The Coast Guard Academy Corps of Cadets is comprised of almost 1,000 men and women from the United States, Europe, Middle East and the Caribbean, each pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree and a commission in the U.S. Coast Guard or their host country's military service. Significantly, the Corps of Cadets, with oversight and counsel from Company Officers and Company Chiefs, is run by the cadets themselves.
The Corps of Cadets is organized into eight companies (Alfa, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Foxtrot, Golf and Hotel) forming one regiment. Cadets run the corps through their regimental chain of command.
- 1st class cadets (1/c, seniors) fulfill their roles as leaders of the corps, as Regimental Staff Officers, Company Commanders, Department Heads and Division Officers.
- 2nd class cadets (2/c, juniors) serve as Assistant Division Officers, mentoring, providing leadership to and supervising 3rd and 4th class cadets. Second class cadets have overall responsibility for the 4th class training program.
- 3rd class cadets (3/c, sophomores) serve as role modelers, each providing personal oversight of one or two, and the example for all, 4th class cadets.
- 4th class cadets (4/c, freshmen) serve as followers, each assimilating into the rigors of military life, while developing teamwork skills essential to success in the Coast Guard.
The professional and personal development of each class is progressive in nature, ensuring that cadets are capable of meeting the demands and responsibilities at the next level in their development.