American public picks Coast Guard’s Top Cadence

Coast Guard Training Center Cape May NewsCAPE MAY, N.J. – A Coast Guard marching cadence written by a former company commander was selected by the American public as the Coast Guard’s Top Cadence of 2012 Monday.

Chief Petty Officer Cory Wadley, officer in charge of Coast Guard Station Morro Bay, Calif., wrote the original cadence that was selected as the Top Cadence with more than 940 votes. The public was asked vote on the Coast Guard’s Top Cadence by “liking” videos of the cadences being sung by recruits on its Facebook page (

“I was really surprised at how many people showed interest in all of the cadences,” said Wadley, whose cadence reached several thousand people on Facebook. “Then I started seeing the names of my former recruits in the comments posted on video, and I was really flattered that they thought enough of my cadence and the surf program to vote.”

Wadley is one of approximately 160 surfmen in the Coast Guard and serves at one of the 19 designated surf stations in the U.S. Wadley is also a former company commander at Training Center Cape May, and according to Wadley, he wanted to write a cadence that taught recruits about the basics of piloting a motor lifeboat through heavy seas.

“We (surfmen) are a very small community in the Coast Guard, and because of the job we do and the amount of time it takes to get qualified, a junior Coast Guardsman may never get to meet a surfman,” said Wadley. “I hope that this cadence will inspire more Coast Guardsmen to join our community.”

Wadley’s cadence entitled “High Side Right” is a double-time cadence meaning the recruits call it when they are running as a company. According to Wadley, his cadence specifically describes the first 30 minutes of a transit from the station out to the area where the surf breaks. Prior to his arrival at Station Morro Bay, Wadley served as a company commander at Training Center Cape May.

“Everything in that cadence was inspired by my real-life experiences as a surfman,” said Wadley. “For example, when I was at Station Cape Disappointment, you could hear the surf pounding the rocks, and you knew that it was going to be a good day for surf training.”

Surfmen are considered consummate Coast Guard boat coxswains. They earn their qualification as surfmen through years of specialized training and experience, and they are intimately familiar with search and rescue planning, operations and equipment. Surfmen are trusted to operate the most seaworthy craft in the Coast Guard inventory in the most extreme weather conditions. It can take a Coast Guard coxswain between one to six years to earn their surfman qualification.

“Chief Wadley’s cadence captures the essence and culture of a small, yet important, Coast Guard community who trace their legacy back to the U.S. Lifesaving Service,” said Capt. Bill Kelly, the commanding officer of Coast Guard Training Center Cape May. “This cadence will serve as a reminder of that legacy for years to come.”

Training Center Cape May is the Coast Guard’s only enlisted basic training center and accession point. Only about four percent of applicants are selected for enlisted service in the Coast Guard, and of the select few who make it to basic training, about 15 percent will either be reverted, re-phased or washout of training. Coast Guard recruits endure an intense and demanding eight-week training program that prepares them for the rigors of service in the Coast Guard.

The training center staff solicited cadences from the more than 400 Coast Guardsmen, employees and Auxiliarists aboard Training Center Cape May. Of the dozens of cadences sung aboard Training Center Cape May, only five were nominated by a panel of senior officers aboard the base for the title of Coast Guard Boot Camp’s Top Cadence.

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