The U.S. Coast Guard Academy welcomed aboard approximately 302 young women and men into the incoming Class of 2026 for Day One, Monday, June 27.
Day One marks the traditional start of Swab Summer, an intense seven-week training program designed to transform civilian students into military members ready to accept the challenges that await them in their pursuit to become Coast Guard officers.
During their first day at the Academy, the Swabs (as the new cadets are called) cycle through a whirlwind of haircuts, uniform issue, various administrative in processing and drill practice. At the end of the day the swabs march out to the parade field, take the oath of office, and pose for a group photo, before saying goodbye to their families.
This year 44 percent of the class are women marking the largest group of women joining an incoming class in Academy history.
More than 1,890 young women and men submitted applications to attend the Academy and 294 U.S. students were appointed and sworn into the class. The Academy continues to make progress toward diversifying the corps of cadets with 38 percent of the incoming class coming from underrepresented minority groups.
After the swearing in ceremony Rear Adm. Bill Kelly, academy superintendent welcomed the Swabs to their new environment. “We are committed to your success, and we will ensure you live, learn, and grow in the safest and most inclusive environment possible,” Kelly said.
“The Core Values and the Oath we just took are conditions of employment in the U.S. Coast Guard and they are the first step in the 200-week journey that will ultimately lead to your commission,” he added. “That 200-week journey starts today! I challenge you to fully commit to rising above whatever challenges you may face as you begin your training and education.”
In addition to the U.S. appointees, nine international cadets representing the Dominican Republic, the Philippines, Vietnam, Honduras, Palau, Guyana, and Taiwan are also part of this year’s incoming class.