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Coast Guard Academy Traditions

100th Day

Each year, typically 100 days to graduation, the tables turn and 4th Class Cadets become "kings for a day," as 2nd Class Cadets must square corners, brace up, and obey commands from 4th Class Cadets who are allowed to carry on.

Academy Class Rings

In April, 2nd Class Cadets receive the signet ring, which is the cadet symbol of the Alma Mater. Bearing the Academy crest on one side and the individual's class crest on the other, the ring is worn throughout a cadet's stay at the Academy and for the rest of his or her life.

Combination Covers

It is tradition for cadets to place a picture of a loved one or someone special in their combination cover.

Commencement Formal

Each year during Graduation Week, a formal dance is held in honor of the new Academy graduates and their guests. Graduates, wearing Dinner Dress Whites, attend with their guests to celebrate.


Graduating Ensigns carry two silver dollars in their pockets. One goes to the Anchor Cadet (the lowest ranking cadet graduating) and the other goes to the first person to render a salute. The new Ensign's shoulder boards are commonly put on by their loved ones after commencement.

Hallowed Words

"Who Lives Here Reveres Honor, Honors Duty." It is these few words that express what you should keep steadfast in your mind during your years at the Academy. Those inlaid words on the Quarterdeck of Chase Hall are a symbol of this Honor and should never be tread upon.

Liberty Bell

Tradition has it that the cadet who rings the black navigational buoy by the museum will be granted good luck.

Objee Statue

Objee (short for "objectionable presence") is the Academy's mascot, a black bear. A statue of Objee stands in the park behind Chase Hall. For morale and spirit, Objee is commonly dressed up before a big athletic game and major events. Objee is dressed in jerseys, team hats, war paint, class t-shirts, or various other cadet uniforms or decorations.

Presidential Visits

The President of the United States is Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Armed Forces, and his or her visits to the Coast Guard Academy are an important tradition. Typically, Presidential visits coincide with graduation. During four years at the Academy, every cadet will have the opportunity to see (and many will meet) the President of the United States of America.

Ring Dance

On the Saturday before Graduation, the Ring Dance provides the first official opportunity for 2nd Class Cadets to wear their class rings. At the dinner, the cadet’s escort receives the ring. At the dance, each couple proceeds to the Ring Monument where the escort dips the ring into a bowl containing waters from the world’s seven oceans. This is the “Christening” of the rings and acknowledgement that the cadet’s 1st class year awaits.

Shoulder Board Ceremony

Welcome to the Corps of Cadets! At the end of Swab Summer, new cadets earn the right to become Fourth Class Cadets. In a shoulder board ceremony held in Crown Park before classes start, they join the Corps of Cadets, as upper class cadets affix Fourth Class shoulder boards on each former Swab.

Presidential Inaugurations

Cadets join the other service academies to march in the Presidential Inaugural Parade every four years.

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Billet Night

An annual tradition where Commanding Officers, staff, faculty, and alumni celebrate as First Class Cadets learn where they will go for their first assignment in the Coast Guard.

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The Hat Toss

The combination hat – symbol of cadet life - is tossed away as soon as cadets are commissioned as new officers.

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