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Swab Summer Amid a Pandemic

(The Cadet Experience, Swab Summer, Class of 2024) Permanent link   All Posts
Grace Sickendick

For starters, I was not prepared for Swab Summer even though I thought I was. I remember four months prior, “Coast Guard Academy” made up the bulk of my search history, particularly “Swab Summer Blogs” (thank you past Academy bloggers). I went on daily runs, tried (and failed) to perfect the push-up, switched to taking cold showers, and even slept on top of my bed without socks on.

The future Class of 2024 had made a GroupMe to get to know each other and pass the little bits of information we had. I remember reading the conversation between a group of AIMsters (let it be known I did not go to AIM) and Prepsters (let it be known I did not go to Prep School) talking about something called “Indoc” and “The Running Light.” I had no idea whatsoever about what they were talking about.

July 8th rolled around faster than I could say “I am not ready for Swab Summer.” My family had driven up from Missouri a few days prior and had rented a house nearby for a few days just to get the lay of the land. Prior to coming here, the farthest north I had traveled was West Virginia so everything was very new; there isn’t much coast in Missouri.

When I arrived at the Academy, I was beyond nervous. I knew that Swearing-In Day would be much different than it had been in years past, and I had no idea what to expect. When it came time to swear in, all 34 of us (complete strangers) in Golf platoon spaced out and stood in the gym while ADM Kelly spoke. After his speech, we were given five minutes to say goodbye to our families before we were ushered out by our cadre.

It was not until we entered Chase Hall that the yelling started. I was yelled at to keep my “eyes in the boat” and “heels against the bulkhead,” and I had no idea what any of it meant. The rest of the day (and next couple of weeks) were a blur of military trainings, uniform issues, and my favorite- Indoc (finally learned what it was).

Indoc took up the majority of our first two weeks while we were in our restriction of movement period, until it was replaced with changing remedials and static holds (another few of my favorite things). There were a lot of things that Class of 2024 couldn’t do over Swab Summer, such as go on Eagle, go to the Mystic Flag Ceremony, or go into each other’s rooms for that matter. There were a lot of things we did get to do, however, such as SAR our own rooms and learn to deal with fogged-up glasses from our masks.

The most important thing I took away from Swab Summer is it is what you make it, and you shouldn’t count the days away. Everything we did during Swab Summer was for a reason, and in the long run grew us as a platoon, now the 4/c in Golf Company, closer. All the moments during Swab Summer that we thought were terrible, such as the time my roommate and I had to wear the vinyl covers of our combination covers over our head and *command voice* “I am having fun 01, sir. I am having fun 02, sir,” we now look back at and laugh.

Please email me at [email protected] for any questions, comments, concern, or stories about Swab Summer or Academy life in general!