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  • Decisions, Decisions - Stowes October 2015
    May 2012 April 2012 March 2012 February 2012 November 2011 cadet blogs Decisions Decisions Overcoming Challenges The Cadet Experience Class of 2016 Permanent link All Posts It s midterms here at the Academy which means staying up late writing papers studying for tests and catching up on homework However just like any other day academic work is not the only thing on our minds For firsties the center of discussion is on ensign billets Last week we had morning training on the billet selection process and I swear I have never seen more of my classmates awake and attentive during training than that morning No one wanted to miss out on a critical date or any piece of information that might keep them from getting their dream billet I learned quite a bit that morning however I believe it can be boiled down to five important lessons Be realistic in your selections Our billets are determined primarily by our class rank For co location the engaged cadets are assigned according to the lower class rank To the number one cadet in our class congratulations that person is going to get his or her first choice unless there is some kind of extreme situation For the rest of us we have to determine which picks are realistic for us to get based on what the people above us in rank want As a result I have to talk to other cadets to see what they are selecting so that I can design a reasonable billet list Everyone in our class wants the same billet This is actually a joke lesson I have learned from talking to people in an attempt to gauge what people above me want for their first assignment Apparently no matter what I tell people I am interested in at least 30 other people want it If I am thinking about a buoy tender tons of marine environmental scientists want the same thing If I want flight good luck I don t luckily If I want a fast response cutter FRC in South Florida think again this is actually what I want I think this whole discussion is funny because obviously there are going to be a fair amount of people that want the same general units There are nearly 190 of us commissioning and only so many billets Advice should be taken with a grain of salt A career path unit that worked for someone else might not be the best fit for me Everyone has different skills and preferences I would rather do what makes me happy and worry about the career part later There is no bad billet I don t think there is a single bad billet in the Coast Guard Some of them might be less desirable but we are a great service If there are bad billets it is because the command is not good Needs of the service Ultimately our assignment may come down to needs of the service I m

    Original URL path: http://www.cga.edu/blog.aspx?id=65239 (2016-02-15)
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  • Cool Project, Perfect Timing - Stowes September 2015
    address operational Coast Guard issues For example one mechanical engineering capstone a few years ago designed a new rescue basket for Coast Guard Dolphin helicopters After the presentation headquarters adopted the design and it became the standard for the Coast Guard On the humanities side an advanced research project into Arctic policy last year provided the Coast Guard with tangible policy and operational consultation As you can see these projects carry some weight so we take them very seriously My capstone is an advanced research project studying Mexico Specifically I am going to write a paper that discusses Chinese merchant vessels smuggling meth precursor chemicals into Mexico So far that s all we have been given to scope the project I have spent the last five weeks reading about the foundations of Latin America s culture politics social arrangements economics and more Once I understand the history of Mexico better I will be able to discuss contemporary issues on a much more comprehensive level My two partners and I are not writing a simple intelligence paper about the how and when the Chinese supply meth precursor chemicals rather we will discuss the why questions Why can China infiltrate Mexican institutions so easily Why are the cartels so violent Why hasn t the war on drugs worked Ultimately our paper will analyze the works we read and any data we collect Then we will make conclusions and recommendations to headquarters It is our hope that our research project will help to develop a feasible and effective policy for managing the meth trade in Mexico Last week we were very fortunate to have ADM James Stavridis on board the Academy He was the Commander of the U S Southern Command and he retired as NATO s supreme allied commander Now he is

    Original URL path: http://www.cga.edu/blog.aspx?id=65200 (2016-02-15)
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  • Mr. Friedman Visit - Stowes March 2015
    is almost spring break time here and that means a flurry of trainings corps wide lectures and most dreaded midterms Despite everything on our plates as we approach break spirits have been pretty high at the Academy This past week we had health and wellness week so we got to try out some awesome smoothies in the wardroom sleep in a few days and we even had a dodge ball tournament Also the fourth class are starting to take Boards their cumulative indoctrination test and many of them passed on the first time around With everything going on I could write forever However I will focus on one day that I thought was very interesting Mr Thomas Friedman an internationally renowned columnist for the New York Times came to the Academy to give a lecture Mr Friedman has written six books mainly about globalization which is the increasing inter connectedness of world affairs He is a very engaging man and his writing provokes you to think about how technology is bringing the world closer together than ever before If you haven t read his work I recommend skimming some reviews on the internet because it is definitely worthwhile During Mr Friedman s visit I had the pleasure of sitting in on an exclusive lecture for some government majors During that class I was really impressed with Mr Friedman s work his character and humor His public speaking and writing are presented in a manner that anyone can understand and he is very in touch with his audience After the class I had the privilege of leading Mr Friedman on a tour of our barracks Needless to say I was very nervous I spent most of the morning before the tour familiarizing myself with his work because I anticipated having to

