Frequently Asked Questions

The following questions and answers are based on your most commonly asked questions. The answers and advice have been reviewed by experienced Academy parents, however, the Official CGA Parent and Cadet Handbooks for your class should be consulted first and cadets should always refer to current Cadet Regulations. If you still have questions, please check out your class Ask a Parent page. 

 

Advice for Swearing-In Day

What is Swearing-In Day?

Swearing-In Day is the day your son or daughter will officially join the US Coast Guard Academy and more importantly become a member of the U.S. Military. You are dropping off or sending your child to his/her first day of not just college but the first day of the start of their military career as a member of the U.S. Coast Guard. You and they will have the normal range of emotions anxieties and questions that any typical family experiences when sending a child to college, but this is not just any college. From the moment they sign in at Swearing-In Day, they are swept away for haircut, uniforms and initial indoctrination exercises, they have stepped into a new environment where they will listen, follow and learn from rules and regulations of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and frankly no one else. One must not feel as if you have lost your parental privileges but your role now is to listen, encourage, support and direct them to the resources within the Academy for additional support and answers to questions they may have.

During the time your child is preparing for the swearing in ceremony, there will be many opportunities to attend informational meetings, tour the campus, tour New London and most importantly, meet and speak with parents who have older cadets who have done this before. 

Remember to 'keep it positive' and show strength in leaving no matter how nervous and scared you are when it's time for your cadet to leave. Let them know that you believe in them. Your positive encouragement may give them what they need to continue. When you get a chance to visit with them to say your goodbyes during the 15 minutes after swearing-in, let them leave you rather than making it appear as though you are you leaving them. They need to know that you are leaving them in good hands and that you are giving them your confident assurance that they will be okay. 

What do they need to pack for the Academy?

If it's not on the list don't bring it. Take the bare minimum on Swearing-In Day. Do not be tempted to pack anything extra. Your cadet will have to lug his/her duffel bag/suitcase around and it will be heavy, especially when they are so tired and nervous. All they need should fit in a backpack. Travel size toiletries of things that are absolutely necessary (contact solution, etc.) are great. You can send larger sizes of other items in their Swearing-In Day box and in the mail later. There is plenty of time to receive those items. Don't be tempted to send it all with them the first day. It will either stay in the attic in their trunk or they won't have time to use it.

Okay, now that we've told you to bring the bare minimum, it's been suggested that a good small item to bring is throat lozenges (e.g., Fruit Breezers). A small bag can easily be part of the initial "sea bag" coming in and a larger bag mailed.

Don't pack items in a "good" suitcase - that suitcase may never be seen again.Don't use huge pieces of luggage - your swab will have to lug it ALL over Chase Hall. Some swabs report with their things packed in an inexpensive backpack (hiking type). It can be much easier to carry a backpack for the day rather than a suitcase. 

Little Tid-Bits for Swearing-In Day

After your son or daughter reports, be sure to stop by Leamy Hall to sign up for the Parents Association Swab Summer eNews mailing list and to join the Parents Association. Parents Association members receive eNewsletters and information throughout the year. They also receive a membership in the Alumni Association and will receive monthly eNewsletters and bi-monthly magazine, The Bulletin, with information about the Academy, cadets and alumni.

After the Swearing in Ceremony in the afternoon – typically held in the Parade Field the swabs (this is what they will be called until they successfully complete Swab Summer) will be escorted to a set of bleachers on the far end by the Academy entrance for the formal class picture. Once this is complete they are typically released to meet you and say your goodbyes.  Many families find it helpful to pick a meeting place in advance (ex. fourth tree from the right as you face the flagpole) so that they don't waste time and worry about finding each other. You will witness every emotion you can imagine. Again, your role is to be supportive. The 10 – 15 mins you have to say goodbye will be quick. Take pictures, provide your hugs and kisses and when they are called let them go! Do not make them late. They will be anxious to be on time and will literally run off to meet their company. You will hear a lot of yelling of commands by the Cadre (these are the 2nd class cadets who will lead them throughout the summer). This is normal and part of the Swabs’ indoctrination process. 

When you attend Swearing-In Day parents' events, bring cash! Many of the Parent Association Chapters that sold merchandise could not accept credit cards. There is an ATM machine in the Exchange. 

You may also want to bring a snack (granola bar, banana, etc.) and cold drink for your cadet to eat during the 10-15 minutes after swearing in. 

