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Home / Why I’m Here and Why I Want to Be

Why I’m Here and Why I Want to Be

Monty Rickey

Hey guys!

First off, it’s crazy to think that only 7 months ago I was eagerly waiting for Swearing-In Day. On and before that day, I was so scared for what was to come. I didn’t sleep for weeks leading up to the day. I had been preparing for Swab Summer since I decided I wanted to attend the Academy months after my AIM experience.

My Coast Guard Academy experience began with attending AIM the summer after my junior year of high school. Growing up, I never had a dream college or a specific career path. Both my parents and brother followed three completely different career paths. My father was enlisted in the Army and spoke fondly of the memories and experience, so I decided to entertain the possibility of being in the military. I applied to AIM to gain a realistic experience of attending a military academy, because I read that AIM was most similar to Swab Summer. AIM was a whirlwind, and I don’t remember much of my experience, besides that when it was over, I wanted to leave the Academy as soon as possible. Directly following AIM, I honestly didn’t want to come back. However, months after, when college applications started, I thought about my experience. I remembered that I asked my cadre about their AIM experience, and one cadre responded, “I didn’t want to come to the Academy at all after AIM, but I realized how much it challenged me and I wanted to see how far I could push myself.” I resonated with this perspective fully. I remembered my experience, how different it was than anything else I’d ever done, and how much I learned about the Coast Guard and Academy. I also realized how much I grew as a person, absolutely cherishing the experience, and I wanted to see how much further I could grow. Also, I knew the Coast Guard offered a cool opportunity to travel the world and I know I want to eventually go to graduate school, which is possible in the Coast Guard.

I knew that I had to attend the Academy.

I carried the same mindset through Swab Summer and first semester, and I am so glad I did. Swab Summer was also a whirlwind, and looking back, I only remember the good memories and funny stories. I was infinitely grateful for all the pushups I did as a kid, which was every time I got in trouble (thanks Dad). While I thought the most challenging part of Swab Summer would be physical, for me personally, it turned out to be one of the most mentally challenging experiences and my perspective of challenging myself was one of the key factors that carried me through. Similarly, there are difficult and stressful days during first semester, but keeping this positive mindset serves to remind me one of the reasons why I am and continue to want to be here.

There’s a common saying, “life is what you make it,” which holds true at CGA also. You can absolutely grow in only 7 months, and I can’t wait to see how much I can grow in the remaining 3.5 years.

Please feel free to contact me at if you have any questions regarding Swab Summer, 4/c year, or anything else involving the Academy!

Sponsor Family Application

Thank you for submitting your application to be part of the Sponsor Family Program. Your application will be processed in the upcoming week. Coast Guard Academy’s policy on background screening now requires all adults (everyone 18 and older living in the home) who volunteer to mentor, teach, coach or sponsor cadets, whether on or off Coast Guard Academy grounds, to be screened every 5 years. They are required to provide personal information (name, birth date and social security number) for the purpose of conducting a criminal background check.

The Security Officer at the Coast Guard Academy, CWO2 Gina Polkowski, is overseeing this process. Her email is:

Sponsor Family designations fall into several different categories. Below are the guidelines to help you determine how best to meet the background screening requirement:

  1. If you are Coast Guard active duty you do not need to apply for an additional Background Check. You will be vetted through the Coast Guard system by CWO2 Polkowski.
  2. If you are a Civilian working for the Coast Guard you do not need to apply for an additional Background Check. You will be vetted through the Coast Guard system by CWO2 Polkowski.
  3. If you are non-Coast Guard Active Duty, you are required to provide proof of your current security clearance or National Agency Check that is to be emailed by your Command Security Officer (CSO)/ Security Office to CWO2 Polkowski at
  4. If you are non-Coast Guard civilian who has a current security clearance or National Agency check, you are required to provide proof of your current security clearance or National Agency Check that is to be emailed by your Command Security Officer (CSO)/ Security Office to CWO2 Polkowski at
  5. All civilians in the families who are 18 years or older and do not have a security clearance or a National Agency Check are required to be vetted through Mind Your Business, the third party vendor hired by the Coast Guard Academy for the vetting process.

After you complete your application, please e-mail the Sponsor Family Program Coordinator at In your e-mail, you must include the e-mail address and phone number of every adult living in the home. The Sponsor Family Coordinator will then initiate the background check process and you will receive an email with further instructions.

Important things to note:

There is a Sponsor Family Training that is a one-hour training which we ask sponsors to attend once every four years. This training is designed to give you an overview of the program, what is expected of you as a sponsor, and what you can expect from your cadets. This training will also help familiarize you with the cadet regulations onboard CGA. You will be notified via e-mail once the training is scheduled.

The matching process of swabs to families will occur during July and August. Please bear with us and remain flexible through this process. There will be a meet and greet scheduled on Campus, typically in late August. This will give families an opportunity to formally meet their cadet if they have not already done so. Details on this will also be via email.

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