The mission of Coast Guard Basic Training is to transform America's civilian volunteers into military members of the United Stated Coast Guard. In the eight weeks of Basic Training in the Coast Guard recruits will learn the importance of teamwork, hard work and positive attitude. Coast Guard Basic Training can be broken down to 5 stages through the eight weeks:
- Company Formation
- Learning the Basics
- Practical Training
- Preparation for Your First Unit
You arrive at Cape May, NJ, the only basic training camp for the Coast Guard. As soon as you arrive the forming process begins. The goal of forming is to get you ready to train. Seaman recruits will go through medical screening, administrative processing and receive your uniform. In the first week you will begin to learn discipline and working as a team. By the first week end you will meet your Company Commander (CC) and be assigned to a Recruit Training Company. Many consider the first weekend the most difficult as you learn how to act as a team member and how to obey orders. To survive week one you need to be quiet, move as fast, and do exactly one the Company Commander tells you.
You continue to learn to work as a team and learn to obey orders. CC will ensure that you overcome the challenges of training and make sure you fulfill the mission of Coast Guard Basic Training. Week 2 begins to get much more physical. When you wake up, recruits begin by running a mile. You will jump off a five or six foot platform, swim 100 meters, and tread water for 5 minutes to pass your swim assessment. You will add workout sessions in the gym to your training. You will be issued a 9 pound rifle for rifle drills from the manual of arms. Hopefully, you have prepared yourself for many of the basics prior to shipping off to basic training. Classroom training will include learning how to salute and the insignia that denotes rank.
More of learning the basics with a lot of physical training and learning team work. Come prepared and remember it may be hard at the beginning, but this is the beginning of your transformation into a Guardian and you will adapt quickly. By the end of week three you should have military customs and courtesies in place, be more comfortable with military drills.
You will take your physical fitness test in week 4 and you will also take a mid-term exam. After you pass you will fill out your "Dream Sheet" where you indicate the geographic location for your first assignment and the type of unit you would like to serve. Your company will perform several team work exercises. Everyone will go to the gun range for training and you may qualify as a sharp shooter. You will also begin to have more hands on training. Classroom seaman ship training will include learning to tie the different knots.
Week Five, Six and Seven
At the end of the fifth training week, you receive orders to your first assignment and things start happening quickly. By this phase of training, you are conducting yourself as a member of the Armed Forces. Your training is progressing through practical areas, like first aid, and watch standing. Learning about your military entitlements will also prepare you for upcoming travel arrangements and graduation. All of these details will be taken care of prior to your departure from Cape May.
Graduation is the culmination of the Recruit Training program and a proud moment for the graduates, their families and the Training Center staff. Graduation ceremonies are usually held each Friday morning at 1100. The ceremonies are typically held outdoors. In the event of inclement weather, graduations are held in the Training Center gymnasium. The family of each recruit is sent a letter informing them of the details of the graduation ceremony.