Read more
Mail and Other Communication

How do I get a package delivered to my swab? 

A very good suggestion is to send a care package a few days before R-Day - that way your swab will have something immediately but they don't have to carry it. Or, if you can, drop it off at the CGA post office on R-day! Use US Postal Service Flat Rate Priority Mail envelopes and boxes or UPS, FedEx, etc. Use the following official cadet address:

Cadet [Your Cadet's Name]
U.S. Coast Guard Academy
Chase Hall Box _ _ _ _
New London, CT 06320-81YY

where _ _ _ _ is the box number.  Incoming cadets usually receive this number before arriving at the Academy.  
where zip +81YY can be mapped to the ranges shown below:

  • 7021 - 7099 » 8122
  • 7100 - 7199 » 8113
  • 7200 - 7299 » 8114
  • 7300 - 7399 » 8115
  • 7400 - 7499 » 8116
  • 7500 - 7599 » 8117
  • 7600 - 7699 » 8118
  • 7700 - 7799 » 8119
  • 7800 - 7899 » 8120
  • 8700 - 8799 » 8126
  • 8800 - 8899 » 8127
  • 8900 - 8999 » 8128
  • 9000 - 9050 » 8129

Note that using '_ _ _ _ Chase Hall' instead of 'Chase Hall Box _ _ _ _' works as well if not better, especially when sending packages directly from vendors that will not deliver to P.O. Boxes, e.., via FedEx or UPS.

What sort of things should I consider sending my swab in a care package?

One important thing to remember is that they do not have a lot of space. Snacks are the best care package items, just remember that in the summer, things like chocolate will melt. Your son or daughter will get three meals a day, but are always hungry for many reasons, stress, heat, activity, and homesickness. Send their favorite food item from your home pantry. Pack it in a reusable or plastic container that will fit on a shelf or in a small cabinet. Send the things they loved to snack on when they were sitting around the house. Nothing perishable. Any remembrances of home are appreciated. Remember Halloween and Valentine's Day, especially. Add special treats. This is a place you can really splurge. And send them often. Send enough to share. Food goes fast there. When someone gets a care package from home with food in it, everyone gathers around for handouts. So, think of roommates and classmates when you put a care package together. Food care packages are a welcomed gift and those who get them are very popular! Your swab will eventually tell you what to send more of and or what to send less of.

What sort of containers should I ship food in?

Tupperware (zip lock baggies are good too) -  maximum dimensions - the 'food drawer' is 6in by 17in by 20in and so the container needs to be smaller (12in by 12in by 6in, according to 2006 and 2007 Running Light). After the initial Tupperware, use shoe boxes, flat rate USPS boxes or other disposable or recyclable containers for 'care package' delivery. The cadets have such limited space that they don't need extra Tupperware!

Will we be able to talk to our son/daughter regularly?

No, you will not be able to talk to your son or daughter regularly. Resist the temptation to call their Cadre, Commanders, teachers, and coaches. It simply puts your cadet in an awkward position and makes it tougher for them to gain independence. Resist the urge to write to your cadet and tell them how lonely it is without them. Keep all correspondence and communication upbeat and positive. Many of them are fighting the urge to call and or leave because of homesickness and exhaustion. A suggestion to consider when writing letters is to keep news from home brief and high level. The Swabs are working very hard, they are absorbing a lot and getting used to a new way of life, hearing details about parties and events they are missing and their high school friends summer trips to Europe etc may be difficult, discouraging and cause homesickness for some.

That being said, things do change toward the end of and after Swab Summer. You will likely be able to talk to your cadet at some point as they head to or from Eagle during the summer. Your swab will be given phone time after the Mystic Flag Ceremony. It is very good to know that there is a time in the not distant future (after R-Day) to look forward to hearing your swab's voice - sometimes keeping our "eyes on the prize" helps. Swabs are (very) restricted from using their cell phones during Swab summer. However, it is probably wise to set up a cell plan that will allow them to call when they are given that opportunity. When they are not allowed to use their cell phone it is locked away in their trunk.

Will they receive our letters during Swab Summer? 

YES!! But do keep in mind that letters may seem to take more time to arrive. Letters arrive to the Academy’s mail room and then take an additional day to sort. During Swab Summer, the Cadres coordinate when the swabs can get their mail but mail is received daily!
Keep letters brief and send often. They do not have much time to read mail. It is better to send a brief note frequently then to send lengthy letters periodically.

