COAST GUARD ACADEMY LACROSSE - SUMMER OF SERVICE
By: Sean M. Cross
Updated: 12/04/2010 at 4:00 PM
New London, CT -
The typical college lacrosse player spends summer vacation at home, utilizing free time to lounge by the pool or at the beach, earning some much-needed cash at an internship or full-time job and playing lacrosse in the local summer league.
For Coast Guard Academy lacrosse players the summer training period always proves to be anything but typical. Cadets learn about leadership through immersion in the ultimate setting – the operational Coast Guard. They learn about the roles of officers and the enlisted as they see the United States and the world as members of a Coast Guard crew.
Following the 2010 season, members of the Coast Guard Academy men’s lacrosse program embarked on a variety of summer training programs all over the world. Below are some of the highlights of the team's unique, real-world experiences that will shape their futures as officers in the United State Coast Guard.
LCDR | Head Coach | Arnold, Md.
Specialty: Cutterman/Surface Operations
This summer was incredible. I had the opportunity to sail in the Coastal Sail Training Program, with a bunch of great cadets, including several lacrosse players. For a few weeks, the CG gave me a 44-foot two-masted yacht and let me sail around Long Island Sound and Block Island Sound with the cadets. We pulled into some great ports each night, had a lot of fun, and did some incredible sailing. By far, the best part was getting to know the cadets better, especially the lacrosse players. It's a pretty special part of being at CGA - that we serve alongside the cadets in so many different ways. For the lacrosse team, I'm their coach, but, for the cadets this summer, I got to be their shipmate. There's no better way to get to know someone than spending a week underway with them on a relatively small boat. As a coach, I think it would be great to have the team play summer lacrosse, but I'm happy to trade that for the chance to sail with the players.
The other highlight of the summer was getting together with the incoming freshmen before they reported. We had all the new players, their families, and the current players who were at CGA together for a BBQ at the beach. It was very cool to start off the season in June, with all of the new talent coming in and getting ready to become members of the Corps of Cadets. I also got a chance to get together with the freshmen a few times during the summer and it's always great to see them get to play lacrosse as a break from the Swab Summer routine. All in all, another great Coast Guard summer.
Senior | Defense | Damascus, Md.
Major: Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering
This past summer I spent 11 weeks on the Coast Guard Cutter Gallatin, a 378-foot high endurance cutter home-ported in Charleston, SC. I arrived just in time to help finish a main diesel engine overhaul, which immediately put my engineering education to work. It also showed me how professional and highly skilled the Coast Guard's enlisted workforce really is, as they efficiently took apart, repaired and reassembled key engine components. We got underway down to Mayport, FL, for three days for training, and tested out many of the ship’s engineering systems on the way down. During our three weeks in Mayport we completed numerous drills, received a huge ammo onload and got underway for a gun exercise, which was a lot of fun. On the way back to Charleston, we completed a Helicopter Standardization visit, which qualified Gallatin to participate in helicopter operations. That was my favorite part of the trip - as I want to be a pilot after I graduate from the academy. During the summer, I qualified Inport and Underway security watch stander, the person who checks on all of the ships systems and logs readings on an hourly round, and I qualified in Advanced Damage Control. Another highlight of my summer was the epic mustache I grew while onboard Gallatin, which started a facial hair revolution among the crew. I proudly counseled junior crew members on their lip sweaters – driving home the importance of Men’s Health and Prostate Cancer Awareness. I had a great time this summer, learned a great deal about how the Coast Guard really operates and came back with a sweet Gallatin coffee mug.
Senior | Attack | Baltimore, Md.
Major: Electrical Engineering
This past summer I had the opportunity to take part in two different programs, an Academic Internship and operational time on the Coast Guard Cutter Staten Island, a 110-foot patrol boat. For my internship, I traveled to the heart of lacrosse culture, Baltimore, Maryland, to work at the National Security Agency (NSA). While at the NSA, I utilized my Electrical Engineering background and worked with wireless security, but as expected and in the words of Forrest Gump, "that’s all I have to say about that". Working outside of the Military was exciting and challenging, but a great change of pace. I capitalized on my time in Baltimore to travel to the NCAA Men's Lacrosse Final Four and Championship games. After departing from my internship, I traveled south to Atlantic Beach, NC to report to the Coast Guard Cutter Staten Island. The cutter was put into dockside (an extended maintenance period) to prepare for a possible deployment to the Gulf of Mexico to assist in the response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. During the dockside, I immersed myself in the engineering aspects of cutter operations and was involved in multiple overhaul projects. While at my cutter, I qualified in Standards for Special and Emergency Operations and Procedures (SEOPS) and was prepared to handle shipboard emergencies. Upon completion of my time on the Staten Island, I returned back to Baltimore for some much needed vacation, crab cakes, Old Bay, and the occasional toss around with friends.
