Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Becoming a Coastie/Guardian, Women, and the Guardian Challenge

Many of the spouses of the contributors here have gone through recruit training at Cape May. Of course, some have also gone through training/schooling at the Coast Guard Academy. Also, what some of you may not know is that three of our current contributors have donned the Coast Guard uniform. Two are veterans and one is currently serving on active duty.

A quick aside: recently, someone said to me, There aren't really any women in the Coast Guard though. I was a bit surprised by this statement and went on to share what little I knew about those currently serving and a little bit of the history of women in the Coast Guard. The woman I was speaking to was really shocked and honestly had no idea. Interesting, eh? I wish I had more time because I could have shared with her so much more of the rich history of women serving in this great organization. In case any of you out there are stunned by this as well, here are some links for you to enjoy: Academy Women and A History of Women in the Coast Guard.

At any rate, no matter where they endured their training, Coast Guard members surely feel passionately about their training and service. They worked hard to become part of the United States Coast Guard and deserve every honor that comes with that. Nonetheless, as I wrote recently, many are still calling themselves Coasties and are a tad reluctant to wear the title "Guardian". I joked with my husband the other day when he said he didn't feel comfortable about calling himself a "Guardian". I said, Don't worry honey. I'm sure you'll be grandfathered in and remain a Coastie.

In response to that recent blog post, CWO2 Veronica Bandrowsy, Public Affairs Officer for USCG Training Center Cape May, N.J. shared the following with us:

I was reading your blog about the word Guardian and I wanted to let you know that you can find the Guardian Ethos on our Web site at www.uscg.mil/hq/capemay. Also, we just posted a short one minute clip called the Guardian Challenge to our site and youtube that your viewers might be interested in watching.

We're in the process of a modernizing our recruit training curriculum to ensure our new Guardians are ready and able to meet the demands of the fleet, and the Guardian Challenge is one part of the recruit modernization.

Thank you to CWO2 Bandrowsky for contacting us and sharing this information. We have included it in our links on the right for our readers to see.

On an entirely different note, did you all know that the Air Force has a "Guardian Challenge" each year. According to Ed White of Air Force Space Command Public Affairs, Peterson AFB in Colorado:

The competition is an established event within the command and goes back to its inception in 1967. In its 41-year history, it has been an increasingly effective tool that has helped to maintain high levels of skill throughout the command. It has improved readiness and warfighting capabilities through preparation and innovation by the competing teams and crosstalk after the event. Many of the tactics, techniques and procedures used throughout have been sharpened and refined in the furnace of competition. (White, 4/22/08).

Maybe someday we will see the Air Force and the Coast Guard go head to head in Guardians in the Guardian Challenge. Of course, I suppose that since the Coast Guard is already ready, that it's sort of a moot point. My husband asserts that's why he is glad he joined the Coast Guard. He always tells me, I'm not just training to do a job or getting ready for something. I'm already doing it, every single day, and I love that.

And, I love that he loves it.


Amber said...

Thanks for the information, CWO2 Bandrowsky!

Lots of great links in this entry, JAGIAP. I've got some readin' to do. ;)

The FlyingFish said...

If I'm not really in the CG, I sure am happy about that paycheck they keep putting in my account twice a month!! I'm definitely going to start wearing different clothes, though - blue is so not me!

I truly am shocked that someone would have said something like that just recently, especially given all the publicity we've gotten over the past few years. But, back in 1998, when I was travelling to Hawaii as a cadet (and thus, in uniform), I sat next to a man on the plane who looked right at me and drawled "They let women in the military??" I couldn't believe what I was hearing! I wondered if I'd stepped back in time!

Like many others, I'm not sure how I feel about "Guardian," though my reluctance comes from the fact that way too many people will think we got it from the movie. UGH. However, given what we do, I would say it fits. But, there's just something about "Coastie" that will always hold a place in my heart.

Just a Girl in a Port said...

FlyingFish, that is shocking.

Once, an *ahem* older gentleman asked me, "Are you dressing up for Halloween?", when I was in uniform. *Gasp*

It's so surprising. Granted that was around the same time as your incident too. Still, you'd think people wouldn't be as shocked anymore.

You should have said to that guy, "Why, yes sir they do. Haven't you ever seen M*A*S*H?" Or maybe even, "No, they don't let women in, I just had nothing else to where today, so I grab this." ;)

(A Little) Gris Gris said...

Even though "Guardian" as a term in the CG was not derived from the movie, I can't help but feel that CG public affairs is simply capitalizing on the success of the film.

As for the women in the CG issue - I am astounded at the ignorance of some people. Though I didn't finish at CGA, I started there and actually chose to go there, in part, because the percentage of female cadets was 2x that of the other service academies. In 1996-97, CGA was about 30% female/70% male. Good job CG!

C Anderson said...

Kudos on the great and informative post. As a wife and a contractor, I have towed the line about my role as a female SUPPORTING the Armed Forces. Just this past week, I defended myself, yet again, about my knowledge and training in support of our Soldiers. Simply put: women have an active role in all aspects...and have for a very long time. Some of the quotes on the WWII Memorial reflect this accolade:

The debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid.
-- President Truman

Women who stepped up were measured as citizens of this nationa, not as women...this was a people's war, and everyone was in it.
-- COL Hobby

They have given their sons to the military services. They have stoked the furnance and hurried the factory wheels. They have made the planes and welded the tanks, riveted the ships and rolled the shells.
-- President Roosevelt