Cape May area families to host Coast Guard recruits for Christmas

Coast Guard Training Center Cape May NewsCAPE MAY, N.J. – The Coast Guard and the American Red Cross will place approximately 240 Coast Guard recruits with 79 local-host families for Christmas as part of Operation Fireside Sunday at 11:45 a.m.

Operation Fireside has placed recruits with South Jersey families during the holiday season since 1981. The training center may have more than 600 recruits training to become Coast Guardsmen at any given time who come from all 50 states and U.S. territories. Operation Fireside allows the recruits to celebrate the holiday with their host family while they’re separated from their loved ones during training.

Operation Fireside is coordinated annually by the American Red Cross Southern Shore Chapter in Cape May Court House, N.J. The Red Cross solicits and tracks volunteers and host families, while Training Center Cape May pairs each recruit with a family Christmas Day.

The families and the recruits will meet at the Training Center Cape May Guardian Chapel, and the recruits will be with the families until 8 p.m. While the recruits are off base, they will be allowed to eat as much as they want, call home, and relax before beginning training again that same day.

Training Center Cape May is the Coast Guard’s only enlisted basic training program, and more than 83 percent of the Service’s workforce receive basic instruction here to become Coast Guardsmen. The recruits are trained in everything from fire arms familiarization to basic water survival. Most graduates from Training Center Cape May will be conducting front-line Coast Guard missions within a week of graduation.

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