The smallest class sworn in since 1999 arrived at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut on Monday to begin the summer swab training.
Composed of 248 students, the Class of 2016 is the most diverse in the history of the academy, with 36 percent women and 35 percent minority students. Among the activities designed to prepare civilian students for the academic year ahead include scaling walls, running obstacle courses, learning survival at sea skills, and dropping more push-ups.
The students endured the summer heat to learn as much as they can on how to be a part of a team with rigorous detail. Third year cadet Bradley Pienta expressed his pride for the opportunity, saying “…being in the Coast Guard and having that guaranteed job, that guaranteed pay check, as soon as I graduate, that’s a very nice thing to have.”
However, while the program promises job security in the future, the competition among students is heating up as the Coast Guard will only need fewer young officers because many people who are already in the service are holding on to their jobs for as long as possible.
Rear Admiral Sandra Stosz, Superintendent of the Coast Guard Academy, says ”…I am demanding that my cadets develop into those leaders of a character that America expects from them when they’re commissioned as officers. We can afford to be choosy and we are going to be.”
The intense training is the Coast Guard’s version of boot camp which will run for seven weeks.