    Original URL path: http://www.cga.edu/blog.aspx?id=6674 (2016-02-15)
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  • Snow Days on Snow Days - Stowes February 2015
    staying warm CGA blog readers New London has been freezing cold and snowy for the last two weeks Last week base was closed for two straight days which is almost unheard of Then we got another snow day this week Last week the snow was so bad that for the first day we weren t allowed out of the barracks until midafternoon and that was only so we could go workout For the morning we were stuck inside Luckily since base was closed we were able to sleep in relax and do work uninterrupted On our second day off we were able to go outside and play in the snow I always enjoy the first big snowstorm because some the 4 c from the South have never seen snow before It s funny to watch them have snowball fights and build snowmen Personally I went out and enjoyed an awesome game of rugby in the snow or snugby for short I was able to get a bunch of the rugby team together and we went down to the football field to play in about two feet of snow It was really fun and tiring trying to run through all the snow I had a great time overall except the times I got tackled face first into the snow That was cold This week the snow day could not have come at a better time I was away all weekend in Boston for a mock trial competition and when I returned the Super Bowl was on I got back from Massachusetts just in time to watch my beloved Patriots win the game Sorry Seahawks fans What a game Anyway the snow day was great because I had all day to catch up on the work I didn t do over the

    Original URL path: http://www.cga.edu/blog.aspx?id=6615 (2016-02-15)
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  • New Semester, More Responsibility - Stowes January 2015
    New Year CGA blog readers I hope you all had a great time celebrating the arrival of 2015 because I certainly did I hope 2015 will be the best year yet For me it means in just a year and a few months I will be graduating this fine institution I am incredibly excited to get going this semester Usually I am apprehensive coming back from leave or summer but this semester I was excited to come back The week we come back from winter leave is called the Midyear Administrative Processing week MAP week for short We all get new roommates and move everything we own into new rooms Usually MAP week is pretty relaxed We have all sorts of trainings to go to but without the pressure of academics MAP week is a breeze For me this MAP week has been very busy In addition to all the trainings and the fitness test I have a lot of extra responsibility this semester because I will be a guidon A guidon is the lead second class in each company We are expected to be the standard for military excellence and our primary responsibility is to train and supervise the fourth class for the whole semester As a guidon I have a lot of responsibility but I also have a lot of flexibility to do what I want to train the fourth class in the most effective manner I have wanted to be a guidon since I was a fourth class because I have always endeavored to better myself and to pursue leadership opportunities As a leader I take my responsibility very seriously and I approach every opportunity to lead with an open mind to change I take great care to ensure that I balance the demands I place on

    Original URL path: http://www.cga.edu/blog.aspx?id=6331 (2016-02-15)
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  • Cadre Summer: Coastal Sail - Stowes August 2014
    to sail a 44 foot sail boat on our own Second we have to learn the most difficult type of leadership leading peers The Coastal Sail program is two weeks long The first few days are spent learning how to set sails what lines control what how to moor up to and depart from a dock and recover a man overboard Also we load on all of the food we will need for the voyage After that we set sail The voyage is from the Academy to Block Island Block Island to Falmouth Massachusetts Falmouth to Martha s Vineyard Martha s Vineyard to Nantucket Nantucket to Hyannis Hyannis to Woods Hole Woods Hole to Newport Newport to Stonington and Stonington to the Academy As you can see we sailed a lot We pulled into a different port every day so we never had to sail at night and we got to see some of every port I can t say I had a favorite port Every one of them was unique and cool I ve been to some of those places before but seeing the marina side was totally different I loved walking around the piers seeing the different types of boats and people I spent every port call with my buddy doing pretty much the same routine We go for a run first to get a sense of the scene Then we would walk around looking for ice cream spots and people watching After we got ice cream we would check out the boats talk about the ones we would want and imagine a life with enough money to afford some of the gigantic yachts we would see I had a ton of fun in port and my routine is a little bit of an oversimplification but it makes the point My true passion during the trip was sailing I had never sailed before Coastal Sail but I developed a passion for it I didn t learn everything there was to know about sailing a boat by the end but I learned a ton My passion underway was below decks doing navigation I liked trying to figure out the optimal course to make us go faster while trying to keep us in the relative direction we wanted to be going My most memorable experience underway was sailing from Hyannis to Woods Hole We were in 20 knots of wind and high seas Everyone that went below decks was getting sea sick from the rolls and we were heeled over almost thirty degrees I spent about three to four hours below deck making sure we weren t going to run aground because we were transiting through a lot of shallow water and with the wind and rolls it was hard to stay on course It was a rough day I have no idea how I didn t get sea sick But we ended up making it safely to Woods Hole so I felt like my efforts were worth it My

