by Hayley Russo | AUP Unit Piedmont
Waking up at 0330 in the morning to begin a three-hour long road trip is not typically my idea of fun; however, I was wide awake and excited to visit the Coast Guard Station Oak Island for the first time. I was eager to learn firsthand about the daily routines and events that went on there and to have the opportunity to meet some members of the Coast Guard.
Upon arriving at the station, I was given a tour of the watch office. It had a view of the entire station and the nearby water. I saw how all the radios worked and how the station communicated with nearby vessels. It was a fairly quiet day on the waters surrounding Oak Island so there was not much happening on the radios during my time spent there.
At 0800, I had the opportunity to take part in the morning colors. I learned the ceremony routine and I raised on of the flags. Shortly thereafter, I headed towards the water for boat checks. This was one of my favorite parts of the day because I really enjoyed getting a chance to go aboard the vessels and have a look around. I helped perform the boat check on the 29-foot vessel and afterwards, I was given a very brief tour of the 47-foot vessel. It is really fascinating getting to see everything that is onboard these vessels and learning all about them.
Later that morning, I had the opportunity to try on a Mustang suit. It was very difficult to fully get into it and zip it up but once it was on, it was quite comfortable and very insulating. I did not get into the water with it because I did not have all the correct gear but it was still a very exciting experience getting to try it on.
I was able to eat lunch at the station before I left. It was interesting getting to see what went on in the kitchen. The cooks seemed to really enjoy cooking and preparing the food. They prepared sandwiches with either chicken or beef and a variety of sides. Talking with the cooks was interesting because it made me realize just how many jobs and opportunities the Coast Guard has to offer.
Overall, I had a lot of fun at the Oak Island Station and I learned quite a lot! Everyone there was really nice and willing to answer any question I had, whether it was about the Coast Guard or about sea sickness. I am certainly looking forward to the next training opportunity that comes my way.