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My Swab Summer, in a Nutshell

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2023, Eagle, Swab Summer) Permanent link   All Posts
John Bukowski

Hello all, and welcome to my page! Amidst every other phenomenal thing I’ve experienced thus far in my fledgling cadet life, I am able to voice these moments to those wanting to know more about this adventure. That said, I’d like to christen my first post ever by recapping the big moments from Swearing In Day up to now. As a fourth-class cadet, this is all fresh in my head too.

Looking back on Day 1, I vividly remember how nervous I was. I did my best to channel that energy throughout my body as the morning drew closer. However, the minute I got into that bus, I recall swallowing my fear and feeling ready. When the yelling and the running and the push-ups started, I just accepted it, sounded off, and pushed onward. You get your head shaved, your picture taken, and your phone confiscated, and it was all just part of the game for me. You roll with this process with about 500 people anyway, and that shared memory builds incredibly strong bonds (believe me!). Three weeks later, you know basic military stuff, including how to properly wear the uniforms and greet superiors. As part of the first group aboard USCGC Eagle, we left right from New London to Portsmouth NH, and I can honestly say that was the highlight of the summer, as you’ll probably hear from a lot of cadets. In that single week I witnessed a thunderstorm at sea, saw dolphins and a whale, a perfect panorama of the night sky, and got hands-on hard work with the rigging and basic principles of seamanship. Eagle was especially fascinating to me when I started thinking about applying, and now I’m in love with the ship and cannot wait for my next summer. Returning to the Academy to finish the remaining two weeks was hard as one can imagine, but we as shipmates endured all the way through it and killed it with Sea Trials (a day I could write a book about). That same weekend we got our shoulder boards, moved to our new companies and rooms, and all of a sudden I’m writing about all of it in the middle of October, with the summer heat all gone and the leaves well into changing.

I’d like to put a cap on this post by pronouncing one thing for any potential applicants out there: if you genuinely feel like this is the place for you, then Swab Summer will not be as terrifying as you think it is. I was dreading the day I had to leave home, but soon after found myself thriving in this atmosphere. There were low points, of course, but they are inevitably outweighed by the rewards to come.

If there are any questions, especially those regarding Swab Summer and fourth-class life, reach out to me! As I go through this first year, all the rigors and highpoints of a CGA freshman will be fresh with me, and I’d love to impart the knowledge to those who want it.