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Home / Cadet Blogs / Smooth Sailing – Dinghy Sailing Team at Nationals 2022

Swabs and Sailing – My Cadre Summer

Lauren O'Neill | July 28, 2023

2/c Lauren O'Neill

Cadre Summer was a really exciting time for my class, marking the transition from being a follower and underclassman to a leader. Our summer started out with MCTC, Mid-grade Cadet Training Course, where we got to work with our cadre sections, learning about leadership theories as we developed our own leadership styles. We also had a preparation week right before the swabs arrived, where we cleaned and prepared the swabs’ rooms (which took many, many, many hours), walked through Day One for the swabs, and did a lot of planning and organizing. We also had a lot of training during Prep Week, such as how to handle medical situations, the parameters of what we’re allowed to do, and learning from Cape May Company Commanders and Officer Candidate School Instructors.

For the waterfront, we spent preparation week running through our lessons and learning more about sailing and teaching on the water. What was really exciting for waterfront was that we had the opportunity to experience the most out of all the cadre sections. We were able to take every single AIM group sailing, teach each swab platoon multiple times, and go into Chase Hall as a regular cadre. It was fun for us to be nice and conversive with the swabs at the waterfront, but also get the experience of yelling in the intense training environment of Chase Hall. It was really cool because a lot of swabs felt more comfortable talking to us about what training they felt was really effective, what wasn’t working for them, and if they had any qualms they didn’t feel comfortable telling the Chase Hall cadre. We were in a great position to be liaisons between the swabs and the cadre in Chase Hall, and we really got started knowing our swabs as individual people.

Being a waterfront cadre was specifically really fun for me. I’ve been sailing my whole life, teaching and coaching. Since arriving at the Academy, I’ve been lucky to compete at a high level with the dinghy team, but it was also really exciting for me to get back to teaching, which I loved in high school. It was exciting for me to share my love of sailing with my classmates as a fellow waterfront cadre and with the incoming class of 2026.

While the focus of our summer was the swabs, we did get to do other exciting things. We took a week to go to a shooting range either here in New London or up in Cape Cod to get pistol training and qualify. We went onboard the Leadership 44’s, beautiful sailboats, along the coast of New England. Along with learning basic sailing, we got to experience fun port calls such as Nantucket, Block Island, and Hyannis. My classmates also got to do a week of operational experience, getting to learn about different jobs in the fleet such as naval engineering, flight, cyber, and marine safety. Swab Summer is rough, but in the blink of an eye, you’re on the cadre side and looking ahead toward the fleet.

About Lauren

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