    Original URL path: http://www.cga.edu/blog.aspx?id=6122 (2016-02-15)
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  • A Summer in Review - Stowes August 2014
    busy So I won t waste words talking about my first few summer activities Range Rules of the Road T boats and aviation training However looking back on my summer the highs and the lows I have to backtrack to mid May In May I went into the doctors office because my shoulder was all out of sorts I had dislocated it during a rugby match in early May and I knew it was time to get it checked out After an MRI I learned I had severely torn my labrum shoulder and chipped a bone in my shoulder as well With Swab Summer weeks away I decided to wait to have surgery until after summer training I don t write that because I want people to pity the situation or for people to think that I m tough I write that because I chose to forgo surgery to train the Class of 2018 and that passion to train the incoming swabs was more important to me than surgery I would dare so far as to say that many of my fellow cadre had the same sense of passion about it as I did So for all the parents and future cadets out there please know that your cadre are passionate about training you and they chose to do your cadre for a reason Anyway fast forward a couple months from May and Swab Summer was just around the corner I was home for a week off but I couldn t get Swab Summer off my mind Instead of living it up for that week I spent hours reading books on leadership and preparing physically to train the incoming swabs Additionally I set goals for myself as a cadre I wanted to be fair and respectful foremost However I also

    Original URL path: http://www.cga.edu/blog.aspx?id=6104 (2016-02-15)
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  • Summer Training: Coast Guard Aviation - Stowes June 2014
    great time all week The goal of CATP is to immerse cadets in Coast Guard aviation for a week so that we can see if we like it It s an extremely relaxed environment but there is no pressure to pursue aviation because of going to CATP I went just to see what our aviation program was all about even though I had no intention of going to flight school After the week was over I had a lot more respect and understanding for the aviation side of the service but I know I want to be underway for a long time in my career Overall CATP was awesome and I could talk about what we did forever but I ll limit myself to the three coolest things I got to do while I was there On Tuesday morning I had the pleasure of meeting the Aviation Survival Technician AST rescue swimmers instructors One of the senior chiefs there was in the movie The Guardian and he talked to us for a little bit about his role in the movie The AST facility is top of the line They have a massive pool with equipment that can simulate hurricane force winds and massive waves so that the swimmers can feel what it s like to be in a real rescue scenario Also they have two platforms to practice entry into the water from helos The senior chief talked about the AST program and then we got to go in the pool for a ropes challenge We had to climb a 30 foot rope which was hanging next to a series of 10 foot ropes in a line We were supposed to get up the first rope and carefully work our way down the line of other ropes It was tough I only made it to the third 10 foot rope before I let go Only one person in my group of 14 finished However we were told that the ASTs can all finish it which put into perspective how fit they really are Later that day I was able to fly in a C130J which is the Coast Guard s long fixed wing aircraft The C130J is used for spotting vessels people in search and rescue cases air dropping supplies from the cargo hold spotting illegal fishing vessels and many more missions The C130 is fixed wing which means that it is a plane versus rotary helicopters During flight school pilots choose which type of aircraft they want to fly rotary vs fixed wing and then they receive specialized training in that aircraft Anyway I got to fly in the C130 and for most of the flight I was in the cockpit After we took off I got to ask the pilots questions and listen in on the communications Then they let me fly for a little while It was awesome It wasn t all that hard to fly in a straight line with all the technology there to help

    Original URL path: http://www.cga.edu/blog.aspx?id=6006 (2016-02-15)
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