Advanced Training Log Entries

RC Laqui
Recruit Training, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Initially, when I first thought about actually going and sleeping at this place a couple hours away from home, and for around 8 days, to get yelled at and taught things that I would initially think would not be useful, I was not too excited. But even though those facts that I initially thought might have been true, there is a whole other side to Recruit Training that had me stoked once I started to learn more about what the Staff and the CC’s were doing and why they were doing it. 

This Recruit Training that I went through was in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and surprisingly to me, it was at an active Marines, Navy, and Coast Guard base on the coast of Lake Michigan. The Marines and Navy base were both in the same building and the Coast Guard just across the street. This Recruit Training was run by fully Coast Guard staff, the company commanders were real (coast guard drill instructors) and had come from either active or non-active duty to train us the way the Coast Guard would. There were about 29 cadets to start off with that were split into 3 different platoons. I was in Charlie platoon and had to get along with my fellow shipmates in my platoon if I liked it or not, although it was not much of a problem for me. And each platoon had about 3 to 2 staff cadets to act as the leaders and mentors for the platoon. If anyone needed help, they would be there or we would go to them. By the end of the training, I had made multiple friends and connections with both my shipmates and staff cadets. The friendships and connections were made through a lot of teamwork, hardships, and collaboration. And I am pretty sure a lot of other people can agree with me on that too. 

Speaking of teamwork, hardships, and collaboration, every day of the training had its highlights of its ups and downs. Most of the highlights of the “downs” in the training were because we would be getting “smoked”. This is because we would not be working as a team, most of the time. We would be doing the famous “FIRE FIRE FIRE!” and PT multiple times if we did not work as a team. On the other hand, if we have been doing a good job as a team we would get somewhat of a reward. For example, free time or classroom time. But the main reason that would drive us cadets and keep us working as a team is not to get smoked.

Normally, I would not be able to wake up early in the morning, around 5 or even 6 AM. But, with the help of the staff cadets and the CC’s they were able to get me up. Unexpected from a Marine/Navy base, the cotts we slept on were pretty comfy and each room held about 4 to 5 guys. Usually, we wake up with either a smoke session (“FIRE FIRE FIRE!”) or just a normal banging on the door with the staff cadets screaming at us to wake up. They would be using the loudest and craziest things to wake us up like a megaphone. I got used to it after a couple days but it still caught me off guard on some days. And on some days if we were lucky, we would be waking up to something funny or calm enough to not have us jump out of our beds. That is how we start about the first hour of our day. After that, we would have morning colors, and change into the Navy Work Uniform to march to morning chow. We always had chow at the Coast Guard base across the street and the food was always topnotch. The CC’s always had times for instructions or for the staff cadets to take over and teach us. But besides that, all of the time we had in between that instruction was personal time or uniform maintenance or to study for the final. We would also have smoke sessions here and there. And at evening colors, we could take down the colors, and have mail call and hygiene right after. Us cadets went to sleep around 10 PM.

Most of the days I was there flew by for the most part but the best part of Recruit Training for most was the graduation ceremony. This day was the most anticipated day as we have done and grew so much as a team and gained and learned so many things in the earlier days. We all deserved this. On the way to the building where the ceremony was being held while in our dress whites, I felt such bliss. We all were marching, cadencing, and formed as one as the result of the hardwork in the earlier days. As the CC’s said their last words of encouragement and the final rewards were given to my fellow shipmates, I was itching to finally see my parents again. And as the word for us cadets to be dismissed everyone ran to their loved ones, including me. I would never forget such a day and how proud I felt of myself to see myself enter another chapter of my life. And I can finally say that the training that this program holds is a life changing experience and definitely one of the best parts of the Sea Cadets. I will continue to pursue this career and hope for the best for this next chapter of my life.

PO2 Wise
Staff Cadet for Recruit Training at Milwaukee Wisconsin

I was beyond excited when I gained the opportunity to staff the recruit training I had attended 2 years prior in 2022. Upon arrival at the NOSC, I was greeted by the amazing officers and other staff along with my fellow staff cadets and became even more excited for what was to come.

On Day 2 (Day 1 for recruits), the recruits who attended RT began to show up. During their arrival staff cadets were to perform sea bag inspections on every recruit to ensure they had all the required items to succeed for the training. This gave the recruits the initial culture shock that they weren’t at home anymore and allowed staff cadets to slowly get to know and understand where the recruits were at both mentally and physically.

The first wake-up for the recruits is one they will all remember. The sound of pounding on doors with 2 Company commanders (Coast Guard drill instructors) yelling to get up is not an easy thing to forget. After hygiene and med call which were done every morning recruits and RT staff cadets began what was called “motivation.” Despite the seemingly nice sound of it. motivation just meant PT (physical training) or in other words “getting smoked.” These sessions, which occurred many times throughout RT, included many pushups, crunches, superman holds, flutter kicks, planks, squats, and various other exercises.

A typical day began with staff cadet reveille (wake-up) at 0600 and cadet/recruit reville at 0630. Then hygiene, med call, and motivation were done before morning colors at 0800 which Petty Officer Wilson and I were given the honor to help teach recruits how to perform colors properly at both 0800 and sunset every day. After colors, the contingent headed to chow across the street at USCG Sector Lake Michigan. This is where we had breakfast, lunch, and dinner chow every day. There were many activities held throughout the day but most of them fall into one of the following categories: classroom time, CC time (typically getting smoked), sweepers (cleaning), barracks inspection, uniform maintenance or marching practice.

