Delta 197 Recruit Journal Week 04

International Maritime Signal Flag Delta

Delta 197 Recruit Journal

Formed: Jan 29, 2019

Graduates: Mar 22, 2019


What a week…


One moment we are holding heavy stuff over our heads because someone slipped out of military bearing, next moment we move as a well-oiled machine on the parade field; one moment in the classroom, the next in full fire fighting equipment in a fire simulation, handling a high pressure hose to combat flames in a cramped smoke-filled compartment.

They say week 04 is either the most fun or the most challenging –  perhaps after what we have experienced, we can say it has been both.  We have been given increased responsibility and increased privilege, but we suffer longer punishments for mistakes we should have stopped making by now, as we are slowly developing into a senior company with increased gravitas.

Part of that new weight of responsibility included earning the right to march ourselves in formation unaccompanied by a Company Commander, sort of like graduating from a learners permit to a drivers license.  Except that in our case, the driver is a fellow recruit still learning the ropes of close order drill, and the vehicle is us, nearly 100 indivifuals marching as one gigantic rectangle about the size of a cross country charter bus.

In the old days they often called marching columns “trains” or “vans”, which is very much how it feels like to lead one.  It is quite a learning curve for the “driver”, but we passed our test as a company, earning the right to both a “Delta” flag, and some degree of freedome of movement.

Another company milestone this week was our fire fighting practical taught by real life Damage Controlmen, who apparently make up most of the color blind population in the Coast Guard.  Color vision or not, they shared their expert knowledge with us, teachign classes throughout the week before sticking us in a smoked out room with loud noises and flashing lights, testing our ability to work as a team to perfom critical firefighting tasks safely under intense duress.  Finally getting to put practical knowledge to use in the firefighing simulator inspired us and reminded us why we are here, perhaps even prompting one or two to become Damage Controlmen after graduation.

Week 04 is the “Week of Tests”.  The firefighting practical and the mid-term exam that determines our future with the company.  We spent much of the time between Remedial Instruction, studying, and finishing up last minute requirements before being tested on everything we have learned so far.  Some scored better than others, but we made it through as a a Company in tact.

But perhaps the most anticipated event of the week was filling out our “Dream Sheets”, detailing our top four picks for a first duty station.  Some of us have guaranteed slots and positions, others not; but for all of us it was a taste of what is to come after graduation, the hope that acts like a carrot on a stick keeping us going when the going gets tough.

Shore Units, “A” schools, cutters, small boat stations.  the possibilities we learned about are endless, stretching the entire coastline of this vast nation.  But according to our instructor, however, most of us will probably spend our first tour aboard a cutter, sailing the high seas in search of people to help or justice to enforce.  The whoe rease we are even here.

We go into the next week with re-awakended hope, partially by the reminder afforded by our dream sheets of why we are here, partially by increased Unit Pride as we learn to work together more effectively, and partially by our weekly visit with the Chaplains, who touched base with us, and reminded us that there is a reason we are here in boot camp, and that in the end, the struggles we are going through will all be worth it.

We cling to that promise as we prepare for the next week, and an elevated level of challenge.

But now, we are ready to face it head on and push through to the finish.


Semper Paratus



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.