Tango 194 Recruit Journal Week 04

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Tango 194 Recruit Journal

Formed: June 27, 2017

Graduates: August 18, 2017

 

TANGO-194  Blog Week 04

Week 04 is rapidly coming to a close. Week 05 is approaches even more quickly. Looking back on the week, it’s clear that things are changing. The training wheels are coming off and the belt is tightening. On Monday, we received our official ID cards and learned about housing. On Thursday, we signed away a portion of our lives towards our first units. The mid-term came and was conquered by most. We learned how to fight fires and survived our physical fitness test. Throughout it all, the theme was sweat, screaming, and marching. Let us pause now to consider and pay homage to those responsible for said screaming, all of the sweat, and most of the marching (we are doing some that last bit on our own now).

If you’ve been reading this blog, I’m sure that by now you are familiar with the one they call Petty Officer Botts. He is the enforcer, junior most in our immediate chain of command and determined to make us loud. He is, to say the absolute least, an entertaining guy. Perpetually fired up and usually angry, he smiles hard. When the company runs afoul of the regulations, Chief Heinze leaves us with him. When we are with Petty Officer Botts, we know it is going to be bad. It doesn’t help that he happens to be one of the most physically menacing of the bunch, standing at about 6’3” with a figure that was apparently cut from some particularly nasty piece of stone. He also happens to be one of the wittiest of the bunch; his commentary is legendary.

Next on the scale of harshness is Chief Operations Specialist Pullen. What he lacks in height is more than made up for by his ability to get in your face. He has a particularly recognizable method of attack that involves a sort of launch towards to recipient’s line of sight. As the arms shoot back along with one leg, the words come hurling out inches from the target. They are usually something to the effect of a friendly reminder that you have made a mistake that needs correcting. He is more sparing with his words that Petty Officer Botts and does less smashing of inanimate objects, but is not one to be trifled with. One gets the impression that he is always prowling, ready to strike at the next recruit that steps out of line.

Moving on to Chief Culinary Specialist Lynch. He is a character, a seasoned veteran of the fleet with a penchant for marching. He calls the most engaging cadences and seems to really enjoy it. Chief Lynch is generally on the less mean side of things, but I think lately we have been making him a bit angry. Some of us have succumbed to weariness in a few of his classes and fallen asleep. Needless to say, that is a bad move.

Then there is the leader, the one calling the shots, and unleashing Petty Officer Botts on us. His name is Chief Boatswain’s Mate Heinze, and he is made of steel. If we’ve been good, he’ll stick around and teach us something useful. If not, he punishes us until we have had enough. His focus is on the fleet; if he thinks that we are not yet ready, he’ll make sure that our time at Cape May stretches further than we would like. To him, boot camp is like a prolonged job interview. He is the interviewer, and we are the applicants. He compares us to raw lumps of iron ore, in need of a blast furnace. Chief Heinze is the Blacksmith, and his Assistants are his hammers. With his head shaven and immaculate uniform, he is an intimidating presence.

So here we are, wedged firmly between a blacksmith and his anvil. Not an entirely enviable position to be in, but we volunteered for this and will theoretically be better for it in the end. For now and as always, the focus remains on the day to come. There is neither time or room for anything else. Week 04 has taught us that things will be hard as long as we fail to function as a team. The hope is that week 05 will see that team emerge and take shape. It will change. Just this week, we have lost many shipmates but gained a lot as well. The company is in flux, and a reckoning is most likely coming. Come what may, we can only hope to do our best and trust that it will see us through. Letters from home give us strength. Although it is certainly challenging here, we have the will and strength to complete our training. Week 04 taught us the importance of teamwork in a way that had not quite clicked before. We are becoming better at communicating with one another, and time objectives are beginning to seem less impossible. Granted progress is slow, but it is coming. TANGO-194 is beginning to feel something like a family, albeit a dysfunctional and over-sized one.

 

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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