So I just recently graduated boot camp. I arrived with a company of about 120 people attached. Right off the get-go, we lost about 10 in the initial indoctrination week/PFT test. Weeks 2-4, we gained about 10-15 reverts from the companies ahead of us. At the end, we graduated with 112 attached, with about 85% of the company being OG members. I was never reverted, put on red belt or sent to ramp. I'll try to answer frequent asked questions, but feel free to send more! I have a lot of time on my hands...
How prepared were you for boot camp?
I studied the helmsmen front to back. I learned the rates and ranks a little bit beforehand. I would say, you're in a good spot if you know your required knowledge. But even then, I still felt like there was A LOT to learn as they try to throw more new information at you.
How was the stress?
The first four weeks were the worst. Everyone makes mistakes, but it just felt like something new everyday. You had to get accustomed to working as a team, learning drills, courtesy, recruit rules and regulations, keeping military bearing etc. For example, I was adjusting my belt in the galley without noticing my company commander staring at me dead in the face. He didn't even yell at me. In a quiet voice he said "You know we don't need people to like you in the Coast Guard right? I responded "Yes, Petty Officer..." He told me to square his hatch after chow and I had hell to pay.
What was the worst part of boot camp?
Although efforts were made in trying to keep cleanliness, my whole squad bay was hit with the Cape May Crud. I think 95% of the company was sick at one point, making the nights very difficult. Pair it up with low amounts of sleep + watch duty... it was really rough. We had a pink eye and lice outbreaks during my time at Boot Camp.
What was the best part of boot camp?
Coming together. You do everything as a team, and when things finally start clicking and people are doing the right thing, the company slowly starts earning respect and gets to feel human again. You'll know when you get there.
Will they remove my wisdom teeth?
Yes. It felt like everyone in my company got theirs removed. Don't worry though, they'll either take you on base or off base for the surgery and then give you a one night's stay at the ward. You get to sleep all you want and eat ice cream. After that, you're on light duty of two days.
How should I prepare physically?
Be within weight standards. Make sure you know how to do squats, pushups, crunches, flutter kicks. Also swimming ability is a MUST. You don't want to be sent to remedial swim or PFT training. You wake up an hour before the rest of the company and work out. It just makes it harder.
Should I volunteer for company roles?
Yes! Volunteer for everything. But also know that there will be a 100% you will make mistakes and pay for it. Whether it's pack watch, guide on bearer, yeoman or squad leader, you will get a lot of FaceTime with CC's so you have to make sure you are on point. However, it will also train you to be better.
What are reversions/Ramp like?
They're pretty common around the regiment. My first racemate got reverted at the end of Week 03. If you're unlucky, they'll throw you on probation some time during Week 3 or Week 4, all the way through Week 7. Once on probation, you have five days or so where you'll be tested on required knowledge. It's honestly a pain in the ass, and keeps you stressed out. However, many people in my company who were on red belt also say that it helped straightened them out. Either way, you don't want to be on it, but it's not the end of the world if you are. At the end of five days, they will decide if they want to keep you or not. If not, you'll meet the section commander who will most likely send you away to the company behind you. RAMP is for people lacking in core values. One of my shipmates was sent there Week 06, and said it was pretty bad physically. You wake up earlier than everyone in your company and SWEAT. Most people pass RAMP however if they work hard. Also note, you can be reverted for many things right off the bat. I had a rack mate who was reverted for writing letters during class. He got sent back two weeks to our company. Another was reverted for not saluting the flag during morning colors. So do not take boot camp lightly, and you should be fine. Sorry if I scared any of you.
What are the people like?
My company commanders were some of the most inspirational people I've ever met. In the moment, and all the way through, you might think they're tough and hate your guts (though they probably still do), you'll learn that they just want to make you badass Coasties. You're gonna thank them for getting rid of the civilian out of you. Secondly, the people in your company are some of the most diverse and inspirational that you'll ever meet. You'll meet people from other countries, other states, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Alaska, etc. Everyone has their own reason to join the Coast Guard, but at the end of Week 08, you'll feel like one big family. You will meet people who have been at Boot Camp for months due to injury, who are still giving 110%. You'll meet prior enlist, who have all sorts of stories to tell about their time. And then of course, if you're from the big city like me, you'll meet people from towns of less than 200 people, and learn about what life is like from different perspectives. It's a really cool experience to say the least.
Okay, hit me up with any specific questions now!