One of the most important lessons I learned from staffing recruit training is that as a leader it is necessary to understand that how you act is exactly how your followers will act. If I mess around so will my recruits, if I slack off during PT so will my recruits  BUT if I lock in and stay on task so will my recruits, if I push myself beyond my own limit my recruits will push themselves past their limit.

Finally one of my favorite memories from this training was graduation. Graduation made all of the hard work worth it. I saw my recruits squared away in their uniforms, marching in step, eyes in the boat, and proud of themselves for what they had accomplished. When the recruits were finally dismissed they all went to go see their families. Many recruits and their families cried after finally hugging each other and hearing their voices after a long 9 days apart. I was so happy for all of my recruits and very proud of each and every one of them for pushing through all of the difficulties that came along with RT. I wish them all the best in their future endeavors and hope to run into them at future trainings. HOOYAH RT!!!

PO3 Wilson
Recruit Training Staff Cadet  Milwaukee Wisconsin 

Usually, I would have preferred to use my leadership skills on a trained group of cadets. I disliked the thought of constantly training a group that knew nothing about sea cadets, or military bearing. That was before I staffed recruit training. At graduation, I realized that it was not about the struggle the recruits were in beforehand, but the thrill of seeing them grow in such a short amount of time, and the pride I took in knowing that my team of staff cadets got them there to the end.

Recruit training In Milwaukee Wisconsin is not a normal training contingent. It is completely run by coast guard staff. We had real company commanders (coast guard drill instructors) come in from active or reserve service to train sea cadets the way they would train coast guard recruits, but they only had 9 days. We had around 30 recruits, split into 3 separate platoons. The staff cadets for that training acted as mentors that the recruits could rely on for training, or emotional support, whatever they needed. We still kept the stress level high by raising our voices to tell the to hurry up, but by the end of the day, they could come to us for anything. The part that built their trust in our leadership, was if the recruits were doing something, we would do it with them. If the recruits were “getting smoked” we were there too.

Being a staff cadet has its privileges. Most recruit training staff cadets already have at least three years worth of experience as a cadet. We travel the country gaining experience before we bring it back to the newest recruits. At night, we would have staff meetings to debrief the officers on the day, what could be worked on, etc. we got to stay up late at night to do hygiene separately, and wake up earlier to be prepared. during the day, we had a break room filled with snacks of our choice. Of course at one point these privileges were taken away, then earned back, that’s what makes it fun I guess. You have to earn it.

A typical day started off with an early wake up of 6:30 (6:00 for staff cadets)  at that time we would get smoked (physical training with yelling on top). The preferred methods of awakening was a megaphone, or slamming doors. Morning colors would also take place (raising the flag) which I personally helped with every day. Chow (breakfast lunch or dinner) was held at the Coast Guard base across from the marine barracks, where we slept. The company commanders had specific times allocated to just their “instruction” the rest was spent with staff cadets teaching, helping with uniforms, etc. we had smoke sessions through the day. We lowered the colors at 8:34. some more training, and went to bed at 10:00. Almost. The staff cadets stayed up for the staff meeting and to hygiene separately, usually around 11:30 was our bedtime.

During graduation, I saw something that I thought was incredible. All of the recruits were marching in step, as one team, looking sharp. This is the point at the end of training where a staff cadet gets to say, “I did my job”. I trained them to the best of my ability, passed down knowledge, led them in marching, and it all came together in an impressive ceremony that is recruit training graduation. I had the honor of being the master of ceremonies (the podium guy),  and I got to speak about the good and bad of the training.

The parents got to see their cadets for the first time, proudly standing in their dress uniforms. This is the point of the training where the cadets no longer feel they want to go home, but instead, they are proud of themselves for sticking with the hardship, and making it to the end. I could confidently say that I would lead this new group of cadets anywhere, and they will do an amazing job in their sea cadet careers.

PO3 Wilson
Special Ops Rope Rescue  Tennessee 

I had the amazing opportunity to go to one of the best trainings that sea cadets has to offer. SETROPES is a special operations rope rescue training instructed by professionals in the rope rescue field. Specifically a very nice lady, Patricia Wagner, who helped develop the national standard for rope rescue. Their training is unique because it is its own nationally recognized sea cadet training group, in which the instructors are not tied to sea cadet unit commitments, but can focus on their jobs in public service.

Before any cadet is accepted into the training, they have to submit a video of them doing a minimum number of pull ups, as well as tying specific knots. These knots must be mastered before arrival to training. The day of my arrival, I flew in, and had to start taking a 100 question test and I didn’t even know what was in it. Additionally I had to take another 50 question test after that. I had a few days out of the 9 day training to complete it, as well as the curriculum book because they were open book tests.

That day, I also received my harness and helmet to keep with me at all times. I was very impressed with the quality of gear we used throughout the training, sometimes something as small as my hand would cost close to a thousand dollars a peace. Throughout the training we learned how to rappel and climb the 22 foot tower in Ms Pats’ backyard. At first I was scared, but at the end of training, I realized how much of a wimp I was. By that time I was hanging upside down working with a “Patient” (another cadet) and switching their harnesses. We learned how to use different main and belay line systems, knots, and certain things that we learned while completing the test.

