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    Coast Guard

    Following the Company Commander(04:09)

    Seaman Recruit Heather Bevel describes what the first week of Coast Guard Basic Training is like. Success in the Coast Guard depends on listening to the company commander and working together as a team.

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Speaker 1: Radio check, you're loud and clear, (inaudible).

[sound effects]

Seaman Recruit Heather Bevel: Seaman Recruit Bevel, Company X-Ray 181, and we just finished forming week.

The first week has been, it's been a little challenging. It's been a little difficult, trying to figure out exactly what we're supposed to be doing, where we're supposed to be, and working together as a team has also been a big challenge. As the week has progressed, we realize that we really do need to work as a team, help others out to get along. When the bus was backing down, and right before the company —

Speaker 2: Seaman (inaudible), get your eyes straight forward!

Seaman Recruit Heather Bevel: — commanders hopped on the bus, I think my entire body was beating with my heart. I was completely petrified. Just questions of why did I do this were running through my head. The first few days, what was going through my mind is, I just kinda wanna figure out the process, and almost be a step or two ahead, so I'm ready for whatever's coming. So those days in medical, like when I was sitting around, I was definitely studying my 11 general orders, going over them, quizzing myself in the different order to make sure I knew them inside and out.

Right now, I'm feeling regretful. I kinda wish I hadn't done this. Irritated. Not as stressed as I was the first few days. I think I've gotten past that. At this point, I feel like I realize what the company commanders want. They want you to shut up, move as quickly as you can, and do exactly what they say, and a lot of the people just aren't picking up on that for whatever reason, so that's very irritating. I'm hoping that changes as the weeks progress.

In our squad we have 19. At this point, it's been very, very frustrating. Mostly because it's like, they're not, no one's listening. They're not listening to what the company commander is saying, so it's just like, everyone's kinda lollygagging when he's not around, and they're chitchatting, and they're, can I use your hairbrush, can I do this? And I'm like move, move, move! Shut up, move, move, move. So, today, I was kinda like, all right, let's take the leadership role. Let's kinda lead by example, so just kinda came together and was just kinda like, we need to work as a team. We need to cut this chatter out. We need to move quickly. We just need to get this done, and you know, if someone's not getting it, then we need to go and help them.

I don't know if it's because I'm older, and they're younger, and I'm just kinda like listening to what they're saying and doing it, and these girls aren't, but I'm gonna work with them (laughs).

Did I expect to be doing so much physical work? Honestly, I'm not all that impressed, to be honest with you, because I am somewhat in shape. I'm not sore at all. I know some of my other seamates are sore. I guess, I, and of course, we haven't been doing much (inaudible) training at this point. It's only been, what, two full days, but at this point, I'm not all that impressed, so. I'm thinking that's going to change soon, though.

I did prepare for it. I can already run the mile and do the sit-ups and pushups that were required before I got here, so I think maybe that did help.

As far as mental stress goes, it's definitely lightened up a little bit. The first few days, I was definitely, definitely on edge. Just heart pounding, very anxious. The mental stress is very high. I think now that I kind of -- slightly I've figured out what they want, I mean, the company commander keeps saying over and over and over three things: I want you to be quiet, move as fast as you can and do exactly what I say. That's simple. So I just try and do that (company commander shouting in background; inaudible) to the best of my abilities, and it has eased up on the mental stress.

How do you survive week 1? You don't talk, do exactly what you're told and do it as fast as you can. That's how you survive week 1.