United States Coast Guard Training Center Cape May
Each week at the United States Coast Guard Training Center here in Cape May a company of recruits become Coastguardsman. In a time-honored tradition, the Training Center TRACEN graduates the recruits into active duty service after eight weeks of basic training.
Attending graduation almost every Friday in Cape May are the parents and invited family members of the recruits. Families travel from all over the country for only one day in Cape May. Some fly in from as far away as Hawaii and Puerto Rico. One recent graduation of Lima Company saw one recruit’s parents arrive by sailboat.
When Stephen and Maryella Green’s daughter Cristina enlisted in the Coast Guard they immediately began making plans to travel to Cape May for her graduation. The live aboard sailing couple practically raised their daughter on a sailboat. They would ultimately arrive in Cape May toward the end of Cristina’s eight weeks of basic training just in time for a classic Cape May nor’easter. Anchoring one night in the shelter of the harbor, the Greens moved to South Jersey Marina and safely docked.
After tourism and commercial fishing, the Coast Guard Base in Cape May is the largest driver of economics in the county. Not only the largest employer in Cape May County, the Training Center has a recruit capacity of 960 at any one time. Many of the base’s 41,000 annual visitors are families like the Greens attending graduation. Many of the families, book hotel rooms, eat in restaurants and in the rare instance dock at local marinas.
Mrs. Green commented that: “The concerns and stress that Coast Guard Recruit parents go through during the eight weeks of Coast Guard boot camp is nothing compared to what the recruits are experiencing…anything that eases the experience can not pass without a sincere thanks. The staff and management of South Jersey Marina should be commended for how they treat every visiting yacht.”
Cristina Green’s recruit company Lima 190 as it was referred, was complimented by the Commanding Officer Captain Todd Prestidge at graduation. Lima company was a giving company. Lima company participated in the United States Coast Guard Enlisted Memorial Foot Race, raising money in the process.
A couple of weeks later Lima Company recruits volunteered at the Nature Center of Cape May on Delaware Avenue in a beach and environmental clean up operation.
In 2013 The Training Center Cape May volunteered more than 3000 hours of service to the community.