Probably the coolest part about this training is the fact that we could go anywhere and set up these systems. One day, we went out to a two hundred foot bluff, we (the cadets) were trusted to tie all of the lines to the trees and set up the gear. Then, we repelled down it.

Usually, they split the curriculum into two separate 7 day trainings. One would earn you the operator certification, the other would earn you the technician certification. An operator is someone who can confidently set up and operate the different rope systems, but not know why. A technician can asses the situation, realize what needs to happen, and figured out where the ropes will run.

This year, they experimented with the idea that both of these trainings could combine into a single 9 day training that has a blended curriculum of operator and technician. Not everyone walked away from the training with a technician certification.

Our final technician test was on the last day of training. We hiked it to a waterfall surrounded by bluffs and were given the task of not only setting up the systems, but figuring out which trees and why, where the lines would run, etc. seeing as it was the technician test, I volunteered for the command position, realizing that it would give me the best shot to show them, and myself, I could earn the certification.

I walked away from that training with both certifications as well as a team victory on the final relay race. On graduation day, we had to climb the tower, rappel down the middle, crawl through dark tubes, lower the dummy basket and carry it back to the start point. It was a final test of our physical and mental skills that our parents got to watch.

I truly believe this is one of the best trainings sea cadets has to offer, and some of the fear we overcame was incredible. The best part about it was the exceptional teamwork we had with one another. We learned to literally trust each other with our lives, and that was a very unique thing to be able to do.

SN Wilson

During my time aboard the SS John Brown, I experienced a lot of firsts. It was the first time I navigated the airport completely alone, It was my first time in an East Coast state, and it was the first time I was ever aboard a ship. I had some great opportunities as a league cadet (a younger cadet group), but I realize the opportunities in sea cadets, are far more rewarding. I find the reason for this, is the different level of responsibility and trust placed upon us as cadets. I loved my experience aboard the Brown, and I would recommend it to anyone interested in shipboard life.

My parents recognized that the airport accommodations by the sea cadet staff were very organized and planned. After meeting up with my fellow cadets at the airport, our van arrived at the curb. We arrived the SS John W Brown, our home for a week. She was docked in a port in the Chesapeake Bay, right next to the Savanna (the first nuclear-powered vessel) I walked the not-so-steady “gangway” up to the ship where I had to report aboard. I did the standard procedure of handing in paperwork and any contraband to the admin staff. I then proceeded through what seemed to be a door, but when I stepped through I was immediately met with stairs leading to the lower levels of the ship. After doing my seabag check in one of the old forward cargo holds, I changed into my  NWU uniform. I would later be grateful that every day we “de-bloused” which made working conditions easier.

Every training has a briefing where the staff introduces themselves. We had a very important presentation on the history of the Brown. During World War 2, 1941, the US government signed the lend-lease act. This allowed the United States to send war supplies to allied nations in Europe. Though the US was not at war with Nazi Germany, German U-boats often sank the merchant ships that carried supplies. To resolve this problem, the US would mass produce cheaply built merchant vessels (Liberty Ships) which in theory, would pay for itself as a result of a successful voyage. These vessels were only constructed to last five years, the SS John Brown is over 80 years old, and it’s still operational.  The crew aboard the Brown consists of all volunteer men and women that serve on this historic museum ship.

As a sea cadet, living space is often hard to come by. We usually get one rack and a footlocker. We always thought that this was not much, but we were wrong. Aboard the brown, there were ten chained rack units stacked four high, and two wide, in a space no larger than a living room. It was packed. We were lucky if we could find an empty rack to put all of our seabags onto. We had no footlockers. Just our seabags to live out of for a week. Navigating through the ship I realized that every space or Hallway was half the size of a familiar one. This especially pertained to the mess deck. Trying to feed everyone aboard the ship in such a small space was no easy task.

A typical day aboard the Brown would start off at 6 AM, or 0600, with half of the males going to chow, and another half waiting for the second chow line. After chow, we would head back to the common area, or, tween deck 2, a forward cargo hold where our birthing area resided. Here, we typically waited for instructions to our lesson for two hours or more. We would typically have three of these training durations a day with lots of relaxation time in between, (a solid mixture that we were grateful to have).

The training that we received aboard the Brown consisted of, Navigation, firefighting, small arms training, naval history, line handling, marlinspike seamanship, life raft seamanship, engineering, communications, and much more. Though we had lots of free time, there is much to learn aboard the Brown as it was a museum ship. I often spent my time learning as much as I could about the history of the vessel, learning many knots, as I could come across a situation where I would need to use a knot aboard the ship. I often took note of the emergency exits, and any other ship safety precautions, should I ever need the knowledge.

The showers were very claustrophobic, and there would be two tiny showers in one little compartment, meaning we had to share that space with a fellow shipmate. It did not take me long to understand the reasoning though. Living on a ship is a very different environment than on shore. We have a limited supply of space, fuel, water, and food. If we squander these resources, it’s not like we can just go and get more.

