20 March 2009

Says it all.......

I don't mean to scoop the Hear This!, but with morale at KP about as low as it can get, I think M/N Branning hit the nail on the head with this. I do notice that most members of the Waterfront Teams have a much different relationship with Kings Point that the average Midshipman, and that it normally takes a few years to realize that the experience actually was fun. The Waterfront guys are usually ahead of that curve, but it's great to see it put to paper.

In three short months the show will stop and something new will begin. This roller coaster ride of Kings Point will end, and in some weird way there is a part of me that doesn’t want to get off. I am always amazed of how much this place was able to cram into four years of training, and the vastly different lives that will be led once we all leave.
While walking to class the other day I couldn’t help but take account of everyone around me. A future ship’s Pilot already had his LNG PIC and Liquid PIC, and he was flanked by a future Marine Corp fighter-pilot who had already completed OCS. There was an engineer walking by who signed on with MSC, a sailor truly capable of fixing anything should it go broke. A future Army Infantry Officer was on our starboard flank, a man excited for his commitment and future duty to his country knowing full his odds of deployment. A close friend was just accepted to an Off-Shore Supply Vessel Company, and within 6 months he will be ship-handling with the best of them.
One was headed towards the Union Hall, excited for a variety of adventures that AMO or MMP had in store for him, and another just received a US Coast Guard Cutter assignment out west. A future lifer on tugboats cruised by, while also committing to the obligation of a Coast Guard reserve assignment for Port Operations. Future aviators and soldiers will head into active duty in every branch of service and as sailors in every facet of the Merchant Marine.
You could search the world ten times over and never find that combination of young adults in any other place.
I never thought school could be as much fun as Kings Point. Not the waking up early, the pushups, the haircuts, long hours and lack of toilet paper; but the absolute blast of spending 18 hours a day with your best buds. There were some days I absolutely just could not wait to get to class to see what would happen next. It’s was like every class was an episode from “Seinfeld” with writers, directors, actors, a laugh track and audience. But your couldn’t write the stuff that happens at Kings Point, it would never be possible to script something this fun to watch, live, and breath.
As we get ready to leave here we have to get ready to say “thanks” as this offer is only available here. Maybe it was some storm at sea you will never forget, and no one back home will ever be able to understand. Maybe it was that hop in a F/A-18 and breaking the sound barrier and pulling 7.2 G’s during your Naval Flight Internship, or sailing to Antarctica. Maybe it was the broad spectrum of leadership you got to witness during these four years, from bad to good, and being able to take a part of everything you liked. Perhaps it is your new ability to get along with just about anyone having spent 300 days chipping rust next to the wildest of personalities. Your visits to over a dozen countries will always be with you, although you would rather forget the Suez Canal.
You broke ice up the Hudson in the dead of winter while driving Growler, and learned how to dock the Liberator. Maybe you were sailing to Bermuda on one of the Academy’s 40 foot boats and while stuck in the gnarliest of squalls in the middle of the night while surrounded by lightning you turned to your buddy and said “can you believe they let us do this!?” You got feel what it’s like to be on a real college varsity sports team, and the highs and lows that competition brings. Maybe you scored the winning touchdown, the golden goal, the home run, or were a supporting player in the hardest of seasons. You know how it feels to be on a team.
You learned just how much work you can get out of a longshoreman in Venezuela with a pack of Marlboro Reds, and how to tell the Bosun just had too much to drink and not take it personally.
You may forget the monuments you saw along the way; the Great Wall of China, the Acropolis in Greece; the War Statues along the banks of the Suez Canal that were riddled with bullet holes. But NEVER forget the people. Those interactions, social situations, follower and leadership challenges are what truly contribute to what you are today. Those are the tools we will use when we go forward, not the photos we took. I am not sure you can find those tools anywhere else.
You can now throw together a 20 slide PowerPoint project in 60 minutes and actually deliver it with ease; earn an A- and instantly forget what you just presented. You now work better under pressure and on a team. You know when to make watching “Lost” more of a priority than studying Nav Law. You now know when you had too much to drink.
You will never forget the rush of dropping a tray in Delano only to hear a hundreds of your shipmates roar in approval, or crashing into your first (and hopefully last) ship while on the bridge of the CAORF simulator. You will always remember what it was like to put out your first Class Bravo fire and walking into a room of smoke and orange flames.
Some people may say Kings Point is a “fake” service academy, yet you will always know your experiences were very real.
Very simply, we went to school for free and got paid to see the world. We each have a pretty full tool chest, a bank of experiences and people skills that will serve us well in addition to a commission, an Unlimited Tonnage or Unlimited Horse-Power license valid on any vessel in any ocean, and a degree. We also got four years of smashing free haircuts.


Anonymous said...

Chris, I am VERY impressed with this article! I wish this to be present for all incoming students because it really is the best way to describe our life as Kings Pointers. Great Job man!!

Anonymous said...

Pure class act. This article should be placed into KP's catalog.

a parent

Anonymous said...

I look forward to entering KP this summer.