWING STATEMENTS. (PART ONE.) PART ONE:

Just got my wisdom teeth pulled out! Started singing Semper Paratus right after. Ayala and Mayfield are out cold. Laughing gas was hella fun but I’m ready for some ice cream. My lip is like a little whale sitting on my face; beached and dead. Screw ice packs, I just wanna eat and sing but I don’t know any songs. #sucks2suck. I feel like a puppy because I keep spitting my gauze our and getting in trouble.

PART TWO:

So… I am still the worst seaman recruit ever. I only have the accounts of my shipmates to go off of, but if what they are telling me is true… All I remember after my surgery is trying to pull the gauze out of my mouth so I could sing the only song I could remember at the moment, ‘Semper Paratus’. I woke up about an hour ago. I felt hazy and a little bit embarrassed, but relieved that I wasn’t as bad as some of the viral Youtube videos I’ve seen of people following the extraction of their wisdom teeth. At least I didn’t cry about not looking like Nicki Minaj, right? Wrong. Crying about not looking like Nicki Minaj is the epitome of grace compared to the spectacle I made. I walked by Mayfield and Ayala’s room on my way to drop off my lunch tray. (Vanilla pudding, vanilla ice cream, and 2% milk, I’m the Dairy Queen.) I smile and give them a subtle wave. Upon seeing me, they both lower their eyes and shake their heads. What did I do? “Skidmore… Do you remember anything?” WHAT DID I DO?! My shipmates recount the incidents from earlier in the afternoon. I was yelling “FIRE FIRE FIRE!” counting down into “FIND SOME REAL-ESTATE!” and incoherently counting down again into “FREEZE, RECRUITS, FREEZE!” The dental hygienists led my shipmates into the room to witness everything. After FIRE FIRE FIRE stopped being amusing, I tried to rally my shipmates into a round of ‘Semper Paratus’. Ayala and Mayfield were already in pain from having their faces mutilated and were too sober to join in. I threw a furious fit at them both. The scariest part of what they told me is that I was singing, dancing, and waiving at everyone I encountered when I was back on base getting into the ward. Laughing gas managed to break through my renowned steadfast military bearing and put Operation: Don’t Get Reverted in grave danger.

I just took a long boot camp shower to try to wash away my shame and civilian demeanor from earlier in the day. Now I’m sporting a seersucker robe, turquoise scrubs, and yellow socks with stickies on the bottom. So in love with this outfit. #OOD. It’s 2055 and the lights are all out… I guess that means goodnight FB Moms.

<3 The Worst Seaman Recruit Always,

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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