The time we have before lights out was usually a time to chill and hang out. Some of my shipmates would often get too social. It was almost like living in a school classroom with twice the people. Though I did make friends along the way, I would first take care of anything that took precedence, including organizing my gear, housekeeping, studying, etc. Socializing was not my primary goal going into this training. After all, I traveled all the way from Illinois to this amazing opportunity, and I wanted to learn as much as I could.

It was morning, and the ship was getting underway. The sea cadets were split into four groups at four duty stations. My group got the best job of all. We were on the “flying bridge”. The bridge of a ship is like the brain. Our ship had two, the main bridge, and the flying bridge. The flying bridge was “on the roof” and was for good weather conditions. Our group got to work with the senior crew to navigate through the port oh into the larger Chesapeake Bay, bound for an anchorage. We anchored in the anchorage at sunset alongside some massive industrial ships. I thought it was cool.

The next morning, we were supposed to sail out further into the bay, then return to our same sitting position, but there was something wrong with the 80-year-old engine. How shocking. One of the boilers was not working. We could run off just one, but we didn’t want to take the chance. So that entire day was the engineers trying to fix the engine.  We made some trips to the engine room.  I found it cool but still not really my cup of tea, because it was so hot in there. Some of my fellow shipmates would get mad at me when we went down the propeller shaft room. It was so cramped in there that everyone else had to duck, but since my small size had one advantage, it wasn’t so bad.

The next morning, we woke up at 4 AM or 0400. We were assigned duty stations because by that time the engine was fixed, and we were sailing back to port. My duty station was the flying bridge. It was a favorite for me at first, but by then it was a spot that anyone would do anything to get that morning.

By the time I got up there, it was still dark in the bay. As the sun rose into the morning sky. At that time, visibility was limited because of the smoky haze as a result of the ongoing Canadian wildfires. That created a perfect orange circle in the morning sky. It was at this point that we were passing underneath a bridge. It was a feeling that I can’t describe. Everyone on the bridge was quiet, and we could hear the faint whisper of the cars whooshing by from the moving ship below. I was immediately hooked. I had gone to this training to figure out if I liked living on a ship, and at that moment, I got my answer.

The flying bridge was directly three deck levels above the engine room. This meant that we were standing next to the ship’s exhaust stack. Periodically the engineers would blow all the soot out through the exhaust to clear the pipelines. As a result, small and large pieces would land everywhere on the flying bridge. A small price to pay for such an amazing duty station.

We were nearing the port and my group got reassigned to the bow for mooring assistance. Earlier in the training, we were taught how to heave a line overboard to the dock crew on the ground. But this time, they told us to throw one onto a moving tug. I landed a perfect shot on the bow of the tug.  We then sent a larger line down to the tug to join the two vessels.  Part 1 was done.  Part 2 was when we were aligned with the dock, and we had to heave lines down to the dock crew. Again, I landed a perfect shot to the crew. I was on fire.

All the cadets were spending one more night at port. After a successful three-day voyage, we were ready for some karaoke and pizza. The group of cadets I was with formed a bond with each other. It’s true that we make friends at every training, but this training, in particular, brought us all together.

The morning of graduation, rear admiral Andrew Lennon (the executive director of sea cadets) came aboard right after we all took pictures with the ship. He was there to speak with us and present the awards at graduation. But the volunteer crew had their own awards right before the formal graduation ceremony. The captain had spoken with some of the cadets regarding their different interests. He gave out navigational tools and ship emergency plans to some cadets. But there was one final award. He told everyone to think of someone who was the best example of a shipmate during our time on the ship, and we had 30 seconds to discuss who would receive this award from their shipmates. Not even 2 seconds in, everyone unanimously said my name. I had the ship’s vote. The award itself was a navigational chart used during our voyage, but the fact that it was an uncontested decision made it special. During the real graduation ceremony, I did not get honor cadet. A title I always strive to attain. But I was happy with the award I received because knowing that everyone was on my side is far more rewarding.

Following graduation, I changed into my civilian clothes and Crammed into the van bound for the airport. It’s crazy how well I know someone after a training, but they are a complete stranger at the beginning. I met one cadet that had the same past rank as me in the league cadets and has the same ambition to attend the US Naval Academy.

I’ve been to a lot of places as a league cadet but being a sea cadet is a whole new experience. The opportunities are amazing, and I can’t wait for what’s next.

SN Wise
POLA, Milwaukee Wisconsin

I attended Petty Officer Leadership Academy (POLA) from June 22-30 at the NOSC in Milwaukee.  This training taught me about leadership, teamwork, public speaking and so much more. Every day I knew I was growing as a leader. This training made me want to be a better leader and overall person. My shipmates and I grew together rather than individually, and I felt like I was with my brothers and sisters. We had multiple guest speakers and they each taught us something different. One of the guest speakers was a drill instructor for RT at the time and she said something that will stick with me forever. “There is no comfort in the growth zone and no growth in the comfort zone.”-Chief Arianne Gunn. Recruit training was in the same training contingent as POLA. This allowed me to see my old drill instructors again. Senior Chief Matthews was a drill instructor for all 9 days of RT while PO1 Placencia had recently retired from the Coast Guard, so he was only at RT for one day. Seeing them again reminded me how much I’ve grown because of Sea Cadets and because of them.

