As a Coastie, I have traveled the States for the past 20 years going from coast to coast and one amazing adventure to another.
Read on in this blog to hear stories about my experiences living the Coast Guard life, not only as a military officer but also as a small town Midwestern girl who left home to enlist in the United States Coast Guard.
I look forward to hearing what you have to say about... My Coast Guard Career.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Bootcamp and Officer Candidate School

Initially, my Coast Guard career started with eight weeks of bootcamp as a Seaman Recruit. Seven years later, lucky (or unlucky) as I am, I was promoted to an Officer (the lucky part) and had to attend 17 weeks of training at Officer Candidate School (the unlucky part).

These two training schools are often feared by the masses and produce great anxiety in most people. Let me tell you, they are not by any means easy but they are completely manageable and truly necessary.

I didn’t understand it when I was in the midst of the training, but in the end I understood why they put me through such misery and stress. They took away my individual rights and broke me down into one person among many just like me. Although we differed in sex, color, religion, age and other demographics, they wanted us all to become united. Our clothes, haircuts, beds, meals and daily routine became exactly the same, making a group of 80 individuals into one team. In just one week (or more if we had difficulty adjusting) the Company Commanders defeated our individualities and developed one cohesive and obedient team. We became a team that could save a life in danger, keep a ship from sinking and juggle the challenges of being at sea. All are lessons critical to the realities of being in the U.S. Coast Guard.

If you can realize the end goal through the clouds of anger, frustration, stress and paranoia, 8 to 17 weeks of training is definitely manageable.


Emily RGS said...

which did you find most challenging the physical fitness training or the mental part?
Could you give any more in site into both areas for those who are interested and can better prep for what to expect?

CBraesch said...

Hi Emily and thanks for your comment. The hardest part was definitely the mental part because that takes time to figure out. You don't understand why they treat you a certain way or what the point is until much much later in the training. You have to just do what they ask and learn, learn, learn. You can't think it's stupid or inconsequential and just do it. Doing it is easy as long as you just go with it and know there is an end in sight. I used to focus from meal to meal. That way, it is only 3-4 hour blocks of time rather than all eight weeks.

Good luck!

Jonathan said...


My name is Jonathan Copley, and I just completed my OCS interview. I am graduating from Lee University with a Biology degree and a math minor with honors. Apart from that, I am currently the vice-president of Tri-beta, which is the Biological Honor Society. In this program, we have done many service projects including establishing a recycling program at my University. When I was 6 years old, I joined the Young Marines, where I completed a thirteen week bootcamp and even was selected to a National Scuba school, where I was trained by Marine Recon and Navy Seals how to scuba dive. Since then, I went back to the school and was an instructor and even saved two people's lives. I have even started volunteering at a local Aquarium where I dive in the tanks and maintain such animals as Seahorses, Jellyfish, octopi,Cuttlefish, etc.. The board said that I was what they were looking for. However, I know the waiting period is the hardest part. Do you have any suggestions or advice for me if I am not selected what do I need to do and any other advice.

Thank you,

Jonathan C.