Cell Phones

During the first summer, access to personal cell phones is extremely limited. Swabs may have access to their cell phones after the Mystic Flag Ceremony and they will likely have access to their phones on the way to and from EAGLE. Note that it is not at all uncommon for cadets to find that their cell phone's battery is completely dead after retrieving them from the trunk room. Rather than arriving with and keeping their cell phone, it is better to mail the phone to your cadet (fully charged) about a week before the Mystic Flag Ceremony. 

Read more
Financial Questions

Where can my cadet establish a bank account?

A Navy Federal Credit Union branch is located on campus. Many cadets have found it convenient to open an account there. USAA is also available to cadets and has many features including a zero charge for any ATM use. Cadets will be asked to supply a bank account for direct deposit of their cadet pay allotments. Cadets are permitted to use a hometown bank for this purpose, as well. Many cadets have chosen to use either USAA or Navy Federal in conjunction with their hometown bank. Cadets are urged to set up these accounts in advance of R-Day. 

How are cadets paid?

Cadets are paid twice per month through direct deposit. Initially, cadets are given a zero interest loan that is used to pay for their uniform issue, equipment, etc. They pay back this loan through mandatory withdrawals from their cadet pay for the first two years.

How can cadets use scholarships that they received upon high school graduation?

Some cadets may enter the Academy with an existing non-specific cash scholarship that he/she received upon high school graduation. Cadets may choose to have those awards applied to their initial uniform/equipment loan. This offsets their monthly repayment amount. Cadets interested in doing this should contact Cadet Finance for more information.

What is the "cadet loan" that my child receives? Can I use the 529 College Savings Plan to pay off that loan?

The loan max is $10,000. Most cadet's loans will be around the $9,500 range. The loan is paid back via deductions to the cadet's pay over a 24 month period. For example, if a cadet's loan is $9,500, the cadet will have $395.83 deducted from their paycheck over the next 2 years to pay back the loan.

Parents can use their 529 money to pay off the loan. A check needs to be made out from the 529 plan, payable to the US Coast Guard Academy, noting the cadet's full name on the check. The check needs to be mailed to the following address:

US Coast Guard Academy
15 Mohegan Ave
New London, CT 06320
ATTN: Cadet Finance, Hamilton Hall

For more information contact Clifton Martelle at (860) 444-8242 or Clifton.L.Martelle@uscg.mil. Read more
Preparation

What is Ask a Parent?

Parents of incoming cadets should create an account on the CGA Parents Association website and access Ask a Parent as soon as possible in order to be more prepared for Reporting-In Day. Ask a Parent provides an opportunity to receive answers to all of your questions about life at the Academy, cadet activities, schedules and more. Submit your questions and get official answers from other Parents Association members. 

Are there CGA Parents Association Facebook Pages?

There are several parent-only Facebook Groups established to help parents connect with each other. Each class has a group and there is also a group open to parents of all classes. These groups are moderated by hand selected experienced parents, however parents are encouraged to reference Ask a Parent for official information. 

How can I best prepare my son or daughter and myself for the changes that will occur?

Remember the phrase "Semper Gumby" and take it to heart. It means Always Flexible! You will all go through miraculous changes. He/she will doing things they have never done before or even thought of ever doing before. You may or may not want to know, but be interested. They will meet different people with different points of view. They will have conflicts. They will make incredible lasting friendships. They will hate it and they will love it. You will undergo some of the same feelings they have and you will change, too. You will love it and you will hate it. You will miss them and you will not. It will be a roller coaster ride for the first year. Hang in there; they will. Allow them to grow at their own pace. Don't compare them to other cadets. They are all there because they are worthy. Tell them that they will have some hard days and hit some rough spots, but you will be there to support them. Tell them you love them constantly. Around midterms things seem to shift and everyone becomes more comfortable with everything. Communications may slow and become more matter of fact. Confidence sets in and stability takes over. Be patient. Be strong. Be supportive. Be confident that they will succeed. Just be there...to listen and learn. Resist the urge to preach or advise. Just listen. They sometimes just want a sounding board. They want to you to hear what they have to say so they can sort it out on their own. Be available.


I am not sure there is a lot that sons/daughters can do to prepare other than reminding them that this a journey they have never experienced. They must remain open minded, listen to their chain of command, including the older cadets. And do as they are told. There are no shortcuts! While initially they may not understand, nor like what is being asked of them they must follow and trust. And always remember why they are at the Academy, to learn and grow and become commissioned officers of the U.S. Coast Guard. Everything that is being asked of them is to fulfill that goal! Both parents and sons/daughters need to remember that!

