Coast Guard Academy Welcomes Largest Number of New Female Cadets Ever

Incoming cadets undergo rigorous training during "Swab Summer" (USCGA)

Published Jul 12, 2022 3:14 PM by David M. Santos

The Class of 2026 arrived at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy on Day One, June 27, with the largest group of women in an incoming class in academy history. This year, 43 percent of the incoming students are women.  

Day One is a whirlwind of administration in-processing and military indoctrination, and its highlight is the ceremony in which the Swabs (as the new students are called) take their oath of service, officially marking the start of Swab Summer. 

More than 1,890 young women and men submitted applications to attend the academy, and 293 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.  

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. 

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," he 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."

Swab Summer is an intensive seven-week training program that prepares students for life as a cadet. The Cadre, a group of second-class cadets, are responsible for leading the newly reported members through the summer training period. 

One of the group of record-breaking female Swabs, Arwen Wise from Weatherford, Texas, chose the Coast Guard Academy after also receiving offers from the U.S. Military Academy, the U.S. Naval Academy, and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. A multi-sport athlete, Wise plans to play soccer and major in marine and environmental science. She said the academy became her first choice after spending a week at the Academy Introductory Mission (AIM), a program for high school juniors interested in attending a service academy.

The U.S. Coast Guard recently shattered one of the last glass ceilings in the military when Adm. Linda Fagan from the Class of 1985 became the 27th commandant of the service, and the first woman to lead a branch of the U.S. armed forces. 

David M. Santos the communications director for the U.S. Coast Guard Academy's external affairs office. This article appears courtesy of USCGA and may be found in its original form here.

The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.