One of my favorite moments from POLA was on the last day when RT was graduating, and everyone was going home. The training contingent was allowed to go over to the Coast Guard Exchange across the street to buy souvenirs. I bought a couple of things along with a bag. Before I left, I had everyone I respected sign my bag. This included the drill instructors, 2 marines, and the COTC. I am beyond grateful for this training and everyone I met during it.

SA Goldman
Recruit Training

Over winter break I attended a 9-day Recruit Training from December 27 to January 4. While there I learned just how much you can push yourself when you have people behind you who are cheering you on. We worked as a team to complete everything throughout the day from eating, learning, field days (cleaning), and drill. There are two moments that stick out to me from RT the first one is when I won the knot-tying completions we had, and the other was getting 1st class on my swim qualifications.

League cadet honor guard training
LC7 Wilson, R

The training was a contingent of five ceremonial guard trainings, sea cadet honor guard, advanced sea cadet honor guard, field music, advanced field Music, and league cadet honor guard.

I was chosen as the LPO of league cadet honor guard. They came to that decision because of one event where I was put in charge of the commands. And my rank helped as well. For the rest of the week we would do a series of field tests on what we had learned so far. The first test was our basic marching skills, and our rewards were carved wooden rifles. With those rifles we learned the basics of rifle movements. After we master the basics they would give us another test, our reward, the shiny Parade rifles.

We had to come up with a routine for our series of performances in a few days time. We Had performed at a summer school the day earlier, so we sort of had an idea of what would please the crowd. So the league honor guard group came up with a basic version of a marine silent drill platoon style routine.

As the day came, me ( the “platoon commander”) and another cadet had practiced a stylish rifle inspection. I was pleased at the various events and graduation when the inspection came out to be precisely executed along with the other routines.

I came out as honor cadet of the training, with a reward of keeping the shoulder cord I was given for the training. I am grateful of the experience and it will not be forgotten.

NLCC Aviation Training
LC7 Wilson, R

The national flight academy is the world’s largest virtual aircraft carrier located on Naval air Station in Pensacola Florida. The national flight academy offers a series of six-day tours throughout the summer. The national flight academy offers some of the best technologies for simulations via VR and flight simulators to inspire. A typical day aboard consisted of, two flight missions flown, two flight missions planned, and two missions as an air traffic control operator. Our missions consisted of experimenting in testing the abilities of a state-of-the-art aircraft called the X – 12 B triad. Before every mission either phone or communicated in the control room to squadrons would meet in the ready room to get briefed on the mission that was about to be executed. The “test” was a series of missions involved in a crisis situation. Two ships collided in the Gulf of Mexico and the aircraft carrier we were stationed on was the nearest to the crash site, so we had to immediately respond go to our flight stations and takeoff from the carrier. In order to ensure the safety of the passengers on the crew line ship that was hit and sinking three aircraft went immediately to the crash site while another four went back to shore to Tampa Area to pick up bilge pumps for the sinking ship. Once picked up the bilge pump would then be refitted backer board the aircraft carrier and sent it to the crash site. At the crash site many survivors were found in the water and in lifeboats some injured and some need of assistance so that was taken care of with the immediate first responders to the incident.  There were many other missions during the week but too many to explain and some classified.  The experience aboard the national flight academy’s virtual aircraft carrier was truly an amazing one. Many experiences and memories to enjoy forever this was an experience of a lifetime.

Staffed Recruit Training
PO1 Berezin, J

Over the summer, I had the honor of being able to staff Recruit Training at Fort Custer Training Center in Battle Creek, Michigan. Staffing the training was a difficult yet highly rewarding experience. I learned so much from the Recruit Division Commanders (RDCs), Officers, and fellow Staff Cadets. Seeing the behind the scenes work of the basic training of Sea Cadets is an incredible experience I could never forget.

My position during the training was the Assistant Recruit Chief Petty Officer (AROC). My job was to assist the Recruit Chief Petty Officer (RPOC), RDCs, sing cadences for the division, and help train the cadets. As a Staff Cadet, you take charge over your cadets and lead by example. While I was incredibly tired, with very little sleep and mental and physical exhaustion, I enjoyed the training, and I will never forget the feeling of marching the division of recruits that I helped teach across the Parade Deck in front of parents to graduate them.

Law Enforcement Government Services (LEGS), Adell Wisc.
SA Wise, E

I attended a 7-day Law Enforcement training from July 17-23. We learned about gun safety and how to properly hold and fire a firearm, different drugs and their effects, how SWAT clears rooms, how 911 calls operate, self-defense, and so much more. Every morning at 0800 we hoisted the colors and every sunrise we would take them down and fold the flag properly. The most memorable moment I have from this training is when one of my shipmates took down the instructor during a self-defense class.

Recruit Training, Milwaukee Wisc.
SA Wise, E

I attended a 9-day Recruit Training from June 18-26.  At my RT I pushed myself beyond my limits.  Every day we woke up to the sound of a megaphone letting us know it was time for some morning PT. PT included pushups, crunches, squats, jumping jacks, mountain climbers, and flutter kicks. Throughout RT, I learned the importance of growing as a team rather than growing by yourself. Although certain moments were not the most enjoyable I would do it all again for the experience and to have the ability to see my shipmates again. My most memorable moment was when my drill instructor Petty Officer Placencia gave me his collar device for a PO1 in the Coast Guard.

