Kilo 198 Recruit Journal Week 06

International Maritime Signal Flag Kilo

Formed: January 28, 2020
Graduates: March 20, 2020

To paraphrase a passage from Robert Heinlein’s novel Starship Troopers, “Everything of value is born out of struggle. Even an infant coming into the world for the first time has to fight for its first breath.” Each day in recruit training has re-calibrated what is truly valuable for Kilo-198. Today kicked off with our company run, running to different cadences of our company commanders, showcasing their vocal talents. This was our second company run off base, with the first being two weeks prior. The first run Kilo-198 felt united as a company as we ran to cadence with our Guidon holding the Kilo flag.

After the run we proceeded to Pugil Stick competitions amongst our shipmates, using padded armor, helmets, and sticks to strategically strike and block. It was like Mad Max: Beyond Thunder dome, “Two men enter, one man leaves.” Except they were tied matches and it was all friendly competition; no one got injured. After Pugil sticks we were ordered to pack our sea bags, and start marching. None of us knew where we were going, or what we did wrong. All we knew is we had to march, and kept going in silence, wondering where fate would take us. We finally reached a sandy area surrounded by fencing and a boardwalk landing leading towards the ocean, with a gazebo adjacent as if marking the entry way.

ET1 Fortenberry ordered us to stack our sea bags and race out on the boardwalk towards the ocean in 60 seconds. Our boon Dockers hit the wooden planks, giving way to deep sand and eventually we were on the beach. When we reached the ocean all our Company Commanders were present: ET1 Fortenberry, CSC Frazier, BM1 Lacy, and MK2 Grant. Before we could assess the situation, Kilo-198 found themselves in a beach core workout; already feeling drained from the Company run, Pugil sticks, and the Sea bag march. Every one of us felt like we reached our limit, and then we heard the whistle blow and “On your feet.” We all stood up with sand on our faces, operational dress uniform, and boon Dockers, utterly exhausted.

ET1 Fortenberry began to speak on what it means for a company to earn their colors: That every shipmate in company has aligned with the coast guard core values of Honor, Respect, and Devotion to duty. We were then ordered to do an about face, and saw the Kilo flag standing upright facing the ocean, with its golden yellow and blue flowing in the wind. As a symbol of our struggle for the last six weeks, we briefly took in the sight, an under command of ET1 Fortenberry, charged towards it at as fast as we could, pounding sand and water as we embraced our flag. ET1 Fortenberry summarized our struggle as going through six weeks of hell to join a life-saving service and to serve our countrymen and women, with everything we have. Our new office is the ocean, patrolling the seas for danger and saving lives. From that point each of us felt invigorated with a solidified purpose, welling with emotion.   

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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