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cadet blogs

Swab Summer: One Day at a Time

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2019) Permanent link
King Photo Dear Families of 2021,

 

How’s it going? Are you still adjusting to Swab Summer? It’s an intense seven weeks for sure. I am writing this at the beginning of the second week. It’s hard to believe that it’s already been a week! Swab Summer flies by faster than you think.

 

Some advice for both the parent and swab is to take it one day at a time. If you look at it as seven weeks, you’re going to get overwhelmed. Break it into manageable chunks, sometimes you just got to make it to the next meal. One thing I told myself is that anyone can do anything for five minutes, and just make there.

 

Another piece of advice to both is that the swabs are in good hands. Today, I was sailing by Jacob’s Rock and saw the waterfront cadre in action. They were very professional and created an engaging learning environment. I know in Chase, the cadre are more focused on the military and teamwork aspects.

 

To the parents, don’t be worried if your swab’s letters are brief. In the beginning, it’s usual for the letters to be short. However, toward the end of the summer, they’ll get longer and a bit more upbeat as they learn time management and get used to Swab Summer.

 

To the swabs, realize that the cadre were once in your position. Only two short years ago, I was marching around and sounding off with the rest of them. I squared my meals, I pushed deck, and I was far from perfect. Cadre are human too, and I can guarantee you that they made the same mistakes you are making.

 

Finally, don’t forget to laugh. I know that sometimes it’s hard but keep a positive attitude. You’re going to fail, but you’re also going to get back up.

 

Last year, I wrote an article on advice for Swab Summer. Here is the link: http://uscga.edu/blog.aspx?id=65657.

 

Very Respectfully,
2/c Deborah King

 

More about Deborah.

 

USCG: An Amazing Organization

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Eshleman Photo Dear Family of 2021 Swab,

 

So right now you’re probably a combination of anxious and extremely proud of your son or daughter for their decision to join the Class of 2021 at the United States Coast Guard Academy. You saw them off on “Day One” as they began this new chapter of their lives, and maybe you’ll even get a letter or two this summer speaking of their Swab Summer experience. While Swab Summer has its trials and its ups and downs, know that they are going into an amazing organization. The Coast Guard has truly transformed me as a person throughout the past three years. The people are phenomenal, and the best part is that it truly feels like a family. With the connections one makes inside and outside of the service, he or she will get a wide variety of opportunities within your four years at the Academy and beyond. Currently, I am stationed on the West Coast. Coming out here I knew so many familiar faces – alumni, fellow cadets, and other Coast Guard men and women I have met and worked with in the past. The leadership advice and guidance they have given me as I transition into my final year at the CGA is helping me to realize what I want to do when I graduate and consider potential career opportunities.

 

Your son or daughter is going to need your support throughout this summer and their freshman (4/c) year. The transition can be difficult, but trust me when I say they could not have set themselves up for a better future. Help them to see the big picture and appreciate the opportunity they have earned. Hopefully this letter helps to ease any anxiety of saying goodbye to your child, and please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

 

Very Respectfully,
1/c Hannah Eshleman
Hannah.M.Eshleman@uscga.edu

 

More about Hannah.

 

Dear Families of New Swabs

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Opas Photo Dear Families of New Swabs,

 

Looking back at the singular year I’ve been in the Coast Guard, I realize how fulfilling it has been. But that sense of fulfillment did not come without an initiation period. As swabs, just like our enlisted and officer brethren in the fleet, we must break into Academy life. We must go through trials and tribulations alongside our classmates for these seven brief weeks so that we learn to take care of ourselves AND lean on each other during times of stress. To you, the summer without your swab may feel immeasurably long. To your swab, this summer will feel like an eternity. It will not be without tears, bruises, scrapes, or sacrifices; and certainly not without a profuse amount of sweating.

 

But know this. Your swab is in good hands. If not their more-than-capable company chiefs and officers, or their cadre, but their classmates. Your swabs are making some of the BEST friendships they have ever made, and will ever make in their lives. The men and women your swab stood shoulder to shoulder with on Washington Parade Field will be your sons and daughters’ family. They will buoy them up at 2 a.m. when they have to write a 1,000-word paper due the next day, they will run alongside them to make sure they pass the PFE every semester, and they will give your swab that integral piece of motivation when they hit the point in the summer where they feel they cannot take one step further.

 

I still remember running across Washington Parade Field in the last ten minutes I had to say goodbye to my family last summer. I recall the tears blurring my vision. But I also remember the pride I saw in my parents’ faces. The swabs may have already come to grips with the fact they won’t be home often anymore. If they haven’t, they will in time. Let them. It’s not that you’re losing a child, but rather that they’re becoming a part of something bigger than themselves. They’re ripping themselves from their comfort zones, devoting themselves to a higher calling, and doing some seriously amazing things in the process. You should be incredibly proud of them; they’re growing up a lot faster than their high school peers.

 

When you see your swab this summer, and believe me, you will, make sure to give him or her a hug‒ the cadre tend not to budget time in the swabbies’ schedules for them to bond and simply be human. Don’t pester your swab for stories, he or she will tell them in good time. Make sure to send swabbie snacks during the summer, and send letters‒even if it’s just to tell them what the weather’s like back home. Letters and packages make the roughest days just a bit better. But don’t necessarily expect a response immediately or frequently. It depends on the person, but with very little time to themselves, every swab budgets their time differently.

 

Take comfort in the knowledge that every swab is learning valuable life lessons. Be proud of them, be supportive of them, and be accepting of the new adults they’re becoming.

 

Cheers,
Former Swab Opas

 

More about Leah.

 

A Full Firstie Summer

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Holland Photo Hey everyone!

 

It's been awhile, but firstie summer is jam-packed with more than I ever thought it could be. I spent the first few weeks in Guantanamo Bay and then on USCGC Forward doing a patrol in the Caribbean. We did helo operations, small boat OPS, and while I was in GTMO I helped transport detainees and drugs. The summer so far has been a very broad view of USCG operations and I have become much better because of it.

 

Currently, I am the Battalion AIM Officer and am assisting with Swab Summer before the AIMsters arrive. As a member of battalion staff, you have to oversee the cadre and assist in any way possible, including being an expert in whichever field you are in. This summer's battalion staff is a great team, and I am looking forward to the next month of Swab Summer and AIM. Both programs are hard to get into and equally tough while you are a trainee; however, if you really want it, you will make it through. Best of luck to all of you.

 

Very Respectfully,
1/c Taylor Holland
Battalion AIM Officer

 

More about Taylor.