Recruit Training
SA Hernandez, J

When I arrived at RT, we settled in our rooms getting to know our bunk mates and preparing our stuff, when it was time we went outside and did basic stuff like footing etc. the second day the drill instructors got more strict. We started each morning and ended the day with sweat on our backs from the PT we did trough out the day, we learned how to work as a team and to help each other. We had time limits to meet and if we failed, we all got burned/Disciplinary PT, by the end of the week we had learned teamwork and would always keep a military bearing unless we were free to play around. We learned basic military knowledge and participated in a simulator on how to stop a pipe leak on a boat. The first days were tough, but we adapted to the new environment and by the end, we were a team. RT was demanding physically and mentally for many, but I would do it again for the feeling of camaraderie we had with each other despite only knowing each other for a week. I loved this training and my fellow shipmates.

Field Operations
SA Pederson, Z

I arrived at Camp Dodge in Iowa, prepared to be challenged; however, I wasn’t expecting to leave with a strong sense of pride, accomplishment, and a desire to be better than I was before. Field Ops at Camp Dodge is by far the hardest Field Operations training you can attend, and it challenged me to not only be better physically but also to challenge my mindset and how I tackle certain stressful situations. I arrived on day one and was immediately told to run 4 miles with a 40-50 pound rucksack on my back, in under an hour, shortly after receiving my gear (Kevlar helmet, load-bearing vest, pads, rubber training rifle). The next day we rucked to our Forward Operating Base and we began digging our foxholes, which had to meet certain parameters in order to make it sustainable against an enemy attack. From that day forward we were nervous but prepared for whatever the Lance Corporals decided to throw at us. We learned fire team tactics, movement under fire, commands, searching someone for weapons, patrolling, clearing rooms, and so on. All of these things taught me something valuable that I can apply to a future job in the military. I also felt a great sense of comradery with my shipmates, and although things could be rough at first with all of the stress, we grew to like each other and learned how to work as a team, even if it meant the Lance Corporals had to yell at us a bunch of times. I would highly recommend this training to anyone who’s interested in going into the Infantry field, or anyone who wants to challenge themselves physically and mentally, and also learn some cool things as well. This training was outstanding and definitely worth the trip.

Public Safety/Lifeguard
SA Pederson, Z

I attended the Public Safety training in Kentucky with the goal of learning the skills required to be a lifeguard, and I got exactly what I was looking for. While at this training I was taught various rescue techniques, as well as how to scan the water for a drowning victim, different extrication techniques, and waterfront safety skills that can be applied if you’re a waterfront lifeguard. I also learned how to operate an AED, how to perform CPR, and how to perform basic first aid. I felt these skills were taught very well by the instructors, and I left the training confident that if I had to, I could save the life of a drowning victim. The training was very laid back, which was a welcomed change coming from Field Ops only a week prior; however, this did not get in the way of training, and I still felt like I got a lot out of what I was being taught. One of the only complaints I would have about this training was the lack of leadership and organization during certain events, morning PT in particular. The Officers kind of left it up to the staff cadets to organize PT, which made for some interesting and overly complicated exercises. Other than the slight leadership/organization problems on the PT side of the training, I had a great time and would definitely recommend this training to anyone who’s interested in becoming a lifeguard or just learning how to save someone’s life.

SN Vargas, Y

I attended an 8-day seamanship training on the SS John W Brown in Baltimore Maryland. We were in port for 5 days and underway for 3 days. We took classes online handling, firefighting, security, emergency situations, gunnery, navigation, engineering, and anchoring. They were all interesting classes that were also very hands-on for the most part. We had to stand watches in the engine room, flying bridge, and quarterdeck. The watch in the engine room was very hot yet interesting to see how everything is done with a steam engine. We also had a chance to steer the ship and that was an unreal experience that has made me much more interested in seamanship. We had a lot of free time as well which gave for a lot of socialization and bonding. One night we were also given the chance to sleep outside on the cargo hatch and that was the best night on the ship with the best views. Some highlights were rowing a lifeboat, steering the ship, shooting a line cannon, standing watch in the engine room, mooring lines, and sleeping outside on top of the cargo hatch. I would definitely recommend this training to anyone interested in seamanship or just wanting to learn more about it in a more laid-back environment.

2019 Wisconsin NLCC VetMed Training
PO3/LC4 Medina, M

At the veterinary medicine training in Wisconsin, we had a lot of contact with animals. We went to multiple zoos and were able to get a behind-the-scenes look at some of them. We also did goose banding for a whole day and were able to meet some people who took an interest in the veterinary field. One of my favorite parts was when we went to a dairy farm and were able to see how cheese and yogurt were made. It also showed some theories about the future of agriculture. We had a few classes on pet first aid and CPR, and got CPR certified for pets. We did PT and colors every day and often had bonding moments with the other training.

2019 Washington DC NLCC History & Heritage Tour
PO3/LC4 Medina, M

At the DC training, we were able to visit many historical monuments and museums. Every day, we’d have a short breakfast and then we got on the road to go someplace. A huge majority of this training was walking and being active, so it’s best to be physically fit before going on it. I really enjoyed how much liberty we had when we got back from walking, and we were often able to talk with the other cadets and played games together. I also liked how we were quartered at a hotel, and how we were able to have our phones with us so we could take pictures or tell others about our experiences.

2019 Latimer Tennessee MAA Training
PO3 Anderson, G

This was by far the best training I’ve ever been to since becoming a Sea Cadet. This was the most informative and physically demanding training out of the 5 trainings I’ve been to. On the first day, we started out fast with water pt down by the lake and bear crawls. The next few days were learning about morality, criminal and common law, and warrants, and of course pt 2-4 times a day. In the coming days, we would learn hand to hand and takedown mechanics. We would run scenarios and drawing our training pistol for hours. Even though some of these techniques got monotonous they were important to perfect. Then came Sunday and that was range day for us. We shot Glocks 23s and AR15s. We did reload drills, moving and firing, and firing from behind cover. This was probably the best day of the training.

The day after range day the Officers chose 5 members to be a part of a SWAT team. Out of the 19 cadets, 12 tried out, and requirements were a special prt, gun range scores, test scores from the law test, room clearing skills, and finally an interview in front of 3 officers. I was fortunate enough to make the SWAT team. We were given bump helmets and special ear protection and a boom mic for our radios that would connect into our ear protection. We served out numerous search and arrest warrants. We had an active shooter call out at 1 AM and we arrested a first-degree murder who was hiding in an old house with his best friend. Overall, I would recommend this training to every single person who is physically able and can-do hours of hardcore pt and is determined.

RTIL Medical Staff
PO3 Adam, D

This training at Great Lakes was not about learning, but about practice. We were in charge of the RTIL Sickbay and it would be our job to diagnosis, treat and record all persons. All of this was under the supervision of two medical professionals and HM’s. The limited downtime we had was spent talking about advanced medical topics such as Erythrocytes, Cardiac Electrophysiology, and Intravenous Therapy. Overall the training was enjoyable and an eye-opening experience to the field of medicine.

Religious Program Specialist
PO2 Adam, D

The goal of this training was to expand our knowledge. Never at any point were our personal religious (or lack of) views challenged, only expended. In my opinion, it is unfair to judge people of different faiths, without studying their faith and beliefs. That is what this training accomplished, it gave all of us a viewpoint on faiths or religions. We did this by visiting houses of worship, reading sacred texts and talking to representatives. All this gave us the ability to form our own opinions and understandings, regardless of our own feelings.

RTIL Great Lake
SN Oblazney, M

My experience at RT Great Lakes was above all an unforgettable one. While at RT, I had a double ear infection which altered my ability to study and focus however I managed to push through the pain and irritation with the help of my fellow shipmates motivating me constantly. Without my shipmates, my journey through RT would have been much harder and I never would have made so many lifelong friends that are all going their own ways in life. My experience also made me reconsider my career path from wanting to be a corpsman to wanting to a nurse in the Air Force.

2019 Washington DC NSCC History & Heritage Tour
PO3 Medina, C

This summer, I attended a history and heritage training in Washington D.C. It was by far one of my favorite trainings that I have done. We traveled all over DC and the surrounding areas and gained so much valuable knowledge about the history of our country and how it came to be. Even though there was no PT, we walked nearly 50 miles over the course of the training. Three of my favorite locations we toured were Gettysburg, the FBI headquarters, and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
In Gettysburg, we got to take a tour on a horse-drawn carriage and visit all the monuments for the individual states that fought during the Civil War. The town and tourist sites were set in the time period, and we ate dinner at a historical house where we got to learn about some of the ghost stories, legends, and soldiers from the war.
The FBI headquarters tour was very educational; we learned about all the available opportunities in the FBI and the operations that each category of worker performs. The lab sciences really interested me, and the tour guide was very helpful and explained to all of the older cadets what the requirements were for each position and gave us tips to start preparing for a career in the FBI.
Finally, the time we spent at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was unforgettable. Earlier in the week, I was chosen to be one of the four cadets in the wreath-laying party. When we walked up to the tomb and saw the expansive overlook onto the surrounding city, and absorbed the silent and respectful environment, it was obvious that everyone in the training was overwhelmed with a sense of awe, respect, and solemnity. The wreath-laying went very well, and the four of us were paid many compliments by the CO, XO, and civilians that had been visiting while we laid the wreath.
This training was incredible. I made so many great friends and learned so much over the course of the training. I definitely recommend this training to any cadet that wants to immerse themselves in the deep history of our country.

2019 Central Kentucky NSCC CyberPatriot Training
PO3 Medina, C

The second training that I attended this summer was a CyberPatriot training at Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky. This was by far my favorite training I have been to. The CyberPatriot training focused on cybersecurity and how to secure a system in order to protect it from potential threats and attacks. We learned how to secure both Windows and Linux operating systems and learned extensively about the command line and its functions. Our division officer was able to set up meetings for us to video chat with the CEO of the cybersecurity company Coalfire, and some higher-ups workers in that company as well. We were able to ask as many questions as we wanted about how to succeed in that industry, or what the day to day life of someone in the industry is. On the final day of the training, we had a CyberPatriot competition, and my team won the security contest for Linux, and the three of us were given challenge coins by our division officer.
I enjoyed this training so much and am seriously considering a major in computer science when I am in college. Technology and the internet are becoming such a huge part of our everyday lives, so much of our daily routines are centered around these topics. However, with that comes the risk of security breaches. As technology advances, it is a necessity that security advances as well. The cybersecurity industry is booming, and I highly recommend this training to any cadet who wishes to learn about the basics of cybersecurity, and either set themselves on a path towards that career field or to set up a CyberPatriot team in their own division.

NLCC Orientation
LC1 Salas, M

I think my summer basic orientation went very well, I had lots of fun. We did tons of marching 24/7. We also did LOTS of PT, mostly running. We woke up at 6:30, but I would wake up earlier because I couldn’t sleep. We also did 3 days of classroom work. The very last day we did tons of fun things, we did rock climbing, tight rope walking, obstacles, ziplining, and the leap of faith. They were all so much fun! My favorite was the leap of faith. In the leap of faith, you climb about a fourteen-foot pole then jump off the top. Don’t worry we had a harness on the whole time! After that, we went to a lake called random lake right next to the base. We swam and Mr. Garfolo cooked out on a grill for us and we had hamburgers and brats. We went to the lake with veterinarian medicine and had a relaxing day. In my opinion, I think it was a great time and I loved my experience.

Basic Airman
SN Hudson, A

Basic Airman is basically the first steps to becoming an airman. You must learn the basics before you can move forward with it. Basic airman covers how an airplane flies from how to fix a KC-130J engine. At this training, I got to do many things like help fix a C-130 engine that had just come back from overseas, and help fix an arresting gear

engine on the airstrip. With this training, you can go into many different mechanical shops and non-mechanical shops. I first started in Fleet Readiness Command or FRC. FRC holds many different shops such as ordinance or bombs and guns, C-130 TurboProp engine shop, survival equipment, and airframes. You might also go to the T-line or Transient line. That’s where flights from other bases go for a temporary stop, that’s also where I got to help taxi in a C-17 Globalmaster. You may also go to the Marine corpsFA/-18 Superhornet squadron which also consists of ordinance, airframes, engines and survival equipment. Overall I’d recommend this training if you like aviation and want to learn a lot more about possible jobs in the aviation field.

Combat Medical
SN Hudson, A

Combat Medical is basic and advanced first aid. The training goes through the course Tactical Combat Casualty Care or also known as TC3. TC3 is the basic and advanced infantryman first aid and combat medic first aid. It teaches the normal how to clean a wound from how to decompress a chest or put in a nasopharyngeal airway, also known as an NPA. Overall at this training, I had a great time and learned a lot of new things. I would recommend this training if you want to be challenged and learn a lot of new things.

Recruit Training
SA Smith, Z

When I arrived at Recruit Training at Great Lakes, it was a sudden change that I felt caught all of us by surprise. The first couple of days we spent adjusting to the new lifestyle and learning the ropes. In my division, 007, we didn’t start to connect as a team until Monday when everyone was earning their guidons. Slowly but surely we started to put aside our differences and earned our guidon Wednesday. We continued growing stronger and stronger over the next couple of days. We had 5 inspections over the course of the week some of which are NWU uniform inspection, dynamic military inspection, barracks inspection, drill inspection, and dress white inspection. Our RTC’s reminded us constantly on how important these inspections were to us as a division and constantly reminded us to study the book and keep our barracks very neat. We were tested against the other divisions in battle station training which included fire prevention, and marlinspike. The day before graduation, the CO called the divisions out to the grinder so that he could announce who was to be honor division. When he announced that division 007 had earned honor division I was so proud and happy that after all this hard work and a rough start we became a team and operated as one.

SA Smith, Z

Stem was located at the peak of a mountain at Latimer Scout reservation in Tennessee. The first week we worked on building Seaperch underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) before we weaponized them and battled it out in the lake. The next couple of days we learned how to code on an Arduino board before starting construction on an autonomous underwater vehicle, the SeaGlide. The SeaGlide is used by marine biologists as a machine that barely uses any energy. It uses currents so that when it dives underwater the wings on the side will propel it forward.

The physical aspect of the training began on the first day, where we took the PT test once we arrived. All the trainings had PT in the morning at 0600 and at night after chow. Depending on our performance we could be handed over to a Marine corpsman who would PT us very hard, and it was usually done on the shoreline for a couple of hours. One of the things I wish that we did was participate in the event with all the other advanced training, called hell night, it lasts for 8 hours ending right before chow. For Stem, we did a more enjoyable but hard PT in the afternoon. Such as hiking to an abandoned coal mine, rappelling down a cliffside, kayaking, and Swimming.

Master at Arms Training
SA Wheeler, L

This summer I had the opportunity to attend a Master at Arms training class in Iowa.  I was not expecting to learn all the things that I did.  There was classroom time that provided information about what a police officer might say or do when arresting someone, which was very interesting and fun.  In the field, we were taught baton moves, takedowns, a K-9 dog in action, some obstacles, and my highlight and lowlight, the OC spray.  The OC spray, which is a little bit like pepper spray only stronger, was optional for us to choose to participate in.  I chose to participate!  It may have been the most pain I have ever experienced.  After I was sprayed, we had to continue with the course.  Immediately after being sprayed we went through baton stations while giving the instructor verbal commands.  Then someone reached for your dummy gun and you had to prevent them from getting it.  Using moves that you were already taught.  This training was very good and informative about being an MAA.  I would recommend it to anyone who wants to be an MAA or police officer.