U.S. COAST GUARD ACADEMY, Conn. – The United States Coast Guard Academy’s Corps of Cadets returned to New London after a summer of hard work and excitement including life-saving rescues, illegal migrant interdictions and drug busts. Unlike many traditional college students, Coast Guard cadets do not get the entire summer off to themselves. Instead, they get three weeks of vacation time. The majority of their summer is spent at Coast Guard units across the country learning first-hand what their future careers will entail. This year, cadets were involved in saving lives, intercepting drugs, servicing aids to navigation, and keeping the ports and waterways of the United States safe and secure. Cadet 3rd Class Ionut Cristea of Constanta, Romania was part of a crew from Coast Guard Station Kenosha, Wis., who rescued seven people after a charter boat capsized off the coast of Kenosha. Cristea was a member of the crew that responded to a mayday call from the charter vessel Fin Seeker. Heavy seas and winds from a sudden storm caused the vessel to begin sinking. The crew and passengers were forced to abandon the Fin Seeker before Coast Guard rescue crews arrived. A Coast Guard rescue helicopter crew was first on scene and rescued four persons. When the CG rescue boat crew, including Cristea, arrived, the three remaining people in the water were rescued. Cristea assisted in helping pull the captain of the Fin Seeker from the water into the Coast Guard’s 41-foot rescue boat. Everyone rescued was administered first aid treatment en route to emergency medical service crews at Waukegan Harbor, Ill. For his actions, Cristea has been nominated for the Capt. David P. Robbins SAR (Search and Rescue) Award, which is presented in recognition of outstanding action, judgment, persistence and professionalism during search and rescue missions on the Great Lakes. Additionally, two other cadets, Cadet 1st Class Ashley Grim of Ellington, Conn., and Cadet 1st Class Patricia Van Cleave of Kurtistown, Hawaii, were part of the crew on the Coast Guard Cutter Tahoma during a major drug bust. Approximately 10,000 pounds of cocaine were discovered hidden aboard a 120-foot Honduran-flagged vessel Miss Dyanna, about 76 miles south of Pedro Bank, Jamaica. The drugs intercepted were offloaded and turned over to U.S. Drug Enforcement Agents in Miami. The cocaine had an estimated street value of $159 million. In June, Cadet 1st Class Roy Cromer of Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Shane Alexander of Valrico, Fla., aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Nantucket assisted in the interdiction of a high-speed go-fast boat with 15 illegal migrants and two suspected smugglers aboard off the coast of Florida. In addition, they also earned qualifications as quartermaster of the watch, break-in officer of the day and small boat crewman, and provided security for interdicted migrants. "The actions and efforts of our cadets exemplify their commitment to our Coast Guard and their country,” said Capt. John M. Fitzgerald, commandant of cadets at the Coast Guard Academy. “They are learning now that life as a Coast Guard officer requires sacrifice and commitment but the rewards of saving a life or keeping drugs off our playgrounds are immeasurable. It's a pleasure to work with a dedicated and inspiring group of young men and women. I'm proud of all they have accomplished during their short summer,” he said. In all, 247 third class cadets (sophomores) went to sea with Coast Guard units. An additional 239 first class cadets (seniors) went to sea while 78 went on academic internships. Fourth Class (freshmen) cadets spent their summer in the academy’s basic military training phase known as Swab Summer. Second Class (juniors) cadets spent their summer training the fourth class cadets and serve as cadre and mentors for the Academy Introduction Mission, which introduces military academy life to high school juniors entering their senior year.