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Coast Guard Cadet Training Will Look A Lot Different This Year

Steven Senne

New recruits arrive at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, this week for the start of basic training, also known as Swab Summer. The COVID-19 pandemic means a very different summer for recruits.

Nearly 300 students will report to the Academy for day one of their training Wednesday. But they’ll do it in shifts of small groups. There will be no swearing-in ceremony on the field — a Coast Guard Academy tradition.

They’ll spend their first two weeks isolated in their barracks, learning about the history and traditions of the Coast Guard. Physical training only begins after the 14-day isolation period. There’ll be no haircuts, no drills and no running as a group.

The Academy says nearly 40% of new recruits are women, and more than a third come from underrepresented ethnic groups. 

Davis Dunavin loves telling stories, whether on the radio or around the campfire. He started in Missouri and ended up in Connecticut, which, he'd like to point out, is the same geographic trajectory taken by Mark Twain.