By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ford Williams
The Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport ship USNS Carson City (T-EPF 7) embarked four U.S. Coast Guard cadets as part of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy (USCGA) 1st Class Cadet training program, June 30, 2019.
The cadets will stand engineering and navigation watches during their time aboard, which will enhance their abilities to safely navigate along a designated course, ensure the ship is maintaining its daily schedule, and monitor shipboard equipment.
“The opportunity to peek behind the curtain and see how the merchant marines operate is invaluable to me as a future Coast Guard officer,” said 1st Class Cadet Max McCall. “Learning how other mariners operate their vessels is crucial to maintaining a safe sea.”
The cadets are experiencing underway operations aboard Carson City, which is deployed to the Gulf of Guinea on its 2019 Africa Partnership Station (APS) deployment. The ship and crew are demonstrating progress through partnership and the United States’ commitment to West African countries through small boat maintenance assistance, maritime law enforcement engagement, and medical and community relations outreach.
“It’s been such a special opportunity to engage with the nations in the region, something many Coast Guard cadets don’t get to experience – especially during a summer cruise,” said 1st Class Cadet Kiki Carson. “I feel really enlightened from this experience and will take the memories and knowledge I’ve gathered here with me into my career when I commission.”
As part of the ship’s mission, members assigned to U.S. Coast Guard Tactical Law Enforcement detachment Pacific are embarked to conduct law enforcement engagements with the countries in the region. Lt. j.g. Miles Miller, the detachment’s boarding officer, has been working closely with the cadets, providing valuable mentorship and insight into the life of a Coast Guard officer.
“The chance for them to operate in this capacity with multiple branches and partner nations will pay dividends as they prepare to start their careers as officers,” said Miller. “The opportunity for the cadets to observe a Coast Guard law enforcement detachment first-hand provides exposure and the opportunity to ask questions about a potential career path in the deployable specialized forces community.”
1st Class Cadet Jill Stuckey also said the value of Miller’s mentorship has been immeasurable during her time aboard.
“Observing how a Coast Guard officer interacts with enlisted members has been extremely beneficial for me,” said Stuckey. “At the Coast Guard Academy, we see officers interact with other officers and cadets, but I rarely see enlisted and officers working together in an operational setting.”
The cadets, going into their final year at the Coast Guard Academy, use this training to help them make important decisions about their career paths.
“This is the last chance I have to see what community I would like to become a part of,” said Stuckey. “I have a lot of interest in the law enforcement community of the Coast Guard, so working with the detachment here has solidified my desire to pursue law enforcement in the future.”
The USCGA 1st Class Cadet training program embarks cadets aboard U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Navy ships to provide hands-on training and experience and is a requirement for commissioning.
APS is U.S. Forces Africa’s flagship maritime security cooperation program focusing on maritime safety and s security through increased maritime awareness, response capabilities, and infrastructure. It consists of the various exercises and operations conducted by U.S., European, and African partners and allies throughout the U.S. Africa Command area of operations.
U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.