Where do the eight weeks go? One night they get off the bus in Cape May as kids, the next thing they are involved in high seas drug busts. One of my more popular blog stories was about a band of brothers of Coast Guard Firemen. I met them while on a mutual aid call to Congress Hall. Recently, I met another group of young people, (I’ll try not to call them kids) while on off-base liberty in their seventh week of boot camp. I was struck by their politeness and poise. Members of Quebec Company 188, pronounced “K-beck”, were wondering down the Washington Street mall in Cape May.
After reading about the recent high seas drug bust involving the United States Coast Guard Cutter Dependable off the coast of Cape Cod, I began connecting the dots in my mind. Here before me on the mall, this sunny Saturday afternoon, stood a group of men and woman who had enlisted in the Coast Guard. Soon, after eight weeks of boot camp, they would be deployed to various stations around the United States. Maybe one will even get assigned to the Dependable or the Vigorous stationed here in Cape May.
One thing is for certain, the training these people receive is of the highest caliber. Consider the Dependable’s recent interdiction. A sailboat on the high seas is observed riding low in the water. Imagine for a minute you are on the bridge of the Cutter with a pair of binoculars scanning the horizon and a decision must be made to investigate the ship. Or perhaps the armed boarding party, consisting of Cape May residents assigned to the Dependable. It isn’t the stuff we Cape May people think about on a regular basis. Now I wonder how many of the recruits and their families that have stayed at my motel, go off to be involved in such activities and rescues that we read about.
Fortunately, there are organizations like the Coast Guard Family Assistance Fund that help parents of recruits, like those pictured above, get to graduation every week if they couldn’t afford it. Week by week a new bus load of recruits arrives in Cape May to start eight weeks of basic training. Eight weeks from recruits to Coast Guardsmen, to potentially rescuers and commandos on the high seas.