Learning the Basics: Becoming Coast Guard Men and Women

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SCPO Ripkey with DELTA 184
Senior Chief Petty Officer Tracy Ripkey, co-mentor of Coast Guard Recruiting Training Company D-184, discusses pay entitlements and unit selections with members of the company. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

This post is the second in a three-part series focused on the interaction of Recruit Company Delta 184 and their co-mentors Vice Adm. Sally Brice-O’Hara and Senior Chief Tracy Ripkey as the new recruits prepare for their first assignments.

The fundamental knowledge and skills that new enlisted members need for success in Coast Guard service are taught at Training Center Cape May every day. And while much of this education is gained in classroom instruction and practical exercises, so much more is received through interaction with seasoned service members: mentors. For Delta 184, these mentors are Vice Adm. Sally Brice-O’Hara, vice commandant, U.S. Coast Guard, and Senior Chief Tracy Ripkey.

Since our first post on Oct. 26, Delta 184 has passed the mid-point in their training and is doing remarkably well. The company earned a collective 97% on the first of two exams they take while in basic training. They also look, act and perform as a team, like Coast Guard members. The key for Delta 184 is to hold this intensity and enthusiasm as they learn basic seamanship and conduct range training in preparation for duties they will perform at their first units.

VADM Brice O'Hara with DELTA 184
VADM Sally Brice O'Hara, Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard, has lunch with Delta 184 Company. Brice O'Hara and Senior Chief Petty Officer Tracy Ripkey will serve as mentors for the recruits as they make their way through basic training. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

“You have to remain focused and press on, you are doing well at the half way point,” said Brice-O’Hara.

Vice Adm. Brice-O’Hara and Senior Chief Ripkey were able to observe Delta 184 navigating the confidence course and had lunch with the recruits during a Saturday visit to Training Center Cape May.

Prior to their arrival, the recruits of Delta 184 received their orders to their first units. While exciting, it is also an anxious time. The recruits took the opportunity to ask Vice Adm. Brice-O’Hara and Senior Chief Ripkey about what to expect. The Admiral and Senior Chief answered their questions and reinforced the keys for success.

“When you get to your unit, you have to prove yourself as capable, anxious to learn, professional and a good performer,” said Brice-O’Hara, adding, “Your reliability, trustworthiness and attention to detail are what make you good Coast Guard men and women.”

The recruits also learned about managing their careers, which at this stage, involves honoring the Coast Guard profession by taking the initiative to be the best in a chosen career path. For new Coast Guard members, this means learning and demonstrating exceptional military bearing, strong core values and fundamental proficiency for working on and around the water.

Vice Adm. Brice-O’Hara and Senior Chief Ripkey will have their third and last mentoring session, as well as provide commencement remarks, during Delta 184’s graduation on Dec. 3.

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