Week in the life of the Coast Guard: Recruit

The Coast Guard is a locally based, nationally deployed and globally connected organization. Coast Guard men and women can be found rescuing mariners in the Persian Gulf or safeguarding fisheries in the waters off Hawaii. So what does it take to acquire the skill sets necessary to save lives in one moment and then secure America’s ports the next? The answer for many is the eight-week intensive recruit training program at Training Center Cape May, N.J.

As we wrap up our “Week in the life of the Coast Guard” series, picture yourself in the boots of a Coast Guard recruit.

These are the lives of recruits who answered the call of service as they get an early morning wake-up call from their company commanders. On any given day these recruits undergo intense physical exercise, visit the “Pain Pond,” or pool, for swim assessments and conclude most training days by honoring the sacrifices of Coast Guardsmen past and present at a sunset ceremony.

The training center located on a quaint country peninsula of southern New Jersey is bustling with activity year-round as the future leaders of our nation’s waterways take their mold. Take a look at these select photos from the week, or head to Flickr and Facebook for all the photos. You can also hear from the recruits themselves by reading recruit journals.

Coast Guard recruits from Company Bravo 187 jump from a five-foot platform during their swim assessment at Training Center Cape May Aug. 2, 2012. The recruits must jump from the platform, swim 100 meters and tread water for five minutes unaided; on average, more than one-fourth of the recruits will fail the swim assessment on their first try. Coast Guard photo by Chief Warrant Officer Donnie Brzuska.

Coast Guard recruits from Company Bravo 187 jump from a five-foot platform during their swim assessment at Training Center Cape May Aug. 2, 2012. The recruits must jump from the platform, swim 100 meters and tread water for five minutes unaided; on average, more than one-fourth of the recruits will fail the swim assessment on their first try. Coast Guard photo by Chief Warrant Officer Donnie Brzuska.

A Coast Guard recruit from Company Yankee 186 completes the Confidence Course at Training Center Cape May as part the Coast Guard’s basic training program Aug. 3, 2012. The recruits are required to push themselves through a series of obstacles in order to build self-confidence and courage. Coast Guard photo by Chief Warrant Officer Donnie Brzuska.

A Coast Guard recruit from Company Yankee 186 completes the Confidence Course at Training Center Cape May as part the Coast Guard’s basic training program Aug. 3, 2012. The recruits are required to push themselves through a series of obstacles in order to build self-confidence and courage. Coast Guard photo by Chief Warrant Officer Donnie Brzuska.

Members of the Coast Guard Recruit Precision Drill Team perform during a Sunset Parade at Training Center Cape May Aug. 5, 2012. Training Center Cape May is home to the U.S. military’s only recruit precision drill team. Coast Guard photo by Chief Warrant Officer Donnie Brzuska.

Members of the Coast Guard Recruit Precision Drill Team perform during a Sunset Parade at Training Center Cape May Aug. 5, 2012. Training Center Cape May is home to the U.S. military’s only recruit precision drill team. Coast Guard photo by Chief Warrant Officer Donnie Brzuska.

Coast Guard recruits from Company Zulu 186 man a fire hose during firefighting training aboard Training Center Cape May Aug. 1, 2012. Coast Guard photo by Chief Warrant Officer Donnie Brzuska.

Coast Guard recruits from Company Zulu 186 man a fire hose during firefighting training aboard Training Center Cape May Aug. 1, 2012. Coast Guard photo by Chief Warrant Officer Donnie Brzuska.

The Coast Guard Recruit Color Guard presents the National Ensign, service flags and the POW/MIA flag during the graduation ceremony of Coast Guard Recruit Company Xray 186 from Training Center Cape May Aug. 3, 2012. The former members of Whiskey 186 are service's newest, most junior members of the U.S. Coast Guard, and they endured an intense eight-week basic training program for the title "Coast Guardsman." Coast Guard photo by Chief Warrant Officer Donnie Brzuska.

The Coast Guard Recruit Color Guard presents the National Ensign, service flags and the POW/MIA flag during the graduation ceremony of Coast Guard Recruit Company Xray 186 from Training Center Cape May Aug. 3, 2012. The former members of Whiskey 186 are service's newest, most junior members of the U.S. Coast Guard, and they endured an intense eight-week basic training program for the title "Coast Guardsman." Coast Guard photo by Chief Warrant Officer Donnie Brzuska.

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