Time Management

Time management is one of the most important skills that they will need to perfect early on at the Academy. You cannot be late. You must complete tasks and assignments as directed. They will feel extremely overwhelmed and will need to ensure they develop skills to perfect time management.

Physical Fitness

Physical Fitness is critical from the day your son/daughter arrives at the Academy and throughout their four years. Arrive fit, rested, and prepared to pass the Physical Fitness Exam (PFE). Maintaining the minimum required PFE score for your child’s gender and rank is mandatory to stay enrolled at the Academy. There are remedial programs but one should try to stay fit to avoid this added pressure but there will be many other time consuming tasks and academic pressures to contend with. Read more
Insurance and Medical Questions

What should I do about health insurance for my son or daughter?

Once your cadet is sworn in, he or she is a member of the Coast Guard and has health care benefits as such. However, the Cadet Handbook specifically states that the Academy recommends that parents keep existing health care insurance until graduation from the Academy. Indeed, many CGA families do keep their cadets on the parents' health insurance policy until graduation from the Academy, the primary reason being that if the cadet leaves the Academy before graduation and commissioning, their military medical coverage ceases, and that could mean that the student would then be uninsured for at least some period of time. Each family will need to decide for itself whether to keep their cadet on another health policy based upon their own circumstances. If cadets need non-emergency medical care when they are home on leave and decide to use their military medical coverage, they must either use a military treatment facility or receive authorization from the military health care provider before treatment to avoid paying the bill.

What should I do about auto insurance for my son or daughter?

Many insurance companies allow an occasional driver such as a college student who is not home often to be carried on a policy without additional charge. Check with your particular company for details.

What if my son or daughter gets sick?

Good advice from a mom - I can tell you this from experience. I had to put my daughter on an airplane with a 102 degree fever for Reporting-In Day! She felt bad. She had to report in sick to be accepted. They came and pulled her out of line and sent her straight to the infirmary. She was escorted to the swearing in ceremony and pictures and escorted back to the clinic. She survived. They take excellent care of the cadets. The staff is there to see to it that cadets get what they need and fulfill their duties. They are under a watchful eye. Their health is probably scrutinized more closely at the Academy than it is at home. It is easier to see a doctor at the Academy than it is in the civilian world. They may miss the security of 'Mom and chicken soup', but they get excellent medical care. Send them a get well card and a box of candy and they'll be happy.

What information do cadets need to report regarding doctor visits away from the Academy?

Advice from Ray A. Chaney, LT, Clinic Administrator, USCG Academy: First, the cadets need to understand that they are in the military and that the military is responsible for taking care of their entire medical needs to maintain their fitness for duty. So, any treatment they receive that could have an impact on their fitness for duty needs to be placed in their medical record. Second, any treatment other than emergencies that could affect their fitness of duty needs to preauthorized and copies needs to be placed in their medical record. Third, because the cadets usually do not know what could affect their fitness for duty, it is strongly recommended that all treatment be cleared through medical other than emergencies. Fourth, even if the treatment does not have an immediately affect of fitness for duty, it could have an impact on readiness ( e.g. eye exams, Pap smear, HIV testing, DNA, dental examination etc… all of which should be made available to their medical records. We use dental records to identify remains and if there has been dental work done that we do not know about could delay and even possibly prevent you from getting your son or daughter remains for burial. Finally, some cadet thinks because they pay for or use their parents insurance that the government does not have a right to that information; that is not correct. Again, it would be hard for a cadet to know for sure what is or not needs to go into their military medical record, so they should check with medical to be sure. By the way, the cadets are informed of this while they are here - not sure why some forget when they leave the campus.

What about wisdom teeth?

If it so happens that your son/daughter have been recommended by their dentist to have their wisdom teeth taken out prior to submitting medical records including dental xrays to the Academy, do so! However, there is no need to address this any earlier than recommended by your dentist or the Academy’s dentist. It is not uncommon for swabs and cadets to have their wisdom teeth taken out while at the Academy. It is true that if wisdom teeth are recommended to be removed after arrival at the Academy the oral surgery will be conducted by a local oral surgeon under the supervision of the Academy’s dentist. It is unlikely that this can be done at home by a family oral surgeon or any other oral surgeon other than the one appointed by the Academy’s dentist. They will schedule the surgery, transport your child to the surgery, and oversee their recovery in the Academy’s Clinic. Read more
Visits With Your Cadet

When can I visit?

