The United States Coast Guard Academy in New London is welcoming the class of 2021.
The 297 men and women from across the country are arriving in New London today to take on the title of swabs – beginning their four years at the academy.
This year’s class is 35 percent under-represented minorities, 34 percent women and includes 10 international students.
"I'm excited, mostly excited, but a little bit nervous," Katherine Long, of East Lyme, said.
In years past, the first day of their training was called reporting in or R-Day. This year, the Coast Guard has renamed it Day One, which they say better reflects this day being the start of the swabs’ 200-week journey to becoming military officers in the USCG.
"I'm prepared. I'm ready," Roy Melvin, of Washington, D.C., said. "I just need to do what I need to do and finish this thing."
Part of the journey is adopting the principles of the USCG – honor, respect, and devotion to duty.
On Day One, they start by getting uniforms and haircuts. They will learn practice drills and gather in the afternoon for a class photo before saying farewell to family and friends who came to see them off.
"Honored. I'm just happy to be here," Annabella Farabaugh, of Atlanta, Georgia, said.
The Coast Guard Academy put Matthew Pindell, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on the wait list when he applied during high school, and he took his place Monday after being accepted to the academy.
"I feel really excited about it. I'm also nervous, as everyone probably is," he said. "I think I've come to terms with the fact that this is going to be a lot different than most places. Bottom line is, I'm really excited."
While Pindell is excited about his new journey, his parents are proud.
"My eyes are going to be weeping, but my heart is just so overflowing with emotions," Lisa Pindell said. "Feeling that patriotism and so proud that he would select something like that and give of himself."