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Concerned About My Coastie
Last Post 16 Dec 2013 01:32 PM by kcg. 7 Replies.
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Shananagrams0818User is Offline
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Shananagrams0818

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11 Dec 2013 07:32 PM
    So, I got my first letter from my Coastie today.  I was so excited to hear what he had to say about boot camp, but instead his first letter left me feeling very sad and concerned.  Just to give you an idea of the tone of the letter: 

    "Words can hardly describe how terrifying this place is.  If I'm not being screamed at, spat on, screaming, puking, or bleeding, I'm either hearing my shipmates doing the same or dreaming it in my sleep." 

    I was not expecting this level of intensity and judging by what he wrote in his letter, neither did he.  Like many men, my boyfriend's pride will usually keep him from admitting that something is difficult or too much for him to handle, especially if its something physical.  Now he sounds completely broken and I have never experienced this during our relationship. I feel sad because it sounds like he is having an absolutely miserable time, he is trapped there, and I can't do anything about it. 

    Has anyone ever experienced this with their loved one?  I really need advice.  What is the best way to support him and how can I deal with this myself without feeling upset and anxious.

    -Shananagrams
    Old Guard2User is Offline
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    11 Dec 2013 10:48 PM
    His level of anxiety sounds a little higher than most but this is not uncommon. It is very stressful. They are doing their job if he is stressed. But I can almost promise yiu the next letter will be a little better and each one following will not be as desperate. Letters back to him should just be encouraging and supportive. Don't try to understand what he is going through, as a wife and mom of Coasties, I've heard just about every story. But I don't know what it truly is like because I didn't do it. But I do know what you are feeling. It gets better. Letters improve. They leave Cape May feeling like their CC's are the greatest Coasties ever. So just hang in there. He will get through this like thousands upon thousands of other recruits. Hugs to you.
    Sector NY, Staten Island
    LauraDKUser is Offline
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    LauraDK

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    12 Dec 2013 10:16 AM
    I remember my first letter home. It was in all CAPS and similar minus the bleeding part. The first few weeks are the MOST stressfull. In my memory, the 2nd week was possibly the worst of my life short of family deaths. But it gets better! Right now they're getting screamed at a lot because everyone is probably fumbling over their words while they themselves have to yell at the top of their lungs. They're probably messing up in their marching or arent getting dressed quickly enough. etc..etc. He's probably also sleep deprived.
    They do this for VERY good reasons. If theres an emergency on a cutter or if he's going to a rescue station they may be woken up at some ungodly hour with a siren, with a short burst of "Vessel on fire near the north bridge, one. Six people in the water" and they need to process that, get dressed, and move thier ass to the boat. Peoples lives will be at stake, and they dont care if you just ran a marathon and got 2 hours sleep.
    It is stressfull, yes. No doubt. But it will get better.
    Once he learns what to say and when, how to march, when to move, when to shut up, the CC's will start talking to them at a more human level.
    Week 5 or 6 they will "earn their colors" and start feeling more like a team and less like individuals. They will succeed or fail as a team. They'll have more of a heading and purpose to their day to day events.
    It will get better. I promise. And tell him so too.
    "Zombieland Rule #32- Enjoy the little things."
    Old Guard2User is Offline
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    12 Dec 2013 10:29 AM
    Laura, Your story about the midnight rousing to vessel on fire reminded of something my son just recently told me. He had mids. He went back to his rack and crashed out, hard. He was gone. They were at the pier, so not underway or anything. All of a sudden he heard the GQ alarm sounding. He FLEW out of his rack, grabbed his blouse, threw on pants, went sailing up a ladderwell thinking "My God, we are under attack at the pier?" He gets topside and people are just looking at him a bit odd. He is standing there pants half up, blouse 2 buttons done, boondockers slung over his shoulder and blinking. He was so out cold he never heard the "This is a drill" announcement. He heard the alarm and turned two. The laughs from his shipmates as he was standing there... but you are right... he heard that alarm and went into react mode instantly. His mind knew it could tune out all other noise. But that noise his mind knew get up and go, you are needed. He went back to his berthing area and took a long shower.
    Sector NY, Staten Island
    GearsUser is Offline
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    12 Dec 2013 11:30 AM
    I'm pretty certain he's exaggerating being spit on and bleeding. Boot camp is tough, but it's not bleeding and spit in the wound tough. The stress they put recruits under is meant to prepare them for fleet life. If they can't handle it in a controlled, safe environment then they definitely can't handle it on a cutter or at a station.

    Since we're sharing stories.. Back when I was on the patrol boat, we would routinely anchor at the end of our operational day, often really late. One night we anchored after a 16 or so hour day of this and that. I hit the rack, just fell asleep when we started dragging anchor. About 30 seconds we were on the foc'sle in lifejackets, boots, and boxer shorts hauling in the anchor. True story.
    “I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.” ― Bruce Lee
    BellsUser is Offline
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    Bells

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    12 Dec 2013 11:02 PM
    Believe us when we say its normal and hes just not seeing the big picture. Tell him to look at as everything there as a mind game. They are giving the company impossible tasks to see what they'll do to become a team.

    I bled in boot lol, I was and am kind of a clutz though, I wasn't injured by anyone though. I wasn't spit on but they definitely get into your face. And doing pt all day and being tired is normal. The day I graduated I swore I would never go back but now I want to go back and do CC school. I miss it. It'll get better. It feels like it'll never end but tell him he'll see why it was the way it was when he gets out. They make it tough so that we dont get any babies in the fleet. Its to weed them out.
    Take what you like and leave the rest behind.
    LauraDKUser is Offline
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    LauraDK

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    16 Dec 2013 11:01 AM
    I never got spit on, but I did have a CC yell at me so close to my face I could tell what flavor cough drop she had in her mouth.
    "Zombieland Rule #32- Enjoy the little things."
    kcgUser is Offline
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    kcg

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    16 Dec 2013 01:32 PM
    This sounds normal. My coastie is in week 5 of boot camp. It is very intense. I talked to mine on Thanksgiving the day after he fell out during training, and got hauled off by the meat wagon (ambulance) to be given IVs in the clinic. After this, his attitude was actually great--very positive! Absolutely, they are all overwhelmed at this point and sore and exhausted. Keep the letters coming, you need to constantly tell them that they can do it, that they did it yesterday, and that means they can do it today. Tell your coastie that he has a 100% success rate up to this point of getting through hard days. Point out that he's doing things right, compared to day 1. When you get the letters in all caps, they are required to write that way in class, it means they are adapting. I send a "mom letter" virtually every day, and the letters I get back tell me how encouraging they are to him. If I find an inspirational quote, I incorporate that. Do not focus on how much you miss him, focus on how confident you are that he can do this. There is a facebook support group for every company--are you part of that group yet? Do a search "Golf 189" or whatever. They count down the days and weeks of bootcamp, and I paste their count down into ever letter.
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