You will be able to visit when you receive word that Swab Summer is over. Generally, you are first able visit with them at the Mystic Flag Ceremony (see below). They will be very fresh, meaning; on guard, thin, exhausted, weepy, excited, scared, talkative, quiet, time conscious, independent, clingy, homesick, angry, frustrated, hyper, etc. They may be some of the above, none of the above, or all of the above. Be prepared for change and be prepared to just listen. Savor the moment, and do your crying on the way home.

What is the Mystic Flag Ceremony?

During the fourth week (approximately) of Swab Summer the companies at the Academy, and not on EAGLE, travel to nearby Mystic Seaport, a national maritime museum in Mystic, CT for presentation of the class flag to the Swabs. Parents and friends are encouraged to attend this event as it is the 1st time an official opportunity exists to meet your favorite swabs since the date of Reporting-In! You may observe the Ceremony, which is quite impressive, and visit with your cadet for several hours afterwards. Admission to Mystic Seaport is free for cadet families that day. Call the Cadet Watch Office ((860) 444-8294) to confirm the schedule. More information is usually forthcoming on the 4th class email list as things firm up.

Many parents ask if they should attend Mystic Flag Ceremony if their cadet is away on the EAGLE. It has been suggested that it might not be as meaningful without your cadet present. Without your cadet there, it is very nice to see but just not very exciting without your very own cadet to cheer on.

Can I visit my son or daughter when they're in port on EAGLE?

Each swab will spend time on EAGLE at some point during the summer. EAGLE visits are an option when companies board or disembark the EAGLE or while the EAGLE is in port. The most important tip about visiting your child on the EAGLE is to be prepared to be flexible. You will not know about when or how long you will be able to visit until last minute. Your swab may or may not have liberty. Typically, the EAGLE is open to the public for tours when in port. Even if your son is aboard the EAGLE, again you may or may not be able to see your child depending what his/her duty schedule is. Many parents do “chase” the EAGLE port to port and typically at some point see their child. At this time your child will have their cell phones so coordinating visits will be easier. You can view the EAGLE schedule here and follow EAGLE through their Facebook page: United States Coast Guard Barque EAGLE.

What is the difference between leave and liberty?

For active duty CG personnel, leave is earned by active duty members like vacation time, while Liberty is a privilege. Members must request leave from their Command. A leave balance is included on each month’s Leave and Earnings Statement (LES). This balance shows how much time a member has available for use. Cadet leave is a bit different. Cadets do not maintain a leave balance. That system (earning 2.5 days of leave a month) starts when they graduate and become Ensigns. Cadets are granted leave on the extended periods (summer, spring break, Christmas), but a running balance is not kept. Cadets do receive a Leave and Earnings Statement, which contains their financial info. Once they leave CGA it will also contain their leave info.

Liberty, unlike leave, is not part of the “rights” of service personnel. Liberty is a privilege that is awarded to deserving individuals by their Supervisor or Commanding Officer. Liberty is granted in fairly short amounts of time and is not charged as leave. Usually regular liberty is granted from the end of the “work” day to the beginning of the next workday unless the member is in a duty status. Typically liberty has a maximum period of 72 hours.

Will my cadet be able to come home, or may I visit, during leaves, liberties, and/or holidays?

Not always. It is important to check first because cadets sometimes have duty and/or athletics during these times. Do not schedule travel until you know for sure as you may disappointed when they cannot come home or visit because of prior restrictions. Also, grades can affect their ability to have liberty. Sometimes infractions can cause restrictions. Some weekends are long and some are short. It is always best to check with your son or daughter first. And remember, things change at a moment's notice, so be prepared to go with the flow.

Do you have any recommendations for making flight plans?

Because your cadet's leave/vacation times are subject to change it is difficult to make concrete travel plans. You may reserve flights with airlines who offer a military discount without penalty for making changes. There are two military discount rates depending on when you book the flight. Also, if your cadet or you cannot afford to pay for the ticket when you book it, this gives you an opportunity to hold a reservation until the day of departure and pay for it then. In addition, if a cheaper fare becomes available before departure, you can change the ticket to that fare and not be committed to the military fare, but you will have to pay for the ticket at that time.

