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    Calm, cool CC guides pandemic era recruits

    CAPE MAY, N.J. - Petty Officer 2nd Class Joshua Duran instructs recruit on proper galley procedure

    Photo By Seaman Josalyn Brown | CAPE MAY, N.J. - Petty Officer 2nd Class Joshua Duran instructs recruit on proper...... read more read more



    Story by Seaman Josalyn Brown 

    U.S. Coast Guard Training Center Cape May

    Everyone has adapted to the grueling changes that COVID-19 has brought, but the company commanders here at U.S. Coast Guard Training Center Cape May have been uniquely trained to overcome any obstacle that they face. That is exactly what Petty Officer 2nd Class Joshua Duran did when his company was put to the test early in the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Duran is one of the many stalwart company commanders that overcame situations that challenged the very core of recruit training and helped prepare recruits for dangerous frontline operations.
    Training recruits is no simple task. Company commanders work together in small teams in order to thoroughly train a company. Duran was assisted in his duties by Petty Officers 1st Class Diego Sanchez and Jessica Haro. Working so closely with such a small team makes it easy for the company commanders to get to know each other pretty well.
    "Duran's personality is quiet, real quiet, but you have to watch him in order to really see the leadership in him and how he works. He may not talk a lot, but it's the little things I notice in how he shows his leadership," said Sanchez.
    Duran served at many units during his 14-year career before arriving at the Training Center, most of which were cutters. He dealt with many missions such as SAR cases and vessel boardings as a qualified boarding officer. He was also a fisheries officer. So, already he felt he played a leadership role in the service before becoming a company commander.
    He admitted that his training as a company commander was very different from the circumstance he was faced with during the pandemic.
    "It was completely different, so we had to adapt and overcome it," said Duran about the COVID-19 environment.
    Duran's company was already going through basic training as the changes from COVID-19 started to take place. He said things started to change for his company around week two of their training.
    One of the biggest changes in training was sanitation. The Training Center as a whole had taken on a much more rigorous sanitation plan. As for November 198 (N-198), they received longer breaks for sanitation practices.
    "We gave them extended time for head and water breaks, after any type of remedial or incentive training, and general clean up time in the evenings," Duran said.
    In addition to the new sanitation practices, the company also received some bad news while they were in training. N-198 was one of the first companies to have restricted graduation. Families were not allowed to attend the ceremony and immediately after graduation recruits were sent straight to their first units.
    "It was sort of a not-so-good feeling. You know you're going to burst their bubble of what they expected in the end because of all the hard work they put in," said Duran with a hint of guilt in his voice.
    No matter the challenges they faced, N-198's training continued at a feverish pace.
    Haro praised Duran for his will and determination in getting the training done - and done properly.
    "I believe he handled it very well considering it was his first lead. No one wants to have the added stress because there are so many things that recruit training throws at you anyway. You never know each day what you're coming into," said Haro.
    The regiment collectively had less time to prepare each recruit to be fleet ready. As a team, they worked together on plans to accelerate the training while still driving the recruits to the Coast Guard's standards expected by the field. Duran gave a lot of the credit to his assistants for their success.
    This experience tested Duran on his leadership abilities, but he overcame every unpredictable obstacle thrown his way.
    "'Remembering where you came from.' I had one of my supervisors tell me that when I was leaving for A-school and it has stuck with me," Duran said modestly.
    Being Duran's first lead company, he felt as though commanding N-198 has helped prepare him for when his time at the Training Center is over.
    "It helped me with the management of personnel, dealing with all the recruits and voicing their concerns along with voicing the concerns of my assistants," said Duran.
    "I would like to think I'm a good leader," he said. "From handling this company and even other ones (I've trained), I made sure all areas of whatever I needed to cover were done correctly and this last company reflects that."
    Duran had multiple leadership roles before coming to Training Center Cape May, but this was a test of his leadership strength. He stopped at nothing to complete the mission and graduated 82 new non-rates for the fleet 10 days earlier than scheduled.



    Date Taken: 06.03.2020
    Date Posted: 06.03.2020 13:48
    Story ID: 371369
    Location: CAPE MAY, NJ, US 
    Hometown: CAPE MAY, NJ, US

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