Junior | LSM | Falls Church, VA
Major: Mechanical Engineering
What was the best part of my summer? Sail training on 44-foot Luders Yawls: two weeks, one sailboat, seven "brothers”, and a sweet time. The academy gave us the boat, the money, and the schedule and left the rest to us. All the navigation, food, and anything else you could think of - was run completely by cadets. Each night we stopped in a different New England port and got to hit the town after we finished eating. One of my favorite nights was in Newport, RI. When we pulled in, my buddy and I jumped right off the boat and walked over to find our crew some lobsters for dinner. About an hour later, we returned with two bags of these coastal creatures and a few packs of gushers (our snack of choice). With no fancy kitchen facilities, we threw 'em straight on the grill with some corn, potatoes, and butter. Best lobster I ever had. Next on our list was some exploring in Newport - which included 3 trips to 3 different ice cream places and that's the most important part. The following morning, myself and a fellow laxer got up early and went for a solid run around the neighborhoods of Newport - something we did in almost every place we stopped to stay in shape and explore. While the places we stopped each night were great, the best times had were just sailing Long Island Sound and running the show with my classmates. Each day we switched positions, so everybody got a chance to learn different skill sets. Everyone learned a great deal and had amazing experiences - there was no better way to do it.
Junior | Midfield | Annapolis, Md.
Major: Electrical Engineering
During 2/c Summer, I participated in all the activities that rising juniors participated in. I started with Rules of the Road course, then moved to range week where I shot the Sig 40 service pistol for the first time. I then participated in Colgates, where I learned to sail 26-foot sailboats in the Thames River. One day, we were able to take a trip all the way to Fishers Island which is in Long Island Sound. After Colgates, my cadre section moved to T-Boats. I had an awesome time in T-Boats and learned some of the basics of ship handling. The next week, half my cadre section traveled to Elizabeth City, NC for the best week of the summer – CATP (Cadet Aviation Training Program). I was able to go on two HC-130J Super Hercules flights and also participated in a "duck hoist" where an MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter hoisted me from the water up to the cabin. That was one of the coolest things that I had ever experienced in my life. I returned from E-City and my cadre section participated in a "prep week" to get ready for our cadre experience. I chose Eagle cadre, because I wanted to travel on America’s Tall Ship and lead the new swabs through their first time at sea. I traveled from New London to Port Everglades, FL with Alfa, Bravo and Charlie companies. We spent a week at sea and arrived in Savannah, GA the following Friday. Here, Alfa, Bravo and Charlie companies departed for New London to complete Swab summer and the cadre welcomed Delta, Echo and Foxtrot companies. We left Savannah on Monday and arrived at Wilmington, NC on Friday. My family met me in Wilmington and I had the opportunity to spend some fun time with them on liberty. We switched out Delta, Echo and Foxtrot companies for Golf and Hotel for the final leg of the voyage. I was afforded a great opportunity when the EAGLE Commanding Officer allowed each of us to bring one parent on board for the final leg. My dad had the opportunity to sail with us. It was great to show my dad what I had done the previous two summers. He had a great time and he still talks about his trip on Eagle. We anchored off New London on Thursday night and sailed into port on Friday morning. We cleaned up Eagle and I departed back to school, ready to start another semester. I had a great summer and was able to experience many different things. I would not have been able to do all these things if I had chosen to go to a civilian college.
Junior | Goalie | Medfield, Mass.
The best part of my past summer was the 44-foot Luders Yawls sailing program. We were in groups of about seven cadets plus one or two training officers on board. We were completely reliant on ourselves to navigate to a different port each night. We learned how to fill roles such as captain of the watch, navigator and deck hands. We also relied on one another to get our own food and cook for each other every night. This experience provided excellent insight on what it will be like to be underway in the operational Coast Guard and be in a leadership role. The best part about this was that the safety officers really stepped back and let the cadets take charge.
