Romeo 198 Recruit Journal – Forming – Week 03

International Maritime Signal Flag Romeo

Formed: May 05, 2020
Graduates: June 26, 2020

When we arrived in Cape May late on the evening of May fifth, we were not met by the chorus of screaming we were prepared for. We that would become ROMEO-198 entered the Coast Guard and left our friends and families behind at a very strange time as Coronavirus plagues the world around us. We were prevented from the normal Cape May greetings of Company Commanders yelling commands, forcing new recruits to act quickly and adjust, leaving the civilian world behind. In spite of this, we did our best to use these circumstances to our advantage, learning required material and bonding with our shipmates in a way most recruits do not get a chance to. However, we were mostly frustrated and anxious to form into our company and for REAL boot camp to begin. We knew what we were signing up for, we were ready to be thrown in the fire! Plus, we knew our Company Commanders would expect much more out of us after this “grace period”. We fully expect them to go twice as hard!

However, it was a pretty cool experience to get an insider view of Cape May minus the stress of recruit training. We got the chance to march to the bleachers and get a glimpse of the companies ahead of us in training. One recruit, hailing from Alabama, mentioned that he had never seen birds the size of the enormous seagulls in Cape May or experienced the amazingly strong winds blowing off the ocean and bay. It just goes to show how we all come from different backgrounds and how if we can preserve through this career it can bring us to new places and give us a broader world view while challenging us with new circumstances.

However, just as quickly as this relaxed summer camp version of boot camp appeared, it was put to an abrupt halt as quarantine ended and we were at the mercy of our Company Commanders Chief Frazier, Petty Officer Lake, Petty Officer Barsness and Petty Officer Patchell. Frankly, it felt like being thrown off a pier into shark infested waters. We were confronted with a new reality of countless rules and relentless screaming which quickly escalated to holding various objects over our heads and fast paced physical training workouts throughout the day. It has been a shocking experience for us all, to say the least. Despite being painful, there are important lessons hidden in this painful process. The biggest hurdle we must move past is that we are truly only as strong as our weakest link. Being punished as a group for the mistakes of few can be frustrating at times, but instead of turning against each other ROMEO-198 needs to act like a team in order to succeed.

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.

Time: 1100 AM The live stream of the graduations are viewed by going to the training center’s Facebook page at *It should be noted that the live streams are a courtesy and not a guarantee. There could be technical issues or resource availability issues that would interfere with the stream. The live streams are not intended to be high definition productions of the graduation ceremonies. If you are looking for higher quality video products from your loved one’s graduation, you should contact VTS at 609-365-8889.

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