Some of the best advice regarding setting up flights for leave and such is to let your cadet set things up themselves. Note that there are several departure options. Depending on where your cadet is flying to/from, they can use Boston, Providence, Hartford, New York, or Newark as departure/arrival cities. Amtrak provides good service from New London to Boston Logan (via a short hop on the T from South Station) and directly to Newark International Airport.

What is the liberty van?

The liberty van runs on the hour during liberty between the Academy and the train station, Chili's, Crystal Mall, Target, Best Buy, Dicks Sporting Goods, Regal Cinema in Waterford, and Wal-Mart. Signup for the van is in Echo company. An email is sent out to cadets regarding van availability and signup. Announcements regarding van availability and signup are made in wardroom. Read more
A Day in the Life

What is a typical day like for a swab during Swab Summer?

Here is a swab’s day during the school year:
0600: Reveille
0615: Guardmount (inspection for the 4/c who have duty that day)
0620: Morning Formation
0625: Breakfast
0700: Training Period For All Classes (there is not necessarily training every day)
0800-1155: Morning Classes
1205: Afternoon Formation
1210: Lunch
1250-1550: Afternoon Classes
1600-1800: Sports Period
1700-1900: Buffet Dinner
1900: Closed Door Study Hour (you may go to sleep once this begins)
2200: Taps

Here is a swab’s day during the summer (generally):
0600: Reveille
0610: Calisthenics (commonly referred to as Cals)
0640: Morning Formation/Inspection
0650: Breakfast
0715: Platoon Commander Time (whatever the cadre want to do)
0830-1200: Training (physical and/or indoc)
1205: Afternoon Formation/Inspection
1215: Lunch
1240-1800: Training (physical and/or indoc)
1805: Evening Formation/Inspection
1815: Dinner
1840: Indoc Study Hour/Platoon Commander Time
2200: Taps Physical Training (PT) includes Bikes (stationary), Swimming (survival skills), Platoon Runs and Weights 

What are IT Sessions?

Intensive/inspirational training, used as punishment - can occur at any time of day except for after dinner 

What type of military training do they go through?

Military training Includes uniform maintenance, Indoc., Drill / Regimental Band, Honor Training (introduction to the honor concept at the Academy), HR Training (introduction to human relations), Social Training (introduction to proper courtesy and dining techniques)

What sort of 'restrictions' do swabs deal with?

There are a number of restrictions and you will certainly hear about many of them from your swab, but some of the swab restrictions/requirements are merely for the duration of swab summer. They don't need the high socks beyond Swab Summer ...flexibility with their "personal shelf", white boxers, etc. So don't go buying things for the year, when in fact, they really only need required socks, underwear, etc. to make it through Swab Summer. More flexibility arrives in the Fall!


I've heard that each of the Companies have specific assignments/responsibilities. What are they?

Alfa Company (Alligators): Regimental Health and Well-Being
Health and Wellness Training
Physical Fitness Exam (PFE)
Weight Management Program
Inter-Company Sports (ICs)
Bravo Company (Bulls): Regimental Training
School Year Training
Chief Petty Officer Mentor Program
Professional Development
Indoctrination Program and Tests (PCQ)
Information Systems (Tech Support)
Charlie Company (Cobras): Regimental Honor
Core Values
Honor Education
Honor Operations
Honor Projects
Character Development
Human Relations
Honor Training
Delta Company (Dogs): Regimental Drills and Ceremonies
Drill
Flags
Rifles
History and Traditions
Special Ceremonies
Echo Company (Eagles): Regimental Public Affairs and Transportation
Transportation
Recruiting
Sponsor Program
Public Affairs
Foxtrot Company (Flounders): Regimental Operations
Watches
Conduct
Cadet Regulations Review
Operations
Administration
Emergency Procedures
Golf Company (Gophers): Regimental Comptroller
Supply
Maintenance
Uniforms
Laundry
Hotel Company (Hellions): Regimental Morale
Community Service
Morale
Activities
Alumni Association
Coast Guard Foundation
Recreational Facilities
Liaison to Social Director
CGA Parents Association  Read more
Clothing and Uniforms

Tell me a bit about uniforms.

Cadets will be measured for and issued uniforms in the early weeks of their arrival. Many parts of the uniform are described by special names in the acronym section. Nonmilitary types may be unfamiliar with certain “engineering aspects” that assure their very neat look. So there are things like "shirt stays."

What are shirt stays? 

'Shirt stays' are devices designed to keep the shirt 'tucked in'. They come in several styles, the main styles being straight, Y, clip-on, and stirrup. Cadets are issued 'Y clip-on's' which they come to dislike - they are not at all comfortable (they will tell you stories...). The stirrup style is available from most military uniform supply stores and make a welcome gift. They will know you are thinking of them. Where do you get v-neck, tagless T-shirts? A good option is Hanes Classic - you can find them on-line; folks have found them at Target. Note that we are not endorsing a particular brand or supplier, but this was a solution for many who asked the question.

Why tube-socks?

"Tube-socks" are needed - socks need to be rolled, folded, and stowed a certain way during the summer. Your cadet can throw them all away after the summer. Try to get really long ones. Cadre like ‘motivated’ socks (socks pulled up as high as they will go).

What is the simplest uniform/clothing advice?

Teach your cadet to sew a button on!  Read more
Cadet Support

Can I get information about my cadet's progress, grades, leave from the Academy?

Your cadet is considered an adult and information about his/her grades, performance, health issues, individual leave schedules, etc. will not be disseminated via the Academy staff. This information should come directly from your cadet. You are free to contact the Academy staff if, after speaking with your son/daughter, you have concerns about the way things are going.

Where can my cadet go for help?

Your cadet has been used to receiving help from family, friends, teachers, and clergy while at home. When they arrive at the Academy, there may be a sense of alienation or loss. Remind them that there are people there who they can go to for help. There are clergy of all faiths available at all times. You may contact the Chaplain's Office at (860) 444-8480 if you have concerns. The Chaplain's Office will contact your cadet. The Chaplain's Office interviews each cadet, individually, after Swab Summer as part of their job. Any concerns that the cadet has are addressed during that meeting and more sessions are scheduled if they think it is necessary. Teachers and counselors (and counselors at the clinic) are there to help direct and guide them.  If they are in athletics, tell them to talk to their coach. Also, they can talk to upper classmen at certain times. They can always search out CGA Scholars graduates. CGA Scholars graduates are cadets who attended one of the Military Preparatory Schools prior to attending the Academy and have had a full year of military training and academics. They are like 3rd class cadets in that they have already experienced a "first year" away from home and can be supportive in that regard. As soon as they have a Sponsor Family, they can call on them. And finally they can talk to their roommate and other 4th class cadets. The main thing is they need not keep their fears in. They are not alone. They need to know that there are plenty of people they can confide in and go to for support. It is okay to feel nervous, anxious, and homesick, but it is not okay to suffer in silence. And they don't have to. 

What is the Cadet Sponsor Program?

The swabs will meet with the coordinator of the sponsor program during Swab Summer. Cadets have the option of signing up to have a sponsor family assigned to them. Cadets who ask for sponsor families are assigned based the distance between the cadet's home town and the Academy; cadets whose home towns are the furthest away get assigned first and then it works back geographically towards New England. There is a 'meet-the-sponsor-family day' at the beginning of the semester. Cadets fill out a survey to get paired to a compatible sponsor family; the survey asks about certain preferences (e.g., kids-w/o kids, pets-w/o pets, religion, etc.). The sponsor family offers a place for the cadet to crash off campus when they have liberty or leave. They can also be available for rides to the airport, etc. More information about the Cadet Sponsor Program is available on the Academy's website.
Read more
Miscellaneous

Where can I find flag cases? 

You can find these cases at a very reasonable price and in many sizes (from very small to very large) and finishes (oak, cherry, walnut..) at the Groton Sub Base Exchange. The only drawback is that you must have an active duty/reserve/cadet military ID card to purchase them (non-military parents can get onto the base, and the cadet may use their ID to purchase the case).

Do you have recommendations of gift cards that I can send to my son or daughter?

CGA Bookstore (Exchange)
Friends and relatives can purchase gift certificates for the cadets to use. MWR Branch (Morale, Well-being, and Recreation): Local theater tickets and bowling gift certificates (call MWR directly at (860) 444-8476). 


Local businesses:

Staples
Target
Wal-Mart
Eastern Mountain Sports
Dick's Sporting Goods
Best Buy
Ruby Tuesday's
Chili's
Panera Bread
Outback Steakhouse
Olive Garden 
Coldstone Creamery
Subway
TJ Maxx
Buffalo Wild Wings

This list is based upon requests made by both male and female cadets shopping for necessities. There are many more businesses, but those listed carry many of the items/services that your cadet may need, or would really enjoy, and can't be found at the Exchange. 

Read more