Dear Member of the Class of 2017,
Congratulations on your selection as a member of the Coast Guard Academy Class of 2017! You should be extremely proud of your accomplishments and reaching this milestone. You are about to begin your training to become an officer in the world’s best Coast Guard and a member of the esteemed "Long Blue Line" made up of the graduates who have come before you. Those that have served our great nation and humanity with honor and distinction. The Coast Guard's core values of Honor, Respect, and Devotion to Duty will be become your guiding principles.
You are enrolling at the United States Coast Guard Academy, a military institution rich in tradition whose sole purpose is to graduate leaders of the highest moral character ready to serve as officers in the U.S. Coast Guard. As the Commandant of Cadets, I am charged with your military and professional development. I will expect you to live up to our core values and adhere to the Honor Concept, which states that “Cadets do not lie, steal, cheat, or attempt to deceive.” You will be expected to adhere to the highest standards of conduct and integrity and have the utmost regard and respect for yourself, your fellow cadets, the Coast Guard personnel with whom you will work with and the American public you will serve.
The Coast Guard’s missions are difficult ones. The safety and security of our nation will depend on you as a member of the smallest branch of the armed forces. The American public will rely on you to keep them safe and our ports secure – 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Therefore, we will demand your very best as a swab and during your entire four years at the Academy. During Swab Summer in particular, you will be challenged and tested physically, emotionally, and mentally. You will be placed under considerable pressure to do things you might think were impossible. However, through determination, hard work and teamwork you will succeed.
Some people say this education is free. It is not. Attending the Coast Guard Academy and life as a Coast Guard officer requires personal sacrifice, commitment and dedication. You will join thousands of men and women who willingly risk their lives so others may live. Please ensure you are personally committed to this career choice. Let me assure you, however, the return on your investment is immeasurable. I can personally attest that there is no greater feeling than saving a life at sea or keeping illegal drugs off our streets and out of our schools. It takes a special type of person to be a Coast Guard officer, one who is willing to put service above self. You are one of this very special group and I look forward to meeting you on July 1st.
James L. McCauley
Commandant of Cadets, U.S. Coast Guard Academy