Coast Guard Boat Drills
This morning was the anticipated Coast Guard drills that were scheduled to start at 0800. Everyone was down in the holds getting prepared to face the cold weather and as soon as 0800 rolled around, it was silent. The life jackets were ready to go, winter coats and hats were on, but the only thing missing was the alarm. We had been warned that the drill wouldn’t start right on time but no one was expecting what came next. Cadets were waiting, waiting, and waiting some more but there was still no alarm.
The girls in my hold tried to stay busy by chatting with each other and talking about previous Sea Terms but time was at a standstill. After what seemed an eternity but was actually only two hours, the drills had begun. The first announcement over the PA system alerted to a security drill meaning cadets stayed in the holds and locked the doors. While this was going on, certain cadets and members of COMCAD were running around the ship looking for the threat that was hidden by the Coast Guard. After the “threat” was contained the Fire & Boat drills started.
This fire drill had simulated a fire in the After Navigation Lab where all the muster sheets are usually collected. Over the course of the week, the drills have gone by faster and faster once everyone figured out where they needed to be. Today’s fire drill lasted roughly thirty minutes! Compared to the first drill which took fifty-two minutes, thirty minutes was a huge improvement.
The alarms then sounded again and it was time for the Abandon Ship Drill. The Coast Guard went around to each lifeboat and had the cadet assigned to be the boat engineer, start the engine. The coxan or the cadet that will steer the lifeboat had to show that the rudder could turn to the port and starboard sides. Once each lifeboat was carefully examined, they had to check that the cadets assigned to life rafts understood how to launch them. The Coast Guard only sent one person to check everything so it took a while. I’ve never heard such a loud sigh of relief when the dismissal alarm sounded. I was just excited to get out of the cold so I could feel my toes again!
A Week Of Meetings
There are mandatory courses that need to be completed before the ship can depart. Each cadet onboard needs to attend one of these sessions. The courses for this year included a Safety Management System brief, a Medical Brief, a Title IX Brief, and a Discipline Brief. For majority of these meetings were separated by classes just for accountability reasons. Captain Rick Dunn was in charge of the SMS brief along with his four rates, Ms. Judy Kaechele and her medical rates took care of the medical brief. LCDR Miller led the Title IX brief and 1/C Eric Lundbohm led the discipline meeting. The topics of the lectures may seem dry to some cadets, but in reality, the information shared was extremely important.
Information on Kennedy Departure
Tomorrow is the long awaited day of departure for the TS Kennedy! Cadets and crew are excited to get going and find some warmer weather. The Mess Deck on campus will open at 0800 for family and friends to sit and wait for their cadets. Chartwells has been kind enough to supply coffee and pastries for everyone on campus tomorrow. On Campus liberty begins at 0800 and ends at 1200 for those cadets not on watch. Be sure to dress warm as tomorrow is scheduled to be a warm 33℉! As of now, the Kennedy will be leaving the pier at 1338 tomorrow to meet the slack tide. One more day until departure!