Mechanicsville woman finishes Coast Guard training with honors

Seaman Ashley Larocca of Mechanicsville stands for a photo after earning the title of Honor Graduate after completing the U.S. Coast Guard’s eight-week basic training at Training Center Cape May.

Seaman Ashley Larocca of Mechanicsville earned the title of Honor Graduate after completing the U.S. Coast Guard’s eight-week basic training at Training Center Cape May on Dec. 20, 2019.

Larocca was presented a plaque on behalf of the Navy League that is presented to the recruit who has the highest final overall standing, according to a release from the Coast Guard. Larocca is authorized to wear the Coast Guard Honor Graduate Ribbon on her uniform.

Capt. Kathy Felger, the commanding officer of Training Center Cape May, presided over the ceremony and advancement of the 112 graduates of Recruit Company Delta-198. Training at bootcamp is difficult and approximately 20% of recruits do not graduate with their original company.

“Over the course of the past two months, we learned to not only work as a team, but to lift each other up, support each other, and put our full effort into accomplishing anything we set our minds to,” Larocca said in the release. “I also am honored to represent my company commanders as the honor graduate, and hope to reflect an example of the hard work, long hours, and blood, sweat and tears that they poured into each recruit in our company.”

“We all are only at the very beginning of this journey and have so much left to learn, but we made it through this challenge of training together, and I can proudly say, we are the U.S. Coast Guard,” she said.

Larocca’s company earned multiple awards during their eight-weeks of training, such as high mid-term scores, donating blood, physical fitness, marksmanship, and seamanship. They also volunteered at Veterans Day parades and helped overhaul a classroom for new recruits.

Training Center Cape May is the fifth largest base in the Coast Guard and the sole accession point for the entire enlisted workforce. It is considered the birthplace of the enlisted corps or the Coast Guard’s Hometown. Training Center Cape May’s mission is to transform the recruits of today into the Coast Guardsmen of tomorrow.