I just graduated DEPOT this past Thursday, and I know how hard it was getting information on the course prior to attending, so I figure I'd give some updated info for those going tomorrow or next month.
-Graduation is at 5 PM on the third Thursday after you get there, but you will send a packet with all the info your family needs on the first night you get there.
-Bring white tube socks, underwear, deodorant, body soap, toothpaste and toothbrush.
-Bring 1, at most 2 white v-necks.
-Bring a phone charger
-Buy a $9 digital watch at walmart and wear it 24/7
-Bring your birth certificate and/or social security card as well as your driver's license. You'll need these for your ID card.
-STUDY your helmsman, know the rates (alphabetically and out of order), ranks, chain of command, shoulder boards, sleeve insignia, collar devices, coast guard history.
-Get to the USO as early as you can and get to know your classmates. You are going to have to work together in everything you do at DEPOT, so if you can figure out strengths and weaknesses early on, you'll be better off. Not to mention, it'll make communicating with each other easier since you won't be complete strangers.
-The prior service folks will be used to the boot camp lifestyle, but I can tell you from my own personal experience, that this is not like Army boot camp was in the least. This is much more of a mental program.
-Be LOUD. Your throat will hurt, a lot. When it does, yell more. It should feel like your entire core is contracted whenever you talk.
-Get ready to shave 2-3 times/day
-Learn to take very quick showers. Lather up while walking into the shower, and be rinsing off once you hit the water. No reason why you can't get clean in under 2 minutes.
-Make sure you can pass your PT standards with flying colors before going. You will get IT'd before you take the PT test (which is on the first Weds), and the swim test (the day after the PT test).
-Always remember, regardless of your preconceptions about this program or the Coast Guard, this is a boot camp and you have to stay focused on completing the program at all times. Never get complacent, never drop your guard.
-When you pull into Cape May, a CC will board the bus and give you a list of instructions you need to follow. It will be brief, and your mind will be elsewhere, but pay attention and make sure as soon as you get off that bus you're following those instructions.
-Dress comfortably your first night, as you'll be sleeping in those clothes and wearing them the next day as well.
-Listen to the Galley (dining facility) procedure instructions. This is where you will get destroyed if you are not on your A game at all times.
-There are a number of roles/jobs that need to be filled in the class (squad leader, yeoman, maybe assistant yeoman, supply petty officer, laundry crew, mail person), and nobody will have more than one job. Yeoman is by far the most difficult job there, with squad leader being a distant second.
-There are awards for certain things at DEPOT. PT award (not based on your PT test though), Academic award and a Leadership award (voted on by the class). These awards are nice, but once you're out of DEPOT I don't think anybody will ever be able to know you've won them anyway, so focus on just making it through the course.
-Bring an extra large bag (or two) to bring stuff home in or make sure you buy a second sea bag at the Lucky bag/CGX. You'll be issued a sea bag, but you will need more than one to bring everything you get issued.
-If you have a time objective, make sure you meet it. If you finish early, make sure you help out others in your company to get themselves together. If one person fails, you all fail.
-Make sure you address people correctly and get the language down ASAP.
-The CCs will be 'mean' and will yell at you a lot. It's not personal. This is designed to put you in a stressful environment to make sure you can handle the job ahead of you. However, if they see you are not taking it serious, you can kiss the Coast Guard goodbye.
We started with 17, and it sounds like that's the number they may be aiming for moving forward in the DEPOT classes. Only 15 graduated. 1 quit because it was too physical and the other was booted out after about 10 days because they weren't taking it serious and were completely unprepared for the environment.
It's only 18 nights, but every day will feel like it's a week long. Make the most of it, stay focused and just keep reminding yourself that you volunteered for this and it's what you want. If you lose that mindset, you will not make it through.
Prior to DEPOT I knew almost nothing about the Coast Guard, but after the past 3 weeks I've now learned that it is by far the greatest branch of the military for a multitude of reasons.
Any questions about DEPOT, please feel free to ask me, but keep in mind I'm not going to get into crazy detail.