Reporting In Day 2016: A New Beginning

A new cadet makes his transition from a civilian haircut into a swab on Reporting-In day at the Coast Guard Academy. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Lisa Ferdinando.

A new cadet makes his transition from a civilian haircut into a swab on Reporting-In day at the Coast Guard Academy. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Lisa Ferdinando.

Written by Christopher Us

June 27, 2016, was a day of beginnings for the 312 new cadets, known as swabs, at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.

It was Reporting In Day (R-Day), the start of Swab Summer and the first year of training at the Academy. The swabs were about to embark on a 200-week journey overseeing a transformation from civilians to future leaders of the Coast Guard and our country. Yet there was meager time to reflect upon this upcoming transformation, for more compelling tasks were at hand.

Swab Summer is the Academy’s seven-week military indoctrination program for new prospective cadets. It is a crucial first step in officer training, acclimating students to the lifestyle of the Academy. For many swabs, it signifies a robust challenge. Yet as they will soon realize, nothing is insurmountable with teamwork, and a fine-tuned unit will emerge.

A new cadet at the Coast Guard Academy reads the Running Light, a small booklet containing a wealth of Coast Guard information, during Reporting-In Day. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Lisa Ferdinando.

A new cadet at the Coast Guard Academy reads the Running Light, a small booklet containing a wealth of Coast Guard information, during Reporting-In Day. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Lisa Ferdinando.

The new swabs were thrown right into the fray, and were immersed in military courtesies, Coast Guard knowledge, and physical training from the minute they stepped off the bus.

Swabs learn much of this knowledge from the Running Light, a small booklet containing a wealth of Coast Guard information. The Running Light has origins from the early years of the academy, which was founded in 1876.

“The Running Light is super important to Swab Summer,” said second class cadet Tim O’Loughlin, a cadre for Whiskey One platoon. “It covers pretty much everything about the Coast Guard and Academy, from famous Coast Guard heroes, cutters, and aircraft, to the history of the Coast Guard.”

The Academy recognizes the importance of preserving its training methods and history of the past, while simultaneously making strides forward in other areas such as diversity.

Roughly 33 percent of the class of 2020 is from underrepresented minority groups and 38 percent are women, the highest female enrollment at any federal service academy in history. This year also marks the 40th anniversary of the acceptance of women at the U.S. military academies in 1976. Women from the class of 1980, the first to graduate from the Academy, were present to mark the occasion.

A new cadet at the Coast Guard Academy takes a photo with his family during Reporting-In Day. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Lisa Ferdinando.

A new cadet at the Coast Guard Academy takes a photo with his family during Reporting-In Day. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Lisa Ferdinando.

On R-Day, the swabs faced a number of challenges pertinent to their development as future leaders and officers in the Coast Guard. One of these is performing under intense stress and pressure. Swabs will be put through much more throughout their training, including discipline-building actions such as squaring corners and sounding off to those ranked above them. While some of this may seem arbitrary to swabs in the moment, it serves a greater purpose.

Speaking to the parents of the Class of 2020, Rear Adm. James Rendon expressed the importance of the Swab Summer training.

“It’s the start of a long-standing tried and true process,” Rendon said. “A process that we believe in, a process that works—it’s a process that at the end of the day, indeed produces leaders of character.”

A new cadet at the Coast Guard Academy reads the Running Light, a small booklet containing a wealth of Coast Guard information, during Reporting-In Day. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Lisa Ferdinando.

A new cadet at the Coast Guard Academy reads the Running Light, a small booklet containing a wealth of Coast Guard information, during Reporting-In Day. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Lisa Ferdinando.

Throughout their time at the Academy, swabs will eat, study, sweat and do everything together, making lifelong friends in the process. This establishes a unique bond that is based on overcoming adversity collectively—as a team.

The training motivates swabs to embrace and personify the core values of the Academy—Honor, Respect, and Devotion to Duty. Self-discipline and military bearing is forged from within and cultivated.

Trainees from 45 states and five countries gathered at the Academy on R-Day, unsure of what to expect. There was a palpable sense of nervousness, excitement, and apprehensiveness. But one thing is for certain—they now have one foot firmly planted on the path less traveled, a path of service to their country and humanity.

Interested in learning more about the Class of 2020’s Swab Summer? Check back soon for an update!

The Coast Guard Academy Class of 2020. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Lisa Ferdinando.

The Coast Guard Academy Class of 2020 on Reporting In Day, June 27, 2016. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Lisa Ferdinando.

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