Romeo 198 Recruit Journal Week 04 (Here 6)

International Maritime Signal Flag Romeo

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

Just when you start to adjust to your new normal, this place reminds you that you know nothing and they have the constant chaos on lock. We did have many moments that stuck with us this week and gave us and awakening to our future careers.

For example, we had a search and rescue week which meant taking morning muster and immediately getting dressed in full uniform and sprinting to chow. Less than 15 minutes to get yourself ready and where you are supposed to be or you were late. The whole time we chanted “someone’s drowning” over and over and its pulse triggered us to move faster, be focused and meet our time objective. We also got to gear up in full head to toe coverings to learn to fight fires with a real hose. That was fun, but the biggest, realest moment was when one of our Assistant Company Commanders played a real mayday call that ended in radio silence. Chills across our skin made the reality of the Coast Guard set in. This is why they are hard on us. This is why they want us to be able to handle large amounts of stress. They don’t actually hate us and want to put us through pain to get jollies. They are passionate. They have real world experience and they want us to perform to the highest standard so we can keep people safe. All the sweat and tears seem worth it when you think of it that way.

But we want to share a story with you about our biggest day yet. After a week of hell, pushing our physical limitations to our breaking points, we put on our packed up sea bag and went on a hike with our Lead Company Commander to the beach along the way, one line of recruits down each side of the road with Chief Frazier marching in the middle, we talked, he asked each of us our Why. Why did we join? Why are we here? Answers varied from wanting new opportunity for their families, for school, for a change, and many more.  Chief Frazier gave an amazing speech. “Remember your why.” That was the main focus. As he said, many people forget their why and they give up. It’s hard so they stop trying. Remember your why. It’s a speech that a recruit like myself can’t copy, but will always remember.

Turning the corner back towards Sexton Hall we saw our other Company Commanders. Plus a bunch of extra people waiting for us. Eyes in the boat. Don’t look around. Suddenly a flip! We were ushered to take off our packs and then stand on the time honored yellow triangles. A Coast Guard tradition that was skipped for us due to Covid-19. Then we had to quickly build a pyramid with the packs and BAM, back to the triangles. Then we saw it, our flag. Did we want it? Were we going to get it? After little prompting the whole company rushed. Hoisting the flag high, with everyone surrounding it getting a tiny piece we screamed “HIGHER, HIGHER” we felt it. ROMEO, a senior company on the regiment. What a proud moment for us and hopefully for our CCs too.  Little did we know that we had also earned our right to sing while we marched. Proudly we sang our songs with our flag flying high, taunting other companies.

Soon after, we got to do the sweet Confidence Course, getting one rite of Passage after another. Let’s just say all the sweat we did to earn it, finally made sense. Many of us looked at the course with confidence already in place Thought many recruits had eyes full of doubt. “ I can’t do that”, was whispered throughout the company. Working through one task at a time with our CC’s coaching us through the movements, almost everyone got through the tasks, give or take one or two. Those who made it up the repeat the end proudly screamed their name and where they would be stationed before ringing the awaiting bell. Cheers for all, through every moment, bruises bigger than you can imagine, we are sure we can get through the next two weeks. We’ve become a team, louder than ever and ready to take on the next chapter in our lives. Though we are all terribly sick of living in a squad bay, the company ROMEO-198 hopes to enjoy the next two weeks of chaos together with the same energy we felt receiving our colors. We know there is still more to earn and more sweat to be paid. But we are a senior company and we can do this!

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.