Junior | Defense | Solomons, Md.
During the summer of 2010 I participated in the 2/c summer training program. The highlight of the summer was without a doubt the Cadet Aviation Training Program (CATP) that I attended at Air Station Elizabeth City, NC. During my week in Elizabeth City, I had the opportunity to learn about all the different things that Coast Guard Air Stations are responsible for as well as getting some hands on experience in the aircraft. I had the chance to get behind the controls of the new HC-130J Super Hercules as well as participate in a Sling Augmented Double Pick-Up (SADPU) from the water into an MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter. In addition to the week at CATP, I had the opportunity to spend two weeks sailing 44-foot Luder Yawls in Long Island Sound with teammates 2/c Nick Fain, 2/c Devin Quinn and 2/c Andrew Breen under the supervision of our Head Lacrosse Coach, LCDR Krautler, it was an outstanding opportunity to get to know some of my teammates more and learn leadership skills out on the water. The rest of the summer consisted of learning the Nautical Rules of the Road, learning basic ship handling on the academy waterfront, getting basic marksman qualified on the Sig P229 pistol and running the Academy Introduction Mission (AIM) program to introduce rising high school seniors to Academy life. It was, without a doubt, the most enjoyable and beneficial summer I’ve ever experienced.
Sophomore | Defense | Novato, Calif.
Major: Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering
I was on USCGC GALLATIN, a 378-foot high-endurance cutter, for the first six weeks of summer. The Gallatin had just finished a dry-dock period. Although we did not get underway while I was there, I was able to help completely rehabilitate the Law Enforcement locker and assist with a main diesel engine overhaul to get the cutter ready to get underway again. I spent the second half of my summer on board the tall ship Eagle with port calls sailing from Veracruz, Mexico around the Gulf of Mexico and ending up in Tampa, Florida. We sailed through several large storms including Hurricane Alex where we had the hull heeled over so far, the outer edge of the main spar was almost in the water. Working on board cutters was an awesome experience because of the hard work involved, but you know people are counting on you to do it right and when you see the fruits of your labor it is very gratifying.
Sophomore | Attack | Kent Island, Md.
How do Costa Rica, Panama, and Key West sound for a summer job? This past summer I had the pleasure of going to all these places for free aboard a 270-foot medium endurance cutter. I visited Costa Rica, participated in a 3-day vessel search that resulted in the seizure of 750 pounds of cocaine and stopped in Key West before heading out to assist with the Deep Water Horizon oil spill. During the oil spill, my cutter served as a Command and Control platform. We also served as a landing and refueling platform for the helicopters, refueling well over ten MH-65Cs within the five days we were on site. I served as a member of the fire party, witnessing several landing and takeoffs. My favorite part was night helicopter operations. Seeing the MH-65C hover over-head while getting blown away by the rotor wash is something I will never forget. We circled the oil spill, monitoring the boundaries as the oil expanded. What I remember most about the oil spill was the smell. Almost like Crayola crayons, the oil spill gave off a scent that traveled for miles. Not only was this a great way to work on my tan, but I got to see parts of the world I did not know existed. Interacting with the Indians of Panama and the locals of Cost Rica, I gained an appreciation for what I have back in the states.
Eric Schmid (E.J.)
Freshman | Midfield | Robbinsville, NJ
During my Swab Summer experience I underwent a transition greater than I could fathom as a typical high school student. Over my seven-week indoctrination period, I was pushed by my Cadre to grow from a civilian into a future Coast Guard officer. Although I often doubted myself and my capabilities throughout the summer, I quickly learned that my limitations only existed if I let them. When times got difficult, as they often did, I realized the importance of teamwork and friendship. My company and I developed close relationships, as we often relied on one another during the toughest of times. In addition to my friends in the company, I had already become acquainted with incoming lacrosse recruits in a similar position. The day before reporting in, the lacrosse team hosted a picnic, during which I met members of the team and the incoming class of players. This made Swab Summer a lot easier because I often saw familiar faces amidst the chaos. Each day of Swab Summer seemed like an eternity, but the weeks flew by. Before I knew it, I earned my shoulder boards and completed my first step toward becoming an officer. Although this summer was the most challenging one to date, I do not regret it in the least, as it was the most fulfilling experience of my life.
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