Coast Guard Graduation Sendoff in the time of COVID

Coast Guard Graduation Sendoff in the time of COVID

Last Wednesday in a last-minute flashmob, many in the community gathered at Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania Avenue to provide a Coast Guard graduation sendoff in the time of COVID.  There were no families or friends at graduation, as there usually are 48 weeks out of the year.

“We were humbled yesterday to see the outpouring of support from the local community and our Coast Guard families,” Captain Kathy Felger, Commander TRACEN said. “What started a couple of weeks ago as a small idea by a couple of Coastie families, to send off our newest graduates with a smile and a wave, turned into all of Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh Avenues lined with families, local leaders, American flags, cars and friendly signs (all safely distanced!) showing pride for our Coast Guard’s newest shipmates since their own families are not able to travel to Cape May in this pandemic environment.” Captain Felger wrote in a Facebook message.

The recruits from the last two weeks have completed basic training in an accelerated timeline. They were thoroughly trained in basics to prepare them to go immediately to their assigned duty stations.

Mission Essential

From the end of March through this week, the Coast Guard has not shipped any new recruits to Training Center Cape May. The intent being, to prepare the base and training center to isolate and mitigate any risk the ultimately arriving new recruits present. On April 21′ st 48 new recruits will arrive in Cape May. They will be restricted in movement onboard TRACEN.

There have been no positive COVID-19 test results from any recruits or staff at the training center. 20 members tested with various symptoms all returned negative for COVID-19. The newly arriving recruits will be broken down into smaller groups but training will remain as intense as usual.

Graduation Flash Mob

This Wednesday, April 22nd will be the last graduation from the Coast Guard Training Center for many weeks. The recruits from OSCAR 198 will not have family, or friends at their graduation. Like November 198 they will ship out directly to their assigned duty stations.

No formal event will be posted, but it is anticipated that many from the community will turn out as in the past two weeks. Socially distanced and with the prescribed facial covering you can join the gathering between 12:30 and 1:00 PM.

With the military, it is a hurry up and wait scenario. “This groundswell of support turning into the tidal wave yesterday was impressive! Thank you for your support, pride, and gratitude! Cape May County Coast Guard Community FoundationCape May Live, Cool Cape May, USCG Moms and Grandmas, and Roberta – a Golf-198 mom.”






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  1. Stevan Overby
    April 18, 2020 / 3:31 pm

    That was wonderful. Cape May shines again for our Coasties. I am going to try to attend the next one

  2. David Greene
    April 18, 2020 / 3:33 pm

    It’s wonderful to see Cape May come together, to be an extended family for the newly-graduated Coast Guard recruits. Thank you for this excellent reporting, John.

    It looks like my May and June vacations in Cape May will be canceled, unless there is a dramatic turnaround in the current circumstances we are all living under. But at least yesterday I was able to patronize a Cape May business (Flying Fish Studio), by placing an online order. I hope to be doing more of that, for other excellent Cape May businesses as well.

  3. April 18, 2020 / 3:33 pm

    Well done Cape May… that was a wonderful gesture from a proud Coast Guard Community. We love our “Coasties”.

  4. Sue & John Cole
    April 19, 2020 / 2:07 pm

    Great job Cape May from PointPleasant