How To Fly Under The Radar in USCG Boot Camp
I want to begin this by making it very clear that while this lesson will teach you how to fly under the radar in USCG Boot Camp, there is no way to create a 100% full-proof "forcefield" that will keep the company commanders off your back and out of your face. It doesn't exist because it's against their job description to leave you alone. A large part of their function is to create an environment of artificial stress so that you become accustomed to functioning in a high-stress environment. The idea is that if you can do it for 8 weeks straight, then presumably you'll be able to do it when you're on a real world mission.
Think of your company commanders like expert boxers or martial artists who can spot an opening in an instant. Once they see that opening they go in for the kill and from there it can be very hard to recover. Metaphorically speaking, this is exactly what every interaction with your company commanders is like. They are looking for those weaknesses, but as long as you have your layers of protection fully up, they will almost always target your shipmates who don't. The only exception to this is the first week and a half or so when everyone gets their butt kicked. Let me explain:
When you first get to Coast Guard Boot Camp it's like an unfriendly, stressful meet-n-greet. You don't know your company commanders and they don't know you. This is also one of the most crucial times to have your layers of protection up, because this is the time when your company commanders are forming their opinions on you and all your shipmates. They are deciding who showed up to Coast Guard Boot Camp motivated to train hard. Those who they think aren't motivated enough, will be getting the majority of that "special attention". This is when you turn on your secret weapon - your layers of protection.
So what exactly are these layers?
Your most outer layer is paying attention to detail, particularly to your shave and your uniform. Female recruits, the equivalent of a clean shave for you, is making sure that your hair is gelled and slicked back so that you have the helmet head look. Paying attention to detail is important in all areas of Coast Guard Boot Camp life, but on a minute by minute basis, your shave (hair for females) and your uniform serve as your most outer layer of protection. The reason is because these are 2 things that are always visible to your company commanders without them even having to address you. If you aren't clean shaved (your hair isn't completely slicked back for females) or your uniform looks like a cow chewed on it before you put it on then you are making yourself a target.
The next layer of protection that will teach you how to fly under the radar in USCG Boot Camp is to move fast. The speed of your movement is also another thing that's visible without your company commander having to address you. If you are not moving with a very strong sense of urgency, you will stand out and it won't be pretty. You need to move as fast as humanly possible without actually breaking into a run or jog (unless told to do so). For anything that doesn't involve using your legs to go from place to place but still involves bodily movement, you need to make sure that you are moving faster than the bottom 50% of your company.
The third layer of protection is to respond correctly. All the time, every time. There is a certain way to speak in Coast Guard Basic Training and if you do not follow the exact way of speaking - and I mean EXACT - you will be in for a world of hurt. It needs to be word for word. This is honestly one of the most important preparation areas you can work on before you arrive at Cape May. I have an entire chapter dedicated to speaking and responding correctly in the Coast Guard Boot Camp Survival Guide along with suggestions on how to learn the information as quickly as possible.
The last layer of protection goes hand-in-hand with responding correctly because you not only need to respond correctly, but also loudly. Very loudly. This is known as sounding off, and if you do not sound off like someone's life is depending on it, then your own life will become very miserable very quickly. One of the reasons they have you sound off as loud as you can is to prepare you for that very scenario. If you are on a ship and things go south, your shipmates will need to hear you when you are calling for help.
For in-depth advice on these topics and everything else that you NEED to know before stepping foot into Coast Guard Boot Camp, do yourself a favor and download the 4th Edition of the Coast Guard Boot Camp Survival Guide (Updated 01 OCT 17). If you want to get a taste of the valuable information you'll get inside, you can also download the FREE Preview Version. Just send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and in the subject line put "PREVIEW VERSION REQUEST". I'll get it over to you right away.
I hope you enjoyed reading this lesson on how to fly under the radar in USCG Boot Camp and that you learned something from it.
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