Charlie 198 Recruit Journal Week 07

Formed: October 22, 2019                                                                                      Graduates: December 13, 2019

Week 07 has been an inspiring and exciting week full of memorable moments starting off with a most incredulous moment at morning chow with Petty Officer Madrid.

Normally, when Petty Officer Madrid is on shift at chow, he stands upon a milk crate staring down at the company with the intensity of 1000 suns and no mistake can slip his notice. However, this last Sunday Petty Officer Madrid asked one of our Yeoman if we could be trusted to do the right thing while eating. Our Yeoman said yes and Madrid responded by telling him to stop bringing the milk crate; my jaw nearly hit the floor. To have those training wheels taken off meant we were really getting somewhere as a company.

Perhaps that was what boosted the ego of the company and caused for us to forget recruit training was still not over. Two days after being given the trust to do the right thing we made some embarrassing mistakes at morning chow with Petty Officer Vercellone. This resulted in a night of sweat sessions. We went from sniper position to passing sea bags until Petty Officer Cobb decided we had gotten it through our heads that if we act like week 02 recruits will be treated like weeks 02 recruits.

Being treated like week 07 recruits is much more enjoyable, one of the most enjoyable aspects of being treated like week 07 recruits is the debriefs with the Company Commanders. We got to start ours off with Petty Officer Vercellone, which had the whole company buzzing with excitement. For weeks Petty Officer Vercellone has taken the lead in coaching Charlie on how to be the best recruits we could be. During those weeks we developed an intense admiration and respect from the entire company. We got to share laughs about ridiculous moments that happened during training and were told straight up that we are a pretty solid company. One shipmate was even told the company would be in chaos without him, which is surprising since he comes from the slow moving town of Hilo, but he truly did a great job at keeping the company on time and successful with meeting our goals. Even though we had 60 minutes for the debrief the time felt much too short but the general message was that we are all so thankful for Petty Officer Vercellone and her dedication to this job.

Speaking of dedication to the job for the past several weeks Petty Officer Pleskanko has been doing his best to get us ready for a close order drill test and manual of arms test and believe me when I say that was no easy task. With strong chilly winds we formed up for the evaluation and led by Petty Officer Pleskanko gave it all we had. Despite some mistakes here and there we still managed to get a 09 out of 10 on close order drill and a 10 out of 10 on manual of arms. No recruit was expecting it to turn out the way it did but we are not as bad at marching as we thought! With that score we all felt we had earned the off base liberty we were granted today. However a few things still needed to happen before the office liberty. One of which was getting every single shipmate to pass the final exam.

We took the exam shortly before our close order drill test and some shipmates fell just shy of the passing score but with the tutoring assistance of the company all recruits passed. All of them passed on the retest allowing them to stay with the company and move one step closer to graduation. Before our off base liberty we also had the pleasure of switching out our recruit covers for our Coast Guard covers which signified a pivotal point in training. Although nothing is final until after graduation we are now being regarded more are non-rates instead of recruits by our company commanders which is an indescribable feeling of pride. The icing on the cake was getting to have Petty Officer ‪ Pleskanko debrief with the company after the ceremony. More laughs and stories were shared and we finally had the opportunity to express our gratitude for all of his guidance and coaching during this growing experience. Over the next couple days we will have the opportunity to have a debrief with Petty Officer Cobb and Petty Officer Madrid.

Petty Officer Cobb has done an amazing job at teaching many of our classes as well as answering the ridiculous amount of questions we seem to come up with. And I think I speak for the whole company when I say my abs wouldn’t be nearly as strong without his incentive training on switching between flutter kicks and v sit crunches for what seems like an eternity. As I mentioned before nothing slips the notice of Petty Officer Madrid. This guy truly is the standard. With the ability to terrify recruits simply with his presence, we all had to learn to face that fear and meet the standard he demanded. We were a fortunate company for having the opportunity to be coached by Petty Officer Madrid.

Without the guidance from our company commanders we would never have reached this point or had the opportunity for off-base liberty which was an awesome experience. Some shipmates wandered Cape May and enjoyed tasty food and the legendary Wawa. Others booked a hotel room and enjoyed long showers and long naps but every recruit enjoy the opportunity to walk around off base while wearing a spiffy looking dress uniform.

Charlie Company has come a very long way during these last 07 weeks. Our company commanders have done their jobs and done them well it is now on us to do our jobs as well. When I look around at my shipmates, I can confidently say I trust that if my life were on the line they would go until their last breath to be sure I would live to breathe another day. In the end, that is why we all joined to fight and save the lives of others.‬‬

Charlie-198 Historian SR Smith

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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