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The writer of the letter "Time to end 'hazing' of academy freshmen," (July 16), called for an end to "hazing" at the Coast Guard Academy. This opinion reflects a serious misunderstanding of the meaning of Swab Summer. The seven-week program is the Academy's "Boot Camp" comparable to the other military academies. This indoctrination includes, but is not limited to, an emphasis on principles of fellowship, teamwork, seamanship and military life, as well as an introduction to the Coast Guard's core value of honor, respect and devotion to duty.
Swabs undergo training under the direction of their cadres, who are second class cadets, entering their junior year. The cadres themselves experienced Swab Summer two years prior and are personally trained by drill instructors who train enlisted personnel at Cape May, N.J.
The physical and emotional stress may cause some swabs to have second thoughts about their chosen career, but it also prepares them to cope successfully with the stress they will incur as cadets and as commissioned officers.