Mention the words “Swab Summer” to anyone here at the Academy, and you will usually hear groans. Swab Summer is the seven-week indoctrination training that all incoming freshman must go through before they can officially call themselves “cadets” at the Academy. It’s basically just like all freshman orientations… except you exercise all day, get yelled at, and don’t even have time to think! Even though cadets look back on their experience during Swab Summer like it was the worst part of their lives, we all will secretly admit that there are a few fun moments or times that we got to do some pretty awesome things. So without further ado, the top 10 moments of Swab Summer……
1. Inter-Company Sports: a few times a week, companies (all swabs are broken into eight companies) will compete against each other in softball, volleyball, basketball, or soccer. This is a great time to relax a bit, talk to your shipmates, and maybe spot a cadre acting like a normal person. My company, Hotel, was absolutely horrible at these games. Our first softball game, we lost 4 to 26. However, at one of the last volleyball games, we were able to win by just 2 points. We were so excited, we started screaming and jumping up and down and hugging each other like we had just won the Olympics.
2. Creative Room Wreckage: If a swab’s room is not “properly stowed” – meaning everything put in the exact place it is supposed to be, bed made perfectly, and all clothes crisply folded – then the cadre will go in and wreak havoc in their room. Sometimes, they have some fun and get creative with it. Once, they moved around the mattresses in a room to make a fort. Another time, they made a little “camp fire” out of our flashlights and coat hangars, a “tent” out of our green sea-bags, and sang camp songs with a guitar while “roasting” marshmallows on sticks. As we walked by, they chanted “Yay! Just another fun day at Camp Coast Guard! What a lovely summer!”
3. Sunrise: Every morning, we would wake up at 5:30 to go do a morning workout. The sun would still be below the horizon as we ran, did push-ups/sit-ups, or completed ab circuits. Although it was tiring, it was always worth it when, around 6 a.m., as we headed back from our workout, the sun would rise over the hill, and the beautiful orange light would hit the glassy water of the Thames. Any sort of negativity that I may have felt at the moment would always be washed away by this beautiful sight.
4. Shooting Range: Before Swab Summer, I had never shot a rifle before. One day, we got to go to the shooting range on campus and shoot an M16. It was really cool because there is definitely a lot of responsibility in handling a rifle, and responsibility is not something you usually get during Swab Summer, as everything is planned out for you and you are told exactly what to do every minute of the day.
5. Music: Since you almost never get to listen to music as a swab, the few times where you might get to hear a bit of music are some of the sweetest moments. On Sundays when we cleaned the barracks, the cadre would occasionally play music from their laptops in order to boost morale. My shipmates and I would have a lot of fun getting to dance a little bit to the music in our rooms as we cleaned, and briefly feel like normal people.
I know that that is only 5, but this blog entry is starting to get very long (I guess I have a lot to say about the fun moments of Swab Summer!), so I will include the next top 5 moments in my next blog entry! Stay tuned!
If you have any questions, shoot me an email at Clara.E.Dahill-Baue@uscga.edu.
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