The Barracuda Swimmer

Story by: Seaman Ryan Huber

Edited/posted by: Petty Officer 3rd Class Adam Stanton


My name is Ryan Huber; I am a seaman aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Barracuda. When I first arrived, I wrote about my experience in the blog “A brand new voyage begins aboard the CGC Barracuda.” I have now spent a year aboard the cutter, and it has changed me from a rookie into a proficient sailor and future petty officer.

Seaman Ryan Huber conducts handcuff training as a part of his bording team law enforcement qualifications.

Seaman Ryan Huber conducts handcuff training as a part of his bording team law enforcement qualifications Monday, Feb. 10, 2014. U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of CGC Barracuda

I would like to start off by saying my sea legs have gotten much stronger. Also, if any one needs advice about seasickness remedies they can look me up, because I went through about all of them. If you suffer from wobbly sea legs at first, stick in there, it gets better. In one year, I have conquered a daunting pile of qualification books; I first thought I would never see the end of those. I have become qualified as in-port officer of the day, crewmember of the watch, engineer of the watch, damage control core, and damage control fundamentals. I even moved on and got qualified to do a lot of fun things too, like surface swimmer, smallboat crew and boarding team member. As a seasoned non-rate on an 87-foot patrol boat my experience is varied. In many regards I feel like more than a non-rate. I like to think that now I’m more of a non-rate 3rd class.

I work closely with the 1st lieutenant to keep the rescue and survival program in order. He trusts me to keep track of when inspections need to be done. Such as weekly pyrotechnics inspects, life raft checks, monthly emergency position indicating radio beacon and personal locating beacon checks and a laundry list of annual and semi-annual survival gear inspections.

I have learned how to do everything the Coast Guard way. I help assist the operations petty officer in maintaining the charts for the cutter’s navigation.

Most of the time it’s just tasking; my petty officer 2nd class may tell me to knock out the semi-annual dry suit inspections and that will be just about the last he has to do with it. He will check the quality of my work, but for the most part it is my project.

The craziest thing to me though, is during my year aboard I have gone from trainee to trainer. In one year, I am now one of the fully qualified crewmember, and I have helped qualify two new shipmates. I taught them, encouraged them and bonded with them during the process. I try to train the same way my shipmates trained me; they went out of their way and took the time to bring me up to speed.

I never have forgotten how it felt to be new on this cutter. I try to be as warm and welcoming as I can, go that little extra and make myself available so things are better for the next guy.

I feel like I have been here for years and it shocks me to think it has only been one! I believe it is because of how much I have learned on the Barracuda.

Seaman Ryan Huber conducts surface swimmer training May 21, 2014.

Seaman Ryan Huber conducts surface swimmer training Thursday, May 8, 2014. U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of CGC Barracuda

Not just in qualifications and parameters, but also about the Coast Guard, my shipmates and myself. For a first unit, I could not have asked for more.I have a foundation of knowledge and qualifications that will serve me well no matter what I do in the Coast Guard. I have served with the best and brightest that the fleet has to offer and been allowed to soak up the knowledge that they have experienced. I have also been prepared for the next step and started down the path of responsibility and commitment it takes to be a good petty officer.

I would recommend 87-foot patrol boats to any non-rate in the fleet. I think they can do nothing but set you up for future success. If you choose the Barracuda, I know that will be the case because I have seen it first hand and experienced it myself.

Tags: , , , ,