Good Evening All,
Here it is! We've finally made it to Orientation Graduation, after 10 long, grueling days of hard work put in by our Cadet Candidates and Cadre.
We started the morning, as always, with PT. This morning, we did a 1-mile relay race and tug of war between 1st and 2nd Battalion. Even though these Cadet Candidates are tied to their Companies, it's important for them to know that everyone here is their shipmate. Friendly rivalries and competition are good, but at the end of the day, the loyalty and bond shared by MMA Cadets goes beyond their Company. By having PT be a competition between the Battalions today, the Cadet Candidates were able to cheer on and root for their shipmates in other Companies who they may not know as well.
Following PT, we had a very special Morning Formation on the football field. Our Vice President, Brigid Pavilonis, was promoted from Captain to Commodore, and everyone showed up for the ceremony. Commodore Pavilonis has had a long and inspiration career in the USCG, and she has recently done amazing work here at MMA.
This morning, the Cadet Candidates sat for their STCW Firefighting Exams followed by their Youngie Knowledge Exam. They've been prepping for these tests all week, and they did incredible. The knowledge they've been learning is crucial to their career at MMA and out in the industry.
After lunch, the Cadet Candidates returned to their Companies to prep their Classroom Black uniforms for Graduation. They learned how to properly iron (3 creases on the back, two in the front) and shine their shoes. For now, they'll wear their uniform with just their nametag, but following Recognition, when they become fully recognized Fourth Class Cadets in the Regiment of Cadets, they'll be permitted to wear their major pins and any ribbons they've earned. They lined up in the bleachers for a Class of 2027 photo, and then returned to their Company's to prepare for the Graduation Ceremony.
Orientation Graduation was absolutely incredible. It's one of the proudest moments in the entire career of a Cadet here at the Academy. Companys marched onto the field in their platoons, and stood at parade rest to hear the closing remarks of our Academy Staff. Individual commendations were given to the top Squad Leader, Senior Staff, and Cadet Candidate in each company. In addition, the Cadet Candidate who scored the highest on the PT test and the Exams were given an award. Despite some light rain at the start of the ceremony, the clouds cleared and the sun came out for the first time all week. The Regiment completed a Pass and Review and marched off the parade field, where Cadet Candidates were granted liberty until 2000 Monday and set off to find their families.
These Cadet Candidates have come so far since they first reported for Orientation last Sunday. They've learned the values that define the Cadets at MMA- Discipline, Knowledge, and Leadership- and have taken those traits to heart, letting them guide their actions. They've learned so much in such a short time- firefighting, rowing, saltuing, proper uniform wear, youngie knowledge, and more- and are prepared to join our Academy. It's an absolutely amazing class of Cadet Candidates (soon to be Fourth Class Cadets), and it's an honor for them to come here. It's the path less taken for a reason- this is hard work- but each and every one of them has proven themselves to be ready for the challenges ahead. The worst is behind them.
I wanted to thank everyone who's been following along with the blog these past 3 weeks. It's been such a privilege to be chosen for this position, and I'm honored that I was able to help so many of you keep up with our Orientation program. Additionally, there will be a Flickr album posted soon with all of the photos from Orientation. Thank you all so much, and best of luck to the Class of 2027!