Boot camp company commanders prepare academy cadets for leadership United States Coast Guard My Coast Guard News

Nowadays, the “200-week journey” seems to serve as a slogan for the US Coast Guard Academy. This phrase represents the time cadets spend at the academy on their journey to join the Coast Guard. There is a rhythm to the cycle of civilians joining the Cadet Corps, undergoing a life-altering transformation and then leaving as NCOs for the adventure of a lifetime.

Wedged between the ceremonial beginning, the academy’s annual graduation ceremony in May, and day one, the first day of Swab Summer, it can be understandable to forget the ongoing leadership qualities that are actively being forged in cadets who are not part of the polar Ends are their academy experience.

However, while the Class of 2026 prepares to report aboard campus, the senior Class of 2024 prepares to assume the responsibilities of cadre, the line managers for the incoming swabs. To prepare for such a difficult position, all second-class—or junior-year—cadets must first complete their own crash course from company commanders (CCs) attached to the Cape May Training Center, Cape May, New Jersey.

“I look forward to being a part of the Swabs’ first experience with the military,” said Grace Sickendick, Cadet Second Class, Marine Environmental Studies Major and Waterfront Cadre. “My goal is to instill in my swabs self-motivation that will carry them through fourth year.”

For Sickendick and the rest of her classmates, the cadre title is a linchpin in their leadership development. For the first time, they are placed in a position of authority over subordinates, accountable not only for their own actions but also for the people they with whose instruction they are charged.

In just seven weeks, the cadre will teach a class of over 300 participants all aspects essential to withstand the rigors of the academy, such as: B. Proper military bearing, time management skills, physical fitness and adherence to core values ​​of Coast Guard individuals. Most of them just graduated from high school in the last month. Here the CCs ensure that these cadets are ready to take on such a role.

Company Commanders are the direct instructors for the many recruiting companies aspiring to join Coast Guard enlisted personnel. For years, a CC’s primary role has been to provide experience, insight and knowledge to the newest members of the service.

Chief Petty Officer Eric Perez, a company commander from Pembroke Pines, Fla., says he’s looking forward to the trip from Cape May to New London.

“We play a crucial role in bringing all aspects of the training experience together,” he explained. “As professional trainers, we are charged with the youngest and most vulnerable members of the service. I hope to make cadets aware of the importance the training mission has to the service and the qualities and expectations required to properly apply authorized training techniques.”

For over 24 hours, the cadets train intensely with the CCs while being tutored in everything from motivational speeches, to how to properly conduct intensive training, to swabs to correct their inevitable discrepancies.

Chief Petty Officer Tiffany Moore, another CC who attended this year’s squad training, explained that the recruit training program is designed to push people beyond their perceived limits. While there is some overlap, the purpose of the CCs in training the cadets is slightly different, as they hope to instill a sense of confidence in both their abilities and their shipmates to get the job done.

“As Company Commanders, we strive to be absolute role models for the Coast Guard’s core values ​​and the ideals of the Coast Guard’s ethos,” Perez said. “We use the Company Commander Creed to guide our decisions and actions, specifically: ‘I will demonstrate by my own example the highest standards of personal conduct, morality and professional ability.'”

The confidence the CCs instill in the cadets will act as a guide to help them navigate the uncharted waters they will venture into.

“One of my biggest fears about taking on this role is being consistent,” Sickendick said as she discussed how her role as a Waterfront cadre might conflict with how the Swabs are perceived. “The waterfront [academy] and Chase Hall [boot camp] The training environments are very different and I want to be consistent in my approach to training rather than being two different people.”

Halfway through their time at the academy, the new cadres are just days away from putting their experience into practice for the first time. They will guide and inspire a new class of cadets who will initially rely entirely on their leadership skills.

“I want my swabs to do their job because they know it’s their responsibility, not because someone tells them to do it,” Sickendick said. “As I shifted my mentality from just trying to get by to what I could, I saw a lot more growth in me as a person.”

Members of the Class of 2026 reported for Day One, the first day of cadets’ basic training, or Swab